A History of Some Assemblies of Christians in the US and Canada

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A History of Some Assemblies of Christians in the United States and Canada

Table of Contents

By Robert L. Peterson

Copyright © 1999 by Robert L. Peterson Reproduced by permission of the author.


Many people, for many years, have discussed the need for a record of the Brethren assemblies in North America. David Rodgers, long associated with Emmaus Bible College and assemblies in Iowa and elsewhere, is one of these, and is the person who has done most to promote and encourage the writing of this book. He has provided continuing encouragement and has been an invaluable help in identifying and contacting people who could provide information, and urging their cooperation.

Emmaus Bible College, in the persons of Chancellor Dan H. Smith, Ed.D., Librarian John Rush, and several of the faculty, has been indispensable to this project: the Chancellor with his encouragement; the Librarian with his willingness to put the resources of the library at my disposal and for answering lots of questions; and the faculty who in several ways have encouraged me along the way and critiqued portions of the manuscript at various stages of writing.

Many respondents to the questionnaires sent to them have done much more than provide information about their own assemblies; they have provided assistance in the form of information and contacts for other assemblies. Many people have patiently responded several times to my repeated questioning.

When I have been reasonably satisfied with a draft for a certain region of the continent, I have sent it to a reviewer for comments, corrections, and additions. The assistance provided by the reviewers has been invaluable. Many reviewers have supplied a great amount of additional information and have obviously spent a considerable amount of time and energy in doing so.

To all these people, indispensable to this project, I give my heartfelt thanks. Special thanks go to my wife Jane Peterson who has traveled with me on various tasks related to the gathering of information; she has helped in interviewing people and has been patient and tolerant as I have put this all together.

And finally, I give my thanks to my Creator and Savior, Who put it in my heart to undertake this task, and Who has sustained me during its progress.


On several occasions, Moses told the readers of his book of Deuteronomy to remember – to remember what God had done for them, to remember from whence they had come, to remember the promises and covenants of God. As William Oliver[2] has phrased it, Moses wanted to encourage forward movement as a result of a backward glance.

That desire among many of us has given rise to this book.

Who is this book about?

The question is not simple to answer. Briefly, we are writing about the histories of a linked set of evangelical local churches that are autonomous but not independent, whose central teaching is that of the Bible, whose central worship is at the Lord’s Supper, and whose governance is by plural leadership.

The word ‘linked’ is important here. The churches whose histories are described in this book are part of a network of local churches that have no central governing body. They interact through shared speakers, Bible Camps, Bible Conferences, Bible Schools, and many publications. They follow a pattern of governance and worship similar to that found and espoused in the New Testament. They typically celebrate the Lord’s Supper each Sunday. They promote the New Testament principle of the priesthood of all believers; that is, neither clergy nor any others are required as intermediaries between God and the believer.

The characteristics mentioned in the first paragraph of this section are met by a great number of churches, such as some of the nondenominated Bible Churches. But many of these are not a part of the network of local churches discussed in this book, some because they are not aware of them, and some by choice.

This network of churches began in the 1820s in England and Ireland, and soon spread to the rest of Britain, the European continent, and the world. It was a ‘back to the Bible’ movement, a breakaway from the idea of a state church, and a repudiation of the legalism then prevalent among many of the independent churches.[3] It was a movement convinced that the Body of Christ should not be divided into sects or denominations.

Believers should take no name that tends to separate them. They are Christians, and brothers and sisters in Christ. Thus, these churches collectively prefer not to have a name. They are not a denomination, if by that term one means having a central headquarters controlling the local churches. Nevertheless, a name is practically inevitable when writing about a particular subset of Christians or churches. Many of these linked churches refer to themselves as ‘brethren.’ Although that term is very general, ‘brethren’ is the term I will use throughout the book to mean specifically the linked churches under discussion. These churches have a habit of calling their churches ‘assemblies,’ another very general term; in this book ‘assemblies’ always means these individual linked churches.

This book is about those linked churches in North America. A convenient directory is provided by Walterick Publishers of Kansas City and called Address Book of Some Assemblies of Christians.[4] That directory contains a listing of the great majority of these churches in North America and the Islands of the Caribbean.

The ‘brethren movement’ divided into two sections in the 1840s along church governance lines. One segment felt that a ‘circle of fellowship’ of local churches should exist to which those local churches were collectively responsible. Others disagreed with this, asserting that local autonomy is of greater importance, and these are the ‘open brethren.’ This book is about the ‘open brethren.’

The churches organized into circles of fellowships are sometimes labeled ‘exclusive,’ which refers to their concept that all churches except those in their circle are excluded from their intimate fellowship. I make no attempt in this book to chronicle the history of the ‘exclusive’ assemblies on this continent. However, interaction between the two groups has been significant in the past, and in several instances I find it necessary to include a brief discussion of some ‘exclusive’ assemblies.

However, even the ‘open brethren’ churches are not uniform in their attitudes and procedures. For purposes of this book, I have included any assembly considering itself to be ‘open brethren’ and which has responded to our request for information.

Why This Book?

This book is intended as a source book of the origins of some assemblies in the United States and Canada. It is nonjudgmental. I have chosen not to analyze or editorialize. This is primarily a book of names, dates, how individual assemblies formed, and ‘the way things were,’ though I have tried to make it readable as a story. At the end of this volume, I compile a few statistics gleaned from this study, but leave it to the reader to interpret.

Several books have been written about the history of the brethren, but none has been devoted to a history of individual assemblies in North America. Many people have lamented this lack, particularly about the pioneer assemblies, or those with interesting histories that soon may be forgotten.

David Rodgers, Assistant to the Chancellor of Emmaus Bible College, has felt and expressed this need perhaps as much as anyone. When he first approached me about undertaking the task of developing the histories of assemblies on the North American continent, my first reaction was to point to the book My People, by Robert Baylis, then recently published.[5] Soon we realized that Mr. Baylis’ book did not address local assemblies, but rather took a broad sweep, beginning with the origins of the movement in the 1820s in England and Ireland, discussing brethren philosophies, institutions, and personalities, and their successes and failures.

So I was not able to shrink from the task on the grounds that it had already been done. Then I pointed out that it had taken me two years, with my wife’s help, to write the history of just the Colorado assemblies.[6] And I threw up other objections: many assemblies will not want their history told; memories are inaccurate; people and assemblies will be hurt because they have been omitted or because I didn’t get the story right, or because I said too much or didn’t say enough. But these hesitancies gradually faded as I prayed and considered the project. And so at the beginning of 1996, I committed before the Lord to undertake the work.

When we first undertook the writing of this book, we (David Rodgers, myself, and others) felt that by contacting perhaps a few dozen key people who knew much about developments in past generations, we would have gotten most of the information we needed. But we quickly learned that this was not to be, for several reasons. Some of the people so identified claimed to be too old to help. Some did not reply. Some gave information at odds with that from others.

We realized that we had to greatly expand our information base, and so we have contacted, or attempted to contact, every assembly in Canada and the United States listed in the Walterick Address Book for 1998. We have also contacted assemblies listed in later editions and have contacted people from assemblies listed in earlier editions, assemblies no longer in existence. Many of the current respondents have supplied information about those assemblies. Much information has been obtained from journal articles, newspaper articles, and from books.

Though some portions of the book will read as a story, much of it is simply documentary, containing not much more than names and dates. The coverage is uneven and there are significant gaps. About 45% of the assemblies contacted in the U.S. and about 38% in Canada have responded to our requests for information. That is why the word ‘some’ is used in the title. This book describes those assemblies that have responded to our inquiries, or that we have knowledge of from other sources. Among those who responded, some gave minimal information, while others sent much material. The latter naturally get the most space in this book. The space given here to a particular assembly is thus not necessarily indicative of the vigor or importance of that assembly.

Many respondents have sent me histories of their assemblies that were prepared previous to or concurrent with the present project. These are identified in the appropriate sections. The reader will find much more information in those histories than I have been able to put into this book, much of it quite fascinating. These histories may be available from their authors or their assemblies.

