The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
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    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Fayette Christian Church celebrates 125 years of worship

Written by David Green.


In 1882, a group of professors at Fayette Normal College began holding prayer sessions in the school chapel. The exact reason for this is a story lost to history.

What is known, however, is that by late 1885 or early 1886 so many residents were attending these sessions that the chapel was getting a little too stuffy for comfort. Congregation members undertook to build a new church, and on May 4, 1886, the building that was to be called the Fayette Christian Church was completed and dedicated.fay_c_of_c_interior

On Friday, the church will turn 125 years old, and the congregation will celebrate Sunday with an informal mass in which many church members will share stories and memories.

And what memories they are. According to church secretary Grace Sly, the Christian Church just might be the oldest church in town, though she acknowledges that the Methodist Church is getting up there in years as well.

The current church building was dedicated on Dec. 13, 1908, after the original was destroyed in a raging fire that took many buildings with it, said long-time congregation member Mildred Uhler.

This is also around the time the church’s many stained-glass windows were installed, thanks to donations from prominent Fayette families, such as the Gambles, the Hubbards and the Letchers.

The most prominent image—that of a young boy clutching a stone cross—is a depiction of Christ as a youth, said Grace. She learned this when she saw the same image in a Baptist church in Crown Point, Ind.

“I thought it was a unique image, but they must have shared ideas,” she said.

Still, the Christian Church boasts a unique and progressive history.

Fayette resident Bill Steinem, whose grandparents were charter members of the church, recalled how pastor Ada Hawley served proudly during a period in which pastors were predominantly men. Over the course of her stay—from 1921 to 1946—the Ladies Aid group developed into a strong organization, with as many as 36 women attending meetings.

While men provided maintenance work, it was the women who took charge of social events and fund raisers, Grace said. They took their jobs seriously, added Mildred, even going so far as to catch their own fish for the fish fries.

The women also organized Dutch markets at which homemade towels, rag rugs, quilts, and other crafts were sold. Also up for purchase was souse—or head cheese—a gelatin dish made from the head flesh of pigs. It is a favored treat among the Pennsylvania Dutch.fay_cof_c_construction

“It was delicious,” said Mildred.

Mildred and her husband Wayne joined the church in 1954 after another congregation member invited them. At the time, the church was trying to increase its membership to 200, but that’s not why the Uhlers joined. Up to that point, Mildred had attended the United Brethren Church in Munson and Wayne was attending Methodist services.

They came to the Christian church in order to share a common membership. However, they were not baptized into the church until at least 1959. Rev. James Osuga, one of the most popular pastors to serve at the church, officiated the ceremony.

Rev. Osuga—a Japanese American Sacramento, Cal., native—was both interred by the government during World War II and later drafted into active military service. He served in Berlin from 1945 to 1947.

Grace remembered the pastor’s tenor singing voice and his compelling sermons.

“I was just wonderful. Wonderful,” she said.

Rev. Osuga served during some of the church’s best years, but there were also down times. In the mid-1990s, for example, service attendance began to flag and children all but disappeared from the church, said congregation member Tom Spiess.

During a two-year search for a new pastor, Don Glasgow and Ed Bomlie helped to keep the church alive with interesting, compelling and humorous sermons, said Tom. In 1999, Mary Jo Bray accepted the full-time pastor position and began efforts to have an addition with new restrooms, an elevator and new offices built. She also worked hard to revive study groups and Sunday school classes.

The new wing was completed in 2001. Rev. Bray left last year, but attendance remains strong under pastor Gene Sugg, with 60 to 70 residents attending services each week, said Grace.

Of course, that number changes from season to season, she added. As one of the “older” congregations in town, many members fly south for the winter.

    – May 2, 2007

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