A Brief History of
Grace United Methodist Church
 

In 1790, a German Lutheran from Pennsylvania named Jacob Albright was converted to Methodism after attending a Methodist class meeting.  He began sharing his newfound faith with German settlements in the area and these groups eventually formed a new denomination, which became known as the “Evangelical Association.”

             The church grew and in 1913 the denomination determined that the northern neighborhood in Mason City was under-churched and plans were put in place to start a new congregation, Grace Church of the Evangelical Association.  By April Rev. J. H. Engle was appointed missionary in this new field.  The first worship service was held on May 11, 1913 in a tent across the street to the east with thirty people present.  The building was dedicated on December 23, 1913 with a commitment to fulfill a vision.  “Ours is a church for the people.  We endeavor to make people feel welcome and at home.”   

            The Sunday School was started on May 19, 1913 with twenty-eight present.  Soon after groups were started for women, men and youth.    Revivals and evangelistic meetings were held during those early years, resulting in many conversions and new church members. 

            World War 2 saw a number of Grace members serve their country.  Seven made the ultimate sacrifice, beginning with Guy Carroll who died at Pearl Harbor. 

            With the 1946 merger of the Evangelical Association and the United Brethren Church the name changed once again to Grace Evangelical United Brethren Church.    Sixteen years later the congregation responded to a growing Sunday School by building  a new education unit in 1962.  The new two-story facility was used for the first time on January 6, 1963. 

            In 1968 there was another merger as the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church became the United Methodist Church, giving Grace its current name:  Grace United Methodist Church. 

            Structural problems in the original building led to discussions about the need to build a new facility.  The current sanctuary, fellowship hall, and offices were completed in December of 1981.  The vision of an open, inviting, accessible worship center became a reality. 

            Over the years Grace church has provided many activities and ministries that brought together in Christian fellowship and reached out to others in the name of Jesus Christ.  In addition to the previously mentioned activities, the church has had some great fellowship groups such as “The Friendly Bunch” and “Grace Night Out,” held hayrides, pulled together great softball teams, reached out to the poor in Kentucky through Appalachia Service Project, hosted a before school breakfast program and after school programs, put on plays for the community, started the Grace Cleaning Bucket Ministry, provided food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and much more. 

            While it's easy to focus on buildings and activities, the church is the people—people who gather together in Jesus' name and serve him in the church, the community and throughout the world.  Throughout the last 100 years, our church has been blessed by many dedicated servants of God. 

            Servants such as George Scheef whose faithful dedication resulted in his being named the Annual Conference lay leader of the year in 1976.

            Rev. Marvin Hulse, who is our longest serving pastor for a total of 12 years between 1955 and 1967.

            Mrs. Lydia Steiner who Sunday school for 72 years, most of which were at Grace..

            Ruth Paxton and Hazel Walters who attended Sunday school under the tent and remained faithful members of the church for the rest of their lives. 

            The list could go on and on—Sunday school teachers, lay leaders, choir members, trustees, pastors, cooks, ushers, youth, children, the elderly—people who have brought and who continue to bring the original vision for Grace to life:  “Ours is a church for the people.  We endeavor to make people feel welcome and at home.”

 
Old building corner2
Our original building.
New church article
 
Early building interior
Our first sanctuary