Thursday, October 3, 2013
Grace Fellowship Church celebrated its 20th church anniversary this weekend with food, music and praise.
The theme of the event was 20 Years of Grace, and members had an opportunity to look to the future while still acknowledging their rich past.
The church originated when now-senior pastor Phillip Hamilton and his wife Diana began a Bible study in their home that continued to grow.
“We started as a Bible study, and we had no intentions of starting a church,” Hamilton said “It feels like we’ve just begun. It’s not a bad feeling. It just feels like we have just started, compared to where we want to go and how many lives we want to touch. We have a big vision.”
The Hamiltons have two sons, Jonathan and Andrew. Jonathan is currently the worship leader for the church, and his wife, Becca, is the children’s church minister.
“He is a great help,” Hamilton said. “The energy he brings is just absolutely essential.”
Hamilton said he wants to reach out to people in their own way to bring them closer to Christ.
“We have been a nontraditional church,” Hamilton said. “We focus on the idea of faith and grace. When we attempt to live in faith without grace, it becomes a burden.”
Saturday’s celebration included a concert and cookout for family and friends.
“Our goal is to mature believers with the message of faith and grace in order to build strong individuals, relationships and families,” said pastor’s administrative assistant Erin Bruce. “Despite popular opinion, God is not out to get us.”
The church is constantly working to reach out to the community and made the event an open and welcoming atmosphere.
“Our desire is to reach people right where they are, introduce them to Jesus Christ and watch him work in their lives,” Bruce said.
She has been working with the church for just over seven years, and said that her time with the members and leadership has always been a positive one.
“Every experience I’ve had here is very open and very warm,” Bruce said. “You can feel that when you come in; it’s like a big family.”
Hamilton said that in the years to come there are plans of growth for the church and ministry that will hopefully strengthen more peoples’ faith.
“We have a whole plan for this land,” Hamilton said. “The plan is not, ‘build a building and they will come.’ If we minister to people where they are, and grow people in Christ, the other parts will come.”
Heather Wright is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. She is a North Augusta resident and earned a degree in communications from USC Aiken.
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