In 1893, Waynesboro Lutheran were forced to drive five or six miles to Zion, St. James, or Bethlehem Lutheran Churches to worship. On November 24th of that year, ten charter members met at the Baptist Church in Waynesboro with the help of the Rev. J. E. Schenck, pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church at Ladd, and organized Grace Lutheran Church. Pastor Schenck agreed to serve the new church while continuing his duties at Bethlehem.
Land was purchased for a new church in June of 1894 at the southeast corner of South Wayne Avenue and Eleventh Street, and building began. On January 1, 1901, The Rev. E. C. Cronk accepted a call as the first full-time pastor of Grace Lutheran Church.
On Easter Sunday, April 7, 1901, worship took place in the new sanctuary for the first time. A parsonage was built next to the church and was ready for occupancy in 1912.
During the summer of 1937, the steeple of the church was struck by lightning and was replaced with a simple copper cross.
By 1943, the membership of Grace had increased to 240 confirmed members and as time passed it became evident that the congregation had outgrown its space. Property was purchased on South Wayne Avenue and Milton L. Grigg was selected to design a new church building.
On September 7, 1958, the last service was held in the old church and dedication of the new church building was one week later. Groundbreaking was held on May 12, 1962 for an additional Education Wing. The burning of the mortgage was celebrated in 1978.
For over 35 years, Grace Lutheran Church provided space for the United Church Nursery, an ecumenical ministry which provided quality child care, especially those most in need. As new daycare centers were developed the need diminished and the Nursery closed.
Currently as part of our local outreach mission, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church provides space for the Valley Music Academy. We operate a hostel during May and June for those who pass through Waynesboro during their 2000-mile hike along the Appalachian Trail. We are also certified as a secondary site for the Red Cross as an emergency relief shelter.
Two sons and six daughters of the congregation have become pastors, including V. A. Moyer who went on to be elected Bishop of the Virginia Synod, LCA. He retired to Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church where he continued to serve Christ. The Rev, Paul H. Pingel began his ministry at Grace on August 10, 2012.
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church has served as a meeting place for organizations, educational events, and commitees for several decades because of our central location and excellent facilities. Since the year 2000, over $750,000 in renovations and upgrades have been completed.