Pictured are (from left) Gun Lake Tribal Council member Becky Baker, tribal chairman D.K. Sprague, pastor Nancy Boelens and tribal spokesperson James Nye. They are planning the church’s centennial celebration.

Bradley church celebrates 100 years

By: 
Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

 

To mark the 100th anniversary of the present day Bradley Indian Mission United Methodist Church at 695 128th Ave.,  an open house will be Saturday, May 17, from noon to 4 p.m. Clean SL8, a local Christian band comprised of tribal members of another tribe, will provide entertainment from noon to 3:30 p.m. At 6 p.m. a special presentation will be given by former ministers of the church followed by a catered dinner.
 
“We hope the centennial celebration will show that we have always been here and be a reminder that we are still standing,” said Becky Baker of the tribal council of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe). “It is the hope of the tribe to pull members back home to the place of their roots.”
 
Participants can browse displays featuring some of the pictorial history of the Indian mission and artifacts from the community.
 
On Sunday, May 18, at 10 a.m., will be a special service followed by brunch.
 
The original church dates back at least 150 years. Its foundation is still visible in the woods by the Bradley Indian Cemetery at the end of the road. 
 
The present day church was constructed in 1914. Baker’s great-grandfather Selkirk Sprague was the first minister when it opened. 
 
“My grandpa Fred Sprague was also a minister,” Baker said. “For me, it’s always been home and the heart of the community.”
 

For full story, pick up a copy of the May 8 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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