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The first Baptist Church of Gladstone, Michigan, was organized on August 21st, 1905, under the leaderhip of Missionary Edward Flemming of Chicago, Illinois. The six charter members included the following: John Hult, Mrs. John Hult, Mrs. Anna Emelia Sigfrids, Charlie Sigfrids, John Johnson and John Anderson.
Mr. John Hult is now the only living charter member of our church. He served faithfully for forty years as treasurer and at the close of this term a reception was given in his honor by the church. At present he is a member of the church board, in the office of deacon.
The church property was donated by Charlie Sigfrids and at once a building was erected by an enthusiastic group of workers. One month after the organization of the church the building was dedicated The dedication was held on September 29th, 1905. Rev. Andrew Blomquist, now of Cook, Minnesota, preached the first sermon and also officiated at the first baptismal service dedicating the baptistry.
The Sunday School was organized the same year as the church under the leadership of Rev. Andrew Blomquist. It has continued until today, and is the largest in the history of the church. The emphasis has always been to reach the boys and girls for Christ.
Rev. Bertil A. Friberg
Under the ministry of Rev. Carl J. Worgren (1907-1908), a young people's group was organized and has continued to play an important part in moulding the lives of our youth.
The year 1910, the present parsonage was built and has been the residence of the pastors since that time.
The next pastor to be called was Rev. Axel Edwards.
In 1915 Rev. N. W. Nelson began his first term as pastor of the church. During this time some additional work was done in the church building, which raised the property value. Mr. Nelson served six years.
For the next year the church was served by Dr. Herman Kasen, a dentist who moved to Gladstone to set up practice. He served until the fall of 1922, when the church called Rev. John Hugo, who shortly after was ordained to the Gospel ministry by the church. He served the church two and a half years.
From 1925-1927 Rev. John Soderman served as pastor of the church. Shortly after leaving Gladstone he was called to his heavenly reward.
Rev. N. W. Nelson was called the second time and began his work October 1, 1928. He served five years.
The Ladies' Aid Society, organized early in the history of the church, has assumed the care and up-keep of the parsonage. In recent years the men have organized themselves into a Brotherhood. They have part in the great Alaska Mission and have pledged themselves to care for the local needs, when called upon.
The next pastor came to us from Canada. Rev. Milton Satterberg accepted the call in 1934. His stay was brief.
In 1937 Rev. Nils Hedstrom became pastor of the church. Through his hard efforts and the cooperation of the congregation, a new furnace was purchased for the church building. This was a great improvement and an added comfort to all. Brother Hedstrom's ministry was the second longest period of service. He stayed for six years.
The year 1943, brought the return of Rev. J. A. Kallman to Gladstone. He served earlier in the summer of 1910. Later on he was used of the Lord as an evangelist, when many were won to the Lord. However, on August 21, 1945, the church was saddened by the death and home-going of their pastor.
Our present pastor, Rev. Bertil A. Friberg, began his ministry among us in 1946. During the years that have passed the emphasis has been twofold. One is the Sunday School, which we have enjoyed seeing grow from year to year.
The other emphasis has been that of Missions, both home and foreign. Our pastor has done much to create an interest which has resulted in the greatest missionary program of our church. Again the physical property of the church has been improved.
From the ranks some have entered full time Christian service and others are faithful workers in many of our churches throughout the land. As we look back over a period of forty-five years, truly we can say, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
Our future is as bright as the promises of God, may we therefore be faithful and serve Him until "He comes".
Published in Fifty Years of Christian Stewardship 1901-1951. Prepared in commemoration of the Fiftieth anniversary of The Baptist Mission Union of America. 1951, p. 37-39.
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