A diverse congregation with unique worship experiences!
UMKC students provide nutritional light meals for medical patients.
UMKC students also provide FREE medical on Sundays 11 a.m. -2:00 p.m.
Noon - 1:00 p.m.
Collection of scarfs, hats, gloves, & socks from November to February for Homeless
Donations are appreciated!
GAT has all cultures, ages, social/economic/educational and ethnic backgrounds, we are nontraditional church...we are the Kingdom of God on earth!
True Grace is comprised of a violin, keyboard, guitars, drums, congas, and tambourines!
The talented John Murray pianist and OPUS 190, 'Victoria' organist!
GAT has come this far by faith through prayer.
A Brief History of Grand Avenue Temple United Methodist Church (1865-2019)
GAT celebrated the Centennial of the church building called the Grand Avenue Temple, dedicated in February of 1912. The Grand Avenue Methodist congregation is much older, and will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2015. It was in the fall of 1865 that the Rev. Stephen Guard Griffis was appointed "preacher-in-charge" of Kansas City, Missouri. Rev. Griffis found some seventy-five Methodists, little organization and no church building. A deed dated April 30, 1866, records the sale of the present church site at Ninth and Grand Avenue, which was built in 1867 with the $30 in coins donated from a former slave woman named Aunt Docia who appealed to her former owner for the burial money he'd saved on her behalf; for a purchase price of $1,000. A church building was completed and dedicated here in 1870 and stood for forty years at the center of Kansas City Methodism. In the late nineteenth century, the church increased in membership and prospered with the growth of the city.
The last decade of the century saw further increases in membership; members also left the Grand Avenue congregation to form new churches around the Kansas City area. The church earned the name "mother church." A few of the churches begun were Independence Avenue Methodist Episcopal, Linwood Methodist, Country Club Christian, Summit Street Methodist Episcopal, and Northern Boulevard Methodist.
In the early 1900s, the Grand Avenue congregation was outgrowing its church. With the growth of the city, other churches were moving from the downtown area. Should the congregation build a larger building or follow the city's growth and rebuild in a residential area? Another option was to dissolve the church, sell the valuable land, and disperse the members to other congregations. On July 8, 1909, the Quarterly Conference adopted a resolution to build a new church and adjoining office tower on the original site. Rents from the office building would support the work of the church, with an approximate annual cash flow of $67,000 over and above paying the mortgages on both buildings. The final services in the old building were on October 31, 1909 and the building was tom down the following year.
Ground was broken on the new building on July 17, 1910 and the cornerstone set in place at noon on February 1, 1911. Kansas City architect John W. McKecknie, a pioneer in reinforced concrete construction, designed the new church in the Greek Revival style. Outstanding features of the building include the stained glass windows and skylights and ornamental plasterwork in the neoclassical style. The church was completed and dedicated in a weeklong celebration in February of 1912. The cost of both church and office tower was reported to be $375,000.
The sanctuary was built for 1,400 persons. Often filled for church services, it was also the site of concerts, lectures, graduations, conventions and motion picture exhibitions. Helen Keller spoke here in 1915. The American Legion Auxiliary was organized here in 1921.
The decade of 1910-1920 was the beginning of extraordinary growth and development of the downtown church. There are large numbers of items in the church archives testifying to the wealth of youth and young adult ministries. A church bulletin from 1925 records the beginning of Grand Avenue Temple's move into electronic media with "radio-cast" of Sunday evening services over WOQ, wavelength 278, at 1000 watts. The same bulletin included this statement: "Many were turned away from last Sunday night. One of the ushers thought we turned as many away as we got in."
With the rapid growth of downtown, the church property was valued at a million dollars by 1916. Then in 1924, heirs of the original property owners sued to regain title under a deed stipulation restricting the property to church use, contending the office building violated the original deed. Although in 1928 the Missouri Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the church, the legal process was costly.
The decade of the 1930s would shake the Temple to its very foundations. Preserved is a leather-bound ledger that records meetings of the trustees from November 10, 1930 to November 19, 1944. The minutes record the downward spiral of these years and the struggles of a large church in financial trouble. Trustees' reports record requests from renters in the office tower for reductions in rent, the movement of tenants from the building, a few tenants with unpaid rent, and continuing heavy maintenance on the office tower. In 1939, efforts to raise $250,000 to save the church and office building proved to be too great an undertaking and a foreclosure sale on the courthouse steps on July 18, 1939 conveyed both the church and office building to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. An agreement was reached with the insurance company whereby the church building might be recovered for $20,000. After a hard struggle, the money was raised, and on July 14, 1940, the pastor announced, "The church is finally ours." The office tower was never regained.
At this point in Grand Avenue Temple's history, the archives cease to hold much information about the church. Dozens of letters were saved, however, addressed to the Young Peoples Group from service men and women from around the world. Letters postmarked in 1943, 1944, and 1945 expressed thanks for the gifts and letters received.
The 108th anniversary of Grand Avenue Temple was commemorated with a special service on September 28, 1958. About this time because of changing urban patterns and the general decline of the downtown area, Grand Avenue Temple's membership and activity went into a spiraling decline. Still, morning worship attendance was at nearly 200 persons and we continued to broadcast services over the radio.
