Our story

The history of Grace Church is one of God’s faithfulness to his people.

Parker and Ruth Jarvis were long-time Columbus residents who, as they grew in their faith, came to an understanding of the doctrines of grace and the Reformed faith. They wrote the Orthodox Presbyterian Church asking that a work of that body would be established in Central Ohio. At the same time Bill and Mary Shaw moved to Columbus. The Shaws had previously been involved in church plants for the OPC. The two families became the core of the work in 1977. Lawrence Eyres pastor at Redeemer OPC in Dayton came alongside them to establish the plant.

Leo Frailey and Bob Eckardt in 1984 in front of the Seventh-Day Adventist building in Worthington.

A core group met for evening services for almost 2 years before Bob Eckardt was called to Redeemer with the purpose of serving in Columbus. The Lord grew that group to nearly 40 regular attenders and by July of 1979 it was officially organized as a particular church.

The Lord continued to steadily grow Grace. From the beginning, the congregation met in the basement community room of a local Ohio Federal Savings Bank, with no rental fee, for Morning and Evening services. They had to, of course, set up and tear down every Lord’s Day, but what a blessing! As they grew, the church moved to meeting on the Lord’s Day in a Seventh Day Adventist facility. The community soon began to consider a permanent, owned facility. Mapping the location of the families, they found the land in the exact center was not currently in use. The property was owned by AEP with the intention of building a substation, but they failed to get the necessary zoning permissions. The congregation made an offer on the property and were pleased to purchase it.

It sat vacant for nearly 2 years.

A plan was formulated and the facility was built, opening in 1991. God has faithfully met with His people. We’ve made changes and adaptations over the years including adding an organ, reorganizing and improving the kitchen and fellowship area, and connecting nursery spaces. A significant renovation to the worship space and addition to that facility was made in the 2000s first, paneling and drywall in place of cement block, and second adding a Narthex, classrooms, and a church library.

The congregation has been involved with two successful church plants, with daughter churches Providence OPC in Pataskala and Covenant OPC in Mansfield. Families have driven far to join in worship, and, as they have met others, been able to establish Bible Studies and eventually sister churches in those farther locales. The Lord has been faithful.

The congregation was pastored by Bob Eckardt until he was called elsewhere in 1985. Pastor Larry Wilson was called by the congregation and labored here from 1985-2000. Associates Steve Igo and Joe Keller filled in the intermediate time while a Pastoral search took place.

Congregation of Grace OPC.

In 2002, on his return from the mission field in Africa, Pastor William Kessler was called and he has faithfully served the congregation since that time. During his ministry to Grace Church, he has taught through books like Colossians, John, Philippians, and 1 & 2 Samuel. From time to time Pastor Kessler preaches a topical series. He very much focuses on knowing God that we may be conformed to Him and share Him with a world aching to hear the truth. Sermons preached at Grace Church are posted to SermonAudio and have been downloaded all over the world. Beyond his preaching duties, Pastor Kessler teaches the adult Sunday School class in the fall; has a heart for shepherding and visitation; and, with his wife Hazel, regularly opens their home for hospitality.

In 2018, Pastor Alan Dueck was called as an associate Pastor to serve Grace Church. Over the years, many different men have served the congregation as Elders, Deacons, Associates, or Pastoral Interns, and we are thankful for their contributions.