In May of 1969, Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle sent Harry (Mike) Hocker, a recent seminary graduate, to establish a church in Shippensburg. Hocker began with a Bible study in the family living room with a number of families from both Shippensburg and Chambersburg awakened to the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace and looking for a like-minded church. The group rented meeting space in a sheltered workshop on South Washington Street. This new church, known as Grace Baptist Church of Shippensburg, grew under the direction of a steering committee with the faithful oversight of the elders of the Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle.
In April of 1971, the group relocated to Chambersburg, where they purchased a large three-story house on the corner of Fourth and East Catherine Streets. During the summer of 1976, its leadership drafted a constitution and by-laws that reflected adherence to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. On July 21st of 1976 the church became fully independent with thirty-one members and duly elected elders and deacons.
Early in 1981, Pastor Hocker stepped down, and on August 1, 1981, Robert O. Carr, a native of New Brunswick, Canada and a recent graduate of Trinity Ministerial Academy in New Jersey, was called to pastor the church. He, along with his new bride Joy, moved to Chambersburg, where he settled into a fruitful ministry that would extend for more than twenty-five years.
The group outgrew the East Catherine Street building in the early 1980’s, and in 1984 purchased the land that it now occupies on the north side of Chambersburg. In the kind mercy of God the present building was constructed, debt free, in 1986, with a building addition in 2010, also with no debt service. With the move came another name change, and the church became known as the Grace Baptist Church of Chambersburg.
Health issues made it necessary for Pastor Carr to retire from the ministry in August of 2006, and in October of 2006, the church called a new pastor—Craig L. Harris, a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary and former Associate Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle. The Lord has been very gracious throughout that transition.
Missions-minded from the very beginning, the church has enthusiastically supported the work of missionaries in various parts of the world. Members of the church have been active in both the establishment and operation of several local ministries. These include Pregnancy Ministries Inc., the Biblical Education Center Inc., Bible Release Time, and Providence Christian Academy.
Our congregation eagerly looks toward the future, praying for and anticipating the Lord’s ongoing direction and blessing, as we seek to be a means in His hand of making the Lord Jesus Christ and His glorious Gospel known both here in our own community and to the uttermost parts of the earth.