It was an Easter Sunday in 1944 ….Church services were held in the Hunt Clubhouse in the area now known as Grosse Pointe Woods.  During the week the clubhouse served as a bar and gambling center, but on Sunday it was a place of worship. The minister would move the liquor and ice outside so that the bar could be used as a pulpit.

A few months later, a charter class of five members officially organized Redeemer United Methodist Church, with Reverend Ben Hollis as its pastor. They purchased the Hunt Clubhouse for $2,000 in October of 1944. In February of the following year the newly founded church was consecrated by Bishop Wade. Finally, they didn't need to remove the spirits to make room for the Holy Ghost.

That was our humble beginnings.

Then we grew

By the end of 1946, we had outgrown the Clubhouse and needed a larger church. We started by purchasing our current site on Vernier, and then purchased a church building from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in St. Clair Shores for $6,000. We moved the church to our new site during the summer of 1947. That building became the official home of Redeemer United Methodist Church on February 8, 1948.

The church was filled to capacity for its formal opening. Bishop Wade, who was in attendance that day remarked, “What are you going to do now? You’ve already outgrown it!” Our little white church eventually became the Thrift Shop, serving Harper Woods and the neighboring communities, until it was destroyed by fire in October 2014.

We continued to grow

In 1957 we grew even more by merging with Harper Avenue Methodist Church and adding new members from Bethany Methodist Church. To accommodate our growing family, we purchased a small “Annex” for Sunday School classes, added a choir loft, and remodeled the sanctuary. We also purchased our present parsonage building in 1957 – it was a very good year!

With more sustained growth in 1963, a vote passed to replace our too small, aged and worn church. We broke ground in April of 1964 and held our first service in the new church in February. On March 21, 1965 that new church – our current Church – was consecrated by Bishop Reed.

Over the next thirteen years we expanded and updated. The parsonage was remodeled, the mortgage on our new church was burned, and we even converted the old church building into the W.C.S.C. Thrift Shop.

We were doing well.

Time to build again

In 1979 another merger took place with members of Faith United Methodist Church. It was now the late ‘80’s and we needed to build out for more space. This time we built an addition which added new rest rooms, an office suite, library and our well used Friendship Room.

This is the current state of our facilities.

A merger with Messiah United Methodist Church was celebrated with our first joint service on Easter Sunday – April 11, 1993. We expanded in 1997 by incorporating a number of members from Zion United Methodist Church into the Redeemer family.

A rich history to remember

In 2014 Redeemer merged with First United Methodist Church of Saint Clair Shores. Joint services began in January 2014, with both Churches voting to officially merge assets and membership beginning in July of 2014.

We have a rich history at Redeemer that we are proud to remember – from our humble beginnings in a neighborhood bar, to the warm and welcoming blended church we are today.


1944-49 Rev. Ben Hollis
1949-51 Rev. Douglas Toepel
1951-56 Rev. Nicholas Pritchard
1956-61 Rev. Janis Laupmanis
1961-69 Rev. Claire Wolf
1967-69 Rev. Ralph Edwards
1969-76 Rev. Jack Lancaster
1976-80 Rev. Charles R. Jacobs
1980-88 Rev. Donald L. Lichtenfelt
1988-99 Rev. Ron Corl
1993-94 Rev. Steve Perrine
1999-2008 Rev. James Schwandt
2008-2011 Rev. Marshall Dunlap
2011-2013 Rev. Thomas L. Taylor
2013-2013 Rev. Ron Iris
2013-2017 Rev. Thomas H. Priest Jr
2017-Present Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr

Our Memories of Redeemer UMC

Enjoy some of the many experiences and memories from our members

Redeemer MemoriesBarbara Gibson10936 E Apache

Redeemer Memories
Barbara Gibson
10936 E Apache Trl LOT 1016
Apache Junction AZ 85120
Approximately a 25 year member
Ministers: Jack Lancaster, Chuck Jacobs, Don Lichtenfelt, Ron Corl
Redeemer UMC always has been a special church. I became a member when Jack
Lancaster was the minister and moved away when Ron Corl was the minister. We had
a very active UMW group of which at one time I was the president. There was always a
lot of activities and dinners of which the biggest one was the annual Harvest Dinner
and Fair.
Members of Redeemer were family, we were close and there for each other. Our
ministers were a big part of our lives. Church on Sunday was very special.
Some special memories: dinner for all at Brickers, baby shower for my son Todd who is
now 41, food visits and flowers when I had brain surgery, 4th of July fireworks
downtown Detroit, foreign exchange students. I think we only had them for 4 days but
it was very enlightening and fun. They were from several countries. We housed
homeless for about one week. Prepared meals and beds and some prayers and
To sum it up, I can go on, but this is enough for now. I have attended many churches
since moving away, some very large, some store front, some who never spoke to me,
some who never offered to show me around. The church I attend now is very large, and
also has a Sunday afternoon small service referred to as Cowboy Church. It is the best
church I have attended, but not as good as Redeemer.
Looking forward to seeing all!

Barb Gibson
April 16, 2019

September, 2017, Depressed, lonely, drinking

September, 2017, Depressed, lonely, drinking I had lost my wife, best friend,and soul mate due to heart failure. With most of my family living far north, I became depressed , lonely and drinking. After hitting rock bottom, I reached out for help. After just one phone call, I was directed to the kind, caring , loving people at Redeemer. After a short time, I had met many people who had changed my way of thinking.The staff truly cared about everything I was going through, particularly PASTOR MURPHY!, who spent countless hours talking with me as well as his wonderful sermons on Sundays. I’ve known about the LOVE OF JESUS from an early age on. Mainly due to my grandmother reading the Bible and singing hymns to me as a child. Over the years, I never doubted the powerful LOVE that GOD has for all of his children. However, its when I became involved with REDEEMER CHURCH that I discoverd how precious JESUS IS! He has completely changed my life. I have many friends now but, My very best friend is JESUS. I know I can do nothing WITHOUT HIM! Much love and gratitude , PATRICK.

April 14, 2019

I found my Church in

I found my Church in 1994 when I married a long time member. Since then there have been so many memorable occasions involving the Church itself, the friendships developed over the years, the mission and outreach activities and events, and “the Thrift Shop”. Surprisingly, the memories that stand out as I think about Redeemer are times when I was alone in the Sanctuary just thinking about life and death and faith.

About a month after the death of a family member, I was having a teary moment and just wanted to be in the Sanctuary. While sitting alone while everyone else gathered for coffee in the Fellowship Hall, a gentleman (and I do mean “gentle man”) from the congregation sat down beside me and simply said “she was a good woman”. We sat together for a few silent minutes that I will remember forever.

A few years ago I was a part of a small group that gathered every day during Lent for devotions and prayer. We met at 8:00 in the morning — needless to say I started out thinking “REALLY, 8:00 EVERY MORNING FOR SIX WEEKS — YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING”. But, I’m a trooper, so occasionally I got there at 7:55 and would be sitting alone in the first pew of the Church. Over the six weeks those five minutes alone let me view the Church and all of it’s symbols in a whole new light. Literally, each day the sunlight pouring in through the windows highlighted a different symbol on the altar, the Cross, the Bible, the Choir Loft, the organ, everything. It was a beautiful thing!

Lastly, I was part of a group that revisited Redeemer’s mission. Meetings, conversations, and prayer led us to the simple mission statement “TO WALK WITH JESUS”. But I was having a hard time wrapping my arms around what that really meant, and what does it look like when you are doing it. So I went back to the Sanctuary to wrestle with this. I closed my eyes to begin a prayer and WOW. I was suddenly walking down Vernier Road in front of the Church in bright warm sunlight having a conversation with my companion JESUS! He was commenting on everything we passed, and greeting and comforting everyone we met, and walking with ME. I never felt so loved, so warm, so peaceful, and so happy. I guess I got the message on what it means TO WALK WITH JESUS.

