Rich GEFC History

In 1969 Reverand Gary Stafford of the Twain Harte Evangelical Free Church started a bible study at the home of Annie Vanderplaats. Attendance at the first meeting was 3.

Later that same year bible studies were held in the home of Lee and Virginia Radtke with attendance averaging 13 – 16.

In 1970, after much prayer by the bible study group, the church negotiated for the use of a building which had formerly been used as a bar. The building had been listed for sale but was taken off the market for as long as the church desired to use it. The rent was $35 a month. The first service was held in the building on June 6, 1970 with Pastor Gary Stafford conducting the service.

In February of 1971 the church called Erick Schone to serve as the first pastor.

In the 1970’s and early 1980’s Community Easter Sunrise Services were held first at Otter Court and later at the Pine Mountain Lake tennis courts on Mueller Drive.

From the beginning of the church until the late 1990’s, the ladies attended Women’s Retreat at Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center. This was always a special time of spiritual growth and bonding with our friends.

Quilt shows have been a big part of the Women’s Ministry at Groveland EFC and have served as an outreach to the community and a fundraiser for ministries.

In 2001 members of GEFC took part in a music ministry at the Adult Day Care which was held at The Little House. 

After Pastor Erick and Audrey Schone returned to the mission field in Venezuela, Gregory Fell and his wife, Carol, responded to the call to serve at Groveland Evangelical Free. A recent graduate of Fuller Seminary, Greg brought new structure and fresh ideas to the newly founded church, which saw significant growth during his ministry. In 1978, shortly after the birth of their first daughter, Tiffany, the Fell family moved to Sacramento where Greg pastored First Evangelical Free Church. We are grateful for their role in helping build a strong foundation at Groveland EFC. 

Phil Anderson served for the next 20 years and was followed by Ron Cratty who pastored until he retired in 2020 and moved to Southern California.

From the start, GEFC has been blessed with gifted and talented musicians, worship teams, choir, soloists, even tuba/accordion duets! We are thankful for those who have blessed our services with the sound of joy!

In 2006, twenty-one members of GEFC went on a hurricane relief trip to do work in New Orleans, Louisiana. This was the first of several such trips in the years to come.

We are looking forward to how the Holy Spirit will lead us under our new pastor, Bob Kandels. He joined us as of June 1, 2022.