Excerpted from ” History of Grace Temple Baptist Church” as compiled by Melba Atchison and typed by Rosalie Matthews
Grace Temple Baptist Church had its beginning in 1949 as a result of a vision of Reverend V.M. Cloyd. a local pastor. Reveraed Nat Bettis, a member of Highland Baptist Church of which Reverend Cloyd was pastor, held revival services one summer at 37th and Bosque behind Mr. W.M. Deskin’s store building. As Reverend Cloyd attended the revival meetings, he observed the interest and attendance of the people residing in the surrounding area. He continued to be very much interested in the Northwest section of Waco and believed that Waco’s growth would, for the most part, to the west of Bosque Boulevard.
After the termination of his work as pastor of Highland Baptist Church in March of 1949, he spoke to a group of Baptist pastors of Waco Baptist Association concerning his urge to conduct a revival meeting in the Northwest part of Waco. His goal was to organize a new Baptist church. The pastors he spoke with were very favorable to the idea and pledged their prayers and support.
He began to search for a building in which to hold services and found a small vacant building at 3601 Bosque that was in disrepair. He was able to rent it for $25.00 per month.
The building needed some fixing up but it was empty with no chairs, no piano and no pulpit. The owner of Hamilton Furniture Company saw the announcements for the revival plans in the newspaper and called to loan some chairs and a piano which were later donated. Twelve pews came from Memorial Baptis and Reverand T.J. Wyatt loaned a pulpit stand which was also later donated to the church. The revival meetings began March 20, 1949 with an overflow crowd attending by the next Sunday.
The organization of a church was then being advertised. By March 31, 1949 the “unorganized fellowship” reached a total of 80. It was agreed that it was time to select a name for the proposed new church.
Rev. Cloyd read Revelation 1:4-11:
” John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace from Him which is, and which was , and which is to come….”
He proposed the name Grace Temple. W. Brantley Green made a motion to accept the name, it was seconded by Dave Goddard and passed unanimously by a large number of the fellowship.
April 3, there was one baptism in the morning service and 16 more in the revival service. The church was officially organized that day with a call to Rev Cloyd to be the first pastor.
Two months later the owner of the building gave notice that he wanted to sell the property, at which time Brother Cloyd bought the property so the church could stay there until property could be found to build a permanent church. Three lots were later purchased at the corner of 39th and Bosque for the new church.
The original rented building was later sold and became a plumbing shop.
On January 15, 1950, the first services were held in the new building, just nine months after the church was organized.