MGBC was born in in Manheim in 1961 in the hearts of God’s people who were seeking an evangelical, fundamental church in town. It began with a cottage prayer meeting, and held its first service in August 1962 with 21 in attendance at a location on Main Street, under the leadership of Rev. Russell Weber. In the fall it relocated to Grant Street where it met for the next five years.
In 1963, Rev. Ulysses L. Gingrich began his ministry in Manheim, and the congregation continued to grow. Within a few years they found 7 acres of land at 333 E. High Street to build a church, holding groundbreaking services in March 1967. Later that year the new building was dedicated. Since then, five pastors have served the congregation, with the current pastor, Rev. Jeffrey L. Dunkle, arriving in August 2000. Four pastors have come out of the congregation into Grace Brethren ministry
1997, a new multipurpose addition to the church, which includes new offices, nursery, kitchen and foyer, was erected. It was dedicated in May 1998 and since has been heavily used by the church and community.
2009, the sanctuary and downstairs were fully renovated and rededicated.
2019, renovations were completed for extra classroom space, an open foyer, and a more efficient handicap ramp leading to nursery and conference room additions.
We. Love. Manheim. Our church strives to be an inspiration to our beloved community through service, family events, and local organization support.
Several missionaries are currently supported by the congregation, Lanty & Tammie Moss (Awana) and Steve and Wilma Bailey (Atlanta). In addition, the church is heavily focused on local, regional and national missions.
FELLOWSHIP OF GRACE BRETHREN CHURCHES/CHARIS FELLOWSHIP
In the early 1700s, a dynamic revival swept across Europe. In Germany there were many of these revived believers who became dissatisfied with the cold formalism and error in the three state religions (Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed). They longed for a church in which they could worship God according to the Bible, the Spirit, and their conscience. As a result, a number of these believers settled at Schwarzenau on the Eider River because its prince offered them freedom to worship and study the Bible. Among those were eight people who saw the need for a new fellowship of churches built solely upon the teachings of the New Testament. From that day to this, the only "creed" the Fellowship has ever had is:
"The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible."
In their study of the Scripture, these first "brethren" became convinced of all the great doctrines of the Christian faith, some of which had been seriously neglected in that day. They observed teachings such as triune immersion, foot-washing, anointing the sick, and non-hierarchical church government. Alexander Mack, often called the founder of the movement, was the first of the group to receive baptism and he in turn baptized the others.
The "brethren" grew and prospered in Schwarzenau from their humble beginnings in 1708. It was not long however, until persecution again reared its ugly head. The group began to be called derogatory names like Tunkers, Dunkards, AnaBaptists, Dippers, and New Baptists. By 1719 the persecution scattered the brethren from their homes, much like the case of the early disciples in Acts. They spread throughout Europe, and several groups came to America. In 1729 Alexander Mack himself come to Germantown (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania.
In America, these brethren proved to be zealous missionaries, rugged pioneers, and good soldiers of Jesus Christ declaring the whole counsel of God. The movement grew and spread across the nation.
Founding The grace Brethren
Unfortunately, there have been two major divisions in the brethren movement in America. In 1881 there was a division resulting in "The Church of the Brethren" and "The Brethren Church". Our heritage is "The Brethren Church" which advocated education and pay for pastors, less conformity in dress, and less centralized authority in the Fellowship. The second major division, in 1939, resulted in "The Brethren Church" (Ashland Brethren), and "The Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches" (Grace Brethren). Grace Brethren stood for sound biblical teaching, moral and doctrinal purity, Christian liberty, and the eternal security of the believer.
Charis Fellowship today
Today there are over 1,000 Grace Brethren churches, with over 200,000 believers, in at least 12 countries around the world. God has honored this humble fellowship which was born out of Bible study, and continues its commitment to Jesus Christ and the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:16-20). For More info on what the Charis Fellowship is doing in the world today, visit CHARISFELLOWSHIP.US/