The Grace Place founder and seminary professor Hyveth Williams (third from left), celebrating last Sabbath the church's sixth anniversary
When people hear that you are coming to Andrews, they advise you to visit several spots — one is Baguette de France and another is The Grace Place. The Grace Place (TGP) is a mission and worship center founded and pastored by Hyveth Williams, professor of Homiletics at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. Last Sabbath, February 16, marked the sixth anniversary (to the day!) for TGP.
Williams recalls starting the worship center as a result of God’s challenge to her to arouse from her spiritual slumber and engage in front-line, community-based, mission work. Inactive people sleep. Inactive people are bored. Inactive people have dull spiritual lives. Williams is not made for inactivity.
Accepting God’s challenge, Williams prayerfully went about organizing the mission group, making it clear that The Grace Place was to function primarily as a worship center and place of fellowship for the community. Six years later, they are going strong; their mission and function have not changed. To God’s glory, the community is present. Various races and ethnicities are present. Seminarians are present. Church leaders are present. Youth are present. Children are present. Parents are present. Grace is at work, and that’s something to celebrate.
During the Sabbath celebration and children’s story, it was noted that TCP began with three children and now is teeming with 20+ children and youth. In service to these children, Williams and her team did a special dedication service for them, giving each a framed certificate to mark their dedication.
The parents and family members see and appreciate the efforts being employed for them and their children’s benefit. Ny’Emha Stone, one of the young women from South Bend, shared that this is the reason she has been coming to TCP for the last two years. She’s not a parent, but is an aunt, and felt that the she and her sister should investigate the church rather than be so trusting in sending the kids. She fondly recalled, “Before we could do our investigation, Pastor Williams ended up visiting us at home. She was so nice and when she prayed, she prayed just like us (Church of God in Christ). It was so familiar, so I knew she was cool!” Ny’Emha absolutely gushed when she added, “It’s such love here. I now understand, ‘with loving kindness I have drawn thee.’”
Kona “KoKo” Works, another young lady from the community proudly boasts, “I am the first community member to come here. I was the first to come to one of their seminars. I was the first baptized.” The net that drew KoKo to TGP six years ago was their television commercial for an upcoming seminar. The commercial was enough to pique her interest and tug at her heart. The Grace Place was what she needed to get back on her spiritual journey. KoKo praises God for His intervention in her life and the personal attention she’s received from Pastor Williams for various life crises, “I am loved and valued. This adventure has been amazing!”
These and other testimonies confirm Jesus’ words that the harvest is ripe. For the last six years, Williams and her team have answered the call and have labored in His vineyard. Buoyed by God’s faithfulness, Williams looks forward to “a great reaping of souls this summer.”
For more on the humble beginnings of The Grace Place, visit:
Esther Green, first year seminary student