History of St. Andrew's United Church of Christ
St. Andrew's is celebrating 132 years of worship in Dexter, Michigan.
The First Records 1875 to 1883
St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ began as a German Lutheran Church, organized in July 1875 with a membership of 22. Rev. M. Graupner of Columbus, Ohio was engaged to preach and services were held at 2pm in the Baptist Church. Services for the Lutheran Church were then held in the Methodist Episcopal Church after the Baptist Church was remodeled in 1876. From the “Historical Sketch of St. Paul’s Church, Chelsea” it is noted that the Rev. Graupner served as pastor there for two years. For a period of seven years, from 1876 until 1883, nothing has been found on the activities of the German Lutheran Church in Dexter. Some of the books containing the early history of the church were burned when the home of Jacob Heller was destroyed by fire. He was for many years secretary of the congregation.
The First Building 1883 and Rev. Gottlieb Robertus
On March 1, 1883 a meeting was held for the purpose of organizing as a congregation. Anxious to erect their own church, on April 26, 1883, they purchased the Hollis property. This property was located on Ann Arbor Street at Fourth Street and was known, at that time, as “Piety Hill.” A building contract was let to Benedict B. Williams, a local contractor, for $2,125. The old house that stood on the Hollis property was moved away and stones drawn in for the foundation of the new building. On May 13, 1883 the German Lutheran Society was incorporated. On June 3, 1883 the cornerstone was laid with exercises held in the German language. A box containing an account of the organization of the society, rules of government, names of the families connected with the church, a catechism and some German religious papers were placed in the cornerstone. By August the 32’ x 50’ frame was up and enclosed, the blinds put on, the spire nearly completed and the first coat of paint applied. The exterior was painted white, the blinds green. The inside walls were also white, “hard finished.” The seats of pine finished with a hard oil polish were trimmed with walnut. The octagonal pulpit was made of pine and cherry. The choir occupied a handsome gallery because “Lutherans do not follow the modern practice of placing the choir near the pulpit as most churches do now.” The seating capacity of the new edifice was about 250. Dedication took place on Sunday, October 14, 1883 with the Rev. Gottlieb Robertus as pastor. The walls were beautifully decorated with flowers and evergreens. Covering the pulpit were wreaths and bouquets. Suspended above the pulpit was a large anchor, the Christian symbol of immovable firmness, hope and patience, the symbol found frequently in the catacombs and on ancient Christian gems. It is one of the most ancient symbols of the Blessed Saviour and is always shown so that it forms a cross.
The Origin of the Name St. Andrews circa 1884
It is not known exactly when the church came to be called St. Andrew’s. Saint Andrew was an apostle and martyr of the first century and a the patron of Russia, Scotland and the Ecumenical patriarchate. According to Tradition, St. Andrew was crucified on an X shaped cross, known as St. Andrew’s Cross. St. Andrew and his brother Simon (St. Peter) were fishermen whom Jesus told to leave their nets and become “fishers’ of men.” They were born in the town of Bethsaida, in Galilee. After Christ was crucified, Andrew became an apostle (missionary) and preached the gospel in several parts of Greece and in lands on the Black Sea in what is now a part of Russia. Andrew finally became a martyr (one who voluntarily suffers pain or death rather than deny his faith or ideas) for his religion and according to tradition was crucified somewhere in Greece.
The first funeral service held from the new St. Andrew’s Church occurred on February 29, 1884 for John Wiedman. Mr. and Mrs. Gottlieb Wallenmeir were said to be the first to be united in marriage at St. Andrew’s in 1884. According to the Church records, the first person to be baptized was Walter Gottlieb Helber on December 1, 1883. The first confirmation class from the new building occurred on Palm Sunday, March 29, 1885. Eda Bross, a member of that class lived to be 101 years old. There were fourteen confirmands in this class. The Rev. Carl C. Haag preached his first sermon at the church in July 1888. The congregation at this time consisted of about thirty families. Individual membership had not yet been introduced. The head of the family was the only voting member and paid for the entire family. Most of the congregation at this time consisted of farmers. In the spring and fall they traveled to church on roads that were nearly impassable. However, attendance, as a rule, was very good. For many years the men sat on one side of the church and the women on the other.
