Historical Highlights of Grace Christian Church
In 1949, the entire Grace Christian Ministries started at the home of Mrs. Julia Tan at #349-A Tanduay Street, Manila. There, Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Spahr pastored the first “Grace” church – Grace Bible Church (English Congregation). The next year (July 5, 1950), Grace Christian High School was started by these three founders on a lot at #41 Nagtahan Street. Realizing the school needed a "church home," the GCHS started Grace Gospel Church (Chinese Congregation) in September 28, 1952, meeting inside the school auditorium, until 1965.
This church-school model was based on the founders' desire for the school to have a spiritual "church-home" for its students, parents, and community--in a seven-day-a-week Christian education-filled environment. This model was rooted in Mrs. Julia Tan's training under foreign missionaries in her hometown of Xiamen, China, which led her to adopt two slogans for Grace Christian High School and Church:
(a) The school is the church's mission field; and the church is the school's spiritual home
Formation of a Church
By 1958, as Grace Christian High School continued to grow to its limits on Nagtaham Street, God burdened Mrs. Tan to search (in 1961-62) for a larger property in the suburbs. In 1963, the present Grace Village site in Quezon City (originally called "North Balintawak") was found. On March 18, 1964, the 10- (later 12-) hectare lot was purchased, and March Development Corporation, organized by Mrs. Julia Tan, started to subdivide the lots.
Construction of the school in the new "Grace Village" started on September 10, 1965. and on August 2, 1966, the school moved into its brand new buildings. The former Nagtahan campus was donated to the
Grace Bible Church on the condition that they start a new school--Christian Academy of Manila. Grace Gospel Church--moving in a new direction--had bought a lot in nearby Sta. Mesa, Manila.
There was the need again for a church home inside Grace Village for the school's students, parents, and the surrounding community. And so, on Aug. 7, 1966– the very first week after the school moved into Grace Village–Sunday worship services and the Sunday School were held in two (later three) of the school's third-floor classrooms with just 20-30 people. In June 1967, Rev. Paul Tan returned from studies in the United States to serve as the congregation's first minister.
New Church Inaugurated
On Oct. 27, 1968, Grace Christian Church was formally inaugurated in a God-honoring service at the GCHS Gymnasium. Three significant events took place that day:
(1) The Grace Christian Church was formally started,
During the next seven years (1968-1975), the church met inside the school (in Grace Village), both church and school worked together as one. The school founder and principal served as the church's adviser and deaconess, and the senior pastor served as the school chaplain.
New Church Building
When the congregation grew to over 150 members by 1968, a Church Building Fund was started. God gave the vision and faith to build a sanctuary which would seat over a thousand people. On September 13, 1970, under the leadership of the senior pastor, and with a united Board and enthusiastic congregation, the cornerstone for the new sanctuary was laid in a property donated by the Grace Christian High School and two Christian believers.
The design of the church's "fan-shaped" sanctuary was proposed and sketched by Architect J. Marshall Miller of Columbia University in New York to maximize the space of the property. Architect Felipe Mendoza, one of the
foremost architects in the Philippines, was commissioned to design what is considered by many as one of the most beautiful churches in Manila.
Construction of the new church started in late 1973, under the leadership of Dr. Paul Tan, who was chairman of the Church Building committee. On Jan. 26, 1975, the new church Sanctuary was built and formally dedicated. We praise the Lord that this large capacity sanctuary is used every day of the week, including for all Chapel services of Grace Christian High School.
Pastors and Leaders
A strong pulpit ministry has long been the source of stability of Grace Christian Church. With a legacy and tradition of Bible expository messages, the Lord has raised up godly men who led the church by capably preaching and teaching the Word of God.
In 1983, Dr. Paul Tan (after 16 years as senior pastor) requested for a leave of absence and with blessings from the church went abroad for worldwide Bible prophecy teaching and writing. He continued to serve the church as senior pastor for 40 years returning at least twice a year for consultations with church and school leaders.
From 1983 to 2008, five "Resident Pastors" served on behalf of the Senior Pastor and led the church faithfully:
God has called more than 40 pastors and ministers, faithful men and women, to serve at Grace Christian Church and minister to the spiritual needs of the congregation. Individuals such as Pastor Alberto Chan who joined the church staff in 1974 and is currently the longest continuously serving member of the pastoral staff.
Every successful church would indeed be blessed with a host of unnamed heroes of the faith—people who served in various areas of the church ministry and have made the church what it is today. We praise God for ALL our pastors, ministers, elders, deacons, staff, co-workers, and members, who serve at Grace Christian Church as "Unto the Lord" (Col. 3:23).
On June 22, 2003, the four-story Grace Ministry Training Center (GMTC) was built and dedicated under the leadership of Rev. Johnny Limchesing. This major project enhances the teaching and training outreaches of our church.
On Oct. 26, 2008, the church celebrated its 40th founding anniversary with three special installations:
Under the leadership of Rev. Stephen Tan, four new worship services were started (in addition to the original worship service) to meet the needs of a growing church—
On August 2007, the church embarked on an extensive 3 ½ year 4-phase renovation project to expand, repair, remodel, and upgrade the entire church facilities in the Grace Village campus. This project was completed in March 2011 for the glory of God.
ONTO GREATER HEIGHTS
With more than 2,000 adults and children meeting every weekend for worship services, Sunday Schools, and other programs, Grace Christian Church continues to embrace the original vision and mission that God had laid on the heart of its founders.
As we look back on the bountiful blessings that have been showered upon our church and her members for more than 45 years, we cannot help but give thanks to the Almighty God. And we look forward with confidence and greater faith towards the goal of achieving the Lord's Great Commission to spread the good news of salvation until He returns. Amen.
--Written by Rev. Dr. Paul Lee Tan (Founding Pastor)