by JUDY REED
The old Swedish Baptist church was remembered Monday, when Algoma Township, in conjunction with the Algoma Township Historical Society, dedicated a memorial park where the church once stood.
The park, located on Grange Avenue, south of 13 Mile, is at the Algoma Township Cemetery, across from the current Algoma Baptist Church. The bell from the old church is part of the monument that was erected there this last week.
“We didn’t want to lose the history of the church,” Julie Sjogren, president of the Algoma Historical Society told the Cedar Springs Post recently.
The Swedish Baptist church was organized in 1903 and first met in a house in Sparta. In 1910, it moved to Algoma Township, on Grange, and held services in the church building owned by the United Brethren church. The name was later changed to Algoma Baptist.
In 1968, they purchased 20 acres across the street and built the existing building. In 1999, the old church building and property was donated to Algoma Township with hopes it could be restored, but it was too costly to renovate. So Algoma decided to create a park, memorializing the church and veterans at the same time.
The street side of the seven-foot monument memorializes the church with the bell, and the veteran brick courtyard side of the monument memorializes veterans, living or deceased.
On Monday, Memorial Day, the park was dedicated, with Rep. Tom Pearce on hand for the unveiling. Clerk Judy Bigney gave a history of the park, Sjogren recognized the donors, and Carl Lambert Friske shared words about the old church.
After the dedication, the township held memorial services there, and with representation from the C.E. Schumacher Rockford Memorial Post #3946; Boy Scout Troop #304, and 3rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry Co. F-Civil War. Guests of Honor included WWII POWs Russell Powell and Harold “Hap” Teesdale.