1888 to 1895 Rev. C.C. Haag and the Day School
The Rev. Haag drove his horse “Julia” between Dexter and Chelsea, preaching in both churches.The pastor’s salary at this time was $300 a year, $90 of which was given by three families. The first winter of the Rev. Haag’s pastorate, the Day School was held in the basement of the Methodist Church, five days a week for six months previous to confirmation, from 9 o’clock in the morning until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The second winter classes were held in a room of an empty house with seventeen children in attendance. The following March 19, 1891 the church was filled to overflowing for the confirmation of students from this group. A banner above the pulpit read “Lord Jesus for Thee I Live, for Thee I Suffer, for Thee I Die” with two anchors and two crosses on either side. At a yearly meeting in November 1891 it was voted that every member pay 25cents a month to wipe out the church debt. Ground was broken in October 1894 and a school house building 18’ x 28’ was erected by Fred Pfitzenmeir on the west end of the church lot fronting on Ann Arbor Street. Classes in German were open to any adult citizen in the Village of Dexter as well as the children.
The First Social and Fair 1891
The Frauenverin or Ladies Aid Society was organized in 1891 with a small membership. The following was reported in February 1891 in the “Evangelical Kirchenblatt”: “In Dexter, a Ladies Aid was organized last month, the aim, of which by monthly free will offerings and needlecraft, to do their share in upbuilding of the congregation. Members meet every first Wednesday of the month at two o’clock. Two officers were elected, President, Mrs. Gretzinger and treasurer, Mrs. William Andres.” They gave their first social and fair in March of that year at Oliver C. Smiths General Store, charging an admission of ten cents, including supper.
1895 to 1896 Rev. Gottlieb Eisen
After six and one-half years in the Chelsea-Dexter Parish, the Rev. Haag left to go to St. John’s Church in Port Huron on January 22, 1895. The Rev. Gottlieb Eisen became the next pastor. He purchased the Rev. Haag’s horse “Julia.” His pastorate was brief, from 1895 to 1896, due to his acceptance to a call as superintendent of the German Protestant Home for Orphans and Old People in Detroit.
1897 to 1902 Rev. Louis Koelbing
Next to serve the Chelsea-Dexter Parish was the Rev. Louis Koelbing. Four years after his arrival, both the Dexter and Chelsea churches decided to have their own resident pastors. St. Andrew’s purchased the house and lot adjoining their property from Mrs. Mary Eagan at a cost of $850 in November 1900. The ladies of the church made a quilt in 1901 of twenty-five 12” squares of white material with a flower of eleven petals on each block. A name was outlined in red on each petal and corner of the block and the blocks were feather stitched together in red. A charge of ten cents a name was made and tickets were sold on the quilt. Walker Brothers Bakery & Shoe Store held the lucky number and after the deaths of these owners, Mrs. Joseph Steeb acquired it. (Sixty-two years later, in 1963 it was displayed at the church.) In August 1901 the Young Peoples League began meeting with the pastor. Their records of meetings were written in German until 1917. At this time the young people voted for English church services twice a month. They agreed to purchase fifty new English song books. In 1901 the Rev. Koelbing family moved to Dexter, occupying the parsonage about a year; ill health compelling him to move to a more agreeable climate. He left for Endora, Kansas in 1902.
1902 to 1909 Rev. John B. Meister
The Rev. John B. Meister began services at St. Andrew’s on April 16, 1902 and was installed on June 8. He was considered the first resident pastor. He was born in Switzerland in 1854 and came to Michigan when twenty-one years old. He taught school a number of years at Adrian before taking charge of churches in Rogers Corners and Dexter. While in Dexter he emphasized religous instruction of children and stressed the value of music in the church service. During his ministry the church debt was finally paid. A Sunday School picnic was held at Base Lake on September 3, 1903. In 1906 the Leader reported: “The Young Peoples Society of St. Andrew’s gave an oyster supper February 1 at sun time at the residence of Edwin Haas two miles south of Dexter.” In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Ladies Aid Society, the Rev. Meister stated the ladies had raised $1,000 for the benefit of the church. On a Saturday evening in November of that year the ladies served “a good supper for 15¢ in a vacant store next to Fred Walkers Bakery.” On Easter Sunday in April 1906 a reunion service was held at the church for all members added to St. Andrew’s by confirmation since the founding of the church.
