Grace Chapel (Saginaw, Michigan, USA)

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The East Side Mennonite Church in Saginaw, Michigan, began in 1955 as an outreach of the Saginaw Mennonite Church that itself was started in 1950 by LeRoy Bechler to the African American community in Saginaw. Bechler had held a Summer Bible School in the East Side in 1951.

Regular worship services began on 13 February 1955 and were held in the mission house until 1957. This "Fellowship Center"/residence was constructed before a meetinghouse. Melvin Leidig, the mission superintendent, was licensed as the pastor in December 1955. The congregation began to use a new church building in November 1956, but the parsonage and meetinghouse were lost within several years to urban renewal.

The congregation broke ground on a new meetinghouse on James Street on 4 September 1960. It used the name Grace Chapel at the new location. The first service in the new facility took place on 21 May 1961.


"Church becomes self-supporting." Gospel Herald 62, no. 36 (16 September 1969): 816.

Leidig, Lois Gisel. "Providing spiritual opportunities for youth in the city." Gospel Herald 48, no. 13 (29 March 1955): 304.

Nelson, James. "Grace Chapel" Gospel Evangel" 87, no. 5 (September 2006): 3-4.

Preheim, Rich. In Pursuit of Faithfulness: Conviction, Conflict, and Compromise in Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. Harrisonburg, Va.: Herald Press, 2016: 179, 223, 244, 309.

Wenger, John Christian. The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1961: 249-250.

Additional Information

Address: 2202 Janes Avenue, Saginaw, Michigan 48601

Telephone: 989-755-3212


Denominational Affiliations:

Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Grace Chapel

Name Years
of Service
Melvin D. Leidig (1925-2018) 1955-1972
Oliver Hardaway (Student) 1970
John Paul Wenger (1940-2021) 1972-1989
Wilma Bailey (Assistant) 1979-1981
Howard Tyler 1989-1998
James H. Nelson 1998-

Grace Chapel Membership

Year Members
1961 11
1970 32
1980 47
1990 68
2000 68
2009 68
2020 25

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published June 2024

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Grace Chapel (Saginaw, Michigan, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2024. Web. 24 Jul 2024.,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=179067.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (June 2024). Grace Chapel (Saginaw, Michigan, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 July 2024, from,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=179067.

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