Grace Lutheran Church of Apple Valley is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We’re a people and place where generosity and graciousness abound. We intentionally welcome people of all ages, races, and genders. We are a community united in belonging and grace. We claim a traditional identity here – one that works in the world today.
We are a Reconciling in Christ Congregation
(Reconciling in Christ statement adopted November 13, 2016)
We at Grace Lutheran Church are committed to being an affirming, loving and welcoming community of faith for all people. We believe the gospel is God’s gift to be shared unconditionally regardless of age, ethnicity, race, national origin, family configuration or relationship status, physical or mental ability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Although our world can often be an unloving and alienating place, we rejoice in the diversity that has nurtured, enriched and challenged the life and ministry we share. All are welcome to participate fully in the community of Grace Lutheran Church. Following the example of Christ, this congregation welcomes you exactly as you are.
We are committed to serving the local community and the community at large. Grace supports a variety of community outreach programs and global missions, and our congregation actively participates in these and other projects. We believe it is part of our mission to help others in need, and that’s what we try to do.
Of course, Grace is all about worship and serving God. We offer traditional Lutheran services on Sunday mornings, and a mix of contemporary and blended services on Wednesday evenings.
The best way to learn more about Grace is to visit us. We look forward to seeing you on either Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. Whoever you are and however you prefer to worship, you are always welcome at Grace.
History of Grace
Grace’s story actually starts in 1963, when the American Lutheran Church proposed the organization of a church in the rapidly growing area south of the Minnesota River, then known as Lebanon Township. The new church was named Grace Lutheran Church of Apple Valley.
A letter of call was issued to Pastor Gerhard Knutson, who began work on September 1, 1964. The first worship service was held on October 11, 1964, with 233 in attendance. Official organization was completed on January 24, 1965, with 101 charter member families.
By the end of its first decade, in 1974, the congregation had grown to 382 families and plans began for the building of a new sanctuary. Completed in 1979, the new building resulted in much needed worship, nursery, and music space, and freed up the original building for use as education space. In 1986, the interior of that new sanctuary was fully completed with carpeting, redesigned sound system, organ, pews, and new choir loft.
In 1990, a 24,000 square-foot “link” was completed between the sanctuary and the education building, adding new office space, atrium, kitchen, classrooms, nursery school area, sacristy, and meeting rooms.
Education at Grace
The Grace congregation continued to grow through the 1990s and 2000s. The congregation has always been proud of its youth and children’s programs, through the Grace Bible School, Vacation Bible School, and other activities. Grace was also home to the award-winning Grace Preschool (originally known as Grace Nursery School), which opened its doors in 1967 and closed its door in 2018.
Adult education has also been an integral part of the Grace community. Bible classes were held in homes even before Grace’s charter service, and numerous classes and reading groups continue today.
The latest addition to the Grace facility is the new education building. Groundbreaking for the new addition took place on October 23, 2012, and work continued throughout the winter and spring.
The new building was officially finished on Friday, June 21, 2013. The following Monday the new classrooms were filled with 155 children and their teachers who arrived for Grace’s annual Vacation Bible School. That Wednesday, June 26, the VBS children and their parents watched as a huge crane lifted Grace’s 11-foot cross into the air and placed it on the tower at the entrance to the new building. It was a fitting dedication for the new building, as this cross is a symbol to the community that the family of Grace proclaims the love of Christ.
This building serves Grace and the surrounding community in many ways, now housing the office for the C.O.R.E Program with The Link MN. The larger rooms, Shalom and Friendship Halls, serve not only our education programs, but also serve as the space for our Matrix Housing Services overnight guests during the cold winter months.
We have two key documents that give foundation to our community.