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History of Grace Bible Church

 

History of Grace Bible Church of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho - 1975-Present

Formation

Grace Bible Church formed in 1975. It was formed from a division from what was then St. Paul Memorial Church. (That division was later healed – Praise God!) The new congregation held its first meeting in February 1975, filed its incorporation papers with the state of Idaho in April, and had its first official meeting on June 22. (Note: Grace Bible Church is organized as a non-profit corporation of the state of Idaho. Grace Bible Church is not registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation of the federal government.)

The congregation’s first meetings were at the English Funeral Chapel in Coeur d’Alene.

 

First Pastor

Ray (Lorene) Fitzugh – 1975-1984 Ray Fitzugh was the founding pastor of St. Paul Memorial Church and was called to be the first pastor of Grace Bible Church when it organized. Ray was a former Navy man who had trained at a Navy base in N. Idaho. During Pastor Fitzugh’s tenure, the current building was purchased at 152 W Prairie Avenue in Hayden, ID. The church housed an Accelerated Christian Education school which, at its peak, hosted 150 students. Additions to the original building included a two-story section with the sanctuary on the upper floor and the fellowship hall on the lower floor. The church also built a 5,000 sq ft gymnasium for school sports events. The school was the model ACE school for the Pacific Northwest for several years.

 

Second Pastor

Ron (Sandra) Pandolfi – 1984-1985 When Pastor Filtzugh resigned, he arranged for Ron Pandolfi to succeed him. Pastor Pandolfi resigned after a little more than a year.

 

Third Pastor

(Interim): Wally (Ginger) Hutchins – 1985-1987 At Pastor Pandolfi’s resignation, the church called Wally Hutchins as interim pastor. Wally had been the assistant pastor to Pastor Fitzugh.

 

Fourth Pastor

Ken (Elaine) Carr – 1987-1992 The church called Ken Carr as pastor in 1987. He resigned in early 1992.

 

Fifth Pastor

Paul (Roycee) Peabody – 1993-Present After Pastor Carr’s resignation, the church searched for another pastor. Paul Peabody was called in October 1992 and arrived in January 1993. In the early years of Pastor Peabody’s tenure, the church built a parsonage for his family. The school, which had dwindled to a few students, was closed. Most families in the church were now home educating their children. Jim Miller was called as Assistant Pastor in 2003. Through all the ups and downs of those years, the church has grown from about 150 to over 400. Other events have included remodeling the church basement from school room to fellowship hall, beginning a biblical counseling ministry, remodeling the sanctuary to seat more people, and purchasing a new 10-acre property for future expansion. (That property has since been sold.)

 

Sixth Pastor

Mitchell (Cissy) Martin – 2021-2022 Mitchell Martin was called to the church as Associate Pastor in November 2020 to work with Paul Peabody for a year and then assume duties as Senior Pastor. At the transfer of leadership in November of 2021, Paul Peabody semi-retired to focus his time on building the counseling ministry. Pastor Martin resigned in December of 2022. 

 

Future

Paul Peabody has been asked by the church to remain as Lead Elder in the interim as we seek the Lord's will and direction moving forward. We believe that God is doing a great work in the hearts and minds of His people at Grace Bible Church and look forward to continuing His work in Coeur d'Alene, the surrounding community and the world. 

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