In many cases, knowing that I could not improve upon the writing used in those histories or reports, I have used phrases or sentences taken from those histories, with little editing. Articles published in magazines such as Letters of Interest and Uplook have been consulted, and in some cases I have used wording that I found there.

Terminology and Titles

The brethren have developed their own words and phrases for many functions of the church, and so it is useful to identify some of these here.

Breaking of Bread, the Lord’s Supper, Remembering the Lord, the Remembrance Meeting are all ways of identifying what most churches call communion. In this book, I use initial capitals to identify this service of worship.

In fellowship is brethren nomenclature for those people who are accepted as ‘members’ of the assembly according to some standard, always with the understanding of a God-honoring life, but sometimes with a more restricted meaning. It is the near-equivalent of membership in other churches.

Commendation is similar to the idea of ordination as used by many churches, though ‘ordination’ there has a more formal connotation. Not all assemblies use the word ‘commendation’ in the same way. Commendation, at its root, means an expression of confidence by the leadership of the assembly that the person is suited to a task, having been identified by the Holy Spirit as such. In some assemblies, it means little more than that; in others it implies an obligation to provide at least some financial support and perhaps a requirement of accountability to the commending assembly. I use the word in this book if the responding assembly has used it.

In most cases, I do not identify by name the workers commended to foreign fields or to ministry on the continent, for several reasons: there are thousands of these workers and their names can be found in various missionary publications; on occasion commendations have been withdrawn; in many cases, the list of names sent me was stated to be incomplete. So I usually avoid giving these names. However, exceptions have been made in a few cases for well-known missionaries from earlier days or because some other connection made it seem desirable.

Many of the people in this history have the secular or theological title “Dr.”, which can refer to Ph.D., Th.D., Ed.D., M.D., or other degrees. In this book, all such titles are omitted. Within the Christian community, I believe we should not use such titles, for they tend to separate us into classes. I use the neutral designations Mr., Mrs., and Miss, and their plural forms.

Many of my respondents use the very acceptable terms “brother” and “sister.” I certainly have no objection to this, but repeated and continual use make the narrative seem stilted after a while. So I usually replace them with Mr., Mrs., or Miss, or use no designation at all.

The size of the various assemblies is of interest to many people. Exact size is difficult to measure, since most assemblies keep no formal membership lists. Sometimes different respondents have estimated differing numbers for the size of their assembly. The numbers can also change significantly from one year to the next. Nevertheless, I feel that the size of the assemblies collectively is of general interest, and in those cases where such numbers have been supplied, I use them, and attempt to say whether the number refers to average attendance or to those in fellowship. And when I say, for example, “About 100 are in fellowship. . .” it must be understood that this refers to the situation near the end of the 20th century.

Names of individuals were often presented to me with variant spellings, and I have attempted to use the spelling I think most likely. The starting dates of assemblies frequently differ by a year or two, depending on the respondent.

Without question, many errors will be found in this book, along with significant omissions. Readers are encouraged to contact the author with such information. If a sufficient number of significant changes and additions become available, a published (paper) edition may be created at a future date.

About the Author

Robert L. Peterson lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife Jane. They have five grown children and many grandchildren. Mr. Peterson is an elder at Fairview Bible Chapel, east of Boulder, and is the author of several books and articles on Christian themes.

He obtained a Metallurgical Engineer degree from the Colorado School of Mines in 1952, followed by a Master of Science degree from Lehigh University in 1954. He was then drafted into the U.S. Army in which he served for two years. He returned to Lehigh and received a Ph. D. in theoretical physics in 1959.

He joined the faculty of Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland in 1959, and then the research staff of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado in 1963. He is the author of some 60 scientific papers on topics in magnetism, optics, semiconductors, and superconductors.

He retired from his research career in January 1996, and has continued his career in writing.


  • [1] Carins, Earle E., Christianity through the Centuries, Zondervan Publishing House, 1954, pp. 436-437.
  • [2] William Oliver, in Our Heritage: Assembly History in the Philadelphia Area, March 7, 1999; audio tape
  • [3] There are many books about the origins of the brethren. Two among the more recent ones are The Origins of the Brethren, by Harold H. Rowdon, Pickering & Inglis (1967); and History of the Brethren Movement, by F. Roy Coad, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1968). The biography of Robert Chapman by the author, Robert C. Chapman, A Biography, by Robert L. Peterson, Loizeaux Brothers Publishers, New Jersey (1992) also has useful information about origins.
  • [4] Address Book of Some Assemblies of Christians, Walterick Publishers, Kansas City, Kansas; published annually.
  • [5] My People, by Robert H. Baylis, Harold Shaw Publishers, Wheaton, IL (1995).
  • [6] Christian Assemblies on Mountain and Plain, a History of the Brethren in Colorado, by Robert L. Peterson, self-published, Boulder, CO (1992).


Today is built on yesterday. We are creatures of time, and although God has put eternity in the hearts of His people, each moment of time He gives us is lived out under the influence of what is past. . . history.

It is often said that the main thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn anything from history. There is a measure of truth in this over-generalization, reflected in the fact that some negative patterns of behavior are repeated generation after generation.

In addition to our chronic human failure to learn what we should from history, it appears that the influence of existentialism in the Western world has robbed us of an appreciation for history. History doesn’t make sense, the existentialists say. Admittedly, the complex events and obscure motives in any period of history, along with unknown or unavailable pieces of the puzzle, pose a great challenge to the student of history.

In the late 20th century mind-set, there is another ingredient to complicate things. The revisionist mentality distorts historical material in various ways with a political or ideological agenda that sadly destroys the integrity of transmission, and particularly hurts the upcoming generations.

All of this notwithstanding, there are many who value history. Whether we recognize and admit it or not, today is indeed built on yesterday. The past does influence the present and the future. Whether we are taken up with our “roots” or not, impulsive decisions as well as wise decisions are made in a setting of and are influenced by that which is past.

Bible-believing people have a particular respect for history. The Bible is a historic document. While it speaks with supernatural authority about the future, a high percent of the Bible is history. In Romans 15:4-6, the apostle Paul tells us that only with a strong foundation in what Scripture tells us about the working of God in the past, along with the hope Scripture offers for the future, can people be prepared to live in the present for the glory of God.

The introductory statements in the book of Acts add another important perspective. The recorded events in the early months and years in the history of the Church are seen as a continuation of what Jesus began to do and teach during His earthly ministry. Even though the canon of inspired Scripture was complete when the Apostle John concluded the book of Revelation, the history of the Church continued. The ascended Christ continues His work by His Spirit and by His Word throughout the history of the Church even to our present day. We may regret the ingredients of Church history that are not honoring to God and His Work but we must not underestimate the fact the the program of our Lord in this age is the accomplishment of that which He predicted when He said, “I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18). Christ is building His Church, and the record of this eternally significant work is of great value.

There is a small and relatively unnoticed part of church history that is the focus of the book you hold in your hand. Classed by historians as a “nonconformist” movement, with a beginning in England and Ireland in the 1820s, the Brethren movement has developed as part of the mainstream of evangelical Christianity in the last two centuries. Within thirty years this movement extended to North America, and has continued to be active to the present.

For those of us who identify with the Brethren movement, the primitivistic approach to church doctrine and function is significant. The attempt to duplicate the New Testament Church in modern times is a worthy commitment.

This historical work seeks to establish a record of the local assemblies, some no longer in existence, that are part of the Brethren movement in North America. There is a particular focus of those assemblies that are sometimes identified as Christian Brethren. Since these autonomous assemblies do not have an organizational “headquarters” to co-ordinate or control their activities, there has been no central record of historical details of their existence or function. In this book, Robert Peterson establishes such a record.

I am personally grateful for the efforts of Mr. Peterson and for many who assisted him by contributing information from various areas. Mr. Peterson has done much of his research in the archives of Brethren material in the library at Emmaus Bible College, and we at the College have encouraged him in this work. But this historical piece is his work, and we commend him for making a valuable contribution to recorded information about the assemblies of North America. May the readers of this document be motivated to renew their efforts to honor Jesus Christ and the doctrine of the New Testament Church in theory and practice.

