"Old Rugged Cross" / Methodist Episcopal Church

Registered Site L0668a

"Old Rugged Cross" / Methodist Episcopal Church

In January 1913 the Reverend Leroy O. Bostwick, assisted by the Reverend George Bennard of Albion, held a series of religious revivals at the Pokagon Methodist Episcopal Church. Before the event, the Dowagiac Daily News predicted a large attendance, announcing "Mr. Bennard is a sweet singer and a splendid gospel preacher." Bennard had begun composing the hymm "The Old Rugged Cross" while in Albion the previous year. He completed the hymm here in preparation for the revival services. During the revival it was sung publically for the first time by the Pokagon Methodist Episcopal Church choir. Impressed by Bennard's hymm, the Reverend and Mrs. Bostwick financed its first printing. The "The Old Rugged Cross" quickly became one of the most popular hymms in the United States.
photo of "Old Rugged Cross"  / Methodist Episcopal Church

Side 2

Circuit-riding Methodist ministers held religious services in Pokagon Township during the 1830s and 1840s. In 1876 the Methodists purchased this building, which had been built in 1862 as a hops barn, and renovated it as a church. They constructed a belfry and installed pews and stained glass windows in pointed frames. In this church in 1913, "The Old Rugged Cross" was sung in its entirety for the first time. The following year the Methodists purchased the nearby Baptist Church, selling this building to John Phillips who used it as a storage barn. In 1998 the Pokagon United Methodist Church reacquired the church for restoration.

Erected 2000

Location: 31294 East Street
Pokagon, Cass County

Methodist Episcopal Churches

Latitude: 41.9118267, Longitude: -86.1727666

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