Image description HISTORY Read about our beginnings to where we are today

Humble Beginnings in 1973

Since the day we were formed we've always strived to be a community of people who take God's words to heart. There has been much joy along with the struggle that goes along the ups and downs of church family life. But being followers of Jesus and seeking to make him known has been, and continues to be, what we're on about.

Our History

As a local gathering of God’s people Grace Evangelical Church began in August 1973 when a group of 17 began meeting together in the home of Don and June McMurray.

Since its humble beginnings the church has been through a lot of changes: changes in leadership, changes in meeting place and location and a number of changes in name.

Originally under the name ‘Newcastle Baptist Reformed Church’  we were under the oversight of Macquarie Reformed Baptist Church in Sydney before becoming self-governing in 1975. Clyde McIlwain, Don McMurray and Jack Nattress were the three elders responsible for the oversight of the congregation.

Following the death of Clyde McIlwain and the McMurray family moving to the Eastern Highlands of PNG, Jack Nattress led the church for a period of three years from 1982.

There were some tough periods in the following years and Don, June and family returned from the mission field to Newcastle. At this time the prayer of the elders was, ‘God, either close us or use us.’

In the following years issues were worked through and more people joined our local gathering of God’s people – both Christians from various churches and other areas and people from the community who came to know Christ. They were active years with opportunities for teaching and training along with outreach into the local community.

Following another difficult period Tamworth Reformed Church offered help. David Calderwood came in March 2000. David, Alison and their four children became part of church family life. David worked with Don and Gordon McMurray, now an elder, to rebuild the church under God’s hand. New ideas and a fresh approach benefited the church family as David settled into his new role.

Some time later it was decided that the church would benefit from another full-time elder and Chris Taylor joined the pastoral team after completing his studies at SMBC. Again a new dimension has been added to the church with Chris, Annie and their three children becoming part of our church family.

God has been gracious to his people at Grace. While we can’t know God’s mind in the future for us, as a local gathering of his people, we trust that he will continue to build his kingdom in and through the lives of his people. And we’re delighted to be part of that!