Salem Lutheran Church celebrates 100th Anniversary
By Marilyn Pleyer Salem Lutheran Church in Coloma is celebrating 100 years in 2019. Their centennial celebrations start with breakfast at 8:30 Easter morning and ends Sunday, November 10 of this year with a dinner. Their first service, as a church, was held Easter morning, April 1919 at 182 South Church Street, presently the location of the Congregational Church of Coloma. Prior to the establishment of the Salem Lutheran Church, Smith and Merrick Lumber Company, that owned property in Bainbridge Township, wanted the trees cut down. Since they also owned property in New York State they already had the lumberjacks. Smith and Merrick sent a group of 17 men in 1836 to Detroit. After completing work in the Detroit area, they walked to Bainbridge arriving in 1837. Dr. N.D. Moffatt met them and had arranged cabins for them. When the work in north Bainbridge was completed some of them decided to stay in this area. In 1840 state Senator Edwin M. Cust pushed to start a group to help populate and develop Michigan. This resulted in an influx of Germans to north Bainbridge in the 1840s and they along with some of the lumbermen established a Lutheran church in 1851, meeting in each others’ homes. In 1919 Rev. E. Walter Hillmer of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Sodus and aided by Rev. Hasse of St. Matthews Lutheran Church of Benton Harbor helped with a registered list of members to start Salem Lutheran Church. The remainder of the first twenty-five years of the church started with members purchasing the property at the corner of Washington and Park streets in Coloma. The purchase was made in November 1919 for $762.50. The cornerstone was laid July 25, 1920 for the construction of the church costing a total amount of $9,700.00. The first pastor for the new church was Rev. Arthur G. Wacker who was installed August 14, 1921. That November 11 they dedicated the church. The following year they constructed the parsonage, next to the church, for $5,500.00. Rev. Wacker stayed until October 1925 and then they were joined by Rev. Carl Binhammer. Pastor Binhammer started occasional services in English. Rev. Binhammer left in February 1930 for a call to Claire, Michigan. Following his departure, Salem Lutheran received Rev. Werner Franzmann. He held German services only the first and third Sundays each month, all others were in English. June 1942 Pastor Franzmann answered the call to Michigan Lutheran Seminary at Saginaw. Rev. Richard A. Gensmer was installed in July. The congregation has many events planned for this year and all are welcome to join them. Be sure to check the Community Calendar of the Record for the celebration events as they are scheduled. Salem Lutheran Church motto is “Thy faithfulness is unto all generations.” Psalm 119:90
PERFORMANCES PERFECTED… Coloma High School Band students earn medals at MSBOA District 6 Solo & Ensemble Festival held Feb. 9 at Southwestern Michigan College. Pictured are (from the left): kneeling – Cassidy Henley, Abbi Huttenga, Alice Askren, Eric Gomez, Luke Phillips, and Wesley Seabury; standing – Christopher Eastman, Sierra Shuburte, Karon Smith-Mwewe, Mackenzie Grant, Emily Greenman, Caitlyn Lemoine, Morgan Gruss, Charis Lemoine, and Rachael Arnold.