WINONA LAKE — Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church will celebrate its 75th anniversary Sept. 30 in the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center (MOCC) on Wooster Road in Winona Lake.

The public is invited to participate.

A homecoming celebration will start the day at 10 a.m., and will feature former pastors Ed Lewis, Ron Manahan, Mark Penfold and John Teevan, as well as current pastors Bruce Barlow (lead pastor) and Kip Cone. Child care will be available for infants through preschool age at the MOCC starting at 9:30 a.m. Lunch will follow at the MOCC and is open to all who attend the service.

Tours of the WLGBC campus at 1200 Kings Highway will take place at 1 p.m. Those interested should meet at the main entrance off the parking lot. At 1:30 p.m., “A History of WLGBC” will be featured in the church’s worship center. This will include a slide presentation by local historian Terry White and two panel discussions.

The final event of the day will be an ice cream social in the church courtyard at 2:30 p.m.

Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church began June 23, 1943, when 40 people who had been meeting for Wednesday evening prayer meetings committed to start the church. They met at the home of Don Bartlett on Seventh Street in Winona Lake, elected leaders, and moved ahead with plans for the church.

The group soon moved to the top floor of the Free Methodist Headquarters building (now Mount Memorial Hall) and held its first service on Sept. 5, 1943. Dr. Homer Kent Sr., a Grace Seminary faculty member, was the church’s first part-time pastor. In 1949, the Rev. Herman Koontz became WLGBC’s first full-time pastor.

As attendance grew, the church moved across Kings Highway in 1951 to the newly built McClain Hall on the Grace campus. It occupied the seminary chapel on the main floor, but soon outgrew that space and moved downstairs to the larger auditorium.

Richard DeArmey became pastor in 1957, and plans began to develop for the church to build its own facility on property at Kings Highway and 13th Street. Under the leadership of Charles Ashman, who became pastor in 1962, the facility was built and dedicated on January 25, 1970.

In 2000, a major addition was added to that facility.