West Side United Methodist Church (Ann Arbor, Mich.) Records

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West Side United Methodist Church (Ann Arbor, Mich.) records

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger West Side United Methodist Church (Ann Arbor, Mich.) records collection held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Church originally established by German immigrant families to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Quarterly and annual reports of the church, records of church boards and commissions, Sunday School minutes and reports, subject files, publications, visual materials, and sound recordings.

German immigrant families founded the Erste Deutsche Methodisten Kirche in 1847 and built a church at the corner of East Liberty and South Division. Over the next half century the congregation gradually outgrew this building, so in 1895 they purchased a new site in the heart of the German section of Ann Arbor, now known as the Old West Side. The new church, completed in 1896, was located at the corner of West Jefferson and Fourth Streets.

For many years, the church membership continued to be drawn from the German families of Ann Arbor, but over time, the church began holding both German-language services and English services. Like most German-American institutions, the church came under suspicion of disloyalty during and just after World War I. In 1919, the church was forced to close for a few months. Upon reopening, the congregation gave up German language services and changed its name to West Side Methodist Episcopal Church.

The church did not grow significantly in size until just after World War II. Soon after the arrival of Rev. Edwin Weiss in 1948, membership began surging, almost doubling in the next three years. The congregation outgrew its old church and in 1950 purchased a site on South Seventh Street to build a new one. They moved into the new church in 1952.

In 1955, the congregation purchased a small home to the north of the church to expand its site. Two years later they began a fund raising campaign to eliminate the balance owed on the church building and provide money to build an education building. This campaign was so successful that they not only completed the education building, but also added a Moeller Pipe Organ and purchased a small piece of land south of the sanctuary for the addition of a driveway.

Over the following fifteen years, the church made significant additions to the pipe organ, installed the stained glass windows, paved the driveways and parking lot, and added additional land north of the education building. In 1988, the congregation completed a renovation of the education building and the construction of a connecting wing between it and the church.

Please note:

Copyright was transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

Access to digitized sound recordings may be limited to the reading room of the Bentley Historical Library, located on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan.

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