In the fall of 1994, the Session of the Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC) and the Mission to North America Committee of the Central Georgia Presbytery of the PCA, decided that the east islands area of Savannah needed a PCA church. This area consists of a group of barrier islands extending from Savannah east to Tybee Island. The major residential areas are on Whitemarsh, Talahi, Oatland, Wilmington, and Tybee (the beach) islands. IPC felt that a church plant would be a strategic outreach to this community; so in the summer of 1995, their Session and the Central Georgia Presbytery called Rev. Marty Fields and his family to serve as the church planters for this new islands mission. To make this happen, IPC pledged prayer support, office space and the use of their recreational facility (known as “Point Pleasant”) on Talahi Island. The Central Georgia Presbytery pledged the financial backing.
The mission began with a prayer group and Bible study in the fall of 1995. At the first meeting, nine people, representing 4 families, came together to pray and study God’s Word. Later in the year, IPC graciously agreed to let us begin to hold Sunday evening worship services at Point Pleasant. The new mission was named “Islands Presbyterian Church.”
The first evening service saw approximately 35 in attendance, and on Sunday January 7, 1996, we had our first morning worship. To the utter astonishment of the core group, 120 attended this service! It was at this point that we were sure this new work was here to stay, so the church purchased its first tract of land in the fall of 1996. In the winter of 1997 the church elected, ordained, and installed three Ruling Elders and six Deacons and extended a formal call to Rev. Marty Fields to be its pastor. From that time to the fall of 1998, tremendous growth was seen as worship attendance went from an average of 120 to 175.
The church also realized that the need for its own facility was growing; and in 1999, with the entire mortgage for 12 acres of land paid-off, began the quest for a new facility. Also, in order to eliminate confusion of identity with the Wilmington Island Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), the Session changed the name of Islands Presbyterian Church to “Grace Church of the Islands (PCA).” On June 2, 2002, the first services were held in our new facility at 6901 Concord Road. God has provided a beautiful building for Grace Church that will serve it and the islands community well into the future. The new building seats in excess of 350 people and is designed for a variety of uses.