Morenci Methodist members observe 175th anniversary 2011.06.29

Written by David Green.

methodist.ring_itOne hundred and seventy-five peals of the church bell were heard Sunday morning at Morenci United Methodist when worshippers met to celebrate the church’s 175th anniversary.

Historical displays, an ice cream social and other events marked the weekend observance of the church that started in a log school house in 1836.

The Bean Creek Mission met two miles north of Morenci on Simon Wilson’s property, and a few years later baptisms were held in Silver Creek.

The first Union Sunday School was organized in Morenci in 1850 and a year later land was purchased where the church now stands for construction of small wood frame church.

Due to overcrowding, the decision was made in 1910 to construct the building now in use, at a cost of $20,000. That was in 1914, and the following year a pipe organ was installed that remained in use until 1974 when it was replaced by an electronic organ.

During its 175 years, the church has been served by 64 pastors. Some stayed only months, and others for many years.  One pastor was blind, one played the marimba, the son of one fell out of the upstairs parsonage window and broke his arm, and one helped start the Morenci Sportsman Club, which first met at the church.

Many people have added to the rich heritage passed down to the present congregation and  some of the names of the those early members still sound familiar, such as Wilson, Atwood, Wakefield, Osgood, Holt, Shapley, Reed, Cawley, Baldwin, Barker, Ranger, Salisbury, Coomer and Smalley.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
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    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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