25th Anniversary 1908
St. Andrew’s celebrated its 25th anniversary on October 25, 1908 with three services, one at 9:30 a.m.; one at 2 p.m. and another at 7 p.m. Addresses were delivered by former pastors, Rev. Robertus of Warrenton, Missouri; Rev. Haag of Port Huron and Rev. Eisen of Rogers Corners. Former pastor Rev. Koelbing, living in Enders, Kansas was not able to attend, but sent a letter of congratulations. The Rev. Neumann of Detroit also addressed the congregation. The choir of the Bethlehem Church of Ann Arbor sang and a supper was served by the Ladies Aid in the school room. A new bell was installed at St. Andrew’s on January 12, 1908 by Boggs & Miles, contractors in Dexter. Money was donated by a parish member, Gottlieb Benz, for the purchase of the bell from the famous E. W. Vanderzen Bell Foundry in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dedication was held on February 2 when the bell was rung for the first time.
1909 to 1916 Rev. Karl Buff
The Ladies Aid Society continued to raise money for the church by their various suppers, concerts, bazaars and fairs. In March 1909 a fair took place at the Dexter Opera House, a large frame building once located on the present site of the Gulf Oil Station. Entertainment was furnished by the choir of the Bethlehem Church of Ann Arbor and by the North Lake Band. Featured was a grab bag, twice emptied, from which they cleared $100. A Sunday School picnic was held on July 5, 1909 in Birketts Grove north of the village on the old Dexter property. On August 1, 1909 the Rev. Meister left Dexter to supervise the Evangelical Orphans and Old Peoples Home in Detroit. At this time there were 100 children and 20 old people at the home. He held this position for 15 years, retiring in 1924. The Rev. Karl Buff accepted a call from the St. Andrew’s congregation and moved his family from Elmore, Ohio on January 1, 1910. It was during his pastorate that English services were introduced for the first time and many improvements were made in the church building. The ladies held their annual supper at the Dexter Opera House on October 7, 1911 to help meet expenses of the improvements. The menu consisted of: fried chicken, biscuits, brown bread, baked beans, pickles, celery, cake, jello, honey and donuts. The price charged was 25¢ for adults and 15¢ for children under 14 years of age.
Building Improvements 1913 to 1915
During the summer of 1913 the Rev. Buff paid a visit to his old home in Germany at which time the Rev. Albert A. Schoen, then pastor at Chelsea, ministered to St. Andrew’s. During this year the old unsightly stoves in the church were replaced by a furnace. The original plain glass windows were removed during the summer of 1915 and replaced with art glass windows, donated in memory of departed loved ones and bearing their names. The iris, the main flower in these windows, portrays the sorrow of the Virgin Mary for the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The interior of the church was redecorated and a beautiful crucifix placed on the altar by friends at this time.
1917 to 1920 Rev. Herman Schoettle
In October 1916 the Rev. Buff submitted his resignation effective December 1, to accept a call to St. Paul’s Church at Taylor Center in Wayne County. The Rev. Herman Schoettle and his wife Selma from Newburg, Indiana came to St. Andrew’s in April 1917. During this time the Sunday School was modern ized by dividing various groups into departments and the first Sunday School teachers training class was instituted under his leadership. A furnace was installed during this time in the parsonage. During his pastorate it was felt that more English had to be introduced in church services as well as other departments. A Jugendverein or League of Young People was organized during his pastorate for the purpose of promoting Christian Fellowship, mutual help fulness and extension of the Church of Christ’s Kingdom. They sponsored family night, put on an annual play and were active in the Federation of Young People for many years. By 1918 there were thirty members of the Young Peoples League. They purchased testaments for boys leaving for service during World War I. During this time they also purchased trimmings and electric bulbs for the Christmas tree. In 1919 they voted to pay one-third of the cost of the telephone at the pastor’s home and pledged money toward a library at Elmhurst College. They collected dues at their meetings and sponsored money-making events such as ice cream socials. The Rev. Schoettle left Dexter in 1920 to become pastor in a church in Ohio.