During Dr. Stuart Whitney's term as pastor (1981-1988), Grand Avenue Temple became involved in ministry to the homeless in the downtown area. The catalyst for this ministry was Dr. Whitney's discovery of a homeless man frozen to death within a block of the church on a winter evening. Through a
coalition of downtown churches, reStart began providing shelter for the homeless in the basement of Grand Avenue Temple.
In the winter of 1995-1996, the small congregation opened the church doors to the Sojourners (homeless) in the neighborhood, began serving lunch each Saturday and Sunday, and served over 10,000 meals in the first full year of operation. Lazarus Table was born and continued to expand over the years with the addition of a clothing closet (Lazarus Boutique), the Sojourner Free Clinic on Sunday afternoons staffed by physicians and students of University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, a lending library, in the coldest months a shelter for homeless women, and Sunday morning breakfasts. Many Sojourners attend and contribute their talents in worship in this diverse and active congregation now including the "rich" and the "poor." Lazarus Ministries of Grand Avenue Temple continues to expand the services offered, and on October 30, 2009 was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization.
Equally important as the church's ministry with the Sojourners are the opportunities offered to youth groups and volunteer groups from churches all over the Midwest who learn about homelessness as they work with us in ministry.
In 2009, Grand Avenue Temple began a joint venture with the Church of the Resurrection of Leawood, Kansas. Resurrection Downtown met in the Grand Avenue Temple building for nearly two years before moving to its own downtown church home, becoming yet another ‘daughter’ of the ‘mother of churches.’
Grand Avenue Temple was moving ahead on many fronts under the leadership of its pastor, Rev. Dr. Ron Brooks. Although showing its age, the 100-year-old structure whose birthday was celebrated is still sound. Using mostly volunteer labor, the church’s trustees are restoring the interior of the church using a striking, period-appropriate color scheme designed by preservationist and architect Paul Helmer. Other needed major physical improvements are planned, including tuck pointing and a new roof.
Grand Avenue Temple continuously reaffirmed its mission to bring Christ into the world by uniting Sojourners, downtown residents and members from all over the Kansas City Metro Area in a congregation where “everybody is somebody special, reaching out to unite all in God’s love.”
GAT invited the attendance, involvement and membership of all who would like to be part of
“A Different Church
Making A Difference”
Tina Harris, the youth pastor at St. James UMC, and a well-known attorney became the pastor of GAT following Ron Brooks. Under her leadership, Tina Harris, the first African American female senior pastor, recognizing Rev. Jackie Moore as the first female pastor, the leaders were involved in workshops, training, and vision groups. Pastor Tina was instrumental in developing a spirit-filled music ministry, variety of preaching opportunities, and strong prayer team. Under the leadership of Pastor Tina the church installed a NEW ROOF and made many other repairs to the sanctuary! GAT continues to need numerous renovations especially in the basement where the women’s shelter, clothing boutique, and kitchen are located. Growing pains sometimes challenging, in which Lazarus Ministries at Grand Avenue Temple moved to another location. The church with mixed emotions continues to heal with God’s help. Pastor Tina handed the baton to Reverend Cherryll Doughty as co-pastors in April 2017 to June 2017. Pastor Tina demonstrated outstanding leadership and effective communication skills in the preparation of the next appointment of Reverend Doughty to GAT in June 2017.
Reverend Cherryll Doughty, appointed as pastor June 2017 – present is an ordained Elder, previous churches include St Paul Fayette MO, Longview now Renaissance KCMO, Beloved Community STL MO, Terrace Lake KCMO, Pitts Chapel & MT Carmel SPFD MO, and Transformation House Springs MO.
GAT experiencing the loss of Lazarus ministries and beloved Pastor Tina is now seeking God’s will for GAT. Where do we go from here? The single board leaders involved in prayer and vision workshops develop a new Mission and vision statement. “We are a community that changes lives by connecting, praying, loving through the transforming power of Jesus Christ.” “Church with no walls changing lives building the Kingdom of God through Christ Jesus together”
GAT shared in the 1stNO WALLS outreach event where 5 gospel groups, UMKC, MORE2, leaders of GAT and the praise band participated.
GAT spent over $14,000 in the repair of the OPUS 190 organ lovingly named Victoria, renovated the offices, prayer room, and second restroom. Presently the kitchen is being renovated.
In partnership with UMKC we hope to provide nutrition classes for disadvantaged families and to share light meals for 48 hour emergency DV women’s stay.
The worship experience is now live streamed on Facebook every Sunday. The music ministry continues to evolve to meet the spiritual needs of the congregation.
The most exciting happening for GAT is the status of MISSION CHURCH by our Bishop Bob Farr in January 2019. GAT is one of several in the Missouri Conference and is currently exploring the expectations and possibilities.
GAT gives God thanks for our Bishop Bob Farr, DS Rev. Dr Jim Simpson, Rev. Dan Bonner and all of the previous pastor whose shoulders we now stand on!
(a wonderful article to find out more is thepitchkc.com article 'The Grand Design'.)
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions. Your generous donation will fund our mission.