A Brief History
Brief History of Grace Chapel
Rev. 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-reading maneuvers among which were: “A Handbook 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 teenager 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 his 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 and Edna 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 mission work.” Very soon they began to travel every two weeks with their five 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 a 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 on Derry Street in Harrisburg. The 13 years on Derry Street might best be characterized by a steady flow of well known visiting speakers who 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”, and a vision for missions. Having “squeezed in” at the Derry Street facility until it hurt, approximately 190 parishioners moved into the current facilities in July of 1977.
Pastor Luke has been involved in full time ministry for over 50 years and has a great understanding of the church and its missionary endeavors. He has traveled extensively throughout the world. He and his wife Edna have been a tremendous encouragement to many pastors and missionaries.
Pastor Luke and Edna reside in Elizabethtown, PA. and are presently involved at Grace Chapel Church where his oldest son Rev. Mel Weaver, with his wife pastor Rosemary, serve as senior pastor. The Weavers have a daughter in Oregon, Marty with Husband Phil Hale who are pastoring a church; a son in Canada, Luke Weaver with wife Bonnie, who are Pastoring a church; a son in Florida, Earl Weaver with wife Joy, and a daughter Irene in Pennsylvania married to Dr. Grant Clark. All are involved in the ministry. The Weavers have 18 grandchildren 17 great grandchildren and 1 great, great grandchild.