Iconic spiritual spire is back in place atop historic sanctuary

GOODLAND TWP. — Members of Goodland Community Church are celebrating the reinstallation of the church’s towering steeple, which had sustained damage during a hail storm on April 7 that required repairs.

The same storm also caused damage to the church’s roof, siding and some windows.

The church’s original sanctuary was built in 1878 and still features original accents.

The non-denominational church at 2008 North Van Dyke was formerly known as West Goodland United Methodist Church, whose congregation marked its 150th anniversary in September of 2019.

The recent storm damage is not the first time the church’s steeple had been damaged in a storm.

In 1949, the steeple was struck by lightning and blown apart.

After that event, the congregation decided to not replace the architectural feature, leaving the church without a steeple for about 40 years.

Pastor Ken Tison said the church’s steeple is meaningful for what it represents for members and the greater community.

“We are very pleased to see it back in place,” said Tison. “A church steeple is an iconic image that reaches out to everyone.”

Tison noted happily that the storm damage was fully covered by the church’s insurance carrier.

“We are very fortunate and grateful that everything was covered,” he said. “That has been a real blessing.”

COVID’s impact

While coronavirus concerns have impacted attendance numbers to some degree, Tison said a core of 60-70 congregants continue to come to worship on Sundays.

“We had to close for awhile back in March,” Tison said. “At this time we’re still encouraging our older and more vulnerable members to stay home,” adding that attendees are asked to follow COVID safety protocol.

Tison said his service to the Goodland church began about a year-and-a-half ago, and that he finds the congregation to be warm and welcoming.

“We’re very happy to be here,” he said. “This is a wonderful congregation they have been very helpful and supportive.”

Tison acknowledged the old church’s historic sanctuary, which has served the local community since 1878.

“The original sanctuary still has its original doors and classic features,” he said. “It’s beautiful and it’s perfect for ministering or for large gatherings like weddings.”

Going forward

Looking ahead to a brighter post-COVID future, Tison envisions a reinvigorated congregation whose members will include an influx of families, children and young adults.

“We can seat about 250 people and everyone is welcome to join us,” he said. “Our Sunday worship services are at 10 a.m., and we’re hoping to get our youth group going again.”

Christmas Eve

Pastor Ken said Goodland Community Church will offer a Christmas Eve service on Thursday, Dec. 24, starting at 5 p.m.

“I plan on keeping it short (about an hour), so everyone will have the chance to worship and still do the other things they need to do,” Tison said. “It’s such a busy time for everyone.”

For further information about the Goodland Community Church, call 810-265-4098.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.