The Old Rugged Cross Foundation, Inc. (ORCF) is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit corporation, making donations tax deductable.

We invite you to roam these pages and find the history, pictures, events, stories and things you can do to help maintain this precious Christian treasure that was almost lost but is now fully restored to its 1875 - 1914 church era appearance. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Christ Himself has been at the center of this project from the very beginning. He called together a multi-denominational group of volunteers, who made up the board of directors of The Old Rugged Cross Foundation, Inc. (ORCF). This group, along with numerous other volunteers, raised the funds required to complete the restoration of The Original Old Rugged Cross Church in Pokagon, Michigan, where the final version of Rev. George Bennard's hymn "The Old Rugged Cross" was first sung publicly in 1913, during a revival.

Although the restoration of the church (including a museum and an additional building containing restrooms) was completed in September, 2019, funds are still needed to pay the bills, maintain the buildings and grounds, and to build an endowment fund so future generations will be able to enjoy this piece of our Christian heritage. Many volunteers have helped over the past twenty-four years to accomplish a feat that most felt was an impossible task. However, “with God, all things are possible”. Matthew 19:26.

Additionally, the ORCF is now restoring a nearby building, which we call the Old Rugged Cross Annex. Once restored, it will be available to rent for reunions, receptions, and other gatherings. Its rental fees will help with the upkeep of all ORCF properties.

Volunteers are our life-blood, working throughout the year to support the ministry of the church; maintenance of the church and church grounds; maintaining this website; and working on fund-raisers to keep the church and museum viable. Volunteers are deeply involved in the journey of the work before us, and we invite you join us in our efforts.

If you have an “Old Rugged Cross” story you would like to share, please submit it to our scrapbook)

What's New:

Pokagon History

Check out this history of Pokagon, Michigan.

Now Available!

The Old Rugged Cross Lives On by Molly Tate Shaffer is a 488-page pictorial and verbal history of the hymn and its author, and gives a step by step account of the restoration of the building where it made its public debut.

Book:   $80.00
Mich. Sales Tax:   4.80
S & H:   15.00

Make checks payable to:

Mary E. Shaffer Publishing
33053 Crystal Springs St.
Dowagiac, MI  49047

Books are also available at the Old Rugged Cross Church and at scheduled book signings.

To arrange to purchase a book at the church, call 269-362-4347 for an appointment.

Contact us at:
P.O. Box 41, Niles, MI 49120  (Mailing Address)
269-362-4347 (Cell Phone)

Visit us (by appointment) at:
61041 Vermont St., Pokagon, MI 49047 (Physical Address)