From its humble beginnings sixty plus years ago, the ministry and outreach of Grace Baptist Church of Westlake, Ohio has grown and expanded; but the church remains dedicated to the purpose, in principle, stated in its original constitution: “to glorify God through the salvation of the lost and the edification of believers.”
It was on October 19, 1949, that sixteen believers gathered at the Lakewood home of Howard and Fern Buncher and earnestly prayed for God’s guidance in establishing a church on the west side of Cleveland where the Word of God would be faithfully preached and taught. Only a matter of weeks later, they begin worshipping together. Only a few months later on February 24, 1950, Grace Baptist Church was officially organized, with 47 members signing the charter.
They called Rev. Kenneth Amsler, President and Dean of Baptist Bible Institute of Cleveland, as their interim pastor. Their first official meeting place was a rented upper hall at 15905 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. Sunday morning services were held at the new location, while evening services and Wednesday prayer meetings continued to be held at the Buncher home. The first baptismal service was held on February 12, 1950, with 14 being baptized.
Grace has since held locations in Rocky River and her current residence at 23096 Center Ridge Road in Westlake. She has been blessed with godly leadership through the years by men such as Rev. Donald Douglass (1951-55), Rev. Vernon Billington (1956-60), Rev. Douglas Couch (1963-70) Rev. Ralph Burns (1971-85), Dr. Jack W. Jacobs (1986-2003), Rev. Greg Whiting (2004-12), and Rev. Steven T. Strong (2012-present).
It is the desire of Grace Baptist Church to add to its rich history, being known as a church that glorifies God by accomplishing His purposes. It is our desire to help every person that attends Grace to take the next step in their spiritual journey and become effective disciples who are making disciples. A key verse that describes our hope for every person who attends Grace is:
II Peter 3:18 – “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”