1921 to 1924 Rev. Joseph F. Krueger
On January 2, 1921 the Rev. Joseph F. Krueger preached his first sermon at St. Andrew’s and made this his permanent charge on April 3. Of special interest to St. Andrew’s was the observance of the Golden Jubilee on June 5, 1921 of Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois, the college where students prepare for the ministry. During the residency of Pastor Krueger the young people installed electric lights in the parsonage and church, the parsonage was painted and new floors laid. Before leaving for a parish in Madison Township, Woodlawn, Indiana, the Rev. Krueger preached his farewell sermon on November 9, 1924.
1925 to 1928 Rev. Christopher W. Weiss The Rev.
Christopher W. Weiss came to the parish on March 15, 1925. After a year, his health began to fail. Three times he submitted his resignation but each time the congregation would not accept it. The Young Peoples League became a very active organization in 1925. For Mothers’ Day they purchased 100 pansy plants, presenting them to the mothers at church. Among their events, plays were given for the benefit of the entire community as well as church members. They assumed responsibility at this time for paying the electric light bill. In October 1925, they held a fair at the Opera House selling candy, popcorn and dry goods, making a profit of $22.23. They voted to donate $100 to remodel the schoolhouse in December 1926. Christmas cards were sold that year at a profit of $51.96. The Ladies Aid used facilities at the Masonic Hall for the first time in February 1926 for their annual bazaar and chicken supper. The following year they prepared and served their first sauerkraut supper. The menu consisted of sauerkraut, knoeffles, potatoes, roast pork, applesauce, pickles, brown and white bread, mince and apple pie and coffee. In 1926 the Rev. Weiss presented a new plan, to be tried for a year for collecting dues. Envelopes were purchased in which dues could be paid in a lump sum if desired. It was suggested that 10¢ be paid each month or $1.20 for a year. That same year, in November, a program for fathers and sons was given at the Macabee Hall. Readings and a play were presented.
Work was well under way by March 1927 on a Parish Hall, annexed to the rear of the church building at an approximate cost of $3,000. Much of the labor was donated by the members, thus reducing the cost. Financial help was given by the Young Peoples League and the Ladies Aid Society. Dedication took place on September 4, 1927. The Parish Hall was arranged to accomodate several Sunday School classes. It was equipped with a kitchen and made an ideal place for social gatherings, meetings and for serving dinners.
The Rev. Weiss died on August 8, 1928. He was born in 1865 in Steinhaus, Germany and came with his family to America as a boy, settling in South Bend, Indiana.
1928 to 1932 Rev. Wilhelm Gottlob Mauch
On December 1, 1928, the Rev. Wilhelm Gottlob Mauch became the new pastor. Shortly after this the little frame school was sold and removed. In its place the pastor planted a large flower bed and the grounds were improved by the removal of unsightly trees. In the 1930’s the ladies made a quilt similar to the one made in 1901 except the petals in each flower in the blocks were all one color. It was purchased by Mrs. Sophia Osterman, a member who had crocheted the lace on the communion table cover. The material for the cover was given by Mrs. George Peters. At another time, probably earlier, the ladies made a quilt with trees embroidered on the blocks. Names were written on the limbs of the trees. During the pastorate of the Rev. Mauch a mimeographed monthly parish paper was sent to every family member to help increase interest in work of the church. His wife served as organist while at St. Andrew’s. The Rev. W. G. Mauch, his wife Emma and sons Herbert and Theodore left St. Andrew’s in February 1932 to go to Rogers Corners.
