First Congregational Church Of Wyandotte

98 Superior Blvd. at First St. Wyandotte, Michigan 48192

Founded 1892.

Some Additional Church History


Our colorful history is told in the early Wyandotte newspapers in the language of the day:

"NEW CHURCH STARTED" (May 12, 1892)

A Congregational Society will be organized in Wyandotte within the next few days. A meeting was held at the residence of Sylvester Pray Tuesday evening to talk over the situation and take the preliminary steps toward organizing a Congregational Church in this city. The following committee was appointed to look after the necessary preliminaries of becoming organized incorporated, selecting a site, etc.: J. H. Bishop, Chairman; Sylvester Pray, Melton R. Wood, and T.W. Browne. It was decided to name the society the First Congregational Church of Wyandotte. Mr. Bishop said this concerning the movement: 'The object is to occupy a field not at present filled by another church in the City. There is no spite work about it. A site has not yet been selected, but we will build a neat brick church, comfortably furnished, that will be at least as fine a house of worship as any in the city."'

"NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC" (May 27, 1892)

A Council of Wyandotte churches has been, called to meet with the people of this city who are interested in the organization of a Congregational Church here, for the purpose of considering the practicability and advisability of forming such a church. The council will sit in the chapel of the Episcopal Church on Thursday June 2 at 3 o'clock. The following churches have been invited to sit in the council: First Woodward Avenue, Fort Street and Plymouth Congregational Churches of Detroit; Congregational Churches of Port Huron, Wayne, Pontiac, and Flat Rock. Invitation is extended to every person in our city. (signed) Jerome H. Bishop, Sylvester Pray, Melton R. Wood, Thomas W. Browne"


"The First Congregational Church of Wyandotte was organized June 2, 1892 with 29 Charter Members. These pioneers are Mr. & Mrs. Jerome H. Bishop, Charles Steel, Mrs. R. Steel, Melton R. Wood, Mrs. C. Wood, Thomas W. Browne, B. Clive Bishop, Mrs. Lydia Clark, E. N. Clark, Mrs. Belle Pray Clark, Miss Grace Clark, Miss Glendora Patterson, Mrs. Florence Rafter, Charles H. Clark, Miss Lena Asbahr, Miss Myrtle Kirby, Miss Emma Clark, Sylvester Pray, Mrs. Louise Pray, Miss Emily Pray, Mrs. Isabelle Watkins, Miss Rhode Watkins, Miss Laura Watkins, Miss Mae Girardin, Mrs. W. S. Patterson, and Mrs. C. A. Patterson." (14 families)

By courtesy of the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, the first services were held in their Parish House until September, 1893. The Old Brown School House that had been called "The Cradle of the Protestant Churches in Wyandotte," became home of the congregation that year. Mr. Jerome H. Bishop bought the property, put it into condition to be used, and leased it to the newly organized church, rent free, as long as needed.


Our dreams and plans materialize after the organization of our church:

"WORK HAS BEGUN" (August 29, 1902)

"At seven o'clock Sunday morning, Rev. J. T. Husted appeared at the northeast corner of Superior Avenue and First Street and threw out the first shovelfull of dirt for the excavation above which will rise a new Congregational Church. Later in the morning, Mrs. J. H. Bishop threw out another shovelfull. This constituted the only ceremony in connection with the beginning of work on the new house of worship. The structure is to be constructed of brick, with paving brick on the outside. It will measure 76 feet in length, with the main body 34 feet wide. A tower will rise on the east side and there will be a vestibule entrance and spire on the west side. The building will have a tile roof. The church is to be seated with pews, and not chairs. It is intended to have the walls enclosed before cold weather sets in, and to have the edifice completed in the spring."

"CHURCH CORNER STONE LAID" (October 17, 1902)

"Sylvester Pray deposited the following articles in a copper box in the stone: Church Manual, list of charter members of the church, list of present members of the church, church history, list of officers and members of the Sunday School, history and list of officers and members of the senior and junior Christian Endeavor Societies, history of the organization and members of the Ladies Missionary Society, history and organization, work, and list of officers and members of the Woman's Aid Society, a printed copy of Our Work issued during the pastorship of Rev. Dr. D. P. Breed, a photograph of J. H. Bishop, a coin of our country, an American flag, and copies of current issues of the Wyandotte Herald and Wyandotte Republican."

