Our History

From Gilmer Street to Grace

Grace Baptist Church began in 1941 as Gilmer Street Baptist Church in downtown Cartersville, Georgia. The church was constituted on March 2, 1941 at a meeting in the Douglas Street Elementary School auditorium with 150 charter members. The counsel was composed of Rev. A.N. White, Rev. M.W. Hart, Rev. C.E. Kinney, Rev. J.W. Reeves, Rev. Cleve Cowart, Rev. Herman Manning, Rev. J.W. Mooney and Deacons L.L. Kown, James R. Smith, W.S. Knight, A.H. Mulkey and J.H. Little. Rev. Warren Watkins served as spokesman for the church and was elected moderator for the new church until a pastor could be called.

The site chosen for the newly organized church was a vacant lot at 116 Gilmer Street, where an overall factory once stood. In 1941, the lot was purchased from Robert (Bob) Bridges and construction was begun. Just before the United States entered World War II in 1941, the basement was completed and services were held there until the end of World War II. A lot was purchased from H.C. Moss in 1942 and a pastorium was built. After World War II ended, construction began anew and the new church was completed. The membership continued to grow and in the mid-sixties, the education building was completed. An additional lot was purchased from the City of Cartersville for this expansion. Next, the church purchased the house and lot north of the church building and adjacent to the church property. Then two lots west of the church building were purchased and this acquisition enabled the church to have a paved parking lot. Later, the church purchased property adjacent to the pastorium. Property was later purchased at the rear of the building.

In 1997, the congregation felt God leading them to move from the now landlocked facilities. On June 10, 1997, the deacons made a motion to allow the trustees of Gilmer Street Baptist Church to advertise the sale of the property. The members voted on the motion at a conference in the Sunday morning worship service on June 22, 1997 and the process for finding a new location had begun. During the time the church property remained up for sale, two other congregations were in need of a facility to hold their worship services. The church body voted to allow these churches to use the facilities at Gilmer Street until they were able to find permanent locations.

On June 1, 1999, the church was sold to a local business man, Jon Oscher, who allowed the church body to continue using the facilities for one more year.

The property upon which Gilmer Street Church previously occupied is now the home of the Booth Western Art Museum, which is a state-of-the-art facility. In the front of the museum, the cornerstone of Gilmer Street Baptist Church may be seen in a place of honor in order that all visitors to the museum may be informed that a church once stood on that location.

Members suggested names for the new church during a regular conference, and later voted on the top three. At the dawn of the new millennium, on April 19, 2000, Gilmer Street Baptist (temporarily meeting on Cherokee Avenue), became forever know as Grace Baptist Church.

After an extensive search, the properties committee found 15 acres of land on Old Cass-White Road near I-75.  Shortly thereafter, the congregation voted to purchase land, and on this piece of land near the center of Bartow County, construction began. The doors of the new Grace Baptist Church opened for worship on Sunday, December 16, 2001.

Through the years, the church has grown through the addition of a Minster of Students, a Minister of Music and a Minister of Education (Associate Pastor). In addition to Sunday School classes, youth Bible studies and retreats have been organized and the AWANA program and later the Team Kids program for children on Wednesday nights, has brought hundreds under the teaching of God’s Word. An adult choir, a children’s choir and an orchestra have been developed to enhance worship at Grace.

The women’s ministry, men’s ministry, senior adult ministry and nearly twenty other ministries have all added to the fellowship and function of God’s family.

Dr. A.M. Tate was the first pastor called to serve Gilmer Street Baptist Church. The following were dedicated Christian men who have served as Pastors of Gilmer Street/Grace Baptist Church:

  1. Rev. Warren Watkins

  2. Dr. A.M. Tate

  3. Rev. Walter E. Bryant

  4. Rev. George E. Husley

  5. Rev. Cecil A. Smith

  1. Rev. Ernest E. Brown

  2. Rev. E. Don Bowick

  3. Rev. Herb Gibson

  4. Res. Russell Anglin

  5. Rev. Charles Lowery

  1. Rev. Doug Harris, also Interim

  2. Rev. J.T. Paul

  3. Dr. Glen Puckett

  4. Rev. Doug Harris

  5. Dr. Ralph Jenkins

 

Dr. Jenkins is presently serving as the full-time Lead Pastor at Grace Baptist Church. Along with Rev. Matt Green, and a Spirit-filled congregation of believers, our future is as bright as our history.

We, the people of Grace Baptist Church, are Spirit-filled and Bible-centered.