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North-central Michigan Church Celebrates 150 Years

North-central Michigan Church Celebrates 150 Years
Above: The original log cabin church in Vogel Center in 1887, with the first parsonage next to it.
Below: Vogel Center Christian Reformed Church’s current building.

On Aug. 19, 2022, Vogel Center Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Mich., celebrated its 150th anniversary. The congregation invited the community to attend events from Sunday to Sunday, Aug. 14-21, including a team scavenger hunt featuring Vogel Center history, a youth night with pizza and river kayaking, a softball game with players from ages 8 to 86, a hymn sing, and a presentation of Vogel Center community history. The week's events concluded with a parade and antique car show with free hot dogs Saturday and worship on Sunday morning with pastor Adam Barton preaching from Colossians 2:6-7: “As you began, so continue.” 

“One of the things that makes Vogel Center a great community is that for 150 years, the church has always been the central institution and heartbeat of the neighborhood,” Barton said. He said attendance for the anniversary events was higher than expected and they needed to put out overflow seating; community members stayed long after the events were over to connect with one another. 

Vogel Center (10 miles east of the city of McBain proper) is a rural farming community, which is just as it started in 1870 when Jan Vogel led a group of homesteaders to this part of north-central Michigan, “the oldest settlement of Europeans between the cities of Manistee, Traverse City, and Big Rapids,” the church’s website says. Pastor Jan Scheppers led the first public worship service in Vogel Center in August 1872, though the settlers had been worshiping faithfully in homes since the first Sunday they arrived. 

Reaching out, serving others, bringing neighbors into the faith community, are all at the core of the Vogel Center congregation. The church is currently planning to expand its worship space to accommodate growing numbers, and the church’s outreach team engages with ESL (English as a second language) tutoring, community picnics, harvest festivals, and benevolence funds. For a century and a half Vogel Center CRC has placed Christ-centered service at the heart of all it does, said Barton. “This is not a celebration of human accomplishment or faithfulness, but of God’s grace, goodness, and faithfulness in our community,” he said.

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