Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Church That Wouldn't Give Up

The Union Church in Northern Indiana is an example of a congregation that wouldn't give up. The church was organized in 1858 by a group of 40 people in Marshall County who took turns hosting meetings in their homes and barns. The first meeting house was built in 1871 southwest of Plymouth. The congregation grew rapidly and established a mission point in Starke County which was organized as a congregation in 1895 but was closed in 1955. A second new congregation was established in Plymouth.

There was a major loss of members in the 1890s when a number of families emigrated to the North Dakota area. Another rapid decline took place during the 1920s. Most of the members had been farmers and they began to move in large numbers to Plymouth and South Bend. The decline was so great that the congregation was disbanded in 1929.

The empty church building was maintained and used for occasional gatherings, however by 1946 it had been decided to sell the property at auction. The night before the auction, a group of persons who wanted to keep the building and reopen it as a church ... but it was too late to call off the auction.

It was agreed to split the land and the building so that they would be sold separately. Most bidders were interested in the land. The building was auctioned first and sold to the group who wanted to reopen the church. This made the land worth very little to the other bidders and the Union group was then able to purchase the land as well.

While a new fellowship addition has been added, the original building has since been designated as a historical site in Marshall County.

Source: Planting the Faith in a New Land