Daniel H. Smith, Ed.D. President, Emmaus Bible College


Many people, for many years, have discussed the need for a record of the Brethren assemblies in North America. David Rodgers, long associated with Emmaus Bible College and assemblies in Iowa and elsewhere, is one of these, and is the person who has done most to promote and encourage the writing of this book. He has provided continuing encouragement and has been an invaluable help in identifying and contacting people who could provide information, and urging their cooperation.

U.S. Pacific

This section contains the States on the Pacific: California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii, in that order. The 1999 Walterick Address Book lists 99 assemblies in this grouping.


We begin with a description of assembly history in San Diego, then move northward through the state.

In 1904, J.G. Traggardh with his wife and son moved to San Diego from Pittsburgh. In the next year, William Brunner and family arrived in San Diego from their farm in Iowa. The two families met and soon began to Break Bread and study the Bible together each Lord’s Day at the Traggardh’s home. When others joined them, the group moved to a larger home on the corner of 12th and Market Streets.

The need for yet larger quarters necessitated planning for the erection of a hall, the first assembly building in San Diego. Though the families possessed little means, they were able to obtain a vacant lot on Texas Street, north of University Avenue. William Brunner and others with building experience made the Bible Truth Hall in San Diego a reality.

In most of the ten nearby homes, at least one person, and in some cases a whole family, came to know God’s salvation. Many sought fellowship at the Bible Truth Hall, and the building was soon outgrown. In about 1919, a vacant lot was obtained on the west side of 30th Street just north of University Avenue. The hall was moved to this site and enlarged. Living space was added to provide lodging for itinerant evangelists, and here the brethren enjoyed happy fellowship for a number of years. They engaged in evangelistic work, visiting homes and holding street meetings at the corner of 30th and University each Sunday evening before the Gospel meeting. The young people visited the hospitals and jails to sing and pass out tracts. Many gathered in homes for Bible study and Christian fellowship.

A group including the Brunners left Bible Truth Hall after some disagreements. They bought an old Baptist church building on Marlborough Street with ample auditorium and living space to accommodate visiting preachers. This became known as the Marlborough Gospel Hall.

The assembly grew; during World War II, more than 200 were meeting in a building meant for 100. Buses were purchased to bring children to Sunday School. Busses and automobiles were used to pick up servicemen stationed in San Diego and bring them to the meetings at Marlborough. Many of the servicemen were saved as a result.

The group met at Marlborough Gospel Hall until 1957, at which time they relocated to a building on Laurel Street in San Diego and changed the name to Laurel Bible Chapel. The servicemen’s ministry continued at Laurel for a number of years. The strong Sunday school program for children and young people that had been developed at Marlborough was continued at Laurel until about 1971. Hundreds of children were brought on five busses. Evangelism was a primary emphasis in all the children’s programs.

From 1939 to 1963, the brethren at Marlborough/Laurel had summer camp programs at Forest Home in the San Bernardino Mountains in conjunction with other southern California assemblies. When the rent became too high, those involved in running the camp program formed a corporation with brethren from other assemblies in southern California and with financial help from Stewards Foundation, purchased Verdugo Pine Bible Camp in the Los Angeles National Forest. Laurel Bible Chapel continues to use Verdugo Pines.

The large number of Hispanics in the San Diego area led to the formation of a Spanish-speaking congregation meeting at Laurel Bible Chapel. George Mora began the work among the Hispanics by means of a Spanish Bible Class at Laurel, involving an unsaved neighbor family whose children were attending the Sunday School. All of the ministries among children have provided a means of reaching the parents of the children involved; some have been saved as a result – for example Jaime and Letty De La Vega, serving the Lord in Guadalajara, Mexico.

As Laurel grew and thrived in the 1970s, thought was given to hiving off to other areas of the county. As a consequence, East County Bible Fellowship in El Cajon was formed in 1976. In the mid 1980s a second hive-off occurred – Cornerstone Bible Church in La Mesa. Although Cornerstone ceased to function at the end of 1994, it was instrumental in the salvation of a number of people and in the spiritual growth of many of those who formed this group.

Both hive-offs involved the loss of sizeable groups from Laurel, but the Lord gave them a vision for reaching out materially and spiritually to the in¬creasing number of refugees, especially those from Southeast Asia. Many of those were saved. The refugee ministry resulted in the establishment of a Cambodian and a Laotian group of believers at Laurel Bible Chapel. At the beginning of 1994 a group of Korean believers, originally from the Los Angeles area, asked to meet at the Chapel.

As a consequence of the formation of the other ethnic groups, the number of believers meeting at Laurel in 1990 exceeded the number which existed in the 1970s when Laurel was almost exclusively a Caucasian church.

The existence of five ethnic groups at Laurel has produced unique situations and problems. From the beginning, all the ethnic groups preferred to conduct meetings in their own language, and this was agreed upon to allow worship unhindered by problems of language comprehension and cultural differences. Separate meetings facilitated evangelistic efforts to reach people of the same ethnic background. Breaking Bread together two or three times a year is arranged, at which time all five languages are used. Elders from all of the groups meet together only to deal with special situations which affect all the groups.

East County Bible Fellowship in El Cajon began in 1976, a hive-off from Laurel Bible Chapel in San Diego. Meeting first in Nebo Hall in La Mesa, the believers soon moved to the El Cajon Women’s Club, then to the La Mesa Masonic Lodge, and finally to their own building at 496 3rd Street, El Cajon. The Fretz, Mear, Warren, Linfoot, Coombs, Harris, and Even families were those starting the assembly. Over the years, elders have been Charles FretzRichard FretzGary CoombsJim CatalanoHenri Warren, and Clay Berry. About 80 adults and youngsters attend East County Bible Fellowship today.

James Mader had been saved while serving in the U.S. Army Air Corp in World War II. After his discharge, he attended the [[Providence Bible Institute] in Rhode Island and Prairie Bible Institute in Canada, followed by another short course in practical training in Los Angeles. Then he came to San Diego as the Assistant Director of the Christian Servicemen’s Center (CSC), with a desire to go full-time into the Lord’s work.

The CSC was run by the Christian Businessmen’s Committee, and one of its board members was Ralph Barker. He and his wife were in fellowship at Marlborough Gospel Hall. Mr. Barker lived north of San Diego in a converted barracks and operated a dairy farm on Mission Gorge Road. He and his wife had started a Sunday School in their home before World War II. The parents would bring them in, then waited for the classes to finish. Karl Hammond from Los Angeles had on occasion come to down to preach to the parents. Mr. Barker, having observed James Mader preach at the CSC, asked him to preach to the adults, and this was the start of what would soon become the Mission Valley Community Chapel.

In the early 1950s, Mr. Barker replaced the barracks with a purchased submarine trainer, which after remodeling became the present home of the Chapel. Mr. Mader was by then teaching Bible classes in various homes. The population in the area was increasing. One by one, people were saved and the need for a church home became evident. An assembly was formed and incorporated in 1953 as the Mission Valley Community Chapel.

Allied Gardens had been established after the war to provide affordable housing for veterans. The wife in a family in the new church did much visitation in the Allied Gardens area, assisting the young families. Many of them came into the assembly. In 1954, the assembly bought a 35-passenger bus to pick up children in Allied Gardens. The bus was also used as a Sunday School room.

Clyde and Kenneth Hammond, brothers of Karl Hammond from Los Angeles, were early leaders in the assembly besides Mr. Mader and Mr. Barker. Doug Thomson from New Zealand was much involved in the work.

The assembly has always had active youth programs, and its focus today is prayer and missions. It has sent missionaries to many foreign countries, including countries in Africa and Indonesia, and to the Philippines, Paraguay, and France. About 110 adults and children attend Mission Valley Community Chapel today.

