The current Blue Water Free Methodist Church and Harbor Impact Ministries are the result of a long, historical journey that has brought three Free Methodist Churches together to meet the needs of the community. These three churches are the First Free Methodist Church of Port Huron, Kimball FMC and the Blue Water Free Methodist established in Marysville. Here is that journey.
Port Huron First Free Methodist
Port Huron has a very colorful beginning, despite many discouragements in the first efforts to establish a work here.
1884: One of the first attempts to establish a Free Methodist Church in Port Huron was made by Reverend Myron DeVoist, a pastor on the Richmond and Bay City circuit. Port Huron has a very colorful beginning, despite many discouragements in the first efforts to establish a work here.East Michigan Conference of the Free Methodist Church holds its first revival in a grove on Military Street near the Grand Trunk RR yards. A tent was erected to hold the revival. The second night of the meetings a howling mob of men and boys, accompanied by yelping dogs, set fire to the tent and pulled down another tent that served as a sleeping area. The meetings continued for about five weeks under constant police protection.
1887: Reverend S.W. Stone, Memphis Free Methodist pastor, organized a short-lived society in Port Huron. By 1897, it was no longer listed in the East Michigan Conference appointments.
1904: Reverend Charles H. Sage, over 80 years of age, retires to Port Huron. He begins to hold prayer meetings. On February 6-8, 1904, District Elder, S.W. Stone, held the first quarterly meeting and organized a society. Initially, meetings were held in the south end of the city in a rented hall. Mr. A.H. Kresge, manager of the Port Huron Kresge store, Mrs. Kresge, and their daughter Mrs. C.H. (Margarette) Sage comprised the whole membership.
1905: On July 23rd a Sunday School was organized in the Sage's home. The group then decided to meet in the Seymour Pratt home on Elk Street. (The foundation of this home presently help support the Blue Water Bridge.) This also became the meeting place for Sunday services and prayer meetings.
1906: Reverend Sage purchased an old German Lutheran Church on Elmwood Street for $650. He used his own money to do so.
1908: On May 24th the church and parsonage were dedicated debt-free by Bishop Burton Jones. Sadly Rev. Sage passed away on April 24th 1908.
1923: A new parsonage is built under the supervision of Pastor A.L. Brown.
1926: Pastor M.D. Ormston supervises the remodel and enlargement of the church.
1927: On October 27, 1927 Bishop A.D. Zahniser rededicated the church.
Friendship Class 1945
1952: A new Fellowship Hall is constructed at the back of the property of Elmwood and 10th Avenue.
1968: In April of this year a groundbreaking service is held to mark the start of the building campaign to build a new church at the corner of 10th and Elmwood.
1969: In April, after a year of construction, Bishop W.S. Kendall dedicated the new Free Methodist Church home.
1978: Under the leadership of Pastor Richard Rolfe, the church purchased a new parsonage on Woodstock Drive.
1992: On February 9th the Church held a mortgage burning service for the church grounds. Free and clear.
2004: The Port Huron church celebrated 100 years of service to the community.
2009: The Church faced its biggest obstacle to remaining at the current site. The state and federal government issued plans to expand the bridge plaza which included the property at 10th and Elmwood. The Port Huron society was being asked to move. Meetings with the Marysville Free Methodist Church were held to discuss the possibility of a merger and move to another site or facility.
Kimball Free Methodist Church
1911: At the Annual District meeting in August 1911 Brown City and Kimball were put together in one circuit. (More research is being done into this historical connection.)
Kimball FMC 1975
Marysville Blue Water Free Methodist
The church was started by Brother and Sister Russell Ford and Sister Gilroy in the South Park area of Port Huron. It began with Sunday School services that were held in the Lincoln School in the afternoon. When it outgrew this location and lot was purchased in the same general area and permission was sought to build a church on this lot. Before the the church was built a new location was obtained on Ravenswood Road that was much more suitable for the new venture.
1945: Sister Margaret Peiper assumed direction of the Sunday School as requested by Supt. S.R. Whims. She continued in this position until her husband Rev. Ralph Peiper was discharged from military service and was appointed to the church by Annual Conference as pastor in August of 1946.
1946: Sunday services are moved from a neighboring school to the basement church on Ravenswood. This when the Ravenswood Road Free Methodist started its ministry in their final location.
1947: Kimball was added to this circuit by the Annual Conference of 1947 and remained so until its closure.
1959: The top floor of the Marysville church is added.
Cornerstone of Blue Water FMC
2009: Pastor Rich George of Marysville and Pastor Elden Lee of Port Huron begin meetings that would eventually to the two congregations joining together to become one society. The two pastors remained together for almost a year with Pastor Lee retiring.
2009: The two societies voted to merge and seek out another location to better serve the community and the needs of its members.
2010: The Sparlingville Elementary School is purchased from the Port Huron Area School District with funds received from the sale of property taken in the Blue Water Bridge Plaza expansion project. A building committee was selected and the facility was remodeled and repurposed to fit the needs of the church. There was a caravan from the old church to the "new" one in April of that year and a dedication ceremony was held. Harbor Impact Ministries was created a social ministry of the church and opened its doors to public in June of that same year.
This is the current Blue Water FM Church
opened in April of 2010.
Harbor Impact Ministries (HIM) opened in June 2010 and has served the community continuously through 100 Impact Days!