The congregations of Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley and Trinity Baptist Church of Solvang have officially merged to form Grace Bible Church. The move came as a result of a nearly unanimous decision by each church’s members.
“I am excited and honored to serve as one of the pastors of Grace Bible Church,” said Blain Gibbs, pastor of Community Church, who now serves as co-pastor of GBC with David Doupe of Trinity Baptist. “It is my prayer that GBC helps those in need with the sacrificial love of Christ. It is also my prayer our Church will be a haven of rest for those distressed and downtrodden by the difficulties of life.”
Although Community Church formed nearly 30 years ago as a result of a split from Trinity Baptist, over the decades the two churches reconciled their differences, often working together in the form of joint services and events. Eventually, they came to regard each other as “sister churches.”
The main priority for the two churches was to undertake this merger in a mindset consistent with their faith. Pastors Doupe and Gibbs looked for guidance in the Bible, which contains many verses about the importance of unity and cooperation, such as in the Book of Ephesians, Chapter 4: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit.”
Both pastors led their congregations according to biblical priorities, including confidence in the absolute authority of God and the Bible, a passion for reaching their local community with the Gospel, and faith in the power of fellowship and communal prayer in a church body. This compatibility of doctrine was one of the driving factors leading them to consider such a merger in the first place.
“After several years of prayerful consideration, we have sensed God’s leading in bringing our two congregations together,” said Pastor Doupe. “The Lord has graciously brought us together to fulfill His good purposes here in the Santa Ynez Valley and beyond.”
Grace Bible Church meets at 10:30 a.m. at 1693 Laurel Ave. in Solvang, the former location of Trinity Baptist. Nursery services are provided. Information is available online at www.gracebiblesyv.com or by phone at 805-688-8750. All are welcome to come and experience the joy God brings in the unity of His people.