Several other assemblies came into existence in San Diego in these years. The Front Street Gospel Hall was located near the present University Hospital in Hillcrest. This assembly later moved to a new location on Twain Avenue in Allied Gardens. The Imperial Avenue Gospel Hall in Logan Heights continued for a time.

In the fall of 1893, W.J. McClure held tent meetings in Los Angeles. Following those meetings, he and others established one of the earliest assemblies in the state, meeting at 806 Temple Street. The assembly later moved to 1231 West Jefferson Boulevard and built the West Jefferson Gospel Hall, where they remained for many years. In 1959, the assembly relocated a short distance away to 11138 Venice Boulevard in Culver City, and became the Culver City Gospel Hall. However, was still called the West Jefferson Boulevard Assembly in the history written for the 1993 centennial celebration.

Conferences were a steady feature of the assembly, the largest being in the mid 1930s when more than 300 people attended. For many years, the West Jefferson assembly held Saturday night street meetings, and sponsored tent meetings of one to two month’s duration.

In 1926, John and Nettie Ruddock were commended by the West Jefferson assembly to the Lord’s work in Guatamala and Honduras, continuing for 52 years. Also commended in 1926 were Ida Last and Margaret Last, to the West Indies. Harold and Mabel Richards were commended to the work in Alaska in 1937.

  • * * * * * *

In 1922, John Ruddock of the West Jefferson Gospel Hall began a work among the Spanish-speaking people of East Los Angeles, mainly among the children. In 1924, he was joined by Adam Thropay, and many were saved in these efforts. In 1950, a Spanish speaking assembly, the East Los Angeles Gospel Hall, was established, and from it a children’s work was begun in El Monte.

  • * * * * * *

The Pomona Assembly was started at about the time that the West Jefferson meeting began. When the Gospel tent used in the Los Angeles meetings by W.J. McClure was taken down in September 1894, it was shipped to Pomona, 40 miles to the east, where a small assembly was already meeting in a home. A campaign was opened there, continuing nightly until December. By the end of the campaign, 18 were meeting as an assembly in rented space. In 1957, the Pomona Gospel Chapel was erected at 1041 N. Weber Street, with a main auditorium seating 182. Henry Petersen and William Bush had meetings at the official opening of the chapel.

  • * * * * * *

In the early summer of 1925, brethren from the West Jefferson meeting put up a Gospel tent on the north side of York Boulevard at Avenue 48, with Sam Greer and William Grierson as the preachers. Because of the large number of converts, property at 1100 North Avenue 54, Highland Park, was donated for construction of a church building. The Avenue 54 Bible Chapel in Los Angeles was completed by December 1925.

The Lord raised up many workers from the Avenue 54 assembly. Among the earlier workers were Sam and Dorothy GallagherIrene Gallagher, and Harold and Mabel Richards (the latter also commended by the West Jefferson meeting) in the 1940s and 1950s, and Dorothy Cornish to the work in Guatemala in the 1960s. Many others have been commended to the Lord’s work locally and abroad.

The Avenue 54 assembly supported a Missionary Home and an Old Folks Home in South Pasadena in the 1940s and 1950s. In the early 1960s, the property at 5415 Buchanan Street, adjoining the Chapel, was purchased to be used as a Missionary Home. From the 1970s, the Avenue 54 Christians have run an inter-city mission to under-privileged kids. In 1983, classrooms and a small auditorium were added to the Chapel, and a Missionary Apartment was completed and opened. The small auditorium is used by Iglesia Evangelica de Highland Park, and the dining room is used by the Avenue 54 Korean Assembly. Currently, about 110 are in fellowship in the English Meeting.

  • * * * * * *

Iglesia Evangelica de Highland Park in Los Angeles began in the late 1970s as a neighborhood Bible study conducted by Stan Hanna and then Irene Gallagher. In 1989, Richard and Nancye Yarrall, who had been commended by assemblies in New Zealand for the Lord’s work in Colombia, arrived to work among the Latinos in the Los Angeles area. Being re-commended to this work by the New Zealand assemblies and Avenue 54 Bible Chapel and Westminster Bible Chapel, they commenced working with the Iglesia Evangelica de Highland Park group. Visitation and Bible studies among Latinos in the Westminster area led to the formation of Iglesia Cristiana de Westminster, CA closely associated with Westminster Bible Chapel. (See Ethnic Section)

  • * * * * * *

The assembly in Fullerton, in the Los Angeles area, had its start in 1955. A few believers living in Orange and Los Angeles counties and attending Elm Avenue Gospel Hall in Long Beach met to discuss starting a testimony in Orange County. Agreeing on the need, they held their first meetings as the Garden Grove Assembly in a rented store in Garden Grove, with Sunday School and the Family Bible Hour in the morning, and Breaking of Bread in the evening. Wednesday evening meetings were at a motel that could accommodate the twenty or so people. For a number of months Harold Kesler came from Riverside on Wednesday evenings for ministry at the Garden Grove Assembly.

A partially completed cement-block house in the area, on Dale Avenue south of Katella Boulevard, was found to be for sale and was purchased. Volunteer work made the building suitable for meetings, and a house trailer was converted into three Sunday School rooms.

Around 1960, a larger facility on two and one half acres in Fullerton was found to be available. The decision to move the testimony to Fullerton was unanimous, and Grace Bible Chapel came into being. To facilitate the transportation of Sunday School children to Fullerton from the former areas, two old buses were purchased and operated each Sunday morning.

After several years, those living south of Lincoln Boulevard decided to start a new testimony in that area, and rented a Club House on Harbor Boulevard in Westminster. This move reduced the number in the original congregation by over 50%, but with so many moving out of Los Angeles to Orange County at that time, it did not take long to build the numbers back up again. In a few years, expansion and remodeling of Grace Bible Chapel were necessary again.

In 1977, Bruce Merritt took early retirement to take over administrative responsibilities at the assembly. In 1985, Kenneth Daughters, then attending Biola College, took over these duties until he left to attend Dallas Theological Seminary. Then Andrew Holloman, a graduate of BIOLA, worked full time for a year, setting up the office, supervising the youth groups, and visiting the Christians in their homes. After that, Harold Barrington, who had helped Laurel Bible Chapel in San Diego reorganize, came to Fullerton for several months, running the office and visiting most of the congregation and making recommendations. The assembly declined for a time, but recovered under the leadership of elders Christo AyoubMichael CarterCharles Cox, and Robert Norris. Grace Bible Chapel in Fullerton is active today.

  • * * * * * *

In 1947 several brethren from Goodyear Gospel Hall in Los Angeles began a Sunday school work, pioneered by Karl Hammond, among the children on West Adams Street. Interest and attendance grew and a building was erected, which became La Brea Gospel Chapel. The work prospered, and the building was later enlarged to accommodate the Sunday School.

  • * * * * * *

The Christians at Goodyear Gospel Hall also helped to establish the Bethel Gospel Hall in Los Angeles in March 1953. By 1954, more than 50 were in fellowship at Bethel. The assembly disbanded in the early 1980s.

  • * * * * * *

In 1951, construction of the spacious Western Assemblies Home for the Aged was completed at Claremont, 15 miles from Los Angeles. The brethren living in the area then constructed Claremont Gospel Chapel for assembly meetings. In 1954, about 80 were in fellowship and the Sunday school and Family Bible Hour attendance was over 100. In 1961, when the assembly fellowship had grown to 150, the Christians added a Sunday school wing.

  • * * * * * *

The assembly in Riverside, east of Los Angeles, began in 1925, the offshoot of tent meetings held by evangelists John Hunt and Herb Harris. A small assembly was formed soon after. John Hunt convinced his brother, A.E. Hunt, to move into the area to help teach and support the newly formed body. The Christians purchased a small church building on 6th and Park, calling it the Riverside Gospel Hall. They met there from the late 1920s to the early 1940s. Believers traveled from the cities of Ontario, Redlands, and Hemet to fellowship in the assembly. Among the others who began the Riverside Gospel Hall were the ArglebanNewmanBourbonnaisLeestScottDeYoungHill, and Manchester families.

