Friends History

Middle River Meeting Organized in 1851 by the Pleasant Plain Quarterly Meeting which was then under Indiana Yearly Meeting.

The First Middle River Meeting House was built in 1853 on a plot of land given by Soloman Wright.  The number in the meeting at this time was about 50.  The meeting house itself was probably a very crude structure, small with a lean-to porch.  Seats were rough boards supported at each end by blocks of wood.

Minutes of the meeting are not on record from 1885 to 1903, but the 2nd meeting house was built as the site on Cleveland next to the cemetery, possibly around 1890.  This was a larger building, about 20 x 28.  By 1890 the Quarterly meeting was no longer called South River, but Ackworth and there were 9 meetings in all in the quarterly meeting.

After having been a preparative meeting for over 40 years, on the 8th month and 11th day of 1903, the church extension committee of the Ackworth Quarterly meeting met with the people of Middle River for the purpose of establishing a monthly meeting.  The membership was 45.

In September 1906, a building committee was chosen to make plans for a three-room parsonage.  The cost was not to exceed $300.00.  The parsonage was built at an actual cost of $404.00.  Isaac and Hannah Cook came a year later as pastors and were the first family to live in the new parsonage. 

The meeting prospered under the ministry of Edwin Loft and an increase of membership and enthusiasm made it possible to plan for a new meeting house.  This was built and dedicated on October 15, 1911.

In 1970, the church entryway was enlarged, including the addition of an upper room just above the entryway.  In addition, a pastor’s office, nursery, and two restrooms were constructed downstairs.

In 1990, our historic building was too small to allow us to do God’s work effectively.  Our Sunday School had reached the 100-year mark with an additional increase in church attendance.  A new addition to the West was added to the building.  This new addition to the West was added to the building.  This new section contained 3 classrooms, Pastor’s office, a new kitchen, social hall, bathrooms, and air conditioning.

In 1999, because of our growth and the condition of our facility, the congregation decided to build a new facility that would hold approximately 250 people.  All options to enlarge our little white church on the hill on Cleveland Street failed.  However, God had a different plan for us to expand by different means.  In July 2000, Jeanette Gibbons and her brother Dwight donated 2.5 acres of land on Hwy 23 for our new church location.  Groundbreaking was held on Sunday, October 8, 2000.  Digging the basement started in November 2000, but construction was halted due to harsh winter conditions until June 2001.  Construction continued through the next year right up to our Grand opening on August 18, 2002.  The building cost was 1.9 Million dollars.  In making this move, we left behind our parsonage and historic building. 

In 2019, we added a concrete parking lot that cost $175,000.