History of the Laingsburg First Congregational Church
The First Congregational Church of Laingsburg, Michigan was established on July 24, 1864 following a separation of the existing Laingsburg church into three separate churches. The original church had a membership of 13 persons including their first minister, Reverend George C. Fox. In 1871, the "little old schoolhouse" that hosted the church was replaced by a new building constructed by the members under the leadership and carpentry skills of Reverend William P. Mulder. It featured a beautiful New England style sanctuary that is inviting and warm. The original structure included a fireplace and an altar railing separating the pulpit area from the main seating area.
Notes from the history of Shiawassee County, 1880 list the following facts - A meeting on July 24, 1864 established the First Congregational Church of Laingsburg. A second meeting on August 7, 1864 formally recognized the new church. Reverend George C. Fox was selected as the first pastor of the new church and served until his death on May 29, 1866. In 1880, the church membership was 63 persons, and the Sunday school average attendance was 70.
In 1894, an annex was added on the east side of the church to provide some much needed additional space. In 1922, a pipe organ was purchased and was used until it was replaced with a Hammond organ in 1948.
In the mid-1930s, the first major addition to the building was built to replace the annex and provided a new fellowship hall and adjoining kitchen. The hall was named Rogers' Hall in honor of former pastor H. W. Rogers. The hall was dedicated on October 27, 1934 at a special ceremony and banquet attended by over 200 people. The hall also served the Laingsburg community as a meeting hall and basketball court until 1954.
In 1951, new pews were purchased for the sanctuary.
In 1971, the parsonage was torn down and replaced with another addition known as " the upper room ". This addition provided classrooms, restrooms, and office space. In 1977, the basement was finished and hosted the new Laingsburg Pre-School. About the same time, a rock wall was constructed to beautify the property edge and provide separation of the church parking lot from adjoining property.
In 1989, the church celebrated it's 125th anniversary serving the Laingsburg community.
In 1996, a new handbell choir was formed by founding director Ruthann Kyle with the purchase of two octaves of Malmark handbells. Shorthly afterwards, a third octave of bells and three octaves of Malmark handchimes were purchased through donations and memorial gifts. The group selected the name Covenant Ringers.
In 1997, the Laingsburg Pre-School closed it's doors after 20 years of serving the community.
In late 2005, a rennovation of Roger's Hall provided new insulation for the exterior walls and ceiling and new drywall replacing the old plaster walls. Other building repairs and improvements continue as we work together to keep this historic building in good condition for future generations.
In February 2006, annother rennovation was completed with the complete re-shingling of the entire building including the steeple , and increasing the insulation above the sanctuary to improve energy efficiency.
Also in 2006, a project was undertaken to replace the damaged louvers on the steeple . It was during this project that a need was identified to repair the support structure on our aging church bell . A design was completed that included reinforcing the support structure with new steel bracing that will allow the church bell to toll for many years to come.
At the end of 2006, the church meeting house was the recipient of an generous gift, a carillon system. A ChimeMaster Millennium Gold digital carillon unit was installed in the sanctuary with speakers in the sanctuary, Roger's Hall, and the steeple. This new automatic musical system calls to the Laingsburg community throughout the day inviting everyone to remember to worship God in his or her life.
In June 2008, the a modern Allen organ replaced the aging Hammond organ, the result of yet another generous donation to the music ministry of the church. The new organ has digital capabilites and should serve the fellowship for decades to come. Also in June, a new memorial plaque was purchased and dedicated to provide a beautiful reminder of church members and friends no longer with us. The plaque was hung in Rogers Hall for all to see.