(Coopersville Observer, 26 October 1934)

Great plans are being made by members of the Allendale Wesleyan Methodist church for the celebration attendant upon the 80th anniversary of the founding of the society. The date of the celebration has been set for Saturday, October 27th, as was announced in the Observer last week, and will be in the nature of a Homecoming as well as an anniversary celebration.
There will be morning, afternoon and evening meetings, with dinner and supper being served in the Allendale Farmers club hall by the ladies of the church. The morning session will begin at 10:30 and will be opened by the present pastor, Rev. Wm. Gearhart, who will welcome the many guests who are expected. This will be followed by an old fashion class meeting conducted by the class leader, T. E. Hubbell. Throughout the morning program the old time hymns of the church will be sung.
Rev. C. S. Rennells of Brighton, the oldest living former pastor of the church, will deliver the afternoon address. Mrs. Frank Sheridan has prepared a very interesting history of the church which will be read. The old choir will sing a special number and there will be other musical selections. The afternoon program will be brought to a close with a missionary address by Mrs. George Laug, who is the only missionary ever sent out by the church. Mrs. Laug who was formerly Miss Mildred Hubbell, has served for five years in Chile, South America, and also five years in Japan.
The evening address will be given by the Rev. Fred Vander Weide, also a former pastor of the church, now located in Grand Rapids.
The public is invited to attend this Home-Coming, but it is especially urged that any one who has ever attended this church make a special effort to attend. The church has been newly decorated for the occasion, and all will be in readiness by Saturday to welcome visitors.


Rev. Albert Maxfield, father of the late Gregg Maxfield of Coopersville, and grandfather of Mrs. Gertie Comstock, organized the First Wesleyan Methodist Society in Allendale about the year 1854. This was only five years after the township had been organized, and was twelve years after the first settlers, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Roberts, had arrived in the locality. Prior to this time the Methodist society was organized with nine members, but later upon the organization of the new society, the two groups merged.
The first meeting were held in the Red schoolhouse in the year 1854, and in the fall of the next year the annual conference appointed G. A. Olmstead preacher in charge. In the next twenty years there were a number of pastors including Levi J. Francisco, Father Darling, D. A. Gray, L. C. Hudson, B. H. Brundige, A. S. Worden, Ira Jones, G. W. Townsend, A. N. Hudson, R. H. Ross, and Joel Selleck.
J. D. Pierson, who formerly resided in Allendale, can recall some of these men who received as little as $50.00 a year, and preached in Allendale every other Sunday, walking to and from their other appointments at Bauer and Olive.
During the pastorate of Rev. Brundige about the year 1865, a parsonage was erected but it was not until 1875 when Rev. Wm Wing became pastor, that efforts were made to build a house of worship, all previous services having been held in the schoolhouse. Several hundred dollars were subscribed, and at the dedicatory service at which Rev. D. S. Hinney preached the sermon, about $300, the balance of the debt, was raised. Two years later, a barn was erected on the property, along with the church and parsonage, as were several sheds to house the teams.
In the fall of 1878 Allendale was host to the Michigan Conference of the Church, and the following spring a new bell purchased in Cincinnati at a cost of $182, and which weighed 492 pounds, was bought for the use of the church. From time to time improvements were made on both the parsonage and church, but the buildings are basically the same as originally constructed.
The first camp meeting in Allendale was held during the ministry of Rev. Ross, and since that time revival services and camp meetings have been the means of adding many new members to the congregation.
Following the pastorate of Rev. Wing, those who served the Allendale circuit were: V. M. Thompson, Harvey Johnson, David E. Wade, John L. Bush, Isaiah Martin, E. T. Gray, Julias N. King, Albert A. Alberson, Sylvester J. Young, J. K. McCreery, Charles S. Rennells, George D. Kellogg, Arthur J. Karker, Milo H. Kingsbury, Louis Clark, Roy J. Ives, Fred Vander Weide, F. J. Wilson, Rev. Smith.
E. E. Smead also holds unique record in the officiary of the church, in that he was clerk for over thirty years.
The church has served the community well, and is to be congratulated on having reached its 80th birthday. We trust that at some future time we shall be able to give a more detailed history of the church and its struggles for existence.

Transcriber: ES
Created: 29 May 2009