Welcome to GRF churchGlorious God, it is the flame of my life to worship thee, the crown and glory of my soul to adore thee, heavenly pleasure to approach thee. Give me power by thy Spirit to help me worship...give me knowledge of thy goodness...give me Jesus. -Puritan Prayer
An email from Pastor Garry, May 15, 2020:
Dear GRF Family,
The GRF session met Thursday evening May 14 to decide when and how to resume worship services now that Governor Hogan has announced that churches may resume meeting for worship. The session decided to hold worship services beginning this Sunday, May 17 at the time we have been live streaming on Facebook at 11 am. I might add that our continued meeting and the following modifications are based upon the idea that the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak remains similar to what it is at this time. If there is a change in the outbreak we may have to adjust our services to meet that change. Hopefully that will mean a move toward our normal practice.
In order to abide by the CDC suggested guidelines the following modifications will be made:
• For the time being, we will have only the Sunday morning worship service.
• We will not hold Sunday school classes.
• There will be no nursery or childcare offered.
• We will not make coffee and snacks available.
• At least for this first service, we will have only a Doxology at the beginning and a hymn at the conclusion of the service. We will use the hymnals in the pews.
• We will not pass an offering plate, but will have a box to receive tithes and offerings at a single
• Communion and Fellowship meals will be delayed until a later date to be determined.
• Wednesday evening house church and prayer meetings will be postponed until a later date to
• Weather permitting, we will prop open the front and back doors to avoid everyone needing to
touch a door handle or doorknob.
• Bathroom: Paper towels will be placed outside the bathroom door to use in opening the door
and an open waste basket placed nearby for the used paper towel. When washing hands after
using the bathroom, place paper towels in the open waste container provided. Please leave the
bathroom door open and the light on when you are finished.
• Hand sanitizer will be made available if possible.
• Please avoid shaking hands or hugging.
• Face masks are encouraged, but not mandatory.
• We will make the effort to maintain distancing between people in the pews. Family members
who live together may sit close to each other. We hope to have enough space depending on the
number of people attending that single attendees can sit no more than 3 to a pew or 1 in a pew
being used by a small family.
• Maintain distance between yourself and others while socializing before and after service.
Weather permitting, it will be helpful to gather outdoors to chat with others.
• We encourage you to forego attending the worship service if you have a fever, are ill, or have
significant underlying medical conditions. However, no one will be turned away.
• We will make an attempt to live stream on Facebook provided our internet connection via phone towers is strong enough. This first Sunday will be an experiment. We will make an audio recording of the sermon and post it on the GRF website (www.grfpca.org) as we have in the past.
All of you are loved and highly regarded. We hope and pray that not only this plan for reopening is acceptable but that you might also embrace it. And remember, someday all this shall pass!
For the Session
We exist to glorify God through worship, developing spiritual maturity among His people, and relating the Gospel of Christ to His world.
We are a Bible believing, Christ centered, evangelical church located in Hagerstown, MD and serving the tri-state area. We love Jesus and seek to honor Him in everything we do. You can learn more about us in our FAQ section below, or give us a call. Or come visit – we would love to meet you!
Sunday service begins at 11AM and concludes around noon. Sunday school classes for adults and children is currently canceled.
919 Corbett Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740
GRF Church exuberantly announces our relocation to 919 Corbett Street Hagerstown, Maryland! We praise the Lord for providing us with this building and we invite you to join us for worship.
Perfect Work; Perfect Word
Call us at (301) 857-2052 or email us using the form below. We’ll be in touch soon.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are our services like?
The worship of God is both a great privilege and a great responsibility for every professing believer. In corporate worship we are called by God to enjoy His special presence. Our worship of Him is the highest expression we have, this side of eternity, of what it means to belong to Him who redeems us from this world. Since it is God who calls us to Himself, worship must be framed and directed by His word. In His presence He reveals His glory and grace, confirms our faith and conforms us more to the image of His Son. In worship we dialogue with Him – He speaks and His people respond in truth. As you worship with us, you will notice a distinctly vertical flow to our Service.
Given the significance of what worship is, approaching God with reverence and awe is appropriate (Hebrews 12:28). At the same time, given the awesome privilege of being children of God through the work of Christ (1 John 3:1), we are filled with a joy that cannot be shaken. These qualities – reverence, awe, and joy – permeate our worship.
The Word is central at every point in our services, from the Call to Worship, our hymns of response, the expository preaching, to the benediction. Every Sunday, we leave the service having met in our Savior’s presence and having become transformed more into His likeness.
We generally sing our hymns from the Trinity Hymnal and Hymns Modern and Ancient with the accompaniment of piano, violin, and acoustic guitar. We occasionally incorporate other musical styles and sources of songs that are appropriate for corporate worship.
Is GRF independent or part of a larger body of churches?
Grace Reformed Fellowship is a member of the Presbyterian Church in America, also known as the PCA. The PCA is comprised of over 1700 churches and more than 350,000 believers. While each local congregation within the PCA is autonomous, we fall under the oversight of our regional body (called a Presbytery), as well as the General Assembly, which is comprised of Elders from every church within the PCA. This oversight ensures that each local congregation stays faithful to the scriptures, true to the reformed faith, and obedient to the great commission of Jesus Christ.
How big is GRF?
Currently, GRF has about 50 members, including communicant members (professing adults) and non-communicant members (children of professing adults).
Who is our pastor?
