Stories of Grace

What is your story? We all have a story of how Grace UMC has impacted our lives. Think of how the people of this church have touched you. How the people in this church have supported you in your time of need, brought you joy, and offered you an opportunity to grow in your faith, service and witness to others. Think of how the people of this church have loved you. Several members of the church have shared their story with us. Take the time to read or listen to their strong testimonies below. I know you’ll find inspiration and faith that God will use each of us so that His stories can continue to be told for years to come.

Where do the chapters of your story begin at Grace UMC? Where do you give of your time and talents? Where would you like to become involved? For a comprehensive listing of Grace programs, check out our most recent Conntections Catalog.   You can indicate your desire to serve by clicking on the button below.

We’re Amped About Youth!   The Grace Youth program has had a very big impact on my life and I have grown so much in my faith. I have been involved in the youth program since 6th grade.  It’s crazy to think that this year is my last year as a “youth”! All throughout middle and high school, Grace has helped me meet new people and discover what being a Christian actually means.  My favorite program would have to be Salkehatchie.  It shows me that being a Christian is about showing God’s love and at Salkehatchie we do this by helping people who cannot help themselves. Being involved in Grace has made me see the things that God has given me. The youth at Amped are welcoming and we feel like a family. Amped at Grace is not only about what we actually do on Sunday nights, but also about the people who surround me. We all get along, have a fun time, help others, and go show God’s love and grace. Grace’s Youth program has had such a great impact on my life.  I cannot wait to see what my last year has in store.

We’re Amped About Youth!  
Grace’s Youth program has been a huge part of my life. I parrticipate in the Youth Praise Band and it is so nice to see everyone singing and trying to really feel God in the music played. I love and look forward to participating in youth events like Salkehatchie, The Winter Wonderland Ball, The Valentine’s Banquet, Revolution, Grace’s girls’ basketball team, and Amped. These events bring everyone together and put smiles on people’s faces. Being a youth at Grace has helped my faith flourish and it continues to do so as I continue on my journey with God, Grace, and all of the youth.

Five Generations!  My family moved to North Augusta in 1959 from Charlotte NC. We were members there of a United Methodist Church, and soon after arriving in North Augusta we met the wonderful church family of Grace. We moved in during the summer, so my first friends were made at our new church and some of those friends are still at Grace.  Enough about my history.

I want to tell you about what Grace means to me and my family. Five generations of Hargroves have attended and been part of the family of Grace. I keep referring to Grace as a family because it describes our church perfectly. There are so many ways to become a part of the Grace family. A few that stand out for me are our many missions for our community such as CMONA, after school care, Grace Child Development, Return to Bethlehem and many more. The thing that I love about our church is the care and love we give to our youth – this truly is our foundation.  The Bible tells us that God is love. I like to think that Grace UMC is love also. Thanks for letting me share!
Why Grace?  Whenever I am asked how our family found Grace I get to tell our story.  We moved to Augusta, GA in 1997 from Irmo, SC where we attended Union UMC.  The choir director at Union UMC knew about Grace and told me we should visit.  So, we did.  As soon as we walked into the sanctuary at Grace that first Sunday and visited the New Life Sunday School Class, we knew we were home. 
Being home was important because we didn’t have any of our family in the area.  Our closest family was in New Mexico.  God knew that we would find home and family at Grace. We needed a home where Haley and Olivia (then age 4 and 2) could grow into the young ladies God intended for them to become.  Children’s choir gave them a start for using their gifts.  Confirmation classes gave them a foundation and a willingness to say “I choose to believe in Jesus”.  Youth programs, especially UMYF, drama and praise band, shaped their gifts to praise Him.  The friendships they made continue today and are still strong despite college and new careers.  The Grace family made their faith and family roots strong.                                                                                 

As young parents, Jay and I needed friends and fellowship and ways to use the gifts God gave us.  And through Grace we have found family and home.  From the New Life Sunday School to the Lifesong worship team, choirs and bell choirs to the “old guys” playing basketball, Bolivia mission teams and the Fit with Faith small group.  These people have become family.  We laugh, play, cry, mourn, rant, rage, question, converse, grow, eat, support and love with each of you.  God knew we needed Grace. God gave us a home.  God gave us a family.  God gave us Grace.