1932 to 1941 Rev. Albert Anton Schoen and St. Andrew’s 50th Anniversary
In April 1932 the Rev. Albert Anton Schoen came to Dexter. The Young People League and the Sunday School placed a bulletin board on Ann Arbor Street. Early in 1933 the men of the church excavated under part of the Parish Hall and installed a furnace. The Brotherhood was organized on May 23, 1933 with a membership of twenty. For many years, off and on, a choir had been in existence and was re-organized by the young people. Mrs. Schoen served as organist and choir director for sometime. Later, students attending the University of Michigan School of Music would play. The 50th anniversary of the church was celebrated October 15, 1933. It was reported that during the first fifty years 400 persons were baptized, 100 were married and 180 burials took place. In 1938, over a period of three months, the church was redecorated and remodeled at a cost of $1,500. An indirect lighting system was installed, a Wangerin pipe organ, with chimes, was placed in the balcony once used by the choir, and a new altar with the “Last Supper” in relief carved in wood was placed in a niche built for that purpose. The organ and altar were donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Bleicher. The pulpit and combined baptismal font and lectern were gifts of Mrs. Anna Hagen and Miss Emile Zahn, in memory of their parents and grandparents. Pedestals were given by Mrs. August Lesser, Matthew Klumpp and George Steeb. Reopening services were held on February 13, 1938. Dinner and lunch was served in the hall at 25¢ a plate. On Sunday, June 26, 1938 members filled the church at services to celebrate with the Rev. Schoen his 45th anniversary of ordination into the ministry. Mrs. Carl Mast read letters from the Village President, Dr. A. G. Wall and from the superintendent of schools, A. D. VanAken. Joseph Schnebelt, owner of the Dexter Bakery, brought congratulations from the Kiwanis Club. During a period of three months, when Rev. Schoen was ill the Rev. Paul Eisen, Mrs. Schoen’s brother, acted as assistant pastor. After 48 years in the ministry, 37 of those years in Washtenaw County, the Rev. Albert A. Schoen retired. He remained in Dexter building a home on the south side of Forest Street near Baker Street.
St. Andrews Evangelical Church Officially 1943
The Evangelical Synod of North America and the Reformed Church in the United States merged to become the Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1940. St. Andrew’s, originally called the Evangelical Lutheran Church, became a part of the German Evangelical Synod of North America when independent Evangelical Lutheran Churches of Washtenaw County affiliated with another denomination in 1934. In 1943 St. Andrew’s constitution was brought up to date and from then on they were known as the St. Andrew’s Evangelical Church.
1941 to 1948 Rev. Edward Drews
On July 27, 1941, the Rev. Edward Drews was installed as pastor. During that year more excavating was done under the church proper and the parish Hall. An oil furnace was installed and a dining room, kitchen and utility room added in this area. Membership was increased by 50% during the ministry of the Rev. Drews and a $10,000 building program was started. He officiated at 40 weddings, 90 baptisms and 49 confirmations before his resignation on December 31, 1947.
1948 to 1956 Rev. Herbert H. Schowe and the 65th Anniversary
The Rev. Herbert H. Schowe assumed duties as pastor on March l, 1948. A native of Bremen, Ohio, he was ordained in 1928, serving various churches in Texas and St. Pauls in New Bremen before coming to Dexter. His wife Helen became choir director while here. The 65th anniversary of the church was celebrated on October 10, 1948. The speaker was the retired Rev. A. A. Schoen. On October 14, the date of the original dedication, a birthday banquet was served in the Parish Hall with twelve tables set up, one for each month of the year. Guests were seated at the table representing the month of their birthday. The membership of St. Andrew’s at this time was 300. Because of overcrowded conditions in the Parish Hall, discussion of plans by the congregation for a new hall began in 1956. It was during this year that the Rev. Schowe left St. Andrew’s.