"THE CHURCH IS A GEM" (June 19, 1903)

"The new Congregational Church on the northeast corner of Superior Avenue and First Street will be dedicated next Sunday with appropriate ceremonies. This beautiful edifice, which will be presented to the society as an individual gift of Mr. Jerome H. Bishop, the well known manufacturer, represents an outlay for buildings and grounds of $28,000. It is one of the finest specimens of pure Gothic architecture in the United States. While not a large building, the dimensions being approximately 32 by 80 feet, everything connected with the work of construction has been carried out in such a harmonious manner that the completed church is a perfect gem. The building is of reddish brown paving brick in the natural color. A tall spire rises from the northeast corner and is balanced by an entrance on First Street. The main entrance is from Superior Avenue. The basement contains a large room for the Sunday School and for social gatherings, and it has cloak and toilet rooms for ladies and gentlemen. It is in the auditorium that the perfect taste and beauty of the church appear to the best advantage. Inside, or out, the style is pure Gothic. All of the woodwork is in chestnut stained a dark brown. Heavy timber trusses support the roof. The ceiling is paneled in crimson, dark green, and brown being used in the decoration of the side walls. Cherubs project from the lower part of the trusses. A massive chandelier is suspended from the center of the ceiling, supported by large chains, all finished in old brass. More illumination is furnished by quaint clusters along the side walls. Both electric and gas may be used. The windows are of stained glass. A prominent feature is the chancel, showing a landscape with trees and waterfalls in greens and blues. The carpet, of velvet, is a red color. The pews are also cushioned in red. The building will be heated by steam. The pipe organ, built by Lyon and Healy of Chicago, occupies a space to the right of the chancel. The organ, costing $2,000, is a gift from the Ladies Society and the Christian Endeavor Society of the church."


The following ministers have served our church during our century of worship:

1892 - Dwight P. Breed
1896 - John Humphreys
1899 - J. W. Usted
1903 - Guy H. Lemon
1906 - A. Harlan Currie (ordained in our church)
1908 - Charles W. Jones
1916 - R. G. Currie
1924 - H. Norman Jackson (married in our church)
1961 - James Scheaffer (Associate Minister)
1964 - Theodor Tuenge
1964 - Roland M. Traver (Interim)
1965 - Roland M. Traver
1972 - Donald N. Nichols
1981 - William F. A. Simon (Interim)
1983 - Wayne B. McKenney

1924-1961 H. Norman Jackson, 1964-1972 Roland M. Traver, 1972-1981 Donald N. Nichols

Dale Vroman, Cathey Bucci Rennick, Donald Nichols.

"INSTALLED AS PASTOR" (October 28, 1892)

"Rev. D. P. Breed, the new pastor of the First Congregational Church of Wyandotte, preached his first sermon as pastor of the society on Sunday last. His discourses, both as to substance and manner of delivery confirmed the good opinion formed at the time he preached here on trial, and members of the church are congratulating themselves over the acquirement of a minister of force and ability. In the evening, Dr. Breed preached from the words found in St. John, "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." The sermon was a strong logical plea for judging religion by its results. If this were done, said the speaker, the whole world would soon be fastened to the chariot wheels of Christ. Mrs. Breed arrived in the city on Tuesday. This Friday evening the doctor and his wife will be given a public reception at the Episcopal Church House, to which all friends of the society are invited."


This is a fine record of our growth these many years.
The History Chapel carries accounts of their stories:

1903 - Dedication - 200 members
1903 - First Pipe Organ
1913 - Parsonage
1927 - Fellowship Hall
1930 - Baptismal Font
1936 - Deagan Chimes
1939 - Communion Table
1940 - Six Communion Chairs
1942 - The Pulpit
1944 - Fellowship Hall mortgage burned
1946 - Baldwin Organ
1949 - Repeated Services
1949 - Fellowship Hall renovated
1953 - Parsonage garage
1957 - Sanctuary lanterns
1959 - Garrison & Jameson Properties purchased
1959 - H. Norman Jackson Fund incorporated
1960 - United Church of Christ merger
1961 - Melody Property purchased
1963 - South Stained Glass Window - Sanctuary
1970 - Hall Lights, Pianos for church, Memorial Book
1972 - Outdoor Bulletin Board on Church
1973 - Hearing Aids for Pews, Communion Table & Chairs, and Kneeling Bench
1973 - Acolytes Debut
1974 - Moeller Pipe Organ
1975 - Wheel Chair
1977 - Hanging Wooden Cross - Sanctuary
1980 - Large Print Bible for Lectern
1981 - Sound System
1985 - Ceiling Fans for Sanctuary
1986 - Outdoor Church Sign (standing)
1990 - Handicap Ramp; Parking Lot Paved
1991 - Handicap Rest Room
1991 - Sanctuary Air-conditioned; new furnaces
1991 - New Junior Choir Robes

"FOR COMMUNITY STRUCTURE" Wy. Herald July 1, 1927

"At a meeting held on Wednesday, the trustees of the First Congregational Church completed the final arrangements necessary for going ahead with the construction of a handsome community building that will be a part of the church plant. The building will be erected adjoining the east side of the present church on Superior Boulevard at First Street. It will have a frontage of 34 feet on Superior, with a depth of 75 feet, and walls 21 feet in heigth. The artist's plans show a handsome design that will harmonize with the church front. Metropolitan building block will be used for the outside; the interior walls will be finished with soft gray tile. There will be no plaster used inside, except for the ceiling. The structure will be practically fireproof. There will be a commodious basement for recreation purposes. The first floor will contain an auditorium and gymnasium, with a stage that will offer facilities for the presentation of plays and lectures. A partial gymnasium is provided for in the plans. Approximate cost is $20,000."


