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Grace Chapel United Methodist Church in Beersheba Springs has an average attendance of 20-35, more during the summer months, but the services are sweet, simple, and full of soulful sermons delivered by the pastor, Rev. Clayton Jones. The congregation worships quietly but what is lacking in demonstrative worship is made up in the welcoming spirit that one feels the minute they walk in the door. Most of the members are septo- and octogenarians, but Sandy Hobbs faithfully conducts Sunday School at 9:00 a.m. for a small group of children in Grace Chapel’s only classroom.
Though the congregation is small, those who attend enjoy frequent fellowship. Each Sunday everyone, especially visitors, is encouraged to stay after service. They can visit a while and partake of a light “brunch” prepared by a different lady each week. Communion and a fellowship dinner are observed several times throughout the year, and the church ladies take a night out once every six weeks, visiting different restaurants.
The building is full of life and festivities during the Christmas season. The Christmas song books are pulled out, the nine foot tree is decorated and fresh new candles are place at the front for Advent observance. On Christmas Eve Grace Chapel holds a candlelight service at 6:00 p.m. After several years of holding the late service, it was agreed that midnight was just a little late for our seniors.
On Easter Sundays the laughter of children and din of adult conversation fill the air around the church yard as colorful eggs are hunted among the tombstones of the cemetery (which is sadly filling up way too fast). The symbolism of the circle of life is seen on this day as the children happily play around the graves of their ancestors and others who would be pleased to know they are at rest in such a cheerful place.
Grace Chapel United Methodist Church was at one time the only church in Beersheba Springs. In 1893, Albert and Clara Schoffter donated half an acre of land on which to build a church. Clarksville resident and summer visitor to Beersheba, Grace McKeage, donated the money to build the church building. Services were ecumenical, with people of all denominations worshipping together until 1944 when Grace Chapel was deeded to the Methodist Church after the purchase of the Beersheba Springs Hotel.
Many people have passed through the doors as ministers and members and have gone out the doors to be laid to rest. The testament of Grace Chapel is the legacy handed down from generation to generation, loving others’ as themselves and treating everyone with dignity and respect. No visitor who comes to Grace Chapel is ever made to feel that he or she isn’t worthy of God’s love.
Grace Chapel United Methodist Church will be holding its first homecoming on June 8. The service will begin at 11:00 a.m. with dinner and singing to follow. Kenny Barrett will be providing the music that day. Anyone who has ties to Grace Chapel and first-time visitors are invited to bring a covered dish and join us in a day of celebration.