Often had I noticed the mission near the Northport bend of M-22, and today my route took me by at time for services, just moved to 11 AM, coffee hour at 10 AM. Styrofoam cups requested to go the devil, bring a mug from home. Pastor Terry Wildman had begun his ministry at the fifteen decade old church, and he opened with a psalm from the Odawa included in the standard United Methodist hymnal. His wife accompanied him on the Indian flute as he declared the words eloquently. Wycliffe Publishing has reached out to him to assist in translating the New Testament into English, using the diction of the American Indian. He has the psalms memorized, and each Sunday he'll chant one in repetition, Indian hand drum accentuating the rhythm.
Seven in pews began the service at Eleven. By sermon, twenty had made arrival. Last week, forty-eight native children participated in a overnight summer camp organized by the mission. All children in attendance were given a signed copy of "Love Letters from God", donated by the author, a minister's wife living in Grand Rapids.
Each elderly woman sat together with a young woman of the congregation, hardly teenagers. A man wore a medicine man tee shirt. A woman who sang songs with her arms raised and outstretched in praise wore dream catcher earrings. As Terry completed his sermon on love & humility, teaching us the Odawa words for each, the storm arrived and perhaps the thunder echoed his lesson.
Terry begins his ministry upon the retirement of Tom Johns, a native minister who served the Northport and Keewadin congregations for fifteen years.