Bethel Mennonite Church (Ashley, Michigan, USA)

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The first Mennonites to move to Ashley, Gratiot County, Michigan, came from Illinois in 1918 in search of cheaper farmland. The Samuel Slagell family was the first. The new Ashley Mennonites organized a Sunday school in the Slagell home in December 1919 and began meeting in the Daggett schoolhouse southwest of Ashley in January 1920.

In 1920, Preacher George H. Summer moved with his family to Ashley and assumed pastoral leadership. A congregation was organized on 6 July 1920. In the winter of 1920/21, the young congregation began to meet in the Washington Center Evangelical Church before returning to the schoolhouse. In January 1922, the congregation began construction of a meetinghouse three miles west of the Daggett schoolhouse; it was dedicated on 8 October 1922.

In the 1950s and 1960s, students from Michigan State University in East Lansing made Bethel Mennonite their church home.

The Bethel Mennonite Church closed on 17 April 2022 after its pastor's declining health prevented its continuation. In 2024, the Redeeming Love Christian Fellowship occupied the former Bethel church building.


"Ashley, Mich." Gospel Herald 15, no. 31 (2 November 1922): 601, 604.

"Fifty years at Bethel, Ashley, Michigan." Gospel Herald 65, no. 49 (19 December 1972): 1033.

Oyer, D. S. "Ashley, Mich." Gospel Herald 13, no. 17 (22 July 1920): 329.

Preheim, Rich. In Pursuit of Faithfulness: Conviction, Conflict, and Compromise in Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. Harrisonburg, Va.: Herald Press, 2016: 307.

"Report Book for Annual Sessions 2022." Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. Elkhart, Ind.: The Conference, 2022: 30.

Wenger, John Christian. The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1961: 240-241.

Additional Information

Address: 9785 South Bagley Road, Ashley, Michigan



Denominational Affiliations: Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Bethel Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
George H. Summer (1871-1937) 1920-1937
John "Kore" Zook (1894-1984) 1937-1954
Eli A. Bontrager (1861-1956) 1938-1942
Daniel S. Oyer (1882-1954)(Deacon)
John M. Landis (1914-2003) 1954-1958
Herman R. Weaver (1932-1973) 1958-1961
Allen "A. Lehman" Longenecker (1914-2005) 1962-1970
Calvin R. Kaufman 1971?-1977
H. James Martin (1923-1987) 1977-1980
Fred Gibbs (Interim) 1980-1981
Robert M. "Bob" McKelvey 1981-1988
Jason S. Martin (1927-2007)(Interim) 1989-1990
Gordon Myers 1990-1992?
Lay Leadership 1992-1994
Joe Pendleton 1994-2022

Bethel Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1921 26
1930 87
1940 130
1950 140
1960 140
1970 146
1980 157
1990 142
2000 116
2009 46
2020 18

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Daniel S. Oyer. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 313. All rights reserved.

Bethel Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church (MC)), located in Washington Township, Gratiot County, Michigan, Michigan, on U. S. Highway No. 27, 10.5 miles north of St. Johns, is a member of the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. The congregation was organized on 6 July 1920, with 24 charter members, in the Daggett schoolhouse three miles east of the present location, with George H. Summer serving as first pastor until his death in 1937.

Kore Zook was minister after 1937, and D. S. Oyer bishop 1942-1954. In 1922 a new frame church was built. The 1953 membership was 137

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published April 2024

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Bethel Mennonite Church (Ashley, Michigan, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2024. Web. 24 Jul 2024.,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=178687.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (April 2024). Bethel Mennonite Church (Ashley, Michigan, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 July 2024, from,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=178687.

©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.