History of Grace Methodist Church of Searcy

The following article was written in the late 1960s by church historian Mrs. Jeffery Walker and updated information was penciled in later, probably in 1971.

Grace Methodist Church was organized July 3, 1955.  The first service was held in a public building located on a used car lot on East Race Street with 11 people attending.

The district Superintendent at this time was Rev. E.G.Kaetzell.  He assisted in organizing the church, which went by the name of Second Methodist Church until the official name Grace was selected.  Bro.Kaetzell also helped plan and build the first unit of the church which included a sanctuary and four Sunday School classrooms. 

The land was purchased from Mr. I.B. Randall by First Methodist Church and donated to Grace Church.  They also helped support the church for the first three years.  Grace Church received a large financial gift from the board of Missions.  It also received money from the 1000 Club.  Our church is also a member of the 1000 Club.

We have about 50 charter members.  Our total membership is 178.  Our Sunday morning services are near an average of 100.  Our Sunday School average attendance is around 100.  We have Men’s Club, W.S.C.S. and M.Y.F. groups.

In 1957 our first educational unit was built.  In 1963 a second educational unit was built.  The Cornerstone Laying was on Sunday, December 1, 1963, with Bishop Kenneth Pope in charge of services.  The completed building consists of Sanctuary, Prayer Chapel, Fellowship Hall, Pastor’s Study, six classrooms, kitchen and four baths.   The building is equipped with central heat and air conditioning.

A parsonage was purchased on East Moore near the church which is located on the corner of East Moore and Randall Drive.  The church is of brick and the parsonage is a five-room frame building.

In 1957-58 our property was valued at $40,000 with a budget of $4,670.71.  The valuation is now $75,000 and a budget of $10,100.   [A handwritten notation inserted here probably in 1971 stated “At this time our church is valued at $144,000.”]

Our church is a circuit arrangement. Higginson and Oak Grove churches are on with Grace Church.

The pastor conducts services at these places at the time we are having Sunday School.  The salary is around $5,700.  [“Today’s salary is over $10,000.”]

Records of our church and parsonage locations are on record in quarterly conference records and at the Searcy Courthouse.

We have had these pastors during the life of Grace Church:
Rev. William Hightower, two years.
Rev. Porter Weaver, two years.
Rev. Arvest Lawson, five years.
Rev. Ray Edwards, two years, to June 1966.
Rev. M.L. Kaylor, June 1966 to October 1968.
Rev. James Barton, October 1968 to June 1971.
Rev. Lewis Ernest, June 1971 to   .
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