In the 1940s, because of gas rationing brought about by World War II, many people could no longer attend. The Gospel Hall was sold, and the remaining believers began meeting in neighboring Rubidoux, after having some tent meetings there. Harold Kesler moved his residence into Riverside during the war years. He and L.G. Winfrey devoted much time to the work, and shared leadership with M. MellingerC. BishopN. Moore, and Jack Bourbonnais during that period.

In 1952, the assembly constructed the Riverside Gospel Chapel at 8045 California Avenue. Later they changed its name to Bethel Chapel. The assembly has more than 200 adults and youngsters in attendance, and has commended several missionaries to foreign fields.

  • * * * * * *

San Bernardino Gospel Chapel, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, was completed in late 1952. This testimony resulted from the pioneering labors of Karl Hammond. In 1952, John Hathaway of the La Brea Gospel Chapel in Los Angeles moved to San Bernardino to devote his time and effort to pastoral care of the San Bernardino assembly.

  • * * * * * *

From San Bernardino, Karl Hammond moved to Montebello to open a business and to establish a testimony there, about 10 miles from Los Angeles. The Montebello Assembly was formed, meeting in the Women’s Club Building. It has disbanded.

  • * * * * * *

In 1951, several of the saints attending the Riverside assembly began a work in Colton, east of Los Angeles, between Riverside and San Bernardino. They purchased and remodeled a church building, calling it Colton Gospel Chapel, and met as an assembly there. It is still active.

  • * * * * * *

In 1950 several of the believers in Glendale and the San Fernando Valley bought an old Jewish synagogue and remodeled it into Glendale Gospel Chapel. Tom Westwood, through his radio ministry, was instrumental in bringing several of the Lord’s people into the Glendale assembly.

  • * * * * * *

With approval of the Glendale assembly, several young men and women from there began a new testimony in the San Fernando Valley, the Valley Gospel Chapel, North Hollywood. The assembly met initially in the YWCA building on Tujunga Avenue on Sunday and in various homes for the mid-week prayer and Bible study meeting. It has disbanded.

  • * * * * * *

In 1952, several families in the Valley Gospel Chapel, North Hollywood assembly held Bible classes and cottage prayer meetings in the west end of the San Fernando Valley. In fellowship with the North Hollywood brethren, these families began an assembly testimony in the Woodland Hills/Canoga Park area in July 1952. Meeting at the local Women’s Club, 7515 Winnetka Avenue, the Christians called it West Valley Gospel Hall. They changed the name to West Valley Gospel Chapel in 1958, still at the Women’s Club. In 1961, the Christians built their own West Valley Bible Chapel at 20703 Chase Street.

The principal people starting the assembly include Dennis MellingerWilliam GlaserDale MunierE. DaviesJoseph Morrow, Jr.Frank WestfallGeorge RakeCharles LundsfordDavid Hunt and others. In active leadership over the years have been Dennis Mellinger and Larry MellingerJack BitlerGeorge RakeDavid HuntBen WerleArchie RossDavid BrooksHoward Muir, and Clarence LeLong, and others. The assembly has about 35 adults and children.

  • * * * * * *

About 100 miles up the coast from Los Angeles at Santa Barbara, evangelist Neil Fraser took up residence some time before 1954 to help the little assembly there, which lasted for a short while.

  • * * * * * *

Antelope Valley Bible Chapel in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles, began in 1994 and meets in homes. Three families, those of Brian and Malyn SandersJohn and Billie Cattermole, and Mike and Christina McMillan, some of whom had been in fellowship at West Valley Bible Chapel in Canoga Park, formed the group that started the assembly, which consists of about 40 adults and youngsters. Messrs. Sanders, Cattermole, and McMillan share leadership responsibilities. Several Air Force service men stationed at Edwards Air Force Base join the fellowship as their terms of service permit.

  • * * * * * *

In Atascadero, a town halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, a work begun in 1949 as a children’s and young people’s effort, developed into an assembly testimony by 1950. A building was leased in the town’s shopping district in 1951, and in 1954, the assembly’s own chapel – the Atascadero Gospel Chapel, CA – was constructed with an auditorium seating 168. Bert Young pioneered the work at Atascadero. The assembly commended its first missionary – Bob Young to Northern Rhodesia – in 1954.

  • * * * * * *

Charles Montgomery came to San Francisco from Ireland in about 1869, began a hotel business, and in a year or two began publishing The Evangelist. The 1873 San Francisco City Directory , referring to ‘Christian Brethren,’ states: “…They meet simply to the name of Jesus. Meetings held every Lord’s Day at 11 AM for Breaking of Bread. Preaching in the evening at half past seven o’clock in the Hall, 155 New Montgomery Street near Howard by Charles Montgomery.” The assembly is not given a name in the 1873 edition of the Directory, but the 1888 edition calls it Gospel Hall (San Francisco). A Bible Depot was also commenced in the neighborhood in the 1870s, moving through various locations.

Donald Ross visited San Francisco in 1887, holding meetings in a tent, and was assisted by the San Francisco assembly. Several were saved, among them some living in Montgomery’s hotel. The same year, tent meetings were held in Oakland, at which time the present Bethany Gospel Chapel in Oakland had its beginning. In October 1887, the first California Conference was held in San Francisco, and this conference, now convening at Thanksgiving time, has continued to this day.

In 1888, the San Francisco Gospel Hall was meeting at 866 Mission Street, with Charles Montgomery listed as correspondent. During the next three decades, the assembly moved through about a dozen locations, all of them at rented store fronts in the general area. The San Francisco earthquake and resulting fire storm of 1906, with subsequent dynamiting in an attempt to halt the fires, destroyed the area. The assembly could save only a few hymn books and other small items. At that time, a Mr. McFie was one of the leaders, and the assembly met in his home for a time. Open air meetings were held on Sunday afternoons and evenings in some of the refugee camps around the city.

In the first two decades of the twentieth century, the San Francisco Gospel Hall held many Gospel campaigns, some in tents in the city. Street meetings prior to the evening indoor meeting, and Saturday meetings, were common. A membership list in 1911 shows 50 to 60 in fellowship, which grew to about 80 by 1926. In 1927, a decision was made to construct a building at 910 Santiago Street, and in December 1928, the first Breaking of Bread was held in the Parkside Gospel Chapel in San Francisco. Wednesday night meetings at the Victorious Gospel Mission on Howard Street were commenced in 1931. The assembly continues today at the Santiago address. The assembly has commended many workers to the foreign field.

  • * * * * * *

An assembly in Oakland began in a home in the early 1870s through the efforts of John McIntyre. From there the Christians rented a storefront for a time, and in 1912 constructed the Bethany Gospel Hall in Oakland on San Pablo Avenue. This beautiful building graces the cover of the book My People, written by Robert Baylis. In 1955, the assembly built the Bethany Gospel Chapel on Tompkins Avenue in Oakland. Bethany has commended William SpeesWilliam DeansRuth JohnsonFred and Jenny KosinWilliam MacDonald, and Clifford Beggs to the work of the Lord.

  • * * * * * *

In April 1954, a group left Bethany Gospel Hall to build the Castlemont Bible Chapel at 90th Avenue and Thermal Street in the Castlemont district of Oakland. About 25 men and women formed the initial fellowship. An auditorium seating about 200 with a lot of Sunday school rooms was ample for many years of progress. A variety of outreaches brought steady growth. In 1959, the Castlemont Christians bought a half-acre site in the neighboring community of San Leandro. The new Fairhaven Bible Chapel was constructed and occupied in 1962, having 300 fixed seats. Houses were added to extend the youth work and Sunday School facilities.

Fairhaven Bible Chapel, with the inspiration of William MacDonald, established a nine-month full-time leadership training program called the Discipleship Intern Training Program. It graduated over 200 men in over 20 years. The program continues today as a five-month program with reduced numbers, largely from other countries. The assembly developed a very popular set of Bible Study Training manuals, which have been effective cross culturally all over the world and published in 25 languages. The assembly operates an Emmaus Prison Ministry, reaching about 4000 men and women. Fairhaven has commended many workers to the foreign field.

