Tuesday, September 4, 2012

100 years

This past weekend our church, along with friends, relatives, former church members and pastors, celebrated 100 years of God's faithfulness to the Bethel Brethren in Christ Church.

The church first started with a Sunday school, which met in a schoolhouse in Porter township. Soon a couple of families came from Ohio to begin the church. The actual building was moved to the site from the thumb of Michigan and dedicated in 1915. Since then many people have called Bethel Merrill their home church. None of the current members are related to the original members of the church, but several of their descendants came for the day to help us celebrate and to share their memories of the Bethel Brethren in Christ Church. 

After Sunday school and the morning service, in which Jon and Becky Winger, current missionaries and grandson of a former pastor, shared, we gathered at the Porter Township Hall for dinner before returning to the church building for an afternoon service. We served a meal consisting of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn on the cob, salad, rolls with butter and jelly. For dessert we had various sweets including birthday cake, homemade pies and cookies and mocha punch. 

A book of sermon notes compiled by Henry Schneider, one of the first pastors at the church, who later became a bishop. Schneider built the barn on the corner of Laporte and Seven Mile Roads to be used as a meeting place for the Brethren in Christ General Conference in 1929. Words painted above the doors of the barn still read "Holiness Unto the Lord."

"God's timeline in our lives" Rev. Dwayne Potteiger

"Encouragement in the Church" Rev. Mervin Potteiger
"Greetings" Bishop John Zuck

"Greetings from Carland Zion BIC" Rev. Eric Stanton

"A brief history of Bethel Merrill BIC" Leon Cook

"Home and the church" Bruce Byler

"Bethel Merrill board members today" Brian Cook

"Working with local churches" Rev. John Forsee

"The next 100 years" Rev. Jimmy Lang
Open mic time

Open mic time

Open mic time

Open mic time


  1. I'm excited about your 100th anniversary day or weekend. 1912 must have been a stellar year for churches starting in Midland County! Thanks for sharing these pictures and words.

  2. Seeing the pretty veils from the back is a great angle. This is just the pictures in a nutshell. One of the ladies visiting from Pennsylvania left early to visit her 100 year old aunt. That was really neat 100 year church 100 year old person.