Improvements to the Church 1948 to 1952
During 1948 the interior of the church was washed and cleaned. The Parish Hall was insulated, a new ceiling installed and the walls painted. In January 1951, at the annual meeting, the congregation voted to build a new parsonage at a cost of $25,000, construction to begin May 29, 1951. The former parsonage was sold to Neil Nixon and moved to the southwest corner of Hudson and Fourth Street. The new home, 32’ x 38’, constructed of brick with a full basement, featured willow paneling in the study and a fireplace trimmed in black walnut, the wood donated by members of the congregation. Others donated oak trees to make into lumber for flooring and for interior trim. Volunteers from the congregation did some of the work helping to reduce the cost to $18,000. Dedication took place on May 11, 1952 with special services and open house on May 12. A Maas Electronic Carillon Chronabell and Webster Record Changer was presented to the church in 1951 by the Schmid family in memory of their parents, Christopher and Elizabeth Schmid and by Edwin Haas, husband of Lissie Schmid Haas. From the Ann Arbor News of May 12, 1951 was the following item: “The church carillon begins ringing every hour on the hour. It can also toll for funerals and the sound carries within a radius of one mile.”
1956 to 1964 Rev. M. Donald Eaton
On October 14, 1956 the Rev. M. Donald Eaton was installed at St. Andrew’s after a three year pastorate at the Salem Church near Evanston, Indiana. A merger with the Congregational Christian Churches was consummated in 1957 and St. Andrew’s then became St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ. Though the Evangelical and Reformed Church is of German heritage and the Congregational Christians are of English Pilgrim heritage, the merger is unique in the history of American denominations. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the church, former pastors the Rev. Edward Drews and Rev. Herman Schoettle participated in two services held on September 28, 1958 with 340 persons attending. Confirmation classes from 1885 to 1920 were honored. Eda Louise Bross from the first class of 1885 was one of those attending. On Sunday, October 5, 1958 two services with 384 attending, continued the celebration and communion. There were 66 confirmands from classes 1921 through 1940 that participated. The Rev. Herbert Schowe was the featured speaker along with guest student of the ministry, Neil McShane of St. Andrew’s. The final day of celebration was on October 10, with guest speakers, the Rev. Victor Schoen of Highland, Illinois, and the Rev. J. F. Krueger, pastor of St. Andrew’s from 1921 to 1924. Confirmation classes from 1941 to 1958 were honored. A part of this celebration included ground-breaking services for the new parish hall and a jubilee banquet with 20 pastors included. Rev. M. Donald Eaton served as minister until 1965. During his ministry at St. Andrew’s membership had increased from 280 to 400. Harry Wells was organist and director of the choir. On July 27, 1971 the Rev. Eaton died and was buried at Mulberry, Indiana.
Men’s and Women’s Groups
The Christian Hands Guild was organized in 1957 for those women who could not attend the Women’s Guild meetings. Their aims and purposes were similar to those of the Women’s Guild. For instance the following year the Christian Hands made lap robes for patients at the Ypsilanti State Hospital, helped the Women’s Guild with the Mother and Daughter Banquet and with the annual Christmas party as well as serving at wedding receptions. Even though the men of the church had organized as a group in previous years and disbanded, the Brotherhood was again reorganized in 1957. In October 1960 the Christian Hands and Women’s Guild joined together to form a guild with each group becoming a circle. The Brotherhood made dividers for the Sunday School in 1962 and served at the Christmas party that year. During the years 1962-63 the Brotherhood was changed to Church men’s Fellowship. The worship attendance during 1962 was 10,473 and during 1963 was 9,833.
New Parish Hall
By 1959 membership at St. Andrew’s was approximately 400. A contract was signed with the Dan Young Construction Co. of Ann Arbor for the new parish hall and by October of that year construction began. Much labor and time was donated by members. The total cost of the building was $70,224.24. Dedication of the new parish hall took place on Sunday, May 1, 1960. At the conclusion of worship services a dedication stone was placed followed by special services.
1963- 80th Anniversary
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the church in 1963 portions of the church services were held in German with reading of the scriptures, the singing of an anthem and the recessional hymn. The Rev. Theodore Teunge was guest speaker. A pot-luck dinner was served in the parish hall at noon attended by approximately 145 persons. Models showed old clothing of the 1880’s and pictures of the past 80 years were displayed.
