The Leland Summer Church is a tradition dating back 64 years now of providing an additional
worship service with guest preachers at 9:15 am at the Leland Community United Methodist Church during July and August.
This year Summer Church services were held from June 30 to August 18, and our guest preachers were Rev. Matt Hook, Dexter United Methodist Church, Rev. Todd V. Cioffi, Associate Professor, Calvin College, Rev. Tyson Lemke, Grace Bible Church, Ann Arbor, Rev. Jack Harnish, Retired Pastor, Rev. Neal Plantinga, Calvin College, Rev. Sharon Brown, Retired Pastor, and Rev. Jeff Nelson, Royal Oak United Methodist Church.
During the months of July and August, the Leland Community United Methodist Church conducts its worship services at 10:30 a.m.
The History of Leland Summer Church
The Methodist Church in Leland dates back to 1857 when the Rev. L.J. Griffin was directed by
the presiding elder to form congregations in Northport and on the Carp River, as Leland was then
In 1872, Congregationalists built their Leland Church. The Village could not support two
churches however, so the Congregationalists and the Methodists merged their parishes
informally, and they were served by a Congregational clergyman, usually from Northport. The
merger did not solve the financial problems though. The then minister sued for back pay, and the
result was that the church building was sold at auction in 1896 to Mrs. Ada K. Pratt of Traverse
The following summer the building was destroyed by fire, and the next spring Mrs. Pratt deeded
the lot to the Leland Methodists. A local doctor, James Brady organized and raised funds for the
new church structure. The Rev. P.E. Whitman was the first pastor in the new church, which was
finished in 1898. The Leland Community United Methodist Church has served the greater
Leelanau Peninsula community with continuous worship services at our 4th Street location since
The practice of guest pastors for summer services and visitors began as early as 1905. This
continued off and on for years as appointments of pastors to Leland were seasonal, leaving the
summer months unattended by the appointed clergymen who were serving other parishes in
In the early 1950’s, some of the summer services were conducted in the homes of Leland
residents. In 1955, a group of summer residents got together to search for pastors to speak in
Leland during the summer months. These residents arranged with the Leland Methodist Church
to bring in guest pastors. With no pastor assigned to the Leland Methodist Church in the summer,
and a growing number of summer residents wishing to attend services, this proposal was well
These summer services were intended to be non-denominational in order to create a worship
service that would be of interest to as many people in the community as possible. The original
committee consisted of Harry Finke, John Fisher, Russ Riley, Harry Harrison and Frank Mead.
John Fisher became the formal head of this committee, which oversaw the summer church
operation for many years, and was dedicated to providing a pastor to speak each Sunday in July
and August at LCUMC. The opportunity for pastors to come to Leland to preach for a Sunday,
(or more,) during the summer months and stay as guests in the homes of Committee members
became very popular with pastors throughout the Midwest.
John Fisher headed the committee through 2008, at which time Mrs. Joanne Thomas became the
committee chair. In 2013, Tony Borden became the Leland Summer Church committee chair.