The Hillsdale Free Methodist Church was started about 1891 with Rev. L.H. Mulholland as senior pastor and F.L. Baker as junior pastor. Every Saturday, weather permitting, they drove horse and buggy around the circuit and held street meetings and invited all who attended to their Sunday services held in an upstairs hall on Howell Street. Their circuit included Hillsdale, Quincy, Coldwater, Alagansee, Bethel School House, and Hall’s Corners.
Their ministry grew and they moved into a church building across from the post office in downtown Hillsdale. It was dedicated in 1902. However, by 1920 only two of the charter members remained, Miss Ada Mosher and Mrs. Lottie Calkins. The church was in crisis and the 1924-1925 conference debated on whether they should send a pastor. Miss Mosher, Mrs. Calkins and Mrs. Eva Barber held on to their faith and were vigilant in their prayers for the church to be kept open. God answered their prayers and little by little the church grew. A calling program, Sunday school, and a ladies missionary society was organized.
In 1950 a new building was erected at 150 Union Street, costing $50,000. Much of the work was done by members. In November of that year, eight inches of snow prevented a planned walk from the old building to the new facility. The building was dedicated on December 3rd. A major event was held at the new church in June of 1951, as it was used for the entertainment for the 23rd General Conference. All the facilities of Hillsdale College and the city were used. It was two weeks that members who were involved never forgot.
Within four years of its construction, a Christian education wing was added to the building to house the growing Sunday School. Continued growth resulted in a new memorial center being added in 1978. A gymnasium, fellowship hall, Sunday School rooms, kitchen, and restrooms were dedicated on December 3, 1978.
The church owned a house a 237 N. Hillsdale Street that served as the parsonage for a while until the parsonage was built at 151 Union St. in 1957. The church owns other properties around the church building itself: It owns the lot north of the parsonage, purchased in 1968, the property between the church and Hillsdale St. purchased in 1978, the house sold and the remaining property made into a parking lot, and the house north of the church.
The 1990′s brought two Sunday morning services to accommodate a growing congregation. In 2000 one of the Sunday morning services became a contemporary one, with more modem music including a praise band.
The Hillsdale Free Methodist Church is truly a church that FAITH built!! The faith of three spirit filled women who were prayer warriors for the early church to the faith of ones who envisioned and built the additions. Has the mission of the church changed? No, the words may change as years go by, but this church is still Christ centered and people loving as the mission statement of today says: Our mission is to reach beyond ourselves to God and others, through Christ’s love.
Compiled by Bonnie McCosh, 2005 Using Conference Annuals, News Articles, and Older Histories