~ GBC Then and Now
Grace Baptist Church is a historic church that is well known in many countries. Here is just a little information to give you a perspective of the past and help you to see to where we hope the church will go in the future.
The church began in the late 1940’s under the leadership of missionaries Inabelle Coleman, Ola Lea, and Josephine Ward. All three had left Mainland China in 1949.
After accepting positions as university teachers in Taiwan, they began student ministries in their home. Although they began with just six students, the group soon grew, and Dr. Carl Hunker was asked to lead the English worship service.
Soon evening Chinese worship services were added, and it was called the University Baptist Center.
By 1951, the Center had over 100 members and was renamed Grace Baptist Church. By 1954, the church had grown until they needed a new location.
After much searching, Miss Coleman found the current location. With a loan from the Southern Baptist Convention in the US and sacrificial giving from church members and others, sufficient funds became available for the building project. The new building opened on June 5, 1954.
Dr. Chow Lien-Hua became pastor in September of that same year. Through his fervent leadership and the evangelistic thrust of the membership, many unbelievers accepted Christ and joined the effort to expand God’s kingdom.
As pastor, Dr. Chow gathered a strong ministerial team to continue the growth of the church.
Miss Coleman died on October 15, 1959. The student center was renamed “Coleman Hall” in her honor. Miss Lillian Lu, who had faithfully served as music and youth director and had translated hundreds of hymns into Chinese, died of cancer on June 5, 1976.
As time progressed, the Chinese ministries became predominate. However, the English congregation still continued to flourish. This was due to the effective ministries of the Sunday School, Training Union, Women’s Missionary Union, the Baptist Brotherhood, and student ministries.
Over the following thirty years, the congregation continued to grow in membership, frequency of meetings, and activities until a lack of space hindered further growth.
When the Chinese congregation passed one thousand in membership, it became obvious that the church was outgrowing its building. So, in 1983, the church decided to rebuild on the same site.
The architectural planning group decided that the new building should be in harmony with Chinese culture. The new building was completed and dedicated to the Lord on December 2, 1984.
Soon afterward, Dr. Chow retired with honor at the age of seventy. Other pastors later led the church, including Kuo Yun-Han, Evan Shu, Leroy Hogue, Stephen Lee, and David Brown.
In addition, the church has had the blessing of many faithful ministers.
Due to the faithfulness of its staff and membership, the church continued to grow and needed another expansion of its facilities. In 2003, twenty years after the previous expansion, the facilities went through another renovation that left the Chinese facade intact, while including a more spacious interior and more comfortable rooms.
Our prayer is that God will continue to use Grace Baptist Church, both the Chinese and English congregations, as a lighthouse in Taipei, in Taiwan, and to the rest of the world.