On July 13 and 14, Ensley Baptist Church will be celebrating their 150th anniversary as an established Bible-believing and preaching church in Ensley Center, Michigan. The theme for the celebration is “150 Years of Serving God and Loving People.”
In May of 1863, Ensley Baptist Church was organized with a core of about 15 baptized members. Meetings were held in the local schoolhouse and baptisms took place in Baptist Lake. Among the early members was William Bruce, a former slave. At his death he left everything to the church, and the proceeds were used to purchase the land on which the original church was built in 1884. A bell, which is still used to call the people to worship today, was purchased for $92.24 after a cash payment discount.
In 1917 a basement was added to accommodate a furnace and Sunday School classes. But, as the membership grew, the need for more room was evident.
In 1949 the church was remodeled. Additions were added on the west side and east side. Before long, yet more room was needed, so the east side addition was removed and replaced with a sizable addition, which doubled the size of the auditorium. With this addition, there was also more space in the basement for Sunday School rooms. An upper floor provided for a balcony, office and nursery. In 1959 a new parsonage was built.
In 1971, a sanctuary with a seating capacity for 470 was erected across the road. Ten years later, on May 17, 1981 a ground-breaking ceremony was held for a new addition to that facility, which provided for Sunday School rooms and a library in the basement, and, for the main floor, offices, a nursery, a kitchen and an all-purpose room. In 2006, a new gymnasium was built on the east side of the all-purpose room, and its dedication was held on June 10, 2007.
Over the past 150 years, Ensley Baptist Church has been served by 40 senior and interim pastors. Over the years others have served as youth pastors.
The church, which is located at 7077 E 120th St Sand Lake, welcomes the community to join in the celebration on July 13 and 14. On Saturday, July 13, they will have a pig roast and potluck at noon. People are encouraged to bring a dish to pass and lawn chairs. Several former pastors will share about their time at Ensley Baptist Church, starting at around 1p.m. There will also be activities for children throughout the afternoon.
The current Sr. Pastor, Rev. Timothy R. Decker, will be sharing during the Sunday morning service, which starts at 10:45 am.
“The Lord has blessed us and we give Him all the glory for keeping us here all these years as a lighthouse in this community,” said a church spokesperson.