We have served in many areas of interest for the glory of our church:

Mary Circle
Mary-Martha Circle
Martha Circle
Esther Circle
Ruth Circle
Sarah Circle
Rebekah Circle
Missionary Society
World Friendship Group
Women's Fellowship
Men's Club/Fellowship
Two-By-Two Group
Congregational Guild
Prayer Group
Ladies Auxiliary
Cancer Sewing
Mother's Club
Congregational Callers
Florence Rafter Group
Christian Endeavor
Sunday School Orchestra
Cradle Roll
Pilgrim Fellowship
Thee Groope
Boy Scouts
Girl Scouts
Cub Scouts
M & M's
Study Groups
Drama Club
Philomathean League
Adult Choir
Youth Choir
Bible School
Christian Education
Church School


General Chairman - Billee Simmons

FINANCE: Don Frostic, Chairman
Mary & Mel Gudith, Elizabeth Quayle, Ellen & Bob Fairchild, Roger Affholter, Margaret (Reta) Cole, Henry Bethune

HISTORY: Pat East, Chairman
Wayne McKenney, Doris Vent, Georgia Wilkes, Joe Jeffrey, Anne & Bob McPhilimy, Billee Simmons

MUSIC: Eleanore Bennink, Chairman
Virginia Bufe, Janie Lehmann, Freeman Monson

PROGRAM: Billee Simmons, Chairman
Freeman Monson, Anne & Bob McPhilimy

PUBLICITY: Fred Bufe, Chairman
Pat East, Dick Tucker

SOCIAL: Olive Cole, Chairman
Virginia Bufe, Janie Lehmann, Debbie Holme, Georgia Wilkes, Elizabeth Quayle, Margaret (Reta) Cole

Board Acolytes
Evangelism Board

"PHILOMATHEAN LEAGUE" (WY. Herald March 15, 1907)
"The men of the Congregational Church met in the parlors of the church last Saturday evening and formed the Philomathean League, which has for its object mutual helpfulness, intellectual culture, and a lofty ideal of Christian manhood. The officers of the Philomathean League are President, Mr. Royer; Vice President, Mr. Burr; and Treasurer, Mr. Travis. The League meets the second Tuesday of each month and will have a literary and a musical program and refreshments as the attractive feature of the evening."


Community involvement has brought much meaning to our lives:

Tre Ore
Brotherhood Week
Thanksgiving Services
Palm Sunday - Bishop Park
Ministerial Association
Downriver School of Religion
Support Groups
Alcoholics Anonymous
Enid Richardeau School of Dance
Co-op Grocery Group
Wyandotte Historical Society
Church Women United
Olivet College Concerts
World As A Community (WAAC) Class
Ford Sunday Evening Concerts
Lecture Series
Cancer Sewing
Salvation Army
Christian Parade Floats
Vacation Bible School
Penrickton School for the Blind
Community Concerts
Religious Classes in Public Schools
Inter-church Sugar Island Excursions
Inter-church Boblo Island Excursions
Ladies Bridge Tournament
Inter-Faith Tea
Factory Visitation - Congregational, Methodist, Episcopal
Police Department Chaplain
Least Coin
Kiwanis Luncheons
Church Tours
Minister's Exchange - local

"ANNIVERSARY SERVICE" (Wy. Herald October 8, 1897)

"In the morning the Pastor, Rev. Humphreys, preached on Our Church Interests in the City, using the text Micah 4:2 (The law shall go forth of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.) He said in part ..'The church is represented as being central and accessible to all, and holding that which should be the joy of all the world. We notice first the double interest of the church. It is to build up the characters of its own members, and to reach out to others. The Messianic church is to be a refuge for the poor, an asylum for the distressed, as well as a home for ourselves. We are the custodians of the law and the word, and our duty is to make the city sensible, not only of our presence, but of the law and the word of God!"'


General Chairman - Billee Simmons

FINANCE: Don Frostic, Chairman
Mary & Mel Gudith, Elizabeth Quayle, Ellen & Bob Fairchild, Roger Affholter, Margaret (Reta) Cole, Henry Bethune

HISTORY: Pat East, Chairman
Wayne McKenney, Doris Vent, Georgia Wilkes, Joe Jeffrey, Anne & Bob McPhilimy, Billee Simmons

MUSIC: Eleanore Bennink, Chairman
Virginia Bufe, Janie Lehmann, Freeman Monson

PROGRAM: Billee Simmons, Chairman
Freeman Monson, Anne & Bob McPhilimy

PUBLICITY: Fred Bufe, Chairman
Pat East, Dick Tucker

SOCIAL: Olive Cole, Chairman
Virginia Bufe, Janie Lehmann, Debbie Holme, Georgia Wilkes, Elizabeth Quayle, Margaret (Reta) Cole