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Grace Lutheran Church History

During the summer of 1952 at the corner of Randolph and Decatur Street, Grace Lutheran Church was established with the guidance of the Triune God.  In order to teach the "good news" of God's plan of salvation for all "colored" people in the Montgomery area.  Several ministers were instrumental in keeping the church and school afloat.  These Pastors included Reverend Samuel Kent, Reverend Floyd MacAdoo, Reverend William Griffin, Reverend Walter Ellwanger, Reverend Joseph Ellwanger, Reverend Richard Dickinson, Reverend Simon Bodley, Reverend L. Y. Beauford.  Robert Faya, a white teacher and vicar who taught religion classes at Alabama Lutheran Academy & College in Selma, was called as the first Pastor.  Unfortunately, Pastor Faga was only there for nine months.  The KKK chose to beat him and leave him for dead at the entrance of the church, a store front on North Decatur Street in Montgomery, AL.  Because of its excellent location, near public housing (Trenholm Courts), many children from the area attended the church and its school.  Because the churches were segregated, Pastor Walter Ellwanger was the Superintendent of the Alabama field and was, therefore, the overseer of all "colored" Lutheran churches.  Vicar James B. Marshall was doing his Vicarage in Selma and was sent to Montgomery to "Pastor" the newly formed church on August 5, 1962.  He remained on Decatur Street for two years with Mrs. Lee serving as director of the school.

Land was purchased, blue prints were drawn up and a new church was completed on May 8, 1964 at 1066 East Washington Avenue.  Pastor Marshall was provided a Home Missions manual which Reverend O. H. Reinboth authored, under the auspices of the Mission Committee.  Rev. Marshall remained Pastor for fourteen (14) years after which time he accepted a call to Faith Lutheran Church in Mobile, Alabama.

Rev. Charles L. Graeber was then called as Vacancy Pastor of Grace Lutheran and later became the full time Pastor serving faithfully until his death.  Under the direction of Pastor Graeber, four of Grace's members attended classes at Concordia in Selma and became Lay Speakers.  They were invaluable during Pastor Graeber's tenure and upon his death.  These four men were:  Mr. Huey L. Beauchamp, Mr. John A. McCloud, Dr. Clauzell Stevens and Mr. Algernon Thomas.  After Pastor Graeber's death, Rev. James Wiggins (Pastor of Triniy Lutheran Church in Montgomery) served Grace as vacancy Pastor.  Pastor Rodney Emilien came to Grace Lutheran as it's Vicar and was supervised by Pastor Wiggins.  After his ordination, Reverend Emilien accepted the call as Grace's Pastor.  During the summer, Pastor Emilien accepted a call to Houston, TX.  At this time, Pastor James Wiggins returned and served at Grace until his retirement.  After Reverend Wiggins retirement, Reverend Ferry Nye who was serving Trinity Lutheran became Grace's vacancy Pastor. On December 27, 2003, Reverend Ferry Nye was called as Pastor of the newly formed United Evangelical Lutheran Church.