Pastor Rev. Ian McDonald
Sunday Worship 11:00 AM
M-77 North Grand Marais
During the latter part of the 1800s, Grand Marais was a bustling town with many businesses, stores and services of all types available to the area. With the influx of so many people coming into the “Boom Town”, the population really started to grow, making it a necessity for various congregations to build local churches.
In 1894, the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Grand Marais was organized with the Rev. Richard Hancock as pastor. Having no church building, services were held in the hall over McBain’s Meat Market, which originally stood south and east of the Post Office.
By 1895-96, a church building had been erected on the south side of Veteran Street, near Crawford. It was of frame construction with a vestibule and an auditorium. Since the congregation could not afford pews for their new church, they used chairs. But, if they did not have pews, they did have a mortgage and it was a happy day when they met to “burn the mortgage”. The congregation then moved on to getting carpeting and purchasing a new organ. Shortly after this, pews were installed. These pews are the ones still being used in our present church building on the hill on Main Street.
After the pews were installed, a parsonage was bought on October 17, 1899 from John Chisolm for $6,000. As the church proper had no rooms to use for meetings, two rooms were reserved in the parsonage for the use of the Ladies Aid. This parsonage (on Main Street across from the Superior Hotel) was sold in 1928 and was later destroyed by fire.
As the years passed and the church became in need of many repairs, it was decided to sell the building and purchase the vacant Presbyterian Church (built in 1898). The pews and other furnishings from the old church were installed in the new location which became known as the Community Methodist Church. The name was subsequently changed to the Grand Marais United Methodist Church.
The year 1910 was a memorable year for Grand Marais, for that was the year the railroad was removed. By 1915, so many families had moved away it became impossible to pay a resident minister.so the congregation became Presbyterians. After 1915, Grand Marais was supplied with guest speakers, lay preachers and ministers through the Marquette District of the Methodist Church. For three years (from 1938 through 1941), the McMillan Circuit supplied speakers and ministers. From 1942-46, the Munising Circuit provided a minister.
There were many very lean years from the 1970s through the mid 1980s when the church simply could not maintain a “winter schedule”. Jim and Faye Gribbell of Engadine faithfully led services from September 1983 through December 1986. Their dedication, along with that of Charles and Karla Bugg, was instrumental in holding the church together. During the summer months student ministers served, ministering to the tourists as well as the community residents.
Rev. John Grenfell III served as pastor from 1987-1991, and since rental housing would no longer fill the needs of this growing ministry, plans were made to build a parsonage. With funds from the Marquette District “Mission of the Year” program, and a generous bequeath of $35,000 from Archie and Mary Jane Newberg, land was purchased and construction was begun by members of this congregation and members of the United Methodist Church of Plymouth, Michigan. Construction was completed by November of 1989. The parsonage is located on Brazel street (right across from Woodland Park and Lake Superior).
In the year 1994, the Grand Marais United Methodist Church celebrated its 100th anniversary. With a small but vital membership, we are confident that the United Methodist Church will be a part of the community for many years.