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Episcopal Church, Diocese of Western Michigan records, 1851-2011

119 linear feet — 2 oversize folders — 1 drawer — 19 oversize volumes

Governing body of the Episcopal church in western Michigan, established in 1874; records include bishops' files, diocesan organization and committee files, photographs, scrapbooks, diocesan historian files.

The records of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan are a rich resource of material, not only for the programs and activities of the Episcopal Church in western Michigan, but also for their documentation of the role of the church in the life of the various communities served by the diocese.

Records from the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan first came to the Bentley Historical Library in 1972. Since then, the diocese has made several significant additions to their records. In 1999 the record group was reprocessed with the aim of drawing together like materials. The record group now consists of twenty-two separate series. These are: Bishop's Files, Chancellor, Treasurer, Diocesan Historiographer, Standing Committee Files, Miscellaneous Files, Diocesan Record Books, Publicity Files, Defunct Parish and Mission Churches Files, Diocesan Committee Files, Diocesan Organization Files, Diocesan Financial Records, Visual Materials, Sound Recordings, Scrapbooks, Western Michigan University (WMU) Ministry Files, Women's Organizations, Miscellaneous office and staff files Bulletins of Church Services, Church of Christ the King, Miscellaneous parish materials, and Miscellaneous diocesan materials.


John H. Goodrow Papers, 1961-1985, and undated

6 boxes (3 cubic ft.)

The collection contains the sermons, newspaper articles, and research of The Reverend Father John H. Goodrow.

These sermons provide an interesting perspective on the ideals of the turbulent years of the 1960s and 1970s, such as discrimination, discussed in a sermon written for July 9, 1972. Such topics were also covered within articles Father Goodrow wrote for the Daily Times of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, which are in this collection. Most of the articles that could be dated within this collection were written during the 1970s and range in topics, including articles discussing South Africa and the United States (1971), community restoration (1973), President Nixon (1974), Indian discrimination (undated), and even an article on cats (undated). Father Goodrow also wrote for other publications, such as The Christian Challenge and The Living Church and local newspapers including the Morning Sun and CMLife. Materials collected to add St. John’s Episcopal Church to the National Register of Historic Places, 1981, complete the collection. For more information about the church, see the finding aid and catalog record for its collection which is also housed in the Clarke.

Processing Note: Acidic materials (1 cubic foot) were copied and the originals were returned to the donor as requested.


Organizational records, 1874-current, and undated

13.25 cubic feet (in 20 boxes, 2 Oversized folders)

The collection documents the history, committees, activities, building renovations, 125th anniversary, and people of the church in registers, meeting minutes, photographs, newsletters, bulletins, sermons, and other materials. The collection is ongoing. Allergy Alert: Researchers with allergies should use Boxes 16-17 with caution.

The organizational records of the church are filed alphabetically and then chronologically in the following major series: The Evangel (the church’s monthly newsletter), 1966-1968, 1972-1985, 1987-current, and undated; Parish Registers, 1875-1958, which document the baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials of parishioners; Vestry meeting minutes, 1947-current, which record the business of the church officers and committees; Registers of Services, 1913-1975, which list the day, time, and the number of attendees and communicants at each service; and the St. John’s, later called the Ladies’ or Women’s, Guild meeting minutes, which include bylaws, member lists, accounts, and related materials of the Guild, 1886-1974 and undated; and, lastly, a variety of blueprints, notes, meeting minutes, bids, photographs, and other materials documenting Renovations of the church building and grounds, 1978-1982, 1992-1996, and undated. Other records, such as programs for special services, Lenten Prayer Booklets, and materials documenting the Boy Choir are included in the collection.

Early records of the Rt. Rev. J. N. Rippey, who served as acting rector of several churches including St. John’s from 1887 through 1910, include: a journal and parish registry book with baptisms, confirmations, burials, and marriages, 1887-1911, and three scrapbooks, 1874-1935 and undated, which document Rippey’s life and work, as well as the news of other Episcopalian clergy and parishes in Michigan with newspaper clippings, service programs, and newsletters from various Episcopal churches. Two handwritten sermons of Rev. Rippey dated June 28 and July 29, 1908 are also included.

