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Historical Society celebrates Michigan churches

Easter 2016 at Greenky Hill UMC near Charlevoix


The Michigan Area UMC Historical Society will sponsor their History Convocation on April 27 at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant.

Do you know how old your church is? Do you celebrate your church as part of the historic development of the United Methodist Church in the Michigan Area? No matter when your congregation was founded, it is important to be aware and honor the ministry that has brought us to where we are.

During the 2018 Michigan Annual Conference near Traverse City, the Michigan Area UMC Historical Society presented a church longevity certificate to the Greensky Hill Indian United Methodist Church in Charlevoix. The congregation was celebrating 185 years of ministry and is an Historic Indian Mission. As the Society began to plan for the 2019 Convocation, they wanted to know more about the First Nations Christian presence in Michigan.

The next Roots and Branches Convocation will be Saturday April 27 at the Clark Library at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant from 10 am – 3 pm with lunch included. The theme will be, “First Nations and Christian Connections: Catholicism and Methodism.” The keynote speaker will be Jason Sprague presenting his dissertation, “The Shadow of a Cross: Odawa Catholicism in Waganakisi, 1765-1825.” Sprague teaches Michigan History in the History and Philosophy Department at Eastern Michigan University and Religions of the World in the Department of Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Other topics on how Christianity came to the First Nations in Michigan will be presented. Persons from the entire Michigan area – especially historians of churches, those interested in church history and preserving it, clergy and lay — will want to attend.

At the upcoming convocation, certificates will be presented to churches celebrating anniversaries in 25-year increments: 100 years – beginning year 1919; 125 – 1894; 150 – 1869; 175 – 1844; and 200 – 1819.

The Historical Society is compiling a database that lists all the churches in the Michigan Conference and their beginning year. But the database is not complete. Those churches who are celebrating one of these anniversaries this year will need to notify MAUMCHS by April 10, 2019 in order for certificates to be prepared. (Contact Diana Miller at diana@ddmiller.net or call her at 989-426-2644 with questions or requests for application for the certificates.) The Society encourages churches being recognized to attend the convocation on April 27. Click here for a pdf of the Longevity Application.

The Area Historical Society has traditionally been a Board of Directors made up of members from both the Detroit and West Michigan conferences, the chairs of the Commissions on Archives and History and the Archivists totaling 12. The current officers are Diana Spitnale Miller – President, Lois Omundsen – Vice President, Sharon Scott – Secretary, and M. Della Wilder – Treasurer. The Area Society continues to expand membership to include church historians and other interested persons. Plan to come to the convocation and find out more about it. Find a pdf of the registration form here.

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