The History of Grace Chapel
Reverend Luke Weaver, Sr. was born in 1926 to a young Pennsylvania Dutch couple in Weaverland, PA. As a young boy brought up in the “Black Bumper” Mennonite tradition, he had never experienced an altar call, but was intensely interested in God. For his twelfth birthday, he was given a German-English Bible, which he began reading. He became quite competent at locking the steering wheel between his knees and reading as his tractor executed its methodical trips across the fields. He soon acquired a little New Testament which made his tractor exploits somewhat easier.
This 12-year-old boy read his Bible through from cover to cover for the first of what was to be many times. Soon several other books were added to his tractor-riding maneuvers – among which were: “A Hand book on Prayer” by E. M. Bonds and “How To Live The Victorious Life” by an unknown author. Soon young Luke Weaver added to his tractor-riding accomplishments “preaching” to the cornstalks as he imagined them as parishioners. As this teenage continued, he came to struggle with whether it was “right” to carry on this preaching fantasy. He reasoned that it may be presumptuous, and thus displeasing to God. However, he continued and also added to is reading accomplishments “Touching Instances and Remarkable Answers to Prayer” as well as Carnage’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.
On July 14, 1945, at the age of 19, Luke Weaver and Edna Maiden name were married. In June 1955, while on the tractor cultivating corn, a distinct word came to Luke’s spirit – “Leave the farm and go into missions work.” Very soon they began to travel every two weeks with their five (5) children to a Mennonite Mission on Fox Street in the Bronx, New York City to assist with that missionary effort. In March 1956, the farm equipment and supplies were sold.
On September 30, 1962, a group of families (approximately 40 people), most of whom had been attending the Friday evening home fellowships, met in the basement of Charles Felter’s home to worship and begin a continuing Body of Christ – Grace Chapel. During this time, the Spirit-filled worship service began to evolve. The fellowship grew to about 75 persons and it was obvious that larger facilities were necessary. In February 1964, the fellowship moved to a storefront at 6530 Derry Street in Harrisburg. The 13 years on Derry Street might best be characterized by: a steady flow of well known visiting speakers which blessed, strengthened, and challenged our hearts for a great outpour of the Holy Spirit which brought to the Harrisburg area, for the first time, a vital Charismatic Outreach, Pastor Luke’s vibrant “Glory” and a continual reminder to “Press into God”; as well as a vision for missions.
Having to squeeze approximately 190 parishioners in at the Derry Street facility until it hurt, our little church was too small. God spoke to Pastor Luke Weaver to build among the Mulberry Trees. At the same time Charles & Sarah Forney felt led of God to give some of their land to the church. This land was located in the country in Londonderry Township which just so happened to included many Mulberry Trees.
Grace Chapel was completed and dedicated, on July 17, 1977
In 1980 we established the Grace Chapel Christian Academy. In 1984 we added the gymnasium to the facility. The academy gave the church the opportunity to mentor many children in the ways of the Lord. The academy operated through 1987.
In 1987, Pastor Luke Weaver passed the Baton to his son, Pastor Melvin Weaver. Pastor Mel and his wife Rosemary continue to foster the missionary mindset at Grace Chapel.
Grace Chapel continues to support many missionaries both through monthly monetary donations and designated giving around the world the church also provides support to many local missions with prayer, mentoring and special offerings.
1990 – 2012 – Many Changes have taken place to state a few the Senior Saint ministry with monthly meetings and a Food Pantry Ministry where we minister to over 20 to 40 families each week.
Pastor Luke has been involved in full time ministry for over 60 years and has a great understanding of the church and its missionary endeavors. He has traveled extensively throughout the world ministering in 26 nations of the world. He and his wife have been a tremendous encouragement to many pastors and missionaries.
Pastor Luke and Edna reside in Elizabethtown, PA and at 90 years old involved at Grace Chapel Church where their oldest son, Reverend Mel Weaver, is the senior pastor. The Weavers have a daughter in Oregon, a son in Canada, a son in Florida, and a son and daughter in Pennsylvania, all of whom are involved in the ministry.