1964 to 1968 Rev. Roland Bizer
The Rev. Theophil F. Gahler was to become interim pastor beginning September l, 1964 but just previous to this he was killed in an auto accident on I-94 while on his way to Brutus, Michigan to take part in a mortgage burning service on August 30. The Rev. Roland Bizer, his wife Linda and two children, Beth and Julie came to St. Andrew’s on February 18, 1965 from Taylor where he had been assistant pastor the previous three and one-half years. On January 11, 1968 the Rev. Bizer left to go to the Bethlehem Church in LaGrange, Illinois.
1968 to 1972 Rev. John R. Roschen
A temporary pastor, the Rev. Jay Ball, who had come to Dexter in 1967 to work on his master’s degree in social work at the University of Michigan, served at St. Andrew’s until the Rev. John R. Roschen of Alden, Iowa assumed duties with his first service on May 5, 1968. Membership during these past few years had shown substantial growth. In 1968 members voted to authorize the consistory to take care of preliminary steps toward a future building. By July of 1969 an executive committee was named and Robert Gilbert was appointed co-coordinator of a fund drive, held in October. The building committee was headed by Arbe Rosentreter, as chairman.
For a number of years, St. Andrew’s and some other churches in the village, sponsored Vacation Bible School during the summers. 1969 marked the first time that the St. Joseph Catholic Church joined with St. Andrew’s, St. James Episcopal, the Methodist and the Webster United Church in sponsoring the school for children from ages four through eight in the village. A five day camp for 20 children was sponsored by the church’s Christian Education committee under the direction of Rev. Roschen, assisted by members of the church. Visits were made to various parks, and hikes and cook-outs were among some of the events.
During the years 1969 to 1970 the windows at St. Andrew’s were painted for the Christmas season depicting various religious scenes. Members of the Women’s Fellowship one year made thirty-five Chrisoms, symbols of Jesus Christ, from Styrofoam. These were placed on an 81/2 foot tree, the meanings of each explained as they were hung. Family programs were sponsored from time to time. In November 1971 family groups met to make Advent wreaths, Chrisoms for the tree, to decorate cookies and the making of simple crafts for the young. Potluck suppers were served, followed by a family service with lighting of the first candle of Advent. The singing of Christmas carols followed. In August 1972 a Music Guild was formed for the purpose of establishing a better working relationship between choir members, their leaders and the consistory. The Rev. John Roschen resigned September 12, 1972.
1973 to 1980 Rev. Kennyon Edwards
St. Andrew’s was most fortunate to obtain the services of the Rev. Theophil Menzel as interim pastor. On Sunday morning, October 7th, 1973 as he was preparing for his final service at St. Andrew’s, he was suddenly called to the Church Triumphant. On November 1, 1973 the Rev. Kennyon Edwards arrived with his wife Violet and two sons, Donald and Walter. They came from Buffalo, New York. The Rev. Edwards and family lived a short time in the church parsonage, later building their own home in Webster Township. The parsonage was then rented.
In preparation for erecting a new church building on the site of the original church, the congregation of St. Andrew’s gave the old church building to the Dexter Area Historical Society for a museum, the summer of 1973, with the provision it be moved to a new site. In November, the congregation granted a 75 year lease on the part of it’s parking lot to which the original edifice was moved in January 1974. The historical society had the entire lot, located on the corner of Inverness and Fourth Street, surveyed just previous to the move. More than 700 attended the dedication services for the newly con structed St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ held on September 15, 1974. The brick structure, seating 250 persons, was built by the Case Construction Company at a cost of $180,000. Removed from the old building was the altar with the carved “Last Supper” to be used in the new church. The old bell was also removed and placed on the lawn facing Ann Arbor Street and electrified.
St. Andrew’s was the first Protestant church in Dexter to begin Saturday evening services on a trial basis, beginning May 4, 1974. A new constitution and by-laws were drawn up in 1974. During that year St. Andrew’s members participated in the sesquicentennial celebration for the Village of Dexter. The Youth Fellowship built a float for the parade. Various members manned a hospitality tent downtown and served a Rainbow Trout dinner at the parish hall. A bake sale was also held.
