Church founded by Michigan’s first female black landowner celebrates 150th anniversary

Grosse Ile Township, MI
July 15
Event Title
Church founded by Michigan’s first female black landowner celebrates 150th anniversary
When does it start?
When does it end?
Event Location
25150 E River Rd
Grosse Ile Township, Michigan 48138
What kind of event is it?
Celebration of 150 years
Event Details
On Sunday, July 15 at 10AM, Saint James Episcopal Church in Grosse Ile will celebrate the fulfillment of the vision of Lisette Denison Forth, our church founder and Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame inductee.

Born into slavery, Lisette escaped to Canada, sued for her freedom and became a pioneering woman of color, owning property, stocks, and even shares in a steamboat company. It is said she was the first Female Black Landowner in the State of Michigan and perhaps in the entire United States. In her will, she left her life savings of $1500 to build an Episcopal Church where rich and poor alike could worship together. Today this congregation carries out her mission of unity, advocacy, diversity and faith.

“I am honored and humbled to be the rector during this joyous occasion,” said The Rev. Phil Dinwiddie, Rector of St. James, “To this day, we structure our missions to support Lisette’s vision for this community, which is really Christ’s own mission and the mission of the Church. I hope and believe she would be very proud to see how far we’ve come.”

Saint James Episcopal Church supports 22 local, national, and international benevolences, including El Hogar De Amor Y Esperanza in Honduras, The Spirit of Hope Soup Kitchen in Detroit, CROP hunger ministry, The Grosse Ile Food Pantry, Jerusalem Peace Keepers, Alternatives for Girls, and many more. St. James hosts two massive rummage sales a year to help the poor and needy access furniture, shoes and clothing at prices far lower than even Good Will or Salvation Army can provide.

The 150th Anniversary service will be held at the nationally recognized historic Carpenter Gothic style church, and will be followed by a catered brunch along the Detroit River. The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, The Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr. will be the presider at this celebration. The guest preacher at the celebration will be The Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown.

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Contact name
The Rev. Phil Dinwiddie