Conference Cane holder Konstantin Wipp passes away
by Paul Thomas, Director of Communications
Rev. Konstantin Wipp
Conference Cane Holders
- Francis Asbury Blades - 1904
- Seth Reed - 1905
- Phillip I. Wright - 1924
- David Casler - 1928
- David B Millar - 1929
- James E. Jacklin - 1941
- Samuel Graves - 1944
- George Tripp - 1948
- Thomas Mott - 1950
- Carl S. Risley - 1951
- David N. Earl - 1953
- Edwin D. Dimond - 1954
- James T.M. Stephens - 1959
- H. Addis Leeson - 1960
- Richard C.G. Williams - 1964
- Charles Bragg - 1966
- William A. Gregory - 1967
- Frank Purdy - 1971
- Henry I. Voelker - 1973
- Russel D. Hopkins - 1975
- Benjamin F. Holmes - 1984
- Myron Robinson Everett - 1990
- George MacDonald Jones - 1993
- Walter C.B. Saxman - 1998
- Ira Leslie Wood - 2002
- Alvin Burton - 2003
- Konstantin Wipp - 2005
The Rev. Konstantin "Kon" Wipp, holder of the Detroit Conference Cane since 2005, passed away on Friday, Aug. 3, in Houghton, Mich. Wipp was 99 years old.
A native of Estonia, Wipp came to the United States from Sweden in 1949. He found his way to Michigan to be near a friend and became the pastor of the Marquette Grace Methodist Church, Skandia Methodist Church, and served at Camp Michigamme in many capacities including camp director.
In 1951, Wipp was sent to Grand Marais, where he served the McMillan, Engadine, Germfask, and Grand Marais churches on Sundays and the Trout Lake Church on Tuesdays, a 150 mile circuit. He also served churches in Norway, L'Anse, Zeba, Baraga, Escanaba, Gwinn, Salisbury, and Munising until his retirement to AuTrain, Mich., in 1978. Wipp remained active in the Marquette Prison ministry and Michigamme Methodist Institute much of that time.
The Conference Cane, created in 1904, is presented to the oldest ordained elder of the Detroit Conference who has at least 35 years of membership and resides within the bounds of the conference.
Picture courtesy of Detroit Conference Archives
The cane is made of wood from the church in Adrian, Mich., where the Detroit Conference was organized in 1856. Several wood inserts are included in the cane, representing different historical periods of the conference. Those inserts include:
- wood from the first Methodist Episcopal Church, erected in Michigan in 1818 at River Rouge;
- wood from the first bookcase of the Rev. Seth Reed, custodian of the cane from 1905-1924;
- wood from the tree near the resting place of Barbara Heck, a pioneering Methodist woman in America (click here for information on Heck);
- wood from the church where Judson Collins, the first American Methodist missionary to China, was converted; and
- wood from the pulpit used by Robert Strawbridge (click here for information on Strawbridge).
The conference commission on archives and history, in collaboration with the appointive cabinet, will determine the next holder of the conference cane and make the presentation.
Visitation will be on Thursday, August 9, from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the Munising United Methodist Church. The Rev. Sandra Kolder and Wipp's grandson Michael Mannisto will co-officiate the funeral at 11:30 a.m. at the church. A luncheon will immediately follow the service, and burial will at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Grand Marais at 3:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to Camp Michagamme or a charity of the donor’s choice.