Metlakatla corps re-opens in Alaska
BY JENNI RAGLAND –
The Metlakatla, Alaska, corps building was officially reclaimed as a “House of God” during the corps’ rededication service. The events, attended by nearly 100 friends, soldiers and guests, also celebrated the completion of an extensive renovation project organized by a group of enthusiastic volunteers from the Tustin Ranch Corps.
Renovations included replacing the roof and windows, rebuilding of the front entrance, painting the inside and outside of the building, replacing the carpet and a host of other small projects.
Under the leadership of Field Captain Silas Milne, the building in Metlakatla was first dedicated in March 1925. Over the years, the Army has struggled to maintain its presence in the community before finally closing in 1975.
In September 1999, Envoys Randy and Kristi Neimeyer assumed responsibility for the corps and have brought a renewed passion for the Army’s spiritual ministry to the community.
Lt. Colonel Terry W. Griffin, divisional commander, equated the events in Metlakatla to that of Nehemiah and the children of Israel returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall.
Seventy-five years after her grandfather participated in the dedication of the building, Milne’s granddaughter, Myranell Bergtold, stood in the same church to express her appreciation for the Army’s continued commitment and service to the community. Many others shared childhood memories of beating the drum at the Army as they reminisced about years gone by.
The celebration concluded at the local native facility, the Long House, with traditional food and dancing. It was at this celebration that Divisional Youth & Candidates Secretary Captain John Brackenbury inaugurated the first Sunbeam troop in 45 years.