My Many Grace Families  For most people, “family” usually means immediate family. But for me, family is massive.  I grew up in a very large family, originally from Texas, then New Jersey (yes! another Yankee in your midst!!) and now North Augusta.  About 5 months after our son was born, my sister-in-law invited me to Grace. Grace was large, intimidating and SOUTHERN.  What was I getting myself into?  We went to the traditional service and enjoyed it (the pastor made the most pitiful jokes, but he sure did try hard!) and came back.
Then my sister-in-law invited me to Sunday School.  My first reaction was lukewarm, but after 3 classes, I was hooked. I’ve learned more about God, His Grace, His Son Jesus Christ and my faith as a whole. Those in the Journey class have become my FIRST Grace Family.
Then a girlfriend invited me to Jazzercise.  Jazzercise? Hmm… “Just try it,” she said, “I think you’ll find it’s not what you think.” So, I went.  The music was MY music. Fun and fast. Jazzercise was hard, but I had a BLAST.  I was hooked and found my SECOND Grace Family.
Three families on top of my immediate seems like a lot, but I’ve got a big heart.  So, when asked to try a UMW circle, The Martha Claire Farmer Circle (say it with a southern accent, it’s awesome), I did.  The women in this circle want to help and be a helpful hand to others.  It is awe inspiring to see women come together and receive God’s Grace through the missions we do. My THIRD Grace Family.
Then I heard about the Lifesong service and decided to give it a try.  I was immediately greeted, welcomed, and promptly sat in the back.  At the start of the service I heard a welcome come through the speakers and was asked to stand and sing along.  This is church right?  Where were the comfy bench seats? I saw words displayed on the wall and the first few notes hit the air.  The music was upbeat, fun and easy to sing.  The same pastor who preached at the traditional service also preached at Lifesong.  He told great jokes that tied directly into the message and had me listening intently.  They were same jokes but now they were ACTUALLY funny! Then it was time for my first Lifesong service to end and the worship leaders took the stage for the final song.  The song was an acapella song.  Four women began to sing “Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone” in the most beautiful harmonies, and I cried.  Those voices called me to worship and sing.  It was my “come to Jesus” moment.  I knew He was calling me home.  Welcoming me back into his arms that had never left me. Telling me this is where I belonged.  I’ve since joined the Lifesong Committee and joined the singers as a worship leader.  My FOURTH Grace Family. If you would have asked me 5 years ago where I’d be, I can honestly tell you I wouldn’t have ever said I’d be living in South Carolina and have 5 families surrounding me in God’s Grace and love.  I would have been wrong.

Learning to Share

Quotes from our Guitar Class Kids…

What made you want to learn to play the guitar?

  • When I saw other kids playing guitar at church I wanted to play guitar too. – Kaydence Kirkland, age 8
  • I wanted to learn how to play another instrument and learn songs to play. – Melanie Ball, age 10
  • Because music inspires me. – William Smith, age 10
  • Because I wanted to learn something new and share it with others. – Sophia Lafont, age 10

How does it make you feel when you share God’s love with others through singing and playing the guitar?

  • Scared but proud. I’m going to keep taking lessons. – Kaydence
  • When I perform in front of other people it makes me feel good. – Melanie
  • It makes me happy – William
What are some other things you enjoy about guitar class?
  • We also do other things in guitar class like play games, sing, dance, and we can bring our dolls for show and tell. I love guitar class. – Kaydence
  • Seeing my friends and getting to perform in front of others. – Melanie
  • I enjoy the people – William
  • I really enjoy being around all the other students – my friends! Ms. Beverly’s enthusiasm makes it really fun and easy to learn. – SophiaIt makes me feel happy to share my love of music with others. I really love seeing how playing the guitar affects all the nursing home residents.  They seem so appreciative every time we visit with them and after we play. – Sophia
  • A side story…

    Before we got started playing guitar one Wednesday evening in at an area nursing home, I noticed that a church member resident wasn’t in attendance. I went to her room and she told me she was in too much pain to join us. As we began to play I noticed she came. After the program I walked up to her, and with a big smile on her face she said, “Those children made my pain go away!” I will never forget this.

    – Beverly Blevins, Guitar Class Instructor