In 1840 Methodism was founded in Coshocton by Rev. I.B. Baird, who organized a circuit in which Coshocton was included. He found one Methodist there, Mrs. David Spangler, but upon preaching in the courthouse, he organized the first class of twelve members, viz: Henrietta Shaw, Martha Wallace, Lucy Thomas, Elizabeth Spangler, George E. Conwell, David Frew, Nancy Decker, Abraham Sells, Mary Wallace, Thomas C. Rickets, Felix Landis and B.R. Shaw.
The first church building was erected in 1841 on Third Street between Chestnut and Locust Streets, on a lot purchased from Joseph Rue. It was dedicated the summer of 1846 during the pastorate of E.P. Jacobs. A sunday school was organized the same year. The earliest record of attendance was five teachers and thirty-five students. By 1877, there were 279 church members with a 75% sunday school enrollment. Parsonage property was secured in 1862 and, in the following year, the Annual Session of the Pittsburg Conference was held in Coshocton.
In 1880, Mrs. David Spangler donated land where the present church now stands on the corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets. The contract for building was awarded to S.C. Dillon of Dresden, Ohio. At Mrs. Spangler’s suggestion, the church was named Grace Methodist Church and was completed April 24, 1881. In 1897, the 22nd Annual Session of the East Ohio Conference was held in Grace.
After the erection of a new sanctuary in 1902, the cornerstone was laid on July 18th by Ohio’s Governor George Nash. The sanctuary blends the architectural styles of that era, the Gothic and Romanesque revivals.
Additions of a 23-room educational building with church offices and minister’s office in 1956 and a bell tower and cross rising 110 feet in the air in 1975 were two major items in renovation programs. An Outreach program instituted in 1975 gave substantial assistance to two local projects, Camp Echoing Hills and Meals on Wheels.
Radio ministry was launched in 1972 with weekly broadcasts of worship services and a live broadcast of Christmas Eve Service still continued. “Dial-An-Inspiration,” a 24-hour-a-day telephone ministry was launched in 1973 and continues.
Contributions to Methodist mission work and support to several missionaries have been part of the congregation’s concern. Support of local projects and lay leadership to most local charities and interest in the Scout program, education and youth work, are all spiritual and financial concerns of the church family.
In 1985, renovation of the gym, upgrading the sound system, addition of office computers and video equipment keep Grace Church abreast of current technology. Present membership exceeds one thousand.
The church has been served by fifty-six pastors and twelve associate pastors in its 167-year history. Among the notables are: John W. Toland whose leadership resulted in the 1902 building; G. Glen Hughes who served a seven-year pastorate 1953-1960; and Forrest J. Waller 1973-1982, who led the congregation in a major renovation. The present pastor is Craig Redecker who came in 2001.