GRAND HAVEN, Mich., May 5, 2015 — Thanks to the generous donations and tenacity of their church family, the United Methodist Church of the Dunes will be celebrating the payoff of their mortgage with a special combined service on Sunday, May 17 at 10:00 a.m., brunch at 11:00 a.m., and a mortgage burning ceremony at noon.
The church is located at 717 Sheldon Road in Grand Haven on a very choice 8-acre site known as Hofma Hills. The unique structure was designed by Alden B. Dow, a renowned architect from Midland, Michigan. It was consecrated by 523 grateful members in February 1961.
According to Dow, “This is not just another church copied from blueprints of countless other churches. This is a church to inspire the concept of growth – growth beyond ourselves – beyond walls – beyond this earth and beyond time.”
And grow the church has. In August of 1999 church members took a leap of faith and voted to build an ambitious $1.8MM addition. It was completed in 2001, and on May 20 the addition was dedicated in memory and in honor of Rev. and Mrs. William Wiltse. Rev. Wiltse served as pastor of the church from 1958 – 1964 and was instrumental in the move of the church from its former location on the site of the current Grand Haven Post Office on Washington Street to the wonderful property that has been home since 1960.
“Praise God! Praise the generosity of faithful donors! Praise the boldness of the daring dreamers,” stated the current pastor, Rev. Dr. Glenn Wagner. “We are looking forward to a great morning of celebration and have invited former pastors and members of the families whose inspiration and lead gifts made the dream of our Wiltse Center possible.”
The celebration will kick-off at a combined service at 10:00 a.m. To say thank you to all who made this work possible, a catered dinner will be served to the first 250 who made reservations through the church office. At noon a ceremonial burning of the mortgage will take place in the parking lot in front of the church. The public is invited to participate in all of the events, space permitting.
So what is next for the church? According to Wagner, “We are still dreaming dreams, but would like to keep the church on sound fiscal footing and desire to support future dreams as funds are made available on a pay-as-we-go basis.”
Wagner explains, “With all of us continuing to pull together for the sake of Christ, we will continue to dream big dreams and then with God’s help we will bring those dreams to fruition. As a pastor, I dream of leading this great church in disciple making ministries that reach beyond our walls. I dream of disciples growing through Bible study, via engagement in hands on missions, and through participation in life changing prayer, worship, service, learning, and fellowship experiences.”