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About Us

Church History

FBC of Cedar Springs has been a part of Cedar Springs since 1859, just three years after the founding of Cedar Springs in 1856. We are active in our community spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The first church to be organized in Cedar Springs was the Baptist Church. It was organized on February 12, 1859, with 29 members. This organization was known as the Northern Portion of the Baptist Church of Laphamville (now Rockford). In reply to a written request from the Cedar Springs group, the Baptist Church of Laphamville voted unanimously to grant letters of dismissal to the brethren and sisters named for the purpose of organizing a church in the locality of Cedar Springs. Of the original charter members of the church, one couple, Chester and Betsy Stoddard, have had Cedar Springs Baptist Church descendents in the church ever since. In 1966, there were still great, great, great, grandchildren of this couple attending the Baptist Church and Sunday School. At the first meeting of the new church the -'Articles of Faith" were read and adopted and the name "First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs" was chosen. Elder F. Prescott acted as moderator and N. R. Hill as clerk. The meetings were held in the old log school house across the street to the east. This log house was the first school in Cedar Springs and was very near the corner of Main and Muskegon Streets. In November 1863 a permanent pastor was hired when the Rev. A. Wellman became pastor. Among the first ministers were Rev. J. Bicknell, Rev. N. Stillwell, and Rev. Charles Oldfield. Elder Charles Oldfield was a very popular minister in the Baptist Church from 1866-68. He was a lover of fast horses. Guy Bailey wrote to Beuna Bailey with the following story about Rev. Oldfield: "He never raced his horses only in friendly competition. Around 1900, he took his valuable stallion named Intensity to Howard City to a race. One of the Howard City business men had a fast horse too. Everyone thought the Howard City man's horse would win the race because he was fitted for a race. Intensity was hooked to an old high wheeled sulky and the other horse was on a rubber tired sulky. Elder Oldfield, with his chin whiskers parting in the wind, and before a good sized crowd, drove the half mile track and won by about 200 feet. Someone asked Elder Oldfield how fast his horse could go and he replied: "I think I could drive him a mile in less than 2.08 if it were necessary'." In 1868 during Rev. Oldfield's ministry, the Baptist Church was re-built near the southwest comer of Main and Muskegon Streets. It was built at a cost of $4000. It is said that in the S.E.cornerstone of the church was placed, at the time of its construction, a Bible, a copy of the Church Covenant, and a list of the names of the charter members. On December 17, 1868, the first worship service was held in the new church. Rev. Oldfield's house was located approximately where the Baptist Church south parking lot is now. Rev. Oldfield was followed for ten months by Rev. J. G. Spooner. Rev. Spooner retired from his profession and with his brother, J. A. Spooner, engaged in the mercantile business in Cedar Springs. Spooner was succeeded by the Rev. J. Payne. (Payne School was named after him). In October 1872, the Rev. Oldfield again took charge and remained as minister until 1881. The first issue of the Clipper in 1869 had announced that on Christmas Eve, the Cedar Springs Baptist Church was filled to overflowing and that presents had been distributed to the Sabbath school children. The center for all social activity for the Baptist Church for many years was the Glenn Wightman farm. If a new minister came to town and needed a place for his children to stay until their home was complete, etc., they often stayed at the Wightman's. Many social events were held at the Wightman yard on summer days. The interior of the Baptist Church was remodeled at least three times to increase Sunday School rooms. A basement was built, hardwood floors were laid in the church auditorium,and a furnace replaced the two large wood stoves which were formerly used. During a severe storm on July 25,1901, the church was struck by lightning which demolished the tall steeple. The steeple was never rebuilt but was replaced by a cupola. In 1917, the church was wired for electricity, which replaced the former kerosene and gas lamps. A new parsonage was built in 1918. The former one had been sold to William Pollock. In 1926 when the Union Public School was razed to make way for the new school (School on the hill), the entire Baptist Church, as well as other buildings in the village, was turned over to the school for use as class rooms. The desks and chairs from the school were put into the church for class use and had to be put away regularly to allow the church to hold its services.

In the early 194O's, a fire caused damage to the church building. Services were held in the high school building across the street until the proper repares were made. The church inaugurated a new Sunday School bus in January 1945 for the purpose of bringing children in the rural areas in to the services. The bus, bought from the Detroit street railway system, seated 25 and provided a number of straphangers. Bob Nason, Art Ploeg and Don Stevenson were on the committee to obtain the bus and it was paid for by Sunday School offerings over a period of four months. The Sunday School and Church continue to maintain a bus ministry in the community to bring in both children and adults to Sunday School and Church and more busses were purchased in later years. The cupola on the church was removed when the church was remodeled in 1959. At that time a new three story educational unit was built onto the back of the remodeled and enlarged auditorium. Later the old basement was also remodeled. The present structure was built in 1978 . The old D. C. Lyle House, later owned by John Rau, adjacent on the north to the church was purchased by the Baptist Church and used as a meeting place and classrooms. It was called Beth Haven. Later the house was razed and a church parking lot was made there. In recent years, the Baptist Church has done extensive remodeling, including a new all purpose building attached to the church. During its 117 years of existence (as of 1975), the First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs has been served by thirty-two pastors including Rev. Fay Demarest who began his ministry at the church in 1952. He was replaced by the Rev. Fredric A. Carbon who lived with his family at 42 West Muskegon Street.

The information above has been copied from the "Cedar Springs Story" pages 114 & 116 dated 1975.

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