  • * * * * * *

The Alameda Gospel Chapel hived off from Bethany Gospel Chapel in about 1970, the result of a Sunday School outreach in that area. Fairhaven helped start this and three other assemblies – the San Lorenzo Bible Chapel, the Santa Rosa Assembly, and the Valley Bible Church in Pleasanton.

  • * * * * * *

The Hayward Bible Chapel is one of the older assemblies in the Hayward area. The first assembly meetings were held in a barn in Palomares Canyon. The believers later built a chapel on Meekland Avenue in Hayward. Kenneth Wakefield was one of the leading brothers there in its early days.

  • * * * * * *

Community Bible Chapel in Hayward began in about 1962 as a hive-off from Hayward Bible Chapel. It was begun by three or four young men, one of whom was Marlin Wakefield, a son of Kenneth Wakefield. When these young men left after three or four years, some of the men at Hayward Bible Chapel went there to maintain the testimony. These included Kenneth WakefieldChester PaulsonJoe Wunch, and Avery WilsonBob Bruton was a full-time worker there for a time. The assembly is active, with about 80 adults and 40 children, and has commended workers to Zambia, Pakistan, and Indonesia, and to Claremont College.

  • * * * * * *

The Hayward Home Bible Fellowship began in about 1977 as a ministry to the older residents at Bethesda Home who were unable to leave because of physical conditions. Ten couples started the assembly, including Dan KennedyA. Noble DaShiellAvery WilsonRobert LivingstonCarl SwansonJack OsterhausRobert Scott, and Stan Wallace, and their wives. Some of these had been in the Hayward Bible Chapel. The assembly has commended workers to Russia. About 50 adults are in the Hayward Home Bible Fellowship.

  • * * * * * *

Valley Bible Church in Pleasanton began in 1988 in San Ramon as a hive-off from Fairhaven Bible Chapel in San Leandro. The originators of the new assembly were Jack DaviesBill GreenawayDean Gossett, and Mark Porter. The latter two are the current leaders. The assembly met in various schools until they were able to purchase a 30,000 square-foot facility, in which about 1200 adults and youngsters now meet. Valley Bible Church has commended workers to the foreign field.

  • * * * * * *

During 1978 and 1979, Bob Bruton, who was a full-time worker at Community Bible Chapel in Hayward pioneered the start of a church in Fremont in the San Francisco Bay area. By October 1980, seven families (the Brutons, Rumrills, Luckerts, Hulls, Browers, Sowers’, and Berthiumes) were developing the basis for fellowship. On the first Sunday of January 1981, the weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper was begun, and the Mission Peak Bible Church in Fremont was underway.

The first fruits of the work became evident in February, when a couple professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. In May 1981, the first baptismal service was conducted. Sixty six persons, constituting 24 families, were in the assembly in 1996. The assembly now occupies quarters at 32701 Falcon Drive in Fremont.

  • * * * * * *

The Sun Valley Bible Chapel in Lafayette on the east side of Oakland, hived off from the Gospel Auditorium of Oakland. It was started in homes in 1951 by the families of David GerkeDavid JonesHarry FisherTravers WelchBain Jackson, and Edna Soroka. Outgrowing the homes, they rented space in downtown buildings (Portugese hall, Town Hall, Veterans Building) in Walnut Creek, and then moved to their present location at 1031 Leland Drive, Lafayette. In 1996, there were about 100 in attendance. Several workers have been commended by Sun Valley Bible Chapel.

  • * * * * * *

San Jose Bible Chapel was started in the late 1950s by families moving into the rapidly growing area. Most of these were young families from assemblies in other places, including Bob and Bernice MillerJohn PayneBob and Barbara Sherrard, and Gordon and Christine Westwood. The Family Bible Hour and Sunday School were initially held in an American Legion Hall, and the Sunday evening Breaking of Bread and midweek Bible study and prayer meetings were held in homes. The assembly has relocated to Hillview Bible Chapel in Cupertino, at 1160 S. Stelling Road. It has over 200 in attendance and has commended many people to the Lord’s work. Elders have been Bob BunceWallace CarrollGordon WestwoodPhil HamiltonBill DavisPedro DillonRick DeVaul, and Jim McCarthy.

  • * * * * * *

The Twelfth Avenue Gospel Chapel in Sacramento was built in the late 1940s. After a series of meetings with Neil Fraser in June 1954, 23 were baptized and Sunday school attendance was well beyond the 200 mark. It has discontinued.

  • * * * * * *

The Sacramento Bible Chapel assembly at 1931 Silca Avenue, Sacramento’s second assembly at the time, expanded its facilities in 1959. It continues today.

  • * * * * * *

In the middle of the state, White Avenue Gospel Hall in Fresno began in 1911. Evangelists Sam Greer and Fred Hillis are credited with starting the assembly. Meeting first in a home on Divisadero Street, the Christians moved later into the Fresno Gospel Hall, their present location at 2818 Olive Avenue. Leadership over the years has been held by Tom MulliganJohn RoyerHarry ThorpeJ.C. DrakeRoy ArglebenRoy McDonaldRobert Leerhoff, and Gene Paulson. About 55 people attend the assembly.

  • * * * * * *

Valley Bible Chapel in Napa began in April 1966 in a home. At the end of the year, the believers rented an abandoned church building at 1747 Second Street for their meetings, and in 1971 they purchased and moved into a building 1550 Second Street, their current location. Those initiating the assembly were the families of Homer WilliamsCharles ArthurEdward ParkerDean ChaseClifford Olson, and Byron Bradford. Leadership over the years has been shared by Homer WilliamsMichael WestfallEdward ParkerByron BradfordAugust Lanum, and James Wright. About 30 adults and youngsters are in the assembly.

  • * * * * * *

At the beginning of 1953, a few believers began meeting to remember the Lord in the northern California mountain community of Loomis, forming the Loomis Assembly. In mid 1954, about 25 were in fellowship. In addition, the assembly supported a Sunday school work at Peardale, 35 miles east of Loomis, where 25 children regularly attended. David Sharp was commended to the work in northern California by the brethren in Bethany Gospel Chapel in Oakland and labored in and about Loomis. He carried on an extensive visitation program at Auburn, and labored also in the Sacramento assembly.

  • * * * * * *

Crescent City is in the far northwest corner of the state. It was there that Samuel Cardy, who had spent many years as a full-time worker in Ireland, began the assembly in 1993 called the Crescent City Christian Chapel. The assembly met in a single room in the Fishermen’s Hall. Mr. Cardy and Pearl McJimpsey were the leaders of the assembly, which had grown to about 30 adults and 15 children before it disbanded after just a few years. A weekly Bible study continues in homes, and Mr. Cardy continues with a local television ministry.


  • Questionnaire responses
  • Grace Bible Chapel History, by Bruce Merritt, March 1, 1997
  • In the Beginning, a History of Laurel Bible Chapel, by Doug Foight and Cliff Peterson, undated; based in part on an article entitled Birth of an Assembly by Arthur Brunner
  • History of West Jefferson Boulevard Assembly, by Adam Joseph Thropay, 1993
  • History of Mission Peak Bible Church, by Bob Bruton, October 1996
    • Avenue 54 Bible Chapel, by Rodney Hippenhammer, November 27, 1996
  • History of Parkside Gospel Chapel, 1998; *www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~jonafon/history.html
  • Letters of Interest, June 1954; July 1954, p. 17; November 1957, p. 26; June 1959, p. 11; July 1961, p. 8


The first known Breaking of Bread in Oregon was in 1887, held in the Joseph Marshall home on Hoyt Street on the west side of Portland. Four or five Christians were present.

In 1892, Donald Ross arrived in Portland for a tent campaign, bringing with him his son-in-law James Harcus, another evangelist. The tent was pitched on the corner of Seventh and Ash Street in East Portland, as Mr. Ross reported in the June 1892 issue of his monthly magazine Our Record.

