This beautiful stone church stands among the farmland between Manchester and Ann Arbor. The historical marker in front of it tells an amazing story and reads:
In 1840 the Reverend Friedrich Schmid of Ann Arbor organized the Evangelical German Bethel Congregation in Freedom Township. Schmid, a missionary pastor originally from Basel, Switzerland, frequently traveled to the township and held services in the Kuebler District School, one mile east of here. In 1849 Johannes and Louis Strieter deeded one acre of land to the congregation. Church members built a log church on the lot where they worshipped until 1857 when a frame building replaced it. That church stood just west of here. The church served until 1909 when the present structure was dedicated. Services were conducted only in German until 1926 when English was introduced into the Sunday school. German services officially ended in 1955. Today Bethel Church is a member of the United Church of Christ.
This Gothic Revival-style church, designed and built by Charles A. Sauer and Company of Ann Arbor, was dedicated on December 18, 1909. The Manchester Enterprise boasted that it was “one of the most complete church edifices in the state.” Earlier that year the congregation had agreed to build a new church of native granite. The church was constructed of fieldstone gathered by local farmers and then shaped, given a rock-face finish and laid by the masons in random ashlar form. The square belfry contains a two thousand-pound bell from the previous church, made by the Buckeye Bell Foundry in Cincinnati, Ohio. The stained glass windows were made by the Detroit Stained Glass Company. In 1965 the education wing was constructed.
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