I could fill several pages with memories, but these are my favorites.
Linda D. (member since 1994)

Linda Dallas
April 7, 2019

Frank and I moved here

Frank and I moved here from Ohio in 1969 with toddler Frankie. Pregnant with Craig, we began our search for a church. Frank being Catholic was just coming along to help me. We both fell in love with Redeemer and Rev. Jack Lancaster the first Sunday. We had an immediate connection with Russell, Anne, Marvin and Carol Muckenfuss and then with Elaine and Everett Hawley. That friendship has lasted until the passing of Anne, Russell, Everett and Elaine and more recently my husband Frank. I am still in that friendship with Carol and Marvin. Our kids refer to us as Aunt and Uncle,. For many years my three boys thought Russell and Anne were their real grandparents. Craig was baptized at Redeemer and then our third son Donny was baptized with water from the River Jordan which Rev. Jack had brought from a Holy Land trip. We were always a part of the Sunday school and attended all the phenomenal smorgasbords every year at Jean and Art Brickers home. I sang in the choir, sang some solos, sang at several weddings and led the cherub and Junior Choirs. My choirs presented two cantatas….Hundred percent chance of Rain and Cool in the Furnace accompanied by Ken Bricker and M. Study. We also always helped at Thanksgiving dinner with games, etc. We stayed at Redeemer many years but as the boys got older, the youth group dwindled and they chose to go over to First U.M on Mack where we eventually followed for many years. I will never forget those wonderful years with the wonderful people of Redeemer. And, oh yes, my Catholic husband Frank became a member of Redeemer.

Donna Cugini
March 31, 2019

Redeemer has been my church

Redeemer has been my church home for over sixty years so I have many fond memories.
– Sunday School in the basement of our little white church building
– Summer Vacation Bible School overflowing onto the church grounds
– The building of our new church and its addition
– MYF meetings and activities
– Confirmation
– Candlelight Christmas Eve services
– Easter Sunrise services and Easter breakfast
– Annual Mother and Daughter banquets
-Annual Harvest dinners and craft sales
– The opening of the Thrift Shop and its growth through the years
-The numerous pastors and Sunday School teachers who shared their faith and unique gifts & talents with our congregation
– I was married at Redeemer and my 2 children and oldest grandchild were baptized here
Through the years I have appreciated the sense of community and family I have found at Redeemer as I have walked my journey of faith.
I cherish these memories and hope to have many more.

Nancy Burns
March 20, 2019

I was 10 when my

I was 10 when my dad, Ben Hollis, was sent by the Methodist Union to start a church in Gratiot Township. I taught the 3 year olds and I played the old beat up grand piano. After the church began use of the building, the former club members decided to start partying again and so dad had go Sunday morning at 5 and clean the beer out of the piano strings that the club members spilled there.

Flora (Hollis) Cotrone
March 21, 2019

1952 – 1993 I was

1952 – 1993 I was a member of Messiah Methodist Church. In 1993 we had to close because of very low membership. We were looking around to see if we could find a Methodist Church to join. Redeemer had heard our prayers. They asked if we would like to join them. Yes was the answer. In April of 1993 we joined and it has been great.

Joan W.
March 25, 2019

In 2016 I was working

In 2016 I was working at Redeemer and undergoing Chemo and Radiation treatments. My cancer journey began in July of 2015 and during this time I would often go and sit, meditate and commune with Jesus and God. I usually sat in the front and just carried out my conversation. One day I decided to sit in the very back of the Sanctuary. As I looked towards the front Altar area I was filled with a sense that I was part of something so much bigger than myself. The feeling was indescribable.

About 4 weeks later I was again in the Sanctuary in need of a conversation with God. I had found out the day before that I had to undergo 5 more radiation treatments. I was already suffering with radiation burns, I had no hair, everything tasted like slime….. I was having a major pity party for myself. I had bowed my head to pray (complain) and when I lifted my head I saw the six foot wooden cross used during Lent and Easter standing there. I thought “if Jesus could endure his time on the cross for me, I could endure one more week.” The feeling of being sorry for myself disappeared. God is GOOD all the time.

Phyllis B.
March 5, 2019

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