A year later, the little Portland Assembly rented and met in Parrott Hall. Donald RossJames HarcusW.J. McClure, and John Monypenny ministered the Word at the first Bible Conference of the assembly, held in 1895. The Christians continued to meet in various rented quarters until 1904, when a small Gospel Hall was built on S.E. Eighth Street. The numbers in the assembly increased slowly to about 40 by the turn of the century.

In 1915, the assembly erected a building on East Stark Street at 29th in Portland. The building was known as the Stark Street Gospel Hall. By about 1950 it was called Stark Street Gospel Chapel. In 1957, some 165 were in fellowship and Sunday School attendance was about 85 children. The mid-week prayer meeting attendance averaged 40.

In 1958, the assembly bought a large building site in an area of new homes much farther east at 114th and Stark Street, and built Eastgate Bible Chapel in Portland, the current location of the assembly. The assembly has commended the Floyd Schneider and Christine Schneider to the Lord’s work in Austria, Emmaus Bible College, and elsewhere. Walter PurcellJim Hislop, and Eliseo Lopez have served as full-time workers in the assembly. About 275 are in the assembly today.

  • * * * * * *

In 1929, a Sunday School work was started in a goat barn in southeast Portland, as an evangelistic outreach of Stark Street Gospel Chapel. Andy Schroth and Beth Schroth were among the first of many workers from Stark Street to help with the growing children’s work. The Sunday School moved from its goat barn in 1934 to a rented facility on Southeast 87th Avenue near Powell Boulevard. Preaching meetings there began to attract the parents of many of the children. Dave Masson and Joe Murray shared the preaching responsibility. The Stark Street assembly took over ownership of the 87th Avenue facility in 1948 and added more Sunday School rooms.

By 1952 the band of about 20 committed workers formed an assembly meeting in the building, calling it the 87th Avenue Bible Chapel in Portland. In 1957, there were 50 in fellowship and 115 children in the Sunday School. In the 1960s, the building was enlarged. Leadership at that time consisted of Dave JannsenBob McNicolDean Sigler, and Jon Marks.

The growing assembly moved into a larger building at 76th and Irving in Portland in 1975, calling it the Laurel Park Bible Chapel. Bruce McNicol and Rex Koivisto were its first commended workers. Growth continued, and in 1980 Laurel Park hived-off her daughter church, West Side Bible Chapel in Beaverton; this assembly is now located in the Hillsboro section of Portland and is known as West Side Bible Fellowship.

Laurel Park continued to grow and moved into McGuire Auditorium at Warner Pacific College in 1985. While at its numeric peak, the assembly experienced internal trials, and many people left. In 1990, the remaining Christians sold their building on 76th and Irving and purchased land at 122nd and Mather Road in the southern reaches of Portland. The assembly constructed the Spring Mountain Bible Church in Clackamas, having its first meeting there in 1994, with a common goal and new priorities.

Spring Mountain Bible Church and its predecessors have commended workers to Chad, Rwanda/Uganda, Russia, Austria, Peru, Uzbekistan, and to Interest Ministries and International Teams.

  • * * * * * *

Before 1909, a small group of Christians associated with the Grant ‘exclusive’ brethren met in various homes in the St. Johns district of Portland for Bible study and the Breaking of Bread. Some of those who met together were Hans Jackumsen, his brother Mads Jackumsen, and J.P. Andersen and family, all of whom had moved west from New Jersey. Through the years, they met in homes and rented storefronts on North Halladay Street and on East 4th and Burnside, and even met in a dance hall.

In 1920, evangelist Fred Elliot teamed up with E.K. Bailey for a series of meetings in a large tent in Portland. Several people were saved and added to the assembly, which was known then as the Grace and Truth Gospel Hall. In 1926, the Christians purchased a building at 602 NE Prescott, and met there for over 30 years until they outgrew those facilities. In 1932, the decision was made to break away from the Grant brethren and become associated with the ‘open’ brethren.

In 1957, about 120 were in fellowship and 110 children were in the Sunday School. The present building of the assembly was erected in 1960 at 12420 NE Siskiyou Street, Portland, and the name was changed to Grace and Truth Chapel. Since 1996, the assembly has been known as Grace Bible Fellowship.

Missionaries have been commended from Grace Bible Fellowship to Peru, Ecuador, France, and Zaire; others have been sent to work among native Americans and with Hospital Chaplains’ Ministry of America. Gilbert Gleason and Sue Gleason have been commended to pastoral ministry at Grace Bible Fellowship.

  • * * * * * *

An assembly in Bonita near Tigard on the southwest edge of Portland started with a Sunday School in the farm home of Mrs. West in 1912. The Bonita Gospel Hall was built in 1927 and 1928 with volunteer labor and was enlarged from time to time. There were 25 in fellowship in 1957, with an average of 75 in the Sunday School. The Stark Street Gospel Chapel in Portland supplied some workers over the years. The assembly has disbanded.

  • * * * * * *

An influx of believers from North Dakota led to the start of the Forest Grove Gospel Hall in the town of Forest Grove, west of Portland (see North Dakota). Dick Goff and Fanny Goff arrived first and purchased a farm in the Hillside district eight miles northwest of the town. A few weeks later the Hazlitt family arrived and settled on a farm in the Thatcher district. The Alex Hunter family came with the Jacob Hazlitt family and bought a house on the Gales Creek Road.

On the last Sunday of 1901, this little group of eight first met to remember the Lord in a rented house on 17th Avenue in Forest Grove. Within a few weeks, Mrs. Emma Goff and her son Edward Goff arrived. Edward purchased a farm in the Hillside district. For the next eight years, the assembly met in that home.

In the spring of 1902, James Harcus and W.C. Arnold held a series of Gospel meetings in the Thatcher Community Church, at which many were saved. Over the next decade, a steady flow of brethren preachers, including J.J. RouseAlex MatthewsDavid Scott, and W.J. McClure, as well as Messrs. Harcus and Arnold, held Gospel meetings in the area. A Sunday School work was established, at which upwards of 30 children attended. Nevertheless, the assembly remained small. From 1911 until 1919, the assembly met in the Jacob Hazlitt home on Thatcher Road.

In 1919, the assembly started meeting in the Thatcher Community Church and met there through 1946. They neither owned the building or paid rent, but maintained and improved the building, sometimes with help from neighbors. This was their Gospel Hall, and they would refer to it as Community Hall or Thatcher Hall. Gospel meetings were held in a hall on Pacific Avenue that B.B. Goff had purchased in 1922. In 1946, the Christians moved into their newly built Forest Grove Gospel Hall at 21st and Cedar Streets, where they still meet.

At the end of 1920, although only about 13 were in fellowship, some 70 were attending the Sunday School. The assembly grew slowly but steadily. Records show 48 in fellowship in 1947. In 1958, the Sunday School and Sunday Bible Class reached 144. In 1964 there were 79 in fellowship. However, that year was also a time of testing for this and other assemblies in the state and as far away as Seattle, and numbers decreased.

In 1969, a new assembly was begun in Salem, some 50 miles to the south. The Salem Gospel Hall and Forest Grove Gospel Hall are in happy fellowship.

B.B. GoffW.C. Arnold, and E.G. Goff were the principal leaders of the assembly at Forest Grove for the first 50 years. B.B. was the energetic leader, Ben was the teacher, and E.G. was the shepherd. Other leaders have been Harry GoffRalph GoffFrank GoffJohn RobertsonDavid Williams, and Richard GoffGaius Goff joined Herbert Harris in Newfoundland to work on his Missionary Gospel Messenger boat for the summer of 1960, and has continued to minister there and elsewhere on the continent. The assembly commended Fanny Mae Goff to the field in Venezuela, where she eventually became director of the Colegio Evangelico in Puerto Cabello. About 30 are in fellowship at Forest Grove today.

  • * * * * * *

An assembly at Linnton Gospel Chapel near Portland began in 1932 as a result of personal work by Will Hall of Vancouver among Italian families in the district, as a follow-up to Sunday School work among their children. Stark Street Gospel Hall was involved in the early days of the assembly. At first the meetings were Italian-speaking, but by 1957 were entirely English-speaking. This assembly has since discontinued.

