The United Methodist Church of Harbor Springs, Michigan,
invites you to worship with us on Sundays at 11 a.m.,
under the guidance of the dynamic team of Reverends
Vaughn and Hillary Thurston-Cox.
Welcome our new pastors, Rev. Vaughn and Hillary Thurston-Cox effective July 1, 2014!!
Pastor Vaughn has served our neighbor churches, Epsilon and New Hope United Methodist , for the past four years. Pastor Hillary comes to us from Lake Louise United Methodist Camp in Boyne Falls where she served as Program Development Specialist. Pastors Vaughn and Hillary are excited about the possibility of shared ministry among all four churches and have a vision to impact Northern Michigan for Christ. They call this vision, "Grace Life," because each of them believe that the Spirit is calling us as God's people to choose life and ministry in Christ together.
Vaughn is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry degree in Spiritual Formation focused on the nurture of compassion through spiritual disciplines. Hillary is an avid writer whose work has been published by the National Council of Churches. They live in Petoskey with their two Yorkshire terriers and are in the process of adopting a child.
We are truly blessed to have this couple lead us in ministry!
Last update 10/17/2014.
Hours and Contact Information
The Office Manager, Kathi Fletcher, is available on Monday through Friday from 9 to 12:30 p.m. Kathi can be reached at the church office at 231-526-2414.
The Harbor Springs United Methodist Church is located at 343 East Main Street, Harbor Springs, Michigan 49740. McLaren - Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey has emergency contact information for Pastors Vaughn and Hillary if the need arises.
All faiths are invited to share worship and communion with us. The Harbor Springs United Methodist Church offers worship services at 11 a.m. on Sundays. A Children's Message and Sunday School coincides with Sunday worship services. Communion is offered on the first Sunday of the month. A special offering for UMCOR is collected on the last Sunday of the month. Beautiful instrumental and organ and piano music are provided by Marion Kuebler and accompanied by Marga Eickholt on cello, and we are often graced with wonderful choir voices from our membership under the tutelage of Marion.
Special services and events occasionally take place, and weddings, baptisms, etc., can be scheduled through the church office. The fellowship hall is available for rent.
Vacation Bible School is held during the summer, yet many other activities (hayrides, shopping sprees, etc.) are held throughout the year for our young parishoners and their friends.
Some history of the United Methodist Church
of Harbor Springs...
The beginnings of the present-day Harbor Springs United Methodist Church started in 1875 with the formation of the Union Sunday School, and the Methodist Sunday School was organized in June 1876. On September 18, 1876, the Methodist Episcopal Society of the Village of Little Traverse was formed as an outgrowth of the Sunday School. The Sunday School and church services were first held in the government school building located on East Third Street, just northwest of the present church building. Pastor Jonathan M. Whitney received the first three church members just 12 days later.
The first baptism was held on August 26, 1877, by immersion in Little Traverse Bay. The baptismal candidate was Jonathan Moorhead. In that fall, work began on the frame church on the same site where the brick church now stands. Timbers were donated by Mr. Drake, and the men of the church cut them into boards. The construction was far enough along to allow Christmas "exercises" to be held in it that year. Construction continued and the church was pronounced "complete" in 1882.
The membership grew to 77 in just two short years with the debt on the entire church property paid off. The minister's salary was $400 per year with the parsonage rent also provided at $75 that year. The church was heated with wood, and oil lamps lit the sanctuary. Improvements to the church that year included a new pulpit and lamp (cost $35) and repairs totaling $105. The Annual Report of the M.E. Church that year includes the statement, "Let us take heart for the coming year, the outlook was never better, we are free from all debt, we have without and within a neat and attractive church, our congregations were never larger and now all we need is more earnestness, more steadiness, more intense devotion to God's House and we doubt not that the new year will be one of even greater success."
The first instrument used in the church was a pump organ bought in 1899 for $64. Membership that year was 177. Through many of the years only a piano was used for worship. A new Baldwin electric organ was given to the church in 1950 as a memorial. Then, in 1980, a new $12,500 Allen Digital Computer organ was installed. The Sohmer grand piano was donated by the Feathers and the Medlunds in 1981.
Groups such as the Ladies' Aid Society, Epworth League and Wesleyan Club sponsored any number of good works. They served meals to down-and-out families and made the gospel real to generations of schoolchildren. In 1900, they held a "bee" to move an old stage coach station to a lot behind the church, where it became the parsonage. They held revivals and ice cream socials and gospel concerts. They proudly sponsored their own LeRoy Lightfoot as a missionary to India in the 1920s and again in the late 1940s. A community food pantry was housed in the church basement for over 40 years until the need outgrew the space available and the pantry was moved to the Holy Childhood Community Center on December 21, 2009. Over 100 families use the pantry each Monday morning.
The frame church building stood as built with the exception of two additions made in 1897. The last service was held on Sunday, November 2, and it was torn down to make way for the new building on November 5, 1913. The foundation walls were completed November 26, with the walls and roof finished just a few hours before winter set in. The present brick church building was complete and dedicated a little over a year later, on December 13, 1914, during the pastorate of the Rev. Harry Walker. Church services were held in the Town Hall during construction.
Earl H. Mead was the architect, and he also designed the 1915 high school building and the Harbor Springs Library building. The total cost of the new church was approximately $17,000, which included furnishings and was arranged as an auditorium with theatre seating. During renovations in 1959, the location of the altar was changed and the theatre seats were replaced with pews. The 1996 remodel included the addition of an elevator and new bathrooms with full handicap accessibility. We are currently restoring the stained-glass windows--one at a time.
The original church bell is mounted on two hand-hewn timbers in the present bell tower. The bell's inscription reads: "Harbor Springs M.E. Church - E. Marble; pastor 1882 - God With Us." The bell was forged in Baltimore, Maryland, by Henry McShane & Co. and has two different tones provided by the hand-pulled bell cords which still calls the congregation to Sunday worship.
Today, over 135 years later, the Harbor Springs United Methodist Church has 71 members and continues its active Sunday School and Bible Study classes. Smorgasbord and turkey dinners continue to fund the church finances. The United Methodist Women host a November Holiday Bazaar which features the talents of the congregation with a huge variety of hand-made creations, soup luncheon and cookie walk!
Baptisms are no longer conducted in the Bay, and the wood stoves and oil lamps are long gone. But the faith shared with neighbors, and the warm, homelike fellowship where children are taught the living word of God, continues.
The United Methodist Church of Harbor Springs is part of the West Michigan Conference, and information about the Conference can be found at http://www.westmichiganconference.org/ Additional information about the United Methodist Church and its principles can also be found at www.umc.org
Also, feel free to visit the Alanson United Methodist Church website at http://www.umcalanson.com