Summer Church is a tradition for 63 years providing a traditional worship service at 9:15 am at Leland Community United Methodist Church during the months of July and August.

We have the opportunity to offer guest pastors to share with our community during Summer Church and to accommodate our many summer visitors and residents with two worship services.

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 called.

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 City.

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 1898.

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 those months.

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 received.

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.

The guest preachers for the 2019 Summer Church services will be published in early Spring 2019.

If you are interested in 2018 Summer Church podcasts, please email [].
We can send the entire 8-week series in one convenient folder.