  • * * * * * *

An assembly in Gresham on the east side of Portland began in 1958 as Clinton Street Bible Chapel. The families of Darwin L. Kirchem and Ralph N. Morris from the 87th Avenue Bible Chapel in Portland began the new work with the blessing of the elders of that assembly.

Later, the Christians shortened the name Clinton Street Chapel, and then changed it to Cascade Community Church. The assembly has commended workers to the field in Colombia, Indonesia, and other areas abroad, and others to ministries in the States. Rick Simmons has been commended for work at Cascade Community Church.

  • * * * * * *

An assembly began meeting in 1895 in the home of the S.S. Bates family on the Columbia River Highway, 18 miles east of Portland. Helping in the beginning were Clement Crowston and Amos Crowston, along with the S.S. BatesLucosChamberlain, and Shelley families, among others. A local school was used later for the Sunday school and special meetings. The W.D. CloseConzlerCharles Berney, and James Berney families became active in the assembly. In 1914, the Christians built the Springdale Gospel Hall. Years later the name was changed to Springdale Bible Chapel.

The assembly has commended workers to the field in the Congo, Peru, and Europe. James Berney has been commended as Director of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in Canada. Others have been commended to serve with Operation Mobilization and Interest Ministries. Springdale Bible Chapel is small at this time.

  • * * * * * *

In 1940, several Christians met in the Michael Keefe home at Eugene to break bread. They continued there until the late 1940s, when Fred Elliott and Neil Fraser held a series of tent meetings on the edge of the downtown area. Following those meetings, five or six couples met as an assembly in the Presbyterian church on Sunday afternoon for worship; they also started a Sunday School and an adult Bible class in a gymnasium in a neighborhood school.

The principal persons who devoted themselves to the building of the assembly in the early years were Michael J. KeefeClarence CaudellDick Taylor, and Phillip Gossard.

The Christians purchased the lot across the street from the school, at the corner of East 33rd and Donald Street, and in 1952 construction began on the Willamette Gospel Chapel under the supervision of Walter McAfee of California, who had done the same work for many assemblies of the west coast. The chapel was completed in 1953. In 1957, there were 50 in fellowship and 125 children in the Sunday School.

Visiting speakers from Portland came frequently after the move into the building in 1953, including R. Fred ElliotDavid Masson, and Wally JohnsonNeil Fraser came to live in Eugene from 1956 to 1968, committing himself to the building up of the assembly. Throughout the 1950s, the chief evangelistic outreach was through neighborhood visitation, youth meetings, and the very large Sunday School, which reached into many unbelieving families. The name was changed to Willamette Bible Chapel in the late 1960s. Additional classrooms were added later.

Through the years, various young persons have gone on short term missions to India, Kenya, France, and Papua New Guinea. Along with Eastgate Bible Chapel in Portland, Willamette Bible Chapel has commended workers to Europe, Papua New Guinea, and the Samuel Zwemer Institute.

  • * * * * * *

Two families from the Stark Street Gospel Chapel in Portland moved in 1944 to Seaside, on the northwest tip of Oregon, and began meeting to Remember the Lord in the home of Joseph Murray. In 1950 they were offered use of a vacant Baptist community church building in nearby Gearhart, which was later deeded to them. In 1957, there were 20 in fellowship and 60 in the Sunday School. This assembly has disbanded.


  • Questionnaire Responses
  • History of the Arlington (Washington) Assembly, undated but apparently written in late 1980s
  • History of the Forest Grove Assembly, by R. Goff, 1965, revised 1976
  • Spring Mountain Bible Church: Our History, 1994
  • Our Record, June 1892
  • Letters of Interest, November 1958, p. 11


Hope Bible Fellowship in Seattle has its roots in an assembly that was in existence by 1921, and that met then at Taylor Avenue Gospel Hall. The families of CoyJames Greenhill, and Frank Hitchman are remembered from that time; they had earlier met to remember the Lord in a store front in the Fremont area. The parents of Daniel Hayden were saved in 1924 and joined the fellowship at Taylor Avenue. Arthur and Winnie Knight and their family joined with Taylor Avenue in 1930, coming from the dwindling local Grant ‘exclusive’ meeting.

Harry Penman, a Scotsman who began a successful advertising business in Seattle, was a true leader and encourager at Taylor Avenue. He had a large vision and was instrumental in inviting well-known ministering brethren from the ‘old country’ to have week-long ministry and evangelistic meetings at the Gospel Hall. Initially the assembly consisted mostly of brethren of Scottish, Irish, and English extraction. A.L. Ritts, a well-known Bible teacher from the Midwest, moved to Seattle with his family and helped out in the early days.

At that time the Taylor Avenue Gospel Hall was situated on the summit of Denny Hill, near the present Seattle center. When Denny Hill was sluiced into Puget Sound to make way for a level northward expansion of downtown Seattle in 1930, the assembly purchased and moved into an existing church building nearby at 40th and Whitman Avenue N; they called it Hope Gospel Hall.

The assembly was blessed with a vibrant young people’s group of about 40, out of whose number some were later commended to missionary service, including Ernie and Helen Crabb to Alaska; Dorothy Munce to India; Ken and Helena Fleming to South Africa; Peter Fleming to Ecuador; Paul and Helen Flint to Emmaus Bible School; Lloyd and Linda Rogers to Ecuador; and Mark and Carol Mattix to Bolivia. Also in those decades missionary meetings were easily arranged, and scarcely a week would go by without a visiting missionary exposing the saints to the needs and triumphs of the Gospel in many parts of the world.

Frank HitchmanCharles JossJames GreenhillRay KnowlesRay Anderson, and Doug Kazen are some of those who have been active in leadership through the years. Many of the Lord’s servants involved in itinerant ministry visited the assembly during the 1930s to the 1950s, holding week-long evangelistic and ministry meetings, and sometimes special children’s meetings. These men included A. N. O’BrienGeorge LandisAlfred MaceInglis Fleming (who had moved to Seattle), E.K. BaileyWalter PurcellLeonard SheldrakeHarold HarperA.P. Gibbs, and Henry Petersen.

Because of the proximity of both Army and Navy bases to Seattle, Hope Gospel Hall enjoyed the fellowship and stimulation of many servicemen during World War II years. These visits were a source of enrichment and increasing awareness of world-wide needs. Annual inter-assembly Labor Day Bible Conferences, rotating among the Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland assemblies were also a source of growth and encouragement.

In the late 1940s, the name was changed to Whitman Avenue Gospel Chapel, reflecting its location. At that time, adult attendance was often up to 250, with a Sunday School close to 100 children and teen-agers.

In July 1987, Whitman Avenue Gospel Chapel and the Wedgewood Bible Fellowship in Seattle merged, and changed the name to Hope Bible Fellowship, but remaining at the Whitman Avenue address. Adult attendance in 1996 was a little over 50. In late 1996, Michael Vederoff was engaged as a full-time worker for the assembly. Current elders are Dex SederstromAaron VederoffTerry Dickerson, and Mike Lytle.

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During World War II, the Whitman Avenue Gospel Chapel planted a new assembly in Des Moines, some 15 miles south of Seattle. It was called at first the Highline Gospel Assembly, meeting at the Odd Fellows Hall. The assembly moved in 1955 into their own building in the center of Des Moines and named it the Des Moines Gospel Chapel. Growth in this young assembly occurred largely through a series of home Bible studies, using the Emmaus Correspondence Courses What the Bible Teaches and Lessons for Christian Living. Beatrice Kosin was commended from Des Moines Gospel Chapel to the work of the Lord in Laos, where she was killed by the Viet Cong.

As the Des Moines Gospel Chapel continued to grow, the building was enlarged in stages. Attendance at the Lord’s Supper was about 150 in 1997, with some 250 to 300 present on Sunday morning for the Family Bible Hour. Sunday School classes for all ages are well