The following is a list of the pastors of the Factoryville congregation:
John R. Skinner (1883-1889)
S. A. Alt (1889-1892)
A. B. Stoner (1892-1893)
J. S. Keppel (1893-1894)
F. Ware (1894-1897)
E. H. Laubach (1897-1899)
F. Ware (1899-1901)
S. L. Runkel (1901-1903)
F. M. Schultz (1904-1905)
Albert J. Naly (1905-1906)
J. S. Keppel (1906-1907)
Cecil Albertus Albright (1908-1913)
Carl Imhoff (Summer interim 1913)
A. Reuhlman (1913-1914)
John Wetezel/Paul Snyder (Interim 1914-1916)
S. H. Isenberg (1916-1918)
Robert H. Redinbaugh (1919-1921)
Andrew Telford (1922)
William Headly (1922-1924)
William Barkalow (1924-1927)
Ewald Roloff (1927-1928)
Robert H. Redinbaugh (Summer interim 1928)
Andrew Telford (1928-1932)
A. E. Groenveld (1932-1933)
Robert M. Hall (1933-1935)
Virgin Garren (1936-1937)
L. B. Hull (1937-1940)
Paul Rogow (1941-1942)
Charles W. Shock (1942-1944)
Louis Skow (1944-1945)
Rudolph Burnson (1946-1951)
Ladoit Stevens (1951-1952)
Fay Logan (1953-1965)
Merritt Johnson (1965-1980)
Rich McCarrell (1980-1987)
Jerry Mack (Interim 1987-1989)
Paul Williamson (1989-1997)
Fred A. Goebert (1997-Present)
On December 9, 1883, John R. Skinner, pastor of the Reformed Church at Wakeshma, now Fulton, Michigan, began services in the Factoryville schoolhouse. The school house was built in 1874. Believe it or not, as of the writing of this history, the schoolhouse is still standing. Services were continued thus on alternate Sunday afternoons until April 27, 1884, when the “Nottawa Congregation” of the Wakeshma charge of the Reformed Church was organized with eighteen charter members.
The membership consisted of:
Charles C. Crotser (Elder) Julia Carter
Richard Favorite (Elder) Margaret Burns
John E. Doran (Deacon) Eliza Burns
Andrew Burns (Deacon) Catherine Burns
Mr. And Mrs. George Carter Sr. Mary Doran
Mr. And Mrs. Abraham Snyder Eliza Crotser
David Snyder Laura Case
Margaret Favorite Emma Harding
All of these members were transferred from the Wakeshma charge. After special services the following winter, several more names were added to the church roll. These included:
Julia and Francis Pier
Mary Anne Bushong
In 1886, Rev. John Skinner held a series of meetings in the Carpenter school house. The converts from these meetings, and a few from the Wakeshma charge, who had moved to Athens, formed a nucleus of a Reformed Society in Athens. It was determined that people living east of the Kalamazoo-Calhoun County line, under the leadership of Isaac Snyder began meeting in Athens and eventually founded the Athens Reformed Church. This group held bi-monthly meetings in the Athens Methodist Church from August 1, 1886 until April 24, 1887, when an Athens branch of the Wakeshma charge was organized with 27 charter members. The people west of the line met at the Factoryville School House in Factoryville. These two charges were a part of the Wakeshma charge. John Skinner, who founded the work, served the Wakeshma charge until 1889.
S. A. Alt, followed John Skinner as the pastor, and served from 1889 until 1892. Little information is available concerning his ministry. The Women’s Home Missionary Society was organized in March of 1890.
A. B. Stoner followed Alt and served from 1892 until 1893. After a series of meetings at Factoryville in the winter of 1892-93, under Rev. A. B. Stoner, the Factoryville Church had a membership of 58 persons. The Factoryville and Athens congregations were strong enough to leave the Wakeshma charge, and to form a circuit of their own, known as the Athens Charge. During the pastorate of A. B. Stoner, land was obtained, and plans were drawn up to build a church for the Factoryville congregation. The cornerstone was laid in the fall of 1892 with fitting ceremonies at which Rev. Stoner presided. In the metal box placed in the cornerstone were sealed, Reformed Sunday School papers and Quarterlies, a Bible, an early church history and some coins.
