Grand Avenue Christian Church began its existence in 1959, primarily through the work and prayers of Oden and Rema Brown. From the beginning, the church sought to reach out to the Southern Illinois University college students and be their “home away from home.” Accordingly, the church was named the South Side Christian Church, because the church sought to locate its building on the south side of Carbondale next to the university.
In the beginning, a temporary meeting place was found in the Community Center at a cost of $6.00 per Sunday. Later, the church learned that there was no suitable land to purchase on the south side of town. So they purchased land on the west side of town and renamed the church Western Heights Christian Church.
By the close of the first year, Western Heights Christian Church had 43 members. In 1961, the church leadership sought to construct a building to accommodate the new church. They put together a master plan to be built on one and a half acres of land, which they purchased for $4,800. Phase One called for building a fellowship hall that would seat 160 people. It would be the temporary worship sanctuary until the next phase could be built. However, the next phase was not built as planned.
Years later, after looking for land to purchase to support the growing church, in 2005, Western Heights moved to a new location on the east side of town. This land was on Grand Avenue and the church was renamed Grand Avenue Christian Church (GACC). Over the last six decades, GACC has seen many triumphs and tragedies. But through it all, the Lord has been faithful to his people and the church has grown from hopeful beginnings.