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Chapel Hill-based Grace Church will launch its second campus – in Alamance County Sunday

By Charity L. Cohen

Special to The Alamance News

Chapel Hill-based Grace Church will launch a satellite campus in Alamance County Sunday.

The site for the new campus is Southeast Alamance High School in Haw River, where services will be held in the auditorium every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. This location is temporary– Grace Church of Alamance has entered into a one-year lease with the Alamance Burlington School System (ABSS) for weekly rental of the new high school until the church finds a permanent location in Alamance County.

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Grace Church is a non-denominational church that was founded in the Triangle area in 1986 on the principles of “reaching people” and “building lives” through community outreach and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The founder of the church, Pastor Jerry Bailey, believed Grace Church would be a multiplying church, with a vision of having many locations.

“We believe that God has given Grace Church a specific voice and culture to reach the unreached in our region, and we want to continue growing our spiritual family with a new location. We feel that now is the time to take our vision of reaching people and building lives into Alamance County,” Pastor Kendrick Vinar, lead pastor of Grace Church Chapel Hill, said.

The Alamance campus is the first expansion of Grace Church. Due to its temporary nature, the Church is referring to the high school location as a campus rather than a site. The home site in Chapel Hill currently has over 1,300 active members. Over 200 parishioners have committed to attending and serving the Alamance campus thus far. The church has been working toward this launching for over one year, according to Pastor John Mark Hamilton, the pastor of the Grace Church of Alamance campus.

Pastor John Mark Hamilton, the pastor of the Grace Church of Alamance campus

“Honestly our core vision, is to reach people and to build lives.  We want to reach people with the hope of Jesus Christ, and we want to build people’s lives so they can fulfill the destiny that God has created them to be,” Hamilton said.

Before establishing its contract with ABSS, the church had 17 small groups and “launch team gatherings” that met across Alamance County. Those meeting spots included clubhouses and the Mebane Community Arts Center. The purpose of these meetings was to build a team that would be committed to launching the new “portable” campus at Southeast Alamance.

“The reason for starting a portable location is it allows us the opportunity to build a spiritual family of people with that mentality to want to reach people and build lives in our area,” Hamilton said.

Pastor Hamilton says the four methods of building and equipping this spiritual family are through: in-person and online weekend service experiences for adults and children, small groups that meet throughout the week, dream team, and the growth track. Each of these methods gives the churchgoers opportunities to serve God, serve each other, and serve their community.

Hamilton is excited about this expansion and the lives that will be touched through it. He credits the transition of this move to the launch team members who have worked to ensure a successful launch of this new campus.

“When people see Grace Church, they see people that love others, but also are committed to serve and serve with our generosity, with our time, with our talent, with our resources, and we’d be a group of people that really show the love and life of Jesus,” Hamilton said.

Grace Church is at least the second Triangle-based church to establish a satellite campus in Alamance County.  The Durham-based Summit Church has been meeting for about eight years on Sunday mornings, most recently in another ABSS school, Hawfields Middle School off NC 119.

A permanent home for the Summit Church appears to be nearing completion at the corner of Mebane Oaks and Old Hillsborough roads in Mebane.

Grace is at least the third recent church to begin its services in a local school.  In addition to the Summit Church, Crosslink Community Church (now with a permanent location at 3445 Old Hillsborough Road in Mebane) began its meetings at Gravelly Hill Middle School in western Orange County.

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