Begun about 1981, the Lake Granbury Ministerial Alliance (LGMA) has endeavored to bring a positive impact into the community as we have worked for the good of Hood County with the truth of the Good News of Christ Jesus.
The Alliance came about with the identification of essential needs in our community that developed as Granbury began to grow during the early 1980’s. The LGMA recognized that with growth came a burgeoning population in need. Acting to provide a means to more effectively minister to the needs of this community, the Alliance took the steps to set up an ongoing benevolent organization. That organization, People Helping People (PHP), while begun under the oversight of the local pastors through the Alliance’s efforts, grew until it became necessary for it to become an independent entity.
PHP was set apart and established as its own agency about 1985. At the time that PHP was separated from the Alliance, the members felt that we should continue to assist with funding the organization.
From recollections of those who served this community during that period, it was suggested around 1984 that we hold a community Easter sunrise service and a community Thanksgiving service to exalt Christ and to raise funds to support PHP. These special services continued in tandem for many years, providing us with two opportunities a year to aid in the support efforts. However, beginning about 2002, many of the local congregations instituted their own sunrise services, thereby rendering the community service impractical.
The founding members of the Alliance included:
Stuart Brassie – Our Savior Lutheran Church
Gene Hadley – First Baptist Church
Frankie Harris – Lake Granbury Christian Temple
Don Scott – Acton United Methodist Church
W. C. Taylor – First United Methodist Church
Jimmy Walker – First Christian Church
Glenn Ward – Acton Baptist Church
Between 1986 and 1989, another major project of the Alliance was undertaken. Bob Holloway, who had recently been assigned to Acton United Methodist Church, suggested to the other members that this community had another pressing need. The Hood County Hospital was in need of a chaplain’s program to minister to the needs of the patients — many who did not have local pastors. The strongest proponents of that ongoing ministry, Frankie Harris and Bob Underwood, became mainstays to keep the program staffed. Although begun with local ministers, since 1995 much of the work of the pastors has been assumed by volunteers for the Hospital.
One day in 1990, in the latter part of the summer, several pastors were visiting, most likely over coffee, when the conversation led to a discussion of the community services sponsored by the Alliance — along with the Christian significance of each. As the conversation centered around the upcoming Christmas season, it became obvious to those present that, although the Alliance focused on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ with the Sunrise service and celebrated the commemoration of Thanksgiving, we had taken no public stand for commemorating the birth of our Lord. After further deliberation, it was determined that we would establish a new Christmas tradition.
The local merchants already had a large investment in the Candlelight Tour of historic homes, so we decided that we would sponsor a nighttime lighted Christmas parade with the ongoing purpose of glorifying the Lord. The parade is now sponsored annually jointly by the Ministerial Alliance and the Historic Granbury Merchants Association. Although recognizing that for many, Santa Claus is of great importance in their celebration of Christmas, it was determined that this parade would reserve any depiction of Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, or even elves for the final entry of the parade. That practice has historically been a part of our community’s life. The date for the parade was set for the Friday after Thanksgiving to hopefully assist local businesses with a good kick-off to the Christmas season by bringing several hundred people to the Historic Square. Since 1997, the Lake Granbury Historical Merchants Association has co-sponsored the event. The event now draws “thousands”, instead of “hundreds”, of spectators to the Square each Christmas.
In May of 1993, as the local school board determined that the school could no longer legally host the Baccalaureate service as a part of the graduation ceremony, as had been their custom, the Alliance stepped forward again to fill a spiritual need. Under the leadership of John Duncan, then pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church, and a committee of interested ministers, the first Baccalaureate service was begun. It has continued to be held, usually, the Sunday before graduation. Although the service was then and continues to be entirely voluntary for the seniors — the first year we honored almost one hundred graduating seniors. This community service has continued to grow in participation and community appreciation since that time.
Also in 1993, we became co-sponsors, with a local March for Jesus committee, of the annual event that was a phenomenon of the time. Since beginning MFJ, we have participated in several national and international marches. Each march has been significant to the spiritual life of this community, as well as significant in the spiritual life of those who participated. As the practice faded from the international scene, the LGMA determined that we need not continue this annual event in the early 2000s.
As we began the 21st century, our community almost tripled in size from the early 1990s and we have seen a tremendous increase in requests for assistance by families in need. People Helping People is still operating and fulfilling its purpose, but it has been joined by a number of other ministries to further meet the needs of people in our community.
We have been sponsoring the Black History Month Celebration since 2010. This celebration has grown to be a major event in Hood County.
In 2012, we published a Directory of Churches and Ministries to assist newcomers to the area, as well as those seeking a church home, helping them to connect with one quickly.
In 2016 we established the Hood County Prayer Task Force. This Task Force (formerly the National Day of Prayer Task Force coordinated for nine years mainly by Acton United Methodist Church) has been leading the County in celebrating the National Day of Prayer by hosting the Annual Prayer Breakfast. It continues to do so; however, we believe God wants us to do more to foster prayer in our community. Many people cannot make the breakfasts. Accordingly, the Task Force also plans to host lunchtime prayer at locations in Downtown Granbury, Acton, Tolar, Lipan and Cresson beginning in 2017.
The Prayer Task Force brought the Hood County Community Prayer Meetings under its wing beginning in 2017. These monthly meetings bring people from many churches and denominations together at a different church each month to pray for Kingdom matters and the health of our community and nation.
The Prayer Task Force also publishes the Hood County Kingdom Prayer Guide. This 35+ page guide contains a multitude of prayer subjects, many of which are specific to Hood County. It is free via e-mail to anyone who requests it and may be reproduced for use in prayer by churches and Bible study groups.
Since its beginning, the Lake Granbury Ministerial Alliance has grown to recognize that together we can accomplish far more for the Kingdom than we can if we only work to build our own kingdoms. The LGMA has the vision of majoring on the things that we agree upon.