Here is my Daily Photo for Sunday, January 3, 2016:
“As if they were one…”
The bell towers of the First United Methodist Church and the Free Methodist Church look as if they are one bell tower!
Some people get confused about the two Methodist churches directly across the street from each other in Albion. But, actually, they are two different churches and different denominations! On the northeast corner of Platt and State Streets is the Albion First United Methodist Church* and across the street on the southeast corner of Platt and State Streets is the Albion Free Methodist Church. Originally, there was only one Methodist congregation – they formed and built the AFUMC church in the early 1800s. There was a group from the congregation what began to disagree with many of the beliefs of the UMC religion – in particular, they were not happy about families having to buy their pews in the church and/or pay a pew tax and there were some who disagreed with the practice of slavery and excluding slaves – even freed slaves – from worshiping with them…both practices limited the ability for some to worship freely with them. So, the group, led by Rev. Loren Stiles, broke off from the UMC and formed a new denomination – Free Methodism – where they stood up for the rights of all people to worship freely. They formed the very first Free Methodist congregation – there were no others of this denomination in the country at the time – and built the church across the street from their former congregation in 1859.
For some time, now, I have noticed that if you are driving north on Platt Street, there is a couple spots where you can line up your car to perfectly set the crown of the FUMC bell tower on top of the FMC bell tower and make them look seamlessly as one bell tower…..just as they were once one congregation!!! I’ve wanted to snap a photo many times, but I either don’t have my camera with me or there is other traffic on the street (you really can’t do it without stopping right in the middle of the street, in fact, actually a little on the wrong side of the street). Today, I was determined to get the shot – I even drove around the block 3 or 4 times to be able to do it without any cars coming in either direction! And…..here it is…..my photo of the day on this third day of January 2016 – and a Sunday, no less!!! (FYI – photo was taken from Platt Street just south of the railroad tracks with a 55/200 mm telephoto lens)
* While the Free Methodist church still currently holds services, the United Methodist Church stopped holding services in their historic Platt Street building in April of 2015 due to the insurmountable costs of repairs needed to the building. The UMC congregation moved to the Christ Episcopal Church on Main Street and now happily shares that building with the Episcopal congregation.