Church closing doors after nearly 200 years - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Church closing doors after nearly 200 years

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A local church held its farewell service on Sunday after nearly 200 years of serving its members.

Collingwood United Methodist traces its roots back to 1823 when the the Rev. John Baughman preached to a group of believers in their home. The church built the first public house of worship from any domination on the land that would become the city of Toledo in 1823 called The Methodist Episcopal Church of Port Lawrence.

The church moved locations and changed names several times over the decades, becoming the Collingwood United Methodist Church in 1969.

An emotional farewell service was held on Sunday. Pastor marry Sullivan said, "I grieve for the congregation. This small congregation is made up of some amazingly talented, devoted and faithful people."

The service celebrated the church's ministries and included a baptism renewal. A celebratory dinner was held afterwards.

Pastor Mary has only been leading worship for 6 months. She said members reluctantly voted to close the church because they could no longer afford to keep it afloat. Expenses were around 180,000 a year, but less than half that amount was coming in.

At the church's peak, there were more than 1000 regular members. Now only 15 to 20 people fill the pews on a regular basis. Pastor Mary says that they have been invited to join other churches in the area.

"I really believe that's how God works in our lives. Where one door closes a new one opens and that's such a blessing."

The building will not sit empty. United Church of God is planning to rent the space by July 1st.


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