Garry L. Knaebel was born and raised in Royal Oak Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. His parents were members of Calvary Baptist Church of Hazel Park where Dr. David D. Allen pastored. It was under his ministry that Garry confessed Christ as Lord and only Savior of his life.
During his senior year in high school Garry felt a strong desire to serve the Lord in some full-time capacity. He enrolled in William Tyndale College and began to consider a career first, in missionary aviation, and then in pastoral ministry. During his time of studies he was introduced to the Reformed faith and sought to study it further at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.
Upon graduation from seminary Garry had the unique opportunity and privilege to serve a short internship at Philadelphia’s 10th Presbyterian Church under the tutelage of Dr. James Montgomery Boice. When moving to Phoenixville near Valley Forge, he joined a PCA church, was employed in the Upper Perkiomen School District for a year and began working on the ordination requirements for the PCA. In 1982 he received a call in Maryland at Grace Presbyterian Church of Hancock.
After serving there for six years he left and filled the pulpit of an ailing PCA pastor in Martinsburg West Virginia while receiving a call to plant a PCA church in Hagerstown Maryland. As Assistant Pastor in Pilgrim Presbyterian of Martinsburg he began a Bible study in Hagerstown until its numbers grew large enough to begin Sunday services. Pastor Garry served as organizing pastor of Grace Reformed Fellowship until such time the church was able to particularize and call him as their first Pastor in November of 1992. Pastor Garry has been serving there since.
Garry met his wife while growing up at Calvary Baptist Church in Hazel Park Michigan. They married there in 1978, two years into his seminary studies. They have three children who are all walking with the Lord, and several young grandchildren.
Do children attend a separate children's church?
We believe that God includes families in His covenantal promises. Therefore it is our desire that families be included in corporate worship. For family worship to work, training is necessary for both the children and the congregation. As a congregation, we should train ourselves to be flexible regarding children. We should give aid to parents who may have need and be tolerant of the distractions that accompany the teaching process. As parents, we should take adequate time to teach our children at home what is to be expected of them at church. We should train them in the disciplines of public worship, teaching them to participate according to their individual abilities. We should also be sensitive to the needs of others. When our children become a distraction, we should remove them to another area as the need arises.
This can be summarized as tolerance on the part of the congregation, sensitivity on the part of the parents, and training on the part of the children. We are all one body and should strive to put others’ needs before our own (Philippians 2:3-4).
We do have a staffed nursery available with a video and audio feed from the service for those who need it.
Is there a nursery available?
Yes. We have a staffed nursery available for families who need it for children 5 years old and younger. All nursery workers have consented to and passed a background investigation.
Does GRF hold to creeds and confessions?
Since the very beginning of the church, all manner of heresies have surfaced. As a result, the church has been forced to respond by stating clearly and concisely what it believes. For example, in the 4th century AD a heresy espoused by Arius began to permeate the church. Arius stated that Christ was of a similar essence with the Father. In short, Arius claimed Jesus was a created being and denied the full deity of Christ. As a response to this, in 325 A.D., the First Council of Nicaea produced the Nicene creed affirming the foundational Christian doctrine that Christ is not of a similar essence with the Father, but rather He is of the same essence – that is, Christ is fully God.
Time and again throughout history by the grace of God the church has risen to the task of preserving the purity of our doctrine by publishing creeds. GRF is a confessional church and ascribes to the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Of course, these are all subordinate to the Bible, the only infallible rule of faith and life.
It is not required for members to hold to the Westminster Confession and Chatechisms. To become a member, you must make a genuine profession of faith and live a life that does not contradict it.
Do we recite things together during worship?
Yes. When God calls us together for worship, it is corporate worship. We often recite portions of the confessions and creeds we affirm, as has been the practice of the church for ages, as a dialogical response to God (see “What are our services like?” for more on this). Just as when we sing hymns together, worshipers are never to speak the words without thinking, but are to affirm the words they are speaking with their minds and their hearts.
Does GRF baptize children and infants?
Yes, we do baptize the infant children of believing parents. The scriptural case for this practice is based primarily on the parallel between circumcision as the sign and seal of the covenant of grace in the Old Testament and baptism in the New Testament. In the transition from the “old” form of the covenant to the “new,” brought about by the work of Christ, there is no command to abrogate the principle of family solidarity – that is, the practice of applying the sign of the covenant to infants, signifying their entrance into the covenant community. Thus while in the Old Testament Jewish male infants received circumcision as the identifying mark of entrance into the covenant community, in the New Testament baptism is the identifying mark of entrance into the covenant community (now called the church).
It is important to note that baptism – infant or adult – does not guarantee salvation. All the redeemed rest solely on the sufficient and finished work of Christ for salvation.
While baptizing the infant children of believing parents has been the historic practice of most churches, we do acknowledge that today some distinguished, biblical thinkers dispute the practice. It is not a requirement to hold to GRF’s position to become a member, and it is up to the parents to decide whether or not to pursue baptism for their children.
Does GRF have opportunities for fellowship and service throughout the week?
Yes! We have small groups that meet for study and fellowship, a ladies’ bible study, and a men’s prayer breakfast. Also, we are involved in a number of ministries, including holding service at a local nursing home and a local prison. The primary focus of these ministries is not merely social welfare, but primarily sharing the Gospel and ministering the Word of God. And finally, we have more than two dozen different ways of serving the body through various committees and service opportunities.
Does GRF support missionaries?
What do the letters G R F stand for?
GRF = Grace Reformed Fellowship.
How can I learn more about GRF?
Call us, email us, or come visit!