The American Lutheran Church (ALC) mission congregation that was to become Grace Lutheran, Hockessin, was started with the arrival of Rev. David Wasgatt on September 1, 1970 to be the Mission Developer. Pastor Dave was able to gather a nucleus of interested families and, within six weeks, began worshiping regularly in the Odd Fellows building, downtown Hockessin October 13, 1970. Grace Lutheran Church was incorporated February 28, 1971. Soon after, that mission was combined with a struggling Lutheran Church in America (LCA) mission that had begun organizing near by. Grace graduated to become an ALC recognized congregation on March 11, 1972.
As the new worshiping community grew they began planning for a permanent building. Land had been purchased by the national church at the intersection of Rt. 41 and Graves Road and a first unit was dedicated in 1978. The area served grew slowly but Grace’s reputation as a caring Christian community allowed it to grow faster. Their first addition to the initial unit was dedicated in 1987, adding a large fellowship hall with kitchen and badly needed classrooms.
This congregation voted to join the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1988 when it was formed by the uniting of three previously separate Lutheran bodies: the ALC; the LCA; and the ELC.
The latter part of the 20th century saw more rapid growth in this served part of northern Delaware as well as rapid growth of the bedroom communities located in the rural settings just across the border in Pennsylvania. Worship attendance grew in a mostly straight line beginning to stretch the walls of the physical facilities, especially the Sunday School rooms, office, and the sanctuary. Temporary accommodations dealt with the crowding issues until a second addition could be planned.
By the start of the 1990’s Pastor Dave felt called to retire from the full-time ministry on December 31, 1991. Rev. Paul Lundmark was called as the new Pastor and installed February 14, 1993. The second addition to the facility at the intersection of Rt. 41 and Graves Road was completed in 1999, providing much improved offices, a choir room/chapel, and five new classrooms. Included in that addition was a significant unfinished space, to be completed when continuing growth required. The unfinished lower level was finished as the "Growing Grace Lower Level." Pr. Lundmark resigned effective June 15th, 2014 to pursue other interests. Grace initiated a pastoral call process effective June 16th, 2014 assisted by Pr. Barbara Melosh, interim pastor. On September 1st, 2015, the Rev. Tara Magoon joined Grace as the full-time pastor.
Grace has had our mission reviewed and renewed as it has continued to be part of the Hockessin community.
In 2008, a process led by one of the Interns/Vicars helped to identify three strategies for Grace to grow into: (1) equipping us for outreach ministry, (2) facility optimization, and (3) enriching Grace’s Christian community. As a part of the third strategy, Grace recruited and hired a full-time Youth and Faith Formation Director in 2009. Since then, three individuals have held that position; the role is currently vacant.
Since 2017, Grace has been part of the LEAD process (Living Everyday As Disciples) developed by the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. In this process we continue to learn our values today and have since rewritten our mission statement with our biggest goals being finding ways to connect people with God and one another within the congregation and community.
Grace Lutheran Church is a congregation that seeks to live up to its name to welcome folks into a grace-filled and loving community, and to connect with its community in new and meaningful ways.