History Of The Church
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Camden was organized on June 26, 1869. On November 15, 1869, the original Board of Trustees requested the pastor to make inquiries in regard to the style and cost of building a church. At later meetings, costs were discussed, a site selected, and building began. The church would be of brick, 36 x 54 feet, with a belfry 8 x 8 x12 ft. In 1872, a bell was selected at a cost of $300. The church debt was paid in full by August 1883, and a parsonage was built in 1889.
In the years between 1929-1931, there was discussion of building a new church, but little action. A small building fund was started, and then Rev. Joseph C. Rice came and things changed. Rev. Rice proved to be a Jack-of-all-trades and a master of them all. He was an engineer and architect. He could get the old church condemned and torn down, find a place to hold church services and help finance a loan. He could interest people to give of their goods and time. He was a leader, a good shopper and wrote endless letters to firms asking for bids and quotations. He knew what the church needed to be like to serve the community for now and in the future. There was a dedication service in December 1931, with Bishop Nicholson conducting this service. He was the pastor at Camden M.E. Church when the first building was finally paid off.
The Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church were united in 1968.
On the morning of December 25, 1984 tragedy stuck, the church was found totally engulfed in flames. A building committee was formed and the church arose from the ashes with donated time and funds from the community. Church services were held with the Montgomery church, and in the fall of 1986 we had our first worship service in the new church. Incorporated into the new church was artistic stained glass, depicting different scenes from the bible. The bell, which had been on a stand on the front lawn, was now put into a bell tower.
On Sunday, June 7, 1992, the dedication of our new building was held. David B. Nelson, Jr., a former pastor of the church, gave a dedication address. Pastor Fred Hamlin, the pastor at that time, conducted the dedication service.
The Future Is Upon Us
The past is behind us, many things we can be proud of, many things we wish we had done differently, many things made us want to go back to the past. It often seems that life was easier then, but it wasn't, many people have worked hard before us so that that our church and the Church Universal could be where it is today. There were others who left some things undone, which need to be done. This is where we come in. The future is upon us. One hundred years hence, will there still be a church, will it belong solely to the past? Change for the sake of change alone, is irresponsible. Change to make the Gospel relevant to the needs of mankind is our Christian responsibility. We owe a debt to the past, the people who have worked hard that the United Methodist Church of Camden, Michigan might exist for one hundred years. We thank them for their faith and works. We pledge ourselves to renew our faith and increase our work that the Church may not merely have stood for one hundred plus years, but, more important, that the Church may serve for the years of plus 100. For if we cease to serve we cease to be a Christian Church.
In the end, the Church, her laws, her forms of worship, her institutions, and ceremonies, will become one with the world in it's fulfillment. But we are not yet at the end. For the present we have to live in the tension of Church and world, Law and gospel, form and content, fact and potential. If we are going to be realistic, then we have also to be patient, and to act where we are with the means we have, even if some of these seem sadly imperfect. But this is a realism guided and strengthen by the Christian hope, the hope that all things come to their destined fulfillment in God.
In this faith we stand, taking our perspective from the past looking towards the future in anticipation and hope. We stand in the present on the launch pad, the future is upon us.
Rev. Karl L. Ziegler
Pastor from 1968-1969
List Of Ministers Serving The Camden Methodist Church
Father Issac Bennett 1869-1873 J.F. Orwick 1917-1918
C. Ellis 1873-1875 Stanley B. Niles 1918-1920
J.T. Idlings 1875-1878 John H. Leamon 1921-1921
D.D. Gillett 1878-1880 Miss Fern Wheeler 1921-1923
G.S. Barns 1880-1882 Joseph Grimes 1923-1925
Alfred F. Hart 1882-1883 R.W. Shepperd 1925-1926
N.H. Parsons 1883-1884 R.M. Lawrence 1926-1928
T.N. Nicholson 1884-1886 Joseph C. Rice 1928-1932
W.M. Paddock 1886-1887 Wayne H. Fleenor 1932-1934
E.D. Young 1887-1888 Harold Dixon 1934-1937
Thomas Wallace 1888-1888 Frederic M Clough 1937-1939
A. Clark 1888-1890 Paul W. Schanzlin 1939-1943
H.L. Rood 1890-1891 Allen H. Bartlett 1943-1645
G.N. Gillett 1891-1891 Dale B. Ward 1945-1952
G.C. Draper 1891-1892 Robert B. Florian 1952-1953
George Brown 1892-1894 Thomas Peters 1953-1960
N.S. Tuttle 1894-1895 David B. Nelson 1960-1962
G.W. Howe 1895-1896 Ralph L. Kline 1962-1965
L.A. Sevits 1896-1898 Robert L. Pumfrey 1965-1968
G.W. Tutill 1898-1900 Karl L. Zigler 1968-1969
George L. Mount 1900-1903 John H. Gurney 1969-1970
P.R. Keplinger 1903-1905 Joseph D. Huston 1970-1972
A.R. Farrar 1905-1906 Richard Huskey 1972-1974
P.A. Cross 1906-1907 J. Brian Selleck 1974-1976
John Clemens 1907-1908 Robert Stover 1976-1980
Russel D. Hopkins 1908-1908 Stephen Beach 1980-1983
A.W. Burns 1908-1912 Larry Rubingh 1983-1987
J.G. Phillips 1912-1914 Fred Hamlin 1987-1994
John W. Broxholm 1914-1917 Russel Longston 1994-1996
Diane Stone - Current Pastor