Grace Lutheran in Tomahawk has always been a church on a mission and an expanding mission. Formed in 1893 with the name First Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church, for its first forty years – evangelism – was the primary mission as part of a larger area ministry to the Norwegians, Danes, Swedes and Finns who were settling in the area. The church building was a wood frame building that was entered from 2nd Street. During this time Grace was served by pastors from other communities, primarily from Rhinelander
In 1934 the congregation changed its name to Grace Lutheran Church intentionally reaching beyond Scandinavians. With a new brick sanctuary (built in 1932), a new name, and having switched to English – worship – was given increased emphasis. During this time from the 1930 until the mid-1960s Grace was a two-point ministry in the Tomahawk with another congregation at Prairie Rapids in the Nokomis area.
1966 marked another change. The two congregations merged; the facilities were expanded by turning the worship area around, adding the educational-fellowship wing, and was added, and making Washington Avenue the main entrance; and a second pastor was added to the staff. Christian education was the added emphasis in this period.
All the previous ministries continue – evangelism with an outdoor service on Lake Nokomis throughout the summer, worship with traditional and contemporary music and worship, and education with excellent children and youth programs and adult studies, but more was needed. In 2005 Grace added a new sanctuary, gathering space and offices and again expanded its ministry – fellowship and service – are the additional ministries. Relationships are important and cared for at Grace. Some examples of this are the Gathering area filled with conversations before and after worship, Dinner for Six, many meals, small groups, a Men’s Breakfast, Older Wiser Lutherans (OWLs), youth groups, a joint trip of senior citizens and youth. Grace is a leader in many community ministries (food pantry, Salvation Army service unit, AA groups, Tomahawk Area Interfaith Volunteers), active relationship with its sister congregation in South Africa (Lekubu Lutheran Parish) and with an inner city church in Milwaukee (Greater Galilee Baptist Church), and hosting Augsburg College Choir and the Swedish Gospel Choir in its new facilities.