Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, May 6, 2012, pg. 16

There are several churches in Albion which are celebrating various anniversaries this year. One such church is the Albion Free Methodist which will be celebrating its 100th anniversary later this year. This denomination began meetings in Albion in August, 1912 under the direction of Rev. D. J. Van Antwerp of the Michigan Conference which had assigned him to Albion and Parma. One place that early meetings were held was in the Grand Army of the Republic Hall on E. Erie St. The December 5, 1912 Albion Recorder reported, "Free Methodist Meetings. The Free Methodists will hold gospel services in the GAR Hall second floor. Preaching Friday and Saturday evening. Rev. D. J. Van Antwerp will conduct the services."

House meetings were held at the home of John and Carrie Kirkbride, 1212 Adams St. It was here that the church was formally organized nine years later, on August 18, 1921. Original charter members were Edwin and Ada Logan, John and Carrie Kirkbride, and Addie Mitz. In an interesting sidelight, Carrie Kirkbride (1885-1946) was the first woman in Albion to register to vote after the 19th (Suffrage Amendment) was ratified in 1920.

The church met at the GAR Hall during until it was acquired by the Methodist Church. The FMs then moved across the street to the Women's Christian Temperance Union building (later called the Albion Community Building) next to Consumer's Power on E. Erie St. In 1930 they moved to the first place of their own, a house on the northeast corner of E. Chestnut and N. Ionia Sts.

A new church was erected at 214 E. Chestnut St. in 1939-40. It was at this church that the Rev. W. Dale Cryderman (1916-2005) began his long ministry in 1940, serving here during the War years. He eventually became a Bishop of the Free Methodist Church. A photographer for the Detroit Times by profession, Cryderman frequently returned to Albion afterwards however, to serve as photographer for the Union Steel Messenger, just down the street from the Church. For the record, Dr. Lawrence Heidenreich was the official dentist of the Cryderman family. Yours truly last saw the Bishop here in Albion on a Sunday evening when he attended one of our Albion Community Band concerts with his family at the Victory Park Pavilion a year or so before his death. His grandson was a guest conductor at some of the concerts held here.

Throughout its 100 year history, the Albion FM church has had thirty-six pastors. Let's see: 100 years divided by 36 pastors equals one pastor every 2.777 years. With decimal numbers like that, who could argue? The list of their names and the year or years they served can be found on page 46 of the 2007 book "Passionately Building the Kingdom" by Richard Roth, himself a minister here in 1969. This interesting book is still available at the Spring Arbor church headquarters. Congratulations to the current pastor, Rev. Robert Bolton who holds the record of longest serving, now at eleven years (he came in 2001).

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a circular for a tent crusade (a popular evangelistic tool of the 1950s) being conducted by the Albion Free Methodist Church during the week of June 10-29, 1952 on N. Clark St. on the future site of our present National Guard Armory. This was during the pastorate of Rev. Charles G. Williams. The speaker was Evangelist Rev. O. R. Tessaro of Pittsburgh, PA. The reverse side of the circular declares: "Hear this convert to Protestantism. How he was spared when an express train cut his car in two. How his mother took him to Europe to get him away from Protestantism. Mr. Tessaro is a modern day miracle. Each Saturday night 7:45 Divine Healing Service, following the Bible pattern set forth in James 5."

Congratulations Albion Free Methodist on your 100th anniversary.

June 1952 promotion of tent crusade featuring Evangelist Rev. O. R. Tessaro

Reverse side of promotional sheet


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