The Couple’s Club decided in 1974 to make a quilt, not to be sold by tickets as before, but to keep. The 72-12 inch blocks with flowers on which names were written on each petal were outlined in contrasting colors with black designating deceased persons. Most were names of members, a few were friends, who paid 50¢ a name. A net profit of $265.40 was made. The Couple’s Club changed its name to Friendship Club on April 2, 1976.
Karen Longman from Jackson, a student in Ann Arbor, became director of Christian Education at St. Andrew’s working with the Rev. Edwards on a number of special programs. On Wednesday, March 16, 1976 a very impressive Passover Seder service was held. The “Monks supper,” the first century Passover dinner program showed the seating at the Last Supper, as the carved scene on the altar of St. Andrew’s depicts. An explanation was given on how the Passover was eaten, what foods in the New Testament were eaten, especially for Passover, and customs at mealtimes. A second Passover celebration was held March 30, 1977 with 100 members and friends of St. Andrew’s gathering on Maundy Thursday to participate in a Passover dinner (Seder). Dr. and Mrs. Milton Mutchnick and Debbie Livingston of Ann Arbor helped to better the understanding of the Last Supper of Christ. Passover foods were served and a Reading of the Exodus story establishing the Passover tradition was given. On Maundy Thursday, March 23, 1978 a Seder Ritual was held with 15 steps of the Seder ceremony given, including the blessing of the wine, washing of the hands, saying Grace and the Psalms of Praise.
A visit to the new Park Lyndon on October 15, 1978 for an afternoon hike and nature walk was another program sponsored by the Christian Education Committee. The following month a community wide square dance was held at St. Andrew’s and later a roller skating party was held at Brighton. An eleven day tour of the Holy Land was planned by the Rev. Edwards and Karen Longman. The cost was $900 for air fare, transportation and guides in the Holy Land, first class accommodations with continental break fast and dinner and entry fees to places visited. Eighteen participants left from New York on February 20, 1979. The Christian Education program committee sponsored the Mother and Daughter and the Father and Son Banquets during 1979.
In July 1980, the Rev. Kennyon Edwards became the first full-time inter-faith chaplain in the 56 year history of Mercywood Hospital on Jackson Road. For a year he had worked part-time at Mercywood while continuing as minister at St. Andrew’s. Effective October 1, 1980 the Rev. Edwards left St. Andrew’s.
1981 to 1986 Rev. John Sunburn
Once again, St. Andrew’s found itself in need of an interim pastor. For eight months, the Rev. Robert Weikart served well as Spiritual Leader of the congregation. On Sunday June 7, 1981 the Rev. John Sunburn began his ministry at St. Andrew’s transferring from the Fairlawn-West United Church of Christ in Akron, Ohio. During his pastorate St. Andrews celebrated one-hundred years since the first church was built and members formally organized as well as the burning of the mortgage on the second church. Pastor Sunburn conducted final services at St. Andrews April 30, 1995 before going to the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Billings, Montana.
1988 to 2005 Rev. Gary Kwiatek
The Rev. Kwiateh accepted a call to St. Andrews in Dexter and began serving August l, 1988, arriving here after serving the congregational U.C.C in Armada, Michigan. During his pastorate at St. Andrews in 1990 stained glass windows, depicting scenes from the Bible were installed and dedicated in the sanctuary and narthex of the second St. Andrews church building. On January 31,2005 Rev. Kwiatek left St. Andrew’s and was called to Emanuel U.C.C. in Manchester, Mich.
2007 to 2010 Rev. Robert Summers; 2010 to 2015, Pastor Larry Van Slambrook Interim Pastor
For a number of years, St. Andrews found itself without a full time pastor after the departure or Rev. Robert Summers. Pastor Larry VanSlambrook became the longest interim pastor in the history of St. Andrews, serving five years before returning to retirement to allow Pastor Grant Speece to fill the position.
>2015 to Present, Pastor Grant Speece
After several years waiting for a full time pastor, in 2015, St, Andrew's welcomed Pastor Grant Speece.