In the early 1980’s, a small group of believers met in the Doe Run Chapel with its rural setting on the spacious Buck and Doe Run Ranch in West Marlborough Township.
Some of these brethren desired to preserve their place of worship, while others longed to form a distinctively biblical church. Following the completion of his pastoral training at the Trinity Ministerial Academy in New Jersey in June 1981, Pastor Mitch Lush and his wife Nancy moved to Chester County to assist in this church-planting venture. King Ranch owned the rustic, one-room chapel and graciously provided the meeting place for free. However, the owners of the chapel did not approve our request to install indoor restrooms because of their desire to preserve the historic authenticity of the structure, which was erected in 1843.
Accordingly, in January 1982, several younger families from the Doe Run Chapel group moved from the one-room chapel to begin meeting in an old elementary school building in Marshallton. In April of 1982, fifteen charter members constituted as a gospel church and adopted the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. From the beginning, this little band was committed to the doctrines of grace, the Lord’s Day, and the simplicity of New Testament worship. None of which was attractive to the masses, and over the five years in Marshallton, the small congregation grew much in grace but slowly in numbers. Every Sunday morning, a group of five to ten would spend nearly an hour setting up for worship. Our chairs, pulpit, bookstore on wheels, nursery toys, and hymnals were all stored in a closet during the week. In these early years, Psalm 126 was cherished for the hope it held out to us in the days of small things:
“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5).
We are glad to look back now with the satisfaction of seeing God fulfill His word. After years of prayer, including several half-days of prayer in 1985, for God to reveal His will concerning a more permanent meeting place, God marvelously answered those prayers. Through a unique string of kindnesses, we were able to purchase land and to construct a new church building on Highland Road just outside the Borough of West Chester. In October 1986, we moved into our property that overlooked a scenic horse farm. We were so very grateful to God for this house of worship where we regularly sensed God drawing near to us. We were blessed to spend 19 years worshiping God, fellowshiping with one another, and reaching out to our community. Over the years, God blessed us by adding to our congregation, and with several young and expanding families, we began to outgrow our building. As a result, plans were undertaken for a major addition to our West Chester building.
However, instead of expanding our West Chester building, God in His great wisdom brought our congregation to our Downingtown location in April 2005.
Through our move to 111 Lloyd Avenue in Downingtown, we rejoiced in the tremendous blessings of a much larger and more suitable church building and of more core families being added to our congregation. After our move, we spent several months in 2005 remodeling the church’s sanctuary and again in 2006 remodeling the church’s foyer. During the disorder of the major renovation, we affectionately referred to our sanctuary as Grace Warehouse.
Whether in Doe Run, Marshallton, West Chester, or Downingtown, we strive to be a biblically ordered church conformed to God’s word. Over the years, we delighted in our good times together and, in distressing times, discovered tremendous comfort in our deep friendships with our church family who mutually rely on our Sovereign God. However, no matter our circumstances or location, we continually focus on endeavoring to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ in our singing, praying, hearing the Word read and preached, in our loving one another, and in our evangelism. As the Lord tarries, may He bless Grace Church with many more generations of faithful gospel witness!