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Sharon Evangelical United Brethren Church

By dhowell - Posted on 03 January 2008

From sunset to sunrise lights on the church steeple at the Sharon Evangelical United Brethren Church beacon the traveler. It is located three miles north of Manchester on the Manchester-Chelsea Road and Pleasant Lake Road. Its congregation is composed of members living in the area and at Manchester.

The pastor is the Rev. Charles R. Fox.

The church is of brick and was built in 1876 at Rowes Corners. Henry and Gilbert Rowe came to Sharon Township in 1831 and bought land. Henry Rowe was supervisor in 1841.

The Rev. Edward Weiss organized the congregation March 22, 1874. Named to the building committee were William Schulte, Heinrich Huesman and Henry Uphaus. There were 15 charter members. The church was built in 1876 and was dedicated on November 12, with the Bishop Rudolph Dubs officiating.

It is interesting to know that in the early days there was no offering taken at the church. A member of the church board collected for the pastor's salary, another collected for the presiding elder's salary and another collected for the missions. In 1888 the families of the congregation were divided into two classes. One group was asked to pay $2 a year, the other group $1.50.

The yearly expense account for 1886 included $1.44 for oil for lamps, $27 for janitor, isinglass for stove and new rope $1.00, lamp wicks 30¢ and fire insurance on building $4.

Stained glass windows replaced the plain ones in 1900 and 1919 saw a new parsonage purchased in Manchester. Prior to that time a parsonage at 11525 Ellsworth Road, Freedom Township was used by the minister who served a part of the Washtenaw Circuit. This included Freedom, Sharon and Lima Center churches.

The parsonage on Ann Arbor Street has been used until the present time when the church purchased a new parsonage on Schaffer Court in Manchester. This will be dedicated later this year.

The Evangelical and United Brethren in Christ churches merged to become the Evangelical United Brethren Church on November 16, 1946. Also in 1946 the Sharon church dug a basement and installed oil heating.

Gus Koebbe was the first member of the congregation to own a car. People tell that he drove up to the church horse sheds and absentmindedly called "Whoa" but the car didn't heed the order and plowed through the shed.

Other improvements include new ceiling and replastering, indirect lighting system and new carpeting.

Fortune smiled on the country church in February, 1964, when Bennett C. Root, president of the Manchester Union Savings Bank, in his will left money for church improvements. A special dedication ceremony was conducted Sunday, April 11, 1965, after chancel furniture, communion rail and other improvements were completed.