EARLY HISTORY OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF SPRING
118 EAST EXCHANGE
On December 7, 1867, Brothers Cyrus B. Raymond, Phineas Baldwin, Moses Brown, William Penn, Benjamin Campbell and William Brown, and Sisters Mary E. Raymond, Lorinda Lee, Jane Hancock and Mary Ann Brown met to establish a Baptist testimony in the village of Spring Lake, organizing a church to be known as the First Baptist Church of Spring Lake.
The assembly "was to observe a covenant meeting monthly and celebrate the Lord's Supper bi-monthly, commencing on December 22, 1967". This was the first Baptist work to be established in Ottawa County.
In 1868 they hired their first pastor, Rev. James Monroe for a salary of $600.00 for his first year, and bought a lot on the southwest corner of Exchange and Meridian for their first church, the lot costing $300.00.
Hunter Savidge, although one of the signers of the articles of association of the Presbyterian Society, together with Robert Haire and George Hancock were members of the first board of trustees of this church.
It is said that Mr. Savidge's bringing George W. Christman to Spring lake to work in the Cutler & Savidge Mills is directly responsible for the survival of the Baptist Church in Spring Lake, so great was his influence over the years.
In the depressed state following the closing of the sawmills, many families moved away from Spring Lake, and the Baptist suffered such financial problems that it had to seek aid from the American Baptist Home Mission Society to stay alive.
However, it survived many difficulties, including the loss of its building in the great fire of 1893. A new church, costing $2,500.00 was built on the old site, which with remodeling and additions, is used today. This is the only one of the early churches which still occupies its first building site.
Created: 8 May 2012: