The Ludington branch of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now known as The Community of Christ) began meeting in the Ludington-Freesoil area as early as the 1860’s when lumbering was a leading industry. Micajag Drownes was one of the first priesthood members to begin holding services in the homes of the Elm Flats area members. This was some 27 years before the first branch was organized in 1887 by J.J. Cornish. Our first branch president was Jacob Kaplinger with Calvin Goodnough as clerk. Branch president in 1892 was John Shruer and Robert Kenyou in 1904. In 1901 the Freesoil church was constructed. It was dedicated at the June conference of 1902 by President Joseph Smith III and Hyman C. Smith of Independence, Missouri.
A group was started in the Ludington area in the 1880’s only to disperse about 1900. Another attempt was made to organize in 1924, meeting in a rented hall under the direction of John Randell and Patriarch James Davis. This group stayed together until 1937 when those remaining began attending the Freesoil branch.
The Ludington group was again organized into a mission in 1961 by Seventy C.F. Mundorff with Priest Bernard Long as pastor. Priesthood members at that time included Bernard Long, Warren Genson, Joseph Ball, David Gussman, Larry Davenport, John Vest, Kleber Hill, Ray MacDonald, Richard Bauman and Robert Elkins who traveled from Chase, Michigan to serve as our pastor after the death of Bernard Long in 1970.
The Ludington mission was dispersed in 1971 and members were again a part of the Freesoil congregation. In 1973 they became the Ludington-Freesoil Mission. Robert Elkins, Fred Marsh, Sr. and Milford Fry of Cadillac served as pastors of the group over the next few years. In 1977 Arden Johnson of Traverse City was appointed pastor. By October we had moved the meeting place to Ludington, renting an elementary school gymnasium. The church building in Freesoil was in need of major repairs and the majority of the active members were located in the Ludington area.
In 1978 the Ludington congregation hosted our Cornish Camp. John Wolf, Greg McDonald, Burt Benjamin, Gary Klungle along with their families directed the activities. Church members began meeting at the Peer Marquette Township Hall in 1979 greatly supported by the District. In October 1981 Elder Russell Smith was appointed pastor serving with J.R. Vest and Clifford Bradshaw.
In September 1982 the District, under the direction of Fred Marsh, Jr., voted to support the Ludington-Freesoil Mission financially as well as spiritually in purchasing a church home at 201 North James Street in Ludington. This building’s original location was on the present Mason County Court House lot. It housed an English Baptist Assembly and was moved to its present location in 1893. It was sold to the Church of Christ that same year. It retained its general architecture but the interior has been greatly remodeled. The basement was used for nine years by the Mason County Museum. Of the 100% glass windows originally in the building, only the dove of peace, symbolic of Christ’s baptism and God’s Holy Spirit, has been retained in white milk glass and cut leaded Tiffany in the peak of the sanctuary.