Grace UMC was founded in 1868, and in 1870 a church building was erected on the corner of Wayne and Michigan Streets in downtown South Bend. As the congregation grew in spirit and numbers, the call for a larger structure was given and in 1888, the members of the Michigan Street Methodist Episcopal moved into a new church on the corner of Michigan and Tutt Street and renamed it Grace Methodist Episcopal Church.
Once again in 1914, the members of Grace were faced with the challenge to expand their church walls. They decided to build a new church on the same site. While the building was constructed members worshiped in a large wooden tabernacle and on June 20, 1915 the Grace congregation held the first worship service in their new church. Over the next 40 years Grace Church continued to grow and became one of the larger and spiritually leading congregations in the South Bend area.
In the early 1950’s, Grace members once again began searching for a new location to better meet the spiritual needs of the church. On December 2, 1953 the Twyckenham Drive site was selected for the future Grace Church. Ground-breaking ceremonies took place on March 27, 1955 and the first worship service was held in the new church on May 13, 1956. It was held in the Whear Fellowship Hall because the sanctuary was yet to be completed. The new sanctuary was consecrated on June 3, 1956. A premier Casavant Pipe organ was installed (and is still in use today).
Nearly four decades later, the members of Grace were once again challenged to build for the future in order to better spread the word of Jesus Christ. On March 4, 1990 the entire congregation filed out of the sanctuary in unison, through the East Door Entrance and onto a semi-frozen lawn. Once again Grace held a ground-breaking ceremony and began to build for the future. On April 10, 1991 a celebration was held in the new Great Hall and the entire congregation enjoyed the fellowship of a sit-down dinner. Former Governor Dr. Otis Bowen was the guest speaker. Then on Sunday morning, April 21, 1991 the worship service of consecration for the new addition was held. Bishop Hodapp and District Supt. Walter Mayer joined in the dedication. The blue and white balloons, the decorations, a festive brunch, and everyone singing “Amazing Grace” made for a day of celebration and joy.
The Grace Church labyrinth was built to inspire and encourage the spiritual journey. The presence of the labyrinth calls people to nurture their spirituality and grow in wholeness.
As an ancient tool, the labyrinth is used to clear the mind, guide healing and deepen our self knowledge, formatting a pathway to God. It offers a sacred setting for contemplation and reflection. Whether you are in search of an antidote to life’s stresses or a time to pause in quiet, walking the labyrinth promises comfort. All are welcome.
The 32-foot outdoor labyrinth and memorial walkway were built in August 2009 under the direction of the Spiritual Life support team. A cross is patterned into the earth-toned pavers laid by the hands of an Amish contractor and made possible through the generosity of many people. The walkway forms a permanent memorial to loved ones. May you walk in peace.
Tutt to Twyckenham
In 1956, Grace United Methodist Church moved from Tutt St. in downtown South Bend to Twyckenham Drive. Watch the video here: