Who We Are



United Methodist Church


“Better Together”

On November 11, 2020, the Lynnwood United Methodist Church council voted to begin discussions with Grace United Methodist Church regarding a future merger, but the story doesn’t begin there. In fact, the Grace-Lynnwood story goes back generations. In 1898, Grace United Methodist Church was organized within the Lancaster mill village. For years, Grace thrived on Brooklyn Avenue. In the 1940s, about two miles away, a group of faithful women started a regular prayer group modeled after a traditional Methodist class. Bible reading, prayer, reflection, and holy conversations shaped their life together and fueled their impulse to reach outside themselves. In 1947 after a short time, this class grew into a church called Lynnwood United Methodist Church. As the new church looked to build a meeting house, a few acres of land on Lynwood Drive were donated from a member of the Grace United Methodist Church, and the people of Lynnwood began laying bricks. Over the next several decades, both churches grew as they ministered to the families of Lancaster. In the 1990s, Grace began to sense a call to relocate to a larger plot of land to build a contemporary facility better suited to serve the mission of the church. By 1998, Grace had spent several years worshipping in a local elementary school, sold their former building, and built a multipurpose sanctuary and Christian education building on Country Club Drive. This move brought the two churches within one mile of each other and their mission in Lancaster continued to grow.
On July 1, 2018, Grace and Lynnwood were gathered into a common charge with Rev. Sh’Kur Francis serving as the first pastor of the Grace-Lynnwood Charge. Rev. Francis fostered the relationship between the two churches: investing energy in the ministry of The Bridge, coordinating combined worship efforts, and outreach events. In March of 2020, during the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rev. Francis organized the two churches around a shared drive-in worship service, setting the stage for the two congregations to worship together and in-person throughout the pandemic.
On June 30, 2020, Rev. Matthew Alexander was appointed to the Grace-Lynnwood Charge. It took no time to recognize the churches’ desire to deepen their shared life. Within a few months, several members from each congregation vocalized desires to explore the possibility of merger. Rev. Alexander began conversations with Rock Hill District Superintendent, Rev. Anthony Hodge, and SC Conference Congregational Development Director, Rev. James Friday, to explore resourcing and support for merger.
In October 2020, at the close of a prayerful and reflective meeting, the Lynnwood church council voted unanimously to explore demolition and merger with Grace United Methodist Church. A few weeks later, with all details in the open, the Grace church council reciprocated with a unanimous vote to pursue merger conversations with Lynnwood.
Over the next year, Rev. Alexander led the congregation in developing a plan for merger, a vision casting campaign, and a communication network to support the process. A merger team was appointed including members from both congregations. 
The team prepared and presented the plan at town hall meetings with each church to receive feedback from the broader congregations. The response was overwhelming affirmation. Rev. Alexander worked with Rev. Anthony Hodge to schedule church conferences during which each church voted unanimously in favor of the merger plan as a way forward.
Finally, on October 17, 2021, at the Grace-Lynnwood charge conference, the membership of both churches voted unanimously to adopt the merger document and pending the approval of Bishop L. Jonathan Holston and the South Carolina Annual Conference, formed a new church, called Grace-Lynnwood United Methodist Church.
On October 24, 2021, the new church celebrated its merger beginning with a parade from the former Lynnwood campus to the new Grace-Lynnwood campus. The service began with a commemoration on the ground where the Lynnwood church facility once stood. Then, a few dozen cars and a few dozen pedestrians proceeded the one mile to Country Club Drive, led by a banner reading ‘REJOICE.’ The service continued on the church lawn as it had many times during the previous year with a drive-in/tailgating worship format. The service included the installation of church officers, a pledge from all members, the reception of two new members, and was followed by a fellowship meal. A video of the merger celebration can be found at https://glumc.org/who-we-are/
Merger Celebration Video

Merger Celebration Service