Holt-Delhi Historical Society

Established 2014

Church Histories

German Methodist Episcopal Church

A lay preacher, Brother Boess, came to the area from Ann Arbor in 1853, preaching in homes. In 1853, a German Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Lansing. People from the Delhi area attended this church until they organized as a separate unit of the Lansing circuit in 1860. The Delhi congregation held services in the brick North School and Lott School until 1868. In 1868, the 23 families built a frame church building with a steeple and bell at the Five Corners. The Five Corners is the area at the intersection of Cedar Street, Aurelius Road, and Keller Road. It was also known as North Holt. The English M.E. congregation used the German M.E. building from 1868 until 1873. 

In 1873, the German Methodist Episcopal Church became an independent unit with its own minister and built the first parsonage across from the church building. In October 1894, the German congregation (comprised of about 170 members) moved its frame building and built a new brick sanctuary on the same site. The new brick building was contracted by Alpha Douglass. Until 1930, the 1894 structure served as the German Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1931, the German and English congregations combined and formed the First Methodist Church of Holt.

English Methodist Episcopal Church

The Holt English Methodist Episcopal congregation was permitted to use the German Methodist Episcopal Church's frame building from 1868 to 1873. In 1873, the German congregation became their own unit and ceased the permission with the English congregation. 

In 1876, the English M.E. congregation built a white frame church on the west side of Cedar Street south of Holt Road. The English M.E. Church building stood until December 19, 1930 when it burned. When the English church burned, those who attended that church joined the German congregation. In 1931, the German and English congregations corporately formed the First Methodist Church of Holt. 

First Methodist Church of Holt & Holt United Methodist Church

The First Methodist Church of Holt was established in 1931. It was formed through the consolidation of the German and English M.E. congregations, initiated by a fire at the English M.E. Church in 1930. Today the First Methodist Church of Holt is known as the Holt United Methodist Church. The current United Methodist Church was built in 1969. The Holt Jaycees converted the 1894 building into a library in 1970. The old building served the community in various capacities until October 1982 when it was razed. The two buildings stood together on the same corner for over a decade.

First Presbyterian Church of Holt

The Holt Presbyterian Church was organized on April 5, 1865 by seventeen Scotch Presbyterians who wanted a church they could attend according to their customs. James Thorburn, Sr., Casper Lott, and Church Wilbur were selected as the first Elders and were ordained. At the beginning the church met at the Delhi Center school building. On October 21, 1867, the church purchased a building site for forty-two dollars, the building was completed in 1869. It was an oak frame structure with hand hewn beams and a capacity of 200, at a cost of two thousand dollars. The building, dedicated on October 3, 1869, had a balcony and was heated by wood stoves.

From the beginning of the church through 1900, nineteen pastors ministered the church. The congregation became responsive to building a new church building in 1900. $2,671 was raised and a cornerstone for the new church building was laid in July of 1900. The new building was dedicated in February of 1901.

The original thirty year charter of the church expired in January of 1912 and the congregation re-organized and incorporated as the “First Presbyterian Church of Holt, Michigan.”

In 1955, land was purchased at the northwest corner of Holt and Aurelius Roads for sixteen thousand dollars. The church had been saving to build a new building since 1951. In 1963, the church broke ground on their new building and demolished their building that was built in 1900. The corner stone for the new building was laid in June 1963. The first services were held in March of 1964 and the building was dedicated in October 1964. The church building at Holt and Aurelius Roads still functions as the home of the First Presbyterian Church of Holt.

The church is celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2014-15. April 5, 2015 will mark 150 years since the establishment of the Presbyterian Church in Holt.

Holt Baptist Church

Holt Baptist Church began as a Bible study group organized in the fall of 1951 with the purpose of bringing God’s word to the Delhi Township community. One of the principal persons involved in starting this was Mrs. Olive Beck. After growing steadily for several months, land for the building of a church was donated by John Fay, Sr. at the corner of Holt Road and Auburn Avenue.

After fund-raising efforts, ground was broken for the church on October 18, 1952 with Rev. James Pasma pastoring. The first service was held in the basement in February 1953. The church was completed and dedicated August 22, 1954. In the summer of the same year the current parsonage was built.

After several years of growth a youth chapel/Sunday School wing was added in the summer of 1965. Growth continued and it was determined that a new sanctuary was needed. As before, a building program began and the current sanctuary building was added with much of the labor coming from the congregation. Dedication of the sanctuary took place April 28, 1968, with pastor Rev. Gordon Sanders.

After more than 60 years, Holt Baptist Church continues in the same location with many members of the Delhi Township community having attended over the years.