April 11, 1858
Our congregation was founded under the pastorate of the Rev. D. R. Latham, a Methodist Episcopal Church preacher from New York state. He was on his way to Kansas for his health when he arrived in the spring of 1857 and decided to stay due to the need in the area. He conducted services in Old Mission, Elk Rapids and Traverse City, often walking the distance between these parishes. The first meeting place in T.C. was the schoolhouse - a log cabin located where the Park Place Hotel now stands. Ours was the first congregation of any denomination formed and chartered in Traverse City.
Eight Pastors served between 1858 and 1867 when Hannah, Lay & Co. gave the land in the 400 block of Washington St. for a church, which was dedicated Oct. 13, 1867. It was a wooden structure, with seating for 400 people and a cost of $4,000. Later a steeple was added with a bell that used to call people to worship, announce deaths, proclaim marriages, and alert people about fires.
By 1891, 13 more Pastors had served the church, a typical Sunday having two services and two "class meeting" times - morning and evening. On January 4, 1898, the church was incorporated as "First Methodist Episcopal Church", and reincorporated on October 2, 1911 as "Central Methodist Church", because of its move to the present location. At this time the bell from the old church was installed in the tower of the State Bank building on Front Street. The building at 222 Cass Street was dedicated on June 22, 1913. The building cost: $63,000, with the Gethsemane stained glass window ( image at top), organ and altar area given as a gift.
In 1938 two continuing organizations were formed: the Women’s Society of Christian Service (now known as United Methodist Women), and Boy Scout Troop 36.
In November, 1944, the church reported "a budget of $11, 279.11 and 460 members, many of whom are serving their country in the Armed Forces." In 1950, the new Pastor instituted an office on the church premises and the church being "open" during the week.
The Centennial of the church was celebrated. A picture of the cake modeled after the church was on the front page of “The Record Eagle”. The article mentions a service and celebration on the actual date of the founding of the church. Renovations in the 1950's included a street level front entrance to the basement level, for easier access to the Fellowship Hall, a Crying Room, and the Mosaic Mural (by local artist Kenneth Krantz - see image below). Yokefellow Groups were formed out of the membership of 725; with attendance averaging 300 in the Sunday School and 383 in the church service.
1962 - present
1962 - The land South of the church was purchased and a new Education Wing (including church offices) was completed in 1966.
1963 - Memorial gift of Carillon Bells
1967 - Memorial gift of Holy Spirit [Dove] Stained Glass Window (local artist Paul Welch - see image above-right]
1969 - New Moller Organ (see image above-left, community ecumenical Church in the Park started.
1975 - Radio ministry began with Sunday morning worship broadcasts.
1981 - purchase of Bo-Gi (formerly American Legion Hall) across Cass for use as classrooms and additional activity space.
1983 - Monday, April 11 - 125th Anniversary celebrated. Central is a “Bread for the World” covenant church. Membership is 1,155. The mission trips began to expand from work camps with our Native Americans and in Appalachia to overseas Belize (1996); Zimbabwe (1998 and 2000), Haiti (2002, 2003) and Bolivia 2003. The sale of “Bo-Gi” property and purchase of property west of the church created the much needed additional parking spaces.
1985 - Stephen Ministry program began.
1993 - Renovations - the front and second floor - adding The Gathering Place, Library and street level foyer; the Fellowship Hall, Youth Rooms and more classroom space.
1997 - Chapel and Columbarium completed. Anonymous donation of the Good Shepherd stained glass window.
1999 - New organ 4 manual console dedicated.
1999 - CUMC received merit award for giving $302, 337.36 to Conference Missions
2002 - New Carillon dedicated.
2008 - 150 Years - Sesquicentennial Celebration.
History behind the Mosaic Mural
222 Cass Street Traverse City, Michigan 49684