Materials related to the illness, death, contract, and sermons of Rev. John H. Goodrow, are also included. Goodrow served as rector at St. John’s from 1962 until his sudden death in 1985. The Goodrow Fund at St. John’s was established and named in his honor. Materials documenting the Goodrow Fund are also in the collection.

The older materials, particularly the scrapbooks are highly acidic and fragile and should be handled with care by researchers.

Numerous materials documenting the events of the 125th anniversary are included, as is documentation on the development and workshops of the Center for Christian Spirituality.

Also included are sermons of Rev. Wayne Nicholson, a beloved, gentle priest at St. John’s from 2007 to present, who was blessed with the gift of writing and presenting wonderful sermons. His coming to St. John’s encouraged the 125th anniversary events and made the establishment and success of the Center for Christian Spirituality possible.

Ground Breaking for the joining of the existing buildings and remodeling of them began with a special Pentecost service with music created by one of St. John’s organists, Dr. Moonyeen Albrecht, and our Deacon Nancy Casey Fulton, on May 15, 2016 (See Box 15: Building Remodel/Ground Breaking Materials, 2015- folder).

Vestry Meeting Minutes, 1947-current are in the collection. Vestry Minutes, 1957-1982 (1 cubic ft. in Boxes 16-17) were added to the collection in 2016. They were previously housed in the basement and have a strong mildew smell. Allergy Alert: Researchers with allergies should use Boxes 16-17 with caution.

Boxes 19-20 include more information on Rev. Wayne Nicholson, who died unexpectedly in 2019, shortly after he retired. Early deeds, significant mortgages on church property, and information on the creation and purchase of the pipe organ created by Gabriel Kney, and the stained-glass windows and tabernacle, created by Conrad Schmitt Studios, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are included. Other materials document a new phase of the Center for Christian Spirituality, historical materials of the Boys Choir, and recordings of services and music.


The John H. Goodrow Fund Organizational Records, 1985-2022

1 cubic foot (in 1 box)

This is the official organizational records of The John Goodrow Fund (JHGF), from its 1985 establishment to its 2020 dissolution.

This is the official organizational records of The John Goodrow Fund (JHGF), from its 1985 establishment to its 2020 dissolution. The records include founding documents, dissolution materials, meeting minutes, agendas, reports, budgets, communications (emails and correspondence), fundraising documentation for the annual dinner and golf scramble, insurance, tax, and policy materials. Documentation of Sally Goodrow’s 2009 retirement and 2022 obituary, and a few newspaper clippings (copies) are also included. The records are organized topically and chronologically, according to original order. The collection is in excellent physical condition.

Researchers may be interested in additional materials documenting JHGF and Fr. Goodrow found in the St. John’s Episcopal Church (Mount Pleasant, Mich.) Organizational Records and the Fr. John H. Goodrow Papers, which are both housed in the Clarke Historical Library. Newspaper articles about the JHGF may be found by searching digitized Mount Pleasant area newspapers.

Processing Note: Duplicates, cancelled checks, and newspaper articles were withdrawn during processing. Copies of the articles were retained in the collection.


Thomas R. Jones Collection, 1999, 2003

.5 cubic foot (in 1 box)

Collection of materials about Jones and materials derived from his book.

The collection includes Biographical Information: his obituary (copy), autobiography, and memorial service programs and video; and materials related to the chancel play derived from his book (A) Non-violent revelation to John, (copies of which are available in the CMU Libraries).

Of particular interest to CMU students will be his autobiography which documents how the increasing racial violence and numbers of murders, particularly those of Robert and President John F. Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., affected him. He also details incidents of racism against African-Americans in Mount Pleasant and CMU and the efforts of CMU students and Father John Goodrow of St. John’s Episcopal Church to work towards positive integration and changes at CMU and in Mount Pleasant.