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First Lutheran Church Building in County
Memorial to be placed on site of St. Petri's Church
GREENVILLE- The first Lutheran church building in Montcalm County was built on Monroe Rd. near Holland Lake Rd. corner. Named St. Petri's Church, it was part of the Little Denmark Danish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Montcalm County. The building no longer stands; only the foundation is left. A group of concerned people plans to place a memorial on the site to comemorate the church, the people who settled the area and built the church and the Rev. Ole Amble who served the congregation for more than 53 years. The history of the church was written by Mr. Amble and placed in the cornerstone box Aug 16, 1876. The box was opened in the spring of 1973 when the foundation began to crumble, and is now at Settlement Lutheran Church. The history of St. Petri Church was written by Mr. Amble in Danish and translated into English by Reeta Peterson. It says in part, "Wednesday the 16th of August 1876 shortly after midday, the first stone was laid in the foundation of this church. "This church shall be called St. Petri Church and it shall be the church for St. Petri district of the Little Denmark Danish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Moncalm County, Michigan. "St. Petri district, which has hertofor been called 'The Little Settlement' was given a new name yesterday. "The location of the church and the land around it desgnated for a cemetery (almost one acre)was presented to the district by Peter Nielson. The foundation under the church will be laid free of charge by Peter Anderson. "The church will be built by Carl Jensen. He will be paid $2.00 a day and free meals. His helper will be paid $1.00 a day and free meals. "Little Denmark Congregation, which consists of Danish people only was organized by the Norwegian pastor, T.H. Wald, of Whitehall, Michigan on Monday, April 22 1873. He also served them every fifth week until the congregation got its own pastor, Ole Amble. "After being called as pastor of Little Denmark, Pastor Amble preached his first sermon (there) May 24, 1874. "St Petri District consists of nearly 95 souls. On Dec. 1, 1875, the whole Little Denmark Congregation (including Little Denmark District) was 466 souls. "St Petri Church, as far as carpentry is concerned, shall be completed by Nov. 1, 1876. "The president of the United States is now General U.S. Grant and the governor of Michigan is John Bagley." The church was dedicated Jan. 7, 1877, by Pastor Amble. The church records show that the pulpit and the alter with kneeling bench and ring were made by Christian J. Nielson, son of old Hans Nielson. Pastor Amble covered the kneeling bench and pulpit with red velvet and put on the gold fringe. They were used the day after Christmas 1879. The church building stood until about a month ago when it was torn down by a man who purchased it for its lumber. The building, located in a sparsely populated area, had not been used for many years and was in poor repair. The property had been deeded to Montcalm Township for a cemetery. Two church buildings stood in that vicinity but belonged to different synods. The north church was Lutheran Church in America and the South church which still stands but is also no longer used was American Lutheran Church. Each had a cemetery adjacent to it. Anyone wishing t contribute to the St. Petri Church Memorial can send donations to Rev. Michael Anderson, Settlement Lutheran Church, Gowen 49326.
|If you have additions or corrections please contact Paula Johnson
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