Celebrating 200 years!
The First United Methodist Church of Flat Rock traces its roots back to 1823. It was in December of that year that James Finley, a Methodist preacher assigned to serve the native Americans in Northern Ohio, came and preached to a group of Wyandot Indians. The next morning 12 individuals organized a church.
Over time both Indians and white settlers joined the congregation. Tradition has it that a small church, probably of logs, was built north of the village. Though they were the founders of the church, the native Americans were relocated out of the area. Even with their exit the church continued to grow. In 1834 a frame church, 30 x 30 was built on Huron River Drive.
Little is known of this early church except that it must have prospered for in 1852 a much larger and quite pretentious church building was constructed. This served as the church until 1902 when that building was moved away and another church built. The church remained on Huron River Drive for the next 59 years.
As the congregation continued to grow it was decided a new church had to be built. Land was purchased on Gibraltar Road but was never used since another parcel of land was donated to the church. On May 12, 1960 ground was broken on this site for the new church. The first regular service took place on March 12, 1961.
Due to the faithful giving of the members the mortgage was paid off in 1965. With that obligation taken care of, attention was given to build a bigger sanctuary and converting the current one into class room space. This was all but completed in 1969 when a tornado damaged much of the new sanctuary. Rallying together the project continued and the first worship service took place on May 17, 1970.
Though the buildings have remained the same since then, the congregation has ebbed and flowed over the years. In the mid eighties a monthly roast beef dinner was established. Monies from the dinners have helped to pay conference obligations, as well as building improvements.
Tracing its history back to 1823, the First United Methodist Church of Flat Rock is one of the oldest Methodist congregations in Michigan. Though it has a proud history, the hope is that the best days are still to come.