About Our Church
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Akron is a member congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). We are:
Evangelical: In the Reformation, Martin Luther led the Church back to the evangel, a word meaning “Gospel” or “Good News.” This is the Gospel: that our Heavenly Father loved the world in the manner that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. He didn't do this because we were somehow worthy of this love, but He loved us even though there was nothing lovable about us. God gave us this forgiveness of sins and salvation through faith that He creates in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and by no other way.
Scriptural: The Holy Spirit convicts men of sin, reveals the grace of God, and creates this faith through Holy Scripture. By doing so, He creates and rules over the Church. He doesn’t leave the Church alone, but comes to be with us through the Word being preached and the Sacraments being administered.
Sacramental and Liturgical: God comes to His Church through His Word and is bodily present among the faithful by His Sacraments. He cleanses us from our sin in Holy Baptism, to which we are restored throughout our lives in Holy Absolution. He speaks to us in the preaching of Christ crucified and risen. Jesus Christ Himself comes feeding us His sacrificed and resurrected Body and Blood. Having received salvation, it is our duty and joy to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him.
Catholic: Not in the sense of “Roman Catholic,” but in the original meaning of the word catholic: united and universal through all time and in all places, with all the saints on earth and in heaven.
Confessionally Lutheran: The Church has always been confessing her faith, starting with the Apostolic witness that “Jesus is Lord.” Through the ages, the devil has been at work to take the Gospel away from Christians and to destroy the Church. To fight the devil, the Church has only one weapon: the Word of God. We confess and teach the pure and Apostolic doctrine as it is confessed and taught by the Lutheran Book of Concord. We do so because we believe that these Lutheran Confessions are a true and correct summary and explanation of the Word of God.
In 1920, there wasn’t a Synodical Conference on the rapidly growing west side of Akron. This left many Lutherans in the area without a nearby church to worship in.
So, on November 7, 1920, Pastor Yount of Concordia Lutheran Church started a Sunday School in the auditorium at Grace Elementary School at the corner of South Maple and West Exchange Streets. No Divine Services were held.
For the mission to grow, it needed its own pastor. On March 3, 1921, a call was extended to the Rev. A.E. Bay of Lima, Ohio. Pastor Bay accepted the call, and came to Akron on April 14th. He was installed on April 17, 1921 in the old Concordia Lutheran Church on the corner of Grant and Thornton Streets. Pastor Bay preached his first sermon in the gym of Grace School, and services were held there for the next 10 years.
In October 1921, the mission was officially recognized as a congregation by the state of Ohio. Two months later, the congregation voted to purchase a site to construct its own church on Trigonia Drive – about two blocks west of Grace School. Groundbreaking was held on May 4, 1930, and Pastor Bay conducted the first service at the new church on November 30, 1930.
Throughout the next three decades, both the city of Akron and Grace Church continued to grow. It became clear that Grace needed a larger building to accommodate its congregation. So, in 1960, the church bought a tract of land to develop on North Portage Path. Groundbreaking for the new church was held on June 14, 1968.
The church building on Trigonia Drive held its last service on December 31, 1967. While the church on Portage Path was being built, the congregation held all church activities at Stan Hywet.
On October 6th, 1968, under the leadership of Rev. A.H. Wismar, Sr., the cornerstone of the new church was laid. The consecration service was held on March 30, 1969. The formal dedication service was held on May 18th, 1969, led by Lutheran Hour speaker Rev. Oswald C.J. Hoffman.
And, for the next 43 years until August 12, 2012, all Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church services were held there. The building was sold in August 2012 to prepare for the next chapter in the church’s life. We are presently holding our services at Concordia Lutheran Church, 724 Sumner Street, Akron, 44311.