Image by Emil Widlund

Our History

The history of the Warren Seventh-day Adventist Church began at two different places, one in Detroit and one in the suburbs. In 1929, Elder Burk of the Grand River (now Metropolitan) Church held as series of evangelistic meetings in a tent on the corner of Mack and Maxwell in Detroit. Those who were baptized as result of these meetings joined a number of Grand River members living on the East side and formed a new church in October of 1929. There were 61 members and they chose the name Detroit Field Avenue Seventh-day Church, since they rented the building owned by the German Church on the corner of Field Avenue and Sylvester (near Mack and East Grand Boulevard). Since the German Church held their services in the morning, it was necessary for the new church to hold Sabbath School and Church in the afternoon. 

The first Pastor of this church was Elder Fordyce Detamore, who later became a well-known evangelist in our denomination. He left in 1930 to go to the mission field. 

In August of 1930, 24 members were released to form a new church in St. Clair Shores. Also in 1930, Elder Carl Beck became the pastor of the church. He was succeeded in 1931 by Elder Leonard Lee who served for a few months. For the next six years, there was no pastor. Services were conducted by guest preachers, pastors of neighboring churches, and most often by laymen, especially Brother Herbert Mickle, a retired government steamboat engineer, and Brother H. H. Crandell, the teacher of the church school.

In 1937, the church again had a pastor, Elder Lathem. In 1939, he went to Indiana and was replaced in 1940 by Elder Yates who stayed for few months. Later in 1940, Elder Light began as pastor of the Field Avenue and Ferndale (now Troy) Church and stayed until 1945 when Elder Emil Knauft began a ministry of two years.

Meanwhile, in Fraser, Michigan, Brother Mickle began a series of meetings in 1933 in Steffens Hall at 14 Mile and Utica Road. Several individuals were baptized as result and began meeting for sabbath services. At first these services were held outdoors at a farm on Garfield Road, north of Fraser. As the weather became colder, they moved to the home of sister Dahl in the 11 Mile - Gratiot area. In December of 1934, this group, now numbering nine, officially organized as the Roseville Seventh-day Adventist Church. They rented the wooden building owned by St. Mark's Lutheran Church on 11 Mile west of Gratiot. In 1943, they began renting a store building on Gratiot north of 9 Mile in East Detroit.

The St. Clair Shores Church, which was organized in 1930, had been meeting in a store building on 9 Mile near Harper and had never had a pastor. In January of 1943, the 31 members of this church group voted to merge with the Roseville Church which now had 49 members. The church then adopted the name East Detroit Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

In 1945, the building in East Detroit was sold and the church had to leave. For over a year they had no building and used various temporary facilities. The Roseville and East Detroit Church had never had a pastor and most of the preaching was done by Brother Mickle and in his absence by other lay members, often women.

Field Avenue Church had been considering a building of its own for several years, so that they could have morning services. They had purchased several lots at Chalmers and State Fair in Detroit. The East Detroit Church had also been panning for a building and owned lots in Roseville. In September of 947, the two churches voted to merge and work together in getting a building to serve the entire eastern area. 116 members came from Field Avenue and 58 from East Detroit, and services were held in the Gabriel Richard School at Lappin and Verona (near 7 Mile and Gratiot) in Detroit. 

Eleder Kauft left in 1947 to take an administrative position with the church in Australia. He was replaced by Elder Judson Habenicht.

Late in 1947, the congregation found the Van Dyke Methodist Church, at Van Dyke and Willard (just south of Gratiot) in Detroit, for sale. After the members had an opportunity to inspect it, the building was enthusiastically approved, both by members and by the Michigan Conference, which gave a substantial amount of financial assistance. The first Sabbath service was held in this building in February of 1948 and the congregation adopted the name Van Dyke Seventh-day Adventist Church. In February of 1950, the building was dedicated, free of debt.

Elder Habenicht left in 1950to go to Holly, Michigan and was replaced by Elder Knauft who had returned from Europe. He went to Grand Rapids in 1951 and Elder Paul Mesinko became the new pastor. When he went to Minnesota in 1953, Elder W. R. Archbold became our pastor for four years.. During this time, the church had several assistant pastors. In 1954, Elder R. J. Reiber was assistant and in 1955 Elder Albert Schimle, who remained in the area for several years as pastor of the German and Hamtramck Churches. Elder N. A. Lessner was assistant in 1956 and in 1957 Miss Elizabeth Buck (later Lethbridge) became our Bible worker for several years.

In 1957, the German Church shared our building with us while their new one was under construction. Of course, their services were held in the afternoon. 

Elder Archbold went to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1957 and Elder S. Graham Joyce from Vancouver came to us and served until his retirement in 1960. Elder Harold Reiner then spent two years with us until he went to work with the "It is Written" television program. In 1962, Elder James Ward became our pastor.

For some time, the congregation realized that their location was not convenient for of the many members and parking facilities were limited. Therefore, as early as 1956, they considered relocating, preferably in the area around 7 Mile and Hoover. In 1962, the building was financially sold, and for four years services were held in the Bever School, around 13 Mile and Hoover in Warren and the Bethel Baptist Church, on Gratiot north of 10 Mile in Roseville. During this time, land was purchased on 13 Mile, just east of hoover in Warren, and our present building was constructed.

For several years we again had assistant pastors, Pastor Kiesler in 1963 and pastor Yates in 1964. Also another Bible workers, Brother Carl Hobson.

In August of 1966, the first services was held in the new church, the first building in over 30 years which was built specially for our needs. Elder Ward left in 1967 to go to Kalamazoo and Elder Raymond D. Hamstra became our pastor. In 1970, the name of the church was changed to Warren Seventh-day Adventist Church. Elder Hamstra left in 1973 to serve two churches in the Lansing are while doing religious liberty work among the state legislators. 

Elder Edmund Grentz came in 1973 to serve the Warren Church as well as the German Church, which was now located in East Detroit and had been without a resident pastor for several years. Because the Warren Church had morning services, the German Church once again had to meet in the afternoon. In 1974, the German Church voted to became an English speaking church to be known as the East Detroit Seventh-day Adventist Church, and we released six of our members to join this re-organized church. In 1974 Pastor James Hopkins began as the assistant pastor of the Warren, East Detroit, and Troy churches.

Our church looks forward to the day in 1976 when we can dedicate our building, free of debt. 

Of the charter members of our church, several remain as members today. From the founding of Field Avenue - Alfred Christner and Affie Otis, and from Roseville - Mildred May, Malah Heisner and Hattie Green. 24 ofour present members were charter members of the Van Dyke Church when it was formed in 1947.

We wish to acknowledge HISTORY OF WARREN SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH, written in 1970 by Frank Bekowies, as the source of many of the facts in this history.