J. S. Keppel became the pastor on June 1, 1893 and served until 1894. Shortly after Rev. Keppel’s arrival, the church building was completed. Mr. Frank Crafts drove the first nail. The “old church records” state: “Factoryville, July 2, 1893, The new Reformed Church of Factoryville was dedicated to the service of the Triune God by her pastor, J. S. Keppel. Rev. H. S. Bailey, of White Pigeon, Michigan preached the dedicatory sermon.” Few facts are available concerning the building of the church, among which are that the men of the church drew the stone for the foundation, and that one of the carpenters, as he was ready to begin work on the building, handed his hammer to Frank Crafts, who was standing by, and let him drive the first nail. To install the furnace, a hole was dug under the building scarcely large enough to accommodate the new “Homer” furnace, a small quantity of wood for fuel, and the path from the stairs to the furnace from the entrance door at the back of the church. The ends of the pews nearest this register were choice seats during the coldest winter services on Sunday afternoons, if the janitor had been tardy in his duty. The development and history of the Athens, Fulton (Wakeshma), and Factoryville Reformed churches were concurrent as they were begun, owned, and sponsored by the Synod of the Reformed Churches of America. They shared the same pastors and accepted the same doctrine. The pastors resided in Athens, after the cement block parsonage was built in 1905 for $1732.19. No information is available to us concerning the pastorates of F. Ware, E. H. Laubach, S. L. Runkel, and F. M. Schultz.
Albert J. Naly and J. S. Kepple each served the charge for one year. Kepples’ pastorate came to a close July 31, 1907. During the following September, Mr. Cecil Albright, a senior at Central Theological Seminary, was secured to supply every two weeks. This supply continued until May, 1908, when Mr. Albright became the regular pastor. Mr. Albright’s ordination and installation service was conducted by Rev. Longaker of Three Rivers and Rev. Beaver of Colon on the evening of June 26, 1908. “New courage seemed to come to the congregations, and they grew in numbers and strength”. The Athens church, originally built and completed in 1895, at a cost of $2,000. Was re-frescoed, re-varnished and re-carpeted in May of 1910, at a cost of $400. Nearly the whole amount was raised at the re-opening service on May 15th. Rev. H. J. Christman D.D., preached the re-opening sermon.
Again, the historical record seems lacking concerning the pastorates of Carl Imhoff, A. Reuhlman, John Wetzel, Paul Snyder and S. H. Isenberg.
Rev. Robert H. Redinbaugh, though an ordained Reformed church minister, received his training at Moody Bible Institute, as did many of the pastors who succeeded him. After many years of “medieval darkness” and denominational suppression, God’s Spirit began to move to bring gospel light to this area, and especially to the Reformed circuit charge of Athens, Fulton and Factoryville. Rev. Redinbaugh was a vibrant, dedicated messenger with a strong evangelistic appeal. Living in the Fulton parsonage, his life and words bore a shockingly clear and convincingly strong witness of the grace of God. Revival broke out. Many transformed persons changed the life of the communities…the local Masonic Lodge was the most hard hit. The whole area, and all three churches were affected. It literally became the “talk of the town”. The Fulton church grew so strong that it withdrew from the circuit and began to operate on its own. About the same time, Leonidas replaced Fulton in the three-church circuit. Rev. Redinbaugh, as well as the pastors who followed, preached salvation by grace, not of works. They taught personal responsibility in stewardship free from church domination. They encouraged support of pastors and missionaries at home and abroad who proclaimed with candor and impartiality that, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord”. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”. “Except a man be born-again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?”. Rev. Redinbaugh served from 1919-1921, and later filled in as an interim pastor in 1928. His work was cut short due to an ailing wife.
In 1922, a dynamic, young, single graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Andy Telford, rode into Leonidas on the evening train. He had come to pastor the three-church charge. He appealed to all ages…”especially the young ladies”. All three churches grew in interest and size, especially the young peoples’ groups and many were saved. He left three growing, serving churches the next year when he left for mission work among the Indians of South America where he had great success. He returned to Canada in 1924 to marry the “girl he left behind”.
William and Ella Headley graduated from Moody Bible Institute where he was honored to be chosen class speaker. Both William and Ella had outstanding musical ability. She was an excellent soprano soloist, and he was an accomplished pianist. The served the circuit from 1922 until 1924. William later served as the national president of the General Association of Regular Baptists. Bill was an earnest, hard-hitting, uncompromising pastor with a straight forward message which nurtured the saints, and won sinners. William’s messages “ruffled the feathers” of some of the “old reformers”.
William Barkalow came from Patterson, New Jersey, where as a young man he had married a wife and lost her in death. William was also a talented musician, especially in voice. Prior to coming to the Factoryville area, he had performed high society concerts in New Jersey and surrounding areas. When he met the Lord, his life was changed, and he surrendered to full-time service. He then went to, and graduated from, Moody Bible Institute. He came to the three-charge churches and lived in the Athens parsonage as a widower from 1924-27. He was a capable, inspiring preacher, teacher and musician (even teaching classes I music theory and voice to his parishioners). He was greatly respected and followed. The churches grew numerically and spiritually. In 1927, he married Maude Ellsworth, a missionary to the Navahos. They left the area to pastor churches in Nashville and Stanton, Michigan. He eventually became the superintendent of the Buffalo City Rescue Mission.
E. A. (Ewald) Roloff became the next pastor of the three-church charge. Ewald and his family came from a successful pastorate to live in Athens in 1927. E. A Roloff and his singing family were fine examples of the Christian home. The service and lives of the Roloff family were exemplary and God-honoring. The three-church charge was about to come to an end. E. A. Roloff’s preaching caused the “old reformers” in the Athens church to rebel. With the support of the Synod, they called a congregational meeting and voted to become part of the Congregationalist Church. The Athens church building was sold, and many of the Athen’s flock united themselves with the Factoryville congregation. Factoryville and Leonidas continued to share pastors who came as supplies to these mission churches. E. A. Roloff moved on in 1928, to accomplish many great things in God’s work.
During the summer of 1928, Robert H. Redinbaugh filled the pulpit in an interim capacity. He had retired from preaching, but returned to fill the pulpits of the Factoryville and Leonidas churches. He comforted the people, patched up some hard feelings and kept the church a float at a critical time in their history.
In the fall of 1928, Andy Telford returned to the area, after pastoring a large church in Ottawa, Canada. Andy Telford returned to pastor the Three Rivers Bible Church from which he served Factoryville for the next four years. Pastor Telford finally departed to assume responsibilities in Philadelphia. Andy would pastor the Berachah Church in Philadelphia for over twenty-five years. He also taught for over twenty years at Philadelphia College of the Bible, Washington Bible College and Berean College. Andy Telford would conduct Bible Conferences and Evangelistic services all over the country well into his eighties.
A. E. Groenevelt followed Andy Telford at Three Rivers Bible Church. He also took on the responsibility of the Factoryville Church from 1932-1933. Little is known of his background or later service.
Mr. Robert Hall, a 1930 graduate of Moody Bible Institute, worked in the upper peninsula right after college. Mr. Hall came into the community to become a supply pastor of the United Brethren Church. From 1933-1935, Robert Hall pastored North Athens Baptist, Wakeshma Baptist and Factoryville. All three churches prospered, “much growth and vigor was experienced”. Pastor Hall would walk the railroad tracks to preach the gospel at Factoryville. Robert Hall was ordained as a Baptist minister in October of 1935. Robert Hall married Jeannette Dorothy Brant Christmas day 1935. Robert Hall helped to organize and taught at Grand Rapids School Of The Bible And Music.
Mr. Virgil Garren followed the pattern established by previous pastors at Three Rivers Bible by servicing the Factoryville congregation from 1936-1937. Little is known of his background or later service.
In 1937, L. Beverly Hull, a native of Wisconsin, and a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and Northern Baptist Seminary, began to pastor the Factoryville congregation. Weekly cottage prayer meetings were begun during L. B. Hull’s pastorate which were a great blessing in Christian nurture and fellowship. During his pastorate, the Sunday services were held in the afternoon, for the pastor’s services were always shared with one or two other churches and the pastor’s residence had been in another area. It was during L. B. Hull’s ministry that the Factoryville Church broke from the Reformed Churches Of America. The following is a quote from a congregational business meeting in 1939: “as a direct result of this Bible centered preaching and its aversion to the Synod’s creed, the denomination came to consider the Factoryville church more of a threat than an aide, more of a liability than an asset, and so their action of May 16, 1939, was brought about. Since connection with Classis for years had been only restrictive, this action seemed ordered of the Lord.” At a meeting of the Fort Wayne Classis of The Reformed Church Of America, May 16, 1939, it was voted to “relinquish all property rights and claims to the Factoryville Reformed Church, and in all friendliness to declare the church free and independent”. On March 7, 1940, the congregation of the church met and voted to be known henceforth and incorporated as The Factoryville Bible Church. The church drew up and adopted a confession of faith and a constitution which became operative April 20, 1942. The church was officially incorporated October 5, 1942. The following is a list of the charter members of Factoryville Bible Church:
Mr. and Mrs. Eli Yoder Mrs. Anna Crafts
Mrs. S. G. Kline Mrs. Nancy Kline
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Wise Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Leatherberry
Mr. and Mrs. Leo Correll Mrs. Fred Allen
Mrs. Lyle Allen Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Correll
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob H. Correll Mr. and Mrs. Ben Williams
Miss Elma Leatherberry Miss Esther Leatherberry
Mr. Robert Leatherberry Mr. Lester Leatherberry
Mr. and Mrs. Leo Zerby Mr. and Mrs. Loren Parlin
Mrs. Robert Homer Miss Avis Williams
Pastor Hull served the Factoryville congregation for four years and the Leonidas church for two years. He and his family departed in January of 1941 to pastor a church in Caro, MI.
Mr. Paul Roggow pastored the church from 1941-1942. Little is known of his background or later service.
The Charles W. Shock family served the Wakeshma and Factoryville congregations from 1942-1944. Factoryville celebrated it’s 50th anniversary under Pastor Shock’s ministry. Pastor Shock showed great love for his people, and always went “the second mile. They left the area in 1944 to work with Cedine Bible Mission in Athens, Tennessee.
Louis Skow assumed the pastorate role from 1944-1945. During Pastor Louis Skow’s pastorate the Leonidas and Factoryville churches shared the pastor who lived in the newly purchased Leonidas parsonage. Since the churches were only three miles apart, it was decided that both churches could have morning services, Factoryville at 10:00 AM and Leonidas at 11:00 AM. This brought an end to the afternoon services and also placed the Sunday School hour after the morning worship service. This change helped improve the interest and attendance. A mid-week service was also established on Thursday night at 8:00 PM. A youth group was started that involved young people from both congregations. They met an hour before the combined evening service. The evening services alternated from one church to another. This proved to be a very satisfactory union which continued through the pastorship of Rudolph Burnson
Rudolph Burnson pastored both churches from 1946-1951. The ministries continued to grow. The combined choirs and young people taped a very fine weekly service which was aired over the Coldwater radio station. In the fall of 1947, the men of the church excavated and built under the existing church. A better heating system was provided. Sunday school rooms were added along with a small auditorium.
Ladoit and Ruth (Stamm) Stevens pastored both churches from 1951-1952. Pastor Stevens had a very effective ministry especially to young people. He urged dedicated Christian service. His messages turned inward as the Stevens’ felt led to become missionaries to Latin America. By the time Ladoit Stevens left the area, both the Leonidas and Factoryville churches felt they were each strong enough to proceed alone, each having its own pastor and program. The separation was amiable. When Pastor and Mrs. Stevens left the churches to minister in Costa Rica under the Latin American Mission, Factoryville took on a considerable amount of their support. The Factoryville congregation, however, need a parsonage.
On April 17, 1953, the church purchased the Miller farm of 16 acres just east of the church for $3,500.00. In just one offering, on Easter Sunday morning, $1300.00 was raised.
In a short time, May of 1953, the Factoryville church called C. Fay Logan (32 years old), of Alton Bible Church to be its pastor. They arrived to a newly renovated parsonage. Fay and his wife, Betty, were the perfect choice to be the first full time pastor of Factoryville Bible Church. Fay was a graduate of Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary. Fay and Betty had no children, but devoted every part of their being to the ministry of Factoryville Bible Church. A new auditorium annex was added to the Old Church and dedicated on July 17, 1956. Because of the hot summer nights, and no indoor air conditioning, Fay instituted, in 1953, a DRIVE IN CHUCH for Sunday evening services in the Summer. For the first time, Factoryville began supporting missionaries on a monthly basis. Betty founded the Ladies Missionary Fellowship to keep the congregation updated on missionary activity and needs. In 1954, the congregation began to clear and develop land for a camping program. The camp was originally known as “Parsonage Park”. Later the name was changed to Camp Elvin in memory of Leo and Dorthea Zerby’s son. A log cabin was build, out of telephone poles, in 1954-55, by Jim Smith’s boys Sunday school class. A boy’s dorm was later added to the camping ministry. The church grew and was fed the truth of God’s Word, making them doctrinally sound. Fay and Betty served faithfully for twelve years (1953-1965). They were deeply loved and respected by all.
In 1965, Merritt and Lois Johnson became the pastor of Factoryville Bible Church. Merritt would serve the church from 1965 until 1980. Merritt was a graduate of Grand Rapids School Of The Bible And Music. Merritt and Lois had 5 children. Early in 1968, Factoryville Bible Church became a member of the IFCA (Independent Fundamental Churches Of America). In 1969, with an assist from Ardy Parlin, Chuck and Mary Ann Nightingale were instrumental in bringing the Word Of Life youth program to our church young people. We have the distinction of being the FIRST WOL club in the state of Michigan. Because of continued church growth, land was purchased about ½ mile east of the current church site. A new church went under construction in 1971 and was dedicated in September of 1973. It was a church “in the pines”. No longer was it the little white country church. A girl’s dorm was added to the camp in 1967 in honor of Mildred Bennett. Lois began a Children’s church program. Merritt and others had a vision for a Christian school. The K-8th grade school began in 1974. Merritt was a no non-sense expositor of God’s Word. He was firm, dogmatic yet fair. In 1980, Merritt and Lois left the church to join WEF Ministries in West Berlin, to work with children and the military.
In 1980, Rich and Sue McCarrell, came to minister at Factoryville. They were a young family from the big city. The people immediately fell in love with them. Rich was ordained in January of 1981. Rich and Sue would serve seven years at Factoryville, and add two children. In October of 1980, 16 additional acres of land was purchased south of Factoryville road. On February 17, 1981, the entire church facility burned to the ground. Many thought this would bring discouragement and an end to Factoryville Bible Church. The opposite happened. The church was rebuilt in 14 months, bigger and better than ever. The people became galvanized in their love for the Lord, and love for one another. Everyone pitched in, and the new church, with a 550 seat auditorium, was dedicated April 11th, 1982. The membership of Factoryville increased by 50 people after the fire. Pastor McCarrell was a great communicator . He had strong ties to the IFCA.
When Pastor McCarrell left, there was a prolonged period with no pastor. This could arguably be the first time in Factoryville’s long history where there was inner turmoil. Jerry Mack was asked to step in as interim pastor. He had previously been the school administrator. Indecision in regards to bringing in a new candidate continued for 2 years. Pastor Mack was never able to get the support he desired to be considered as the full-time pastor.
Finally in 1989, the congregation called Paul and Helen Williamson to fill the pastorate. Pastor Williamson came at a time of unrest and division. Pastor Williamson fought many obstacles to return the church to focusing on ministry. Paul Williamson, was a very intelligent man. He was a deep teacher of God’s truth. Many fundamental doctrines became deeply ingrained in the hearts of the congregation. Along with Steve Stairs, school administrator, Paul wisely changed the Christian School from an ACE program to traditional education. This was not well received by some, but it was a necessary transition for educational integrity. Paul and Helen had four children. Helen was very musical. She promoted music throughout the church and in the Christian school ministry. After nine years of ministry, Paul and Helen moved to Pennsylvania to assume a pastorate there.
One year prior to Paul Williamson’s departure, the church and school boards voted, early in 1996, to close Factoryville Christian School mostly for financial reasons. For the first time in the church’s history, the congregation did not follow the board‘s recommendation. The congregation voted to try to keep the school a float. Steve Stairs left to accept a pastorate in Kalamazoo. In the fall of 1996, Fred Goebert was hired to work with the school. He had been a pastor and administrator of a Christian School in Florida for about 15 years. After less that a year, Paul Williamson left to accept a pastorate in Pennsylvania, and Fred Goebert was asked to be the pastor of the church in the fall of 1997.
Pastor Goebert has a bachelor’s degree in Bible from Appalachian Bible College and a master’s in Biblical Exposition from Pensacola Christian Seminary. Fred and his wife, Brenda, have three children, and ten grandchildren. The survival of the Christian School was a priority for Pastor Goebert. Because of the hard work and sacrificial dedication of many of our church and school families, Factoryville Christian School still exists today (2020). Understanding that throughout the years, Bible Churches in general have been known for being RIGHT, but somewhat SEPARATIST and ARROGANT in their rightness, Pastor Goebert stressed from the beginning Ephesians 4:15 and the importance of sharing the TRUTH in LOVE. His messages are clear, simple and understandable to all. He shares God’s Word with a sense of passion and humor. The congregation has developed not just a deep love for one another, they have volunteered many hours to reach others for Christ. Missions, home and abroad, are still a main focus of Factoryville. Nearly 20% of all offerings, go directly to missions. Many new community outreach ministries have been started. Camp Elvin still ministers to the community, allowing over 200 young people each summer to participate in a week long camping program. There is a “Pass It Forward Shop” that gives free, necessary items and supplies to needy families. A free Thanksgiving meal is provided for the community. The church is involved, once a month, in a community meal program as well. Brenda, the pastor's wife, has taught in the school for many years, and also developed and organized a support group for our widows (“WINGLES”). The fellowship hall has been expanded, a new church kitchen (2004) has been built, along with an additional school/church classroom building (2011). Many of the church’s pillars and spiritual leaders have passed away. Since Pastor Goebert has been here, he has done over 100 funerals. But God has risen up others so that the church stands strong and faithful to the truth of God’s Word, nothing has been compromised. Even though he hates to admit it, Pastor Goebert is a “people person” and continues to faithfully minister to our church families.
The history of Factoryville Bible Church extends back to 1883. For the first 70 years of the church's existence, there were 33 pastors, mostly "circuit riders. Since hiring their first full-time pastor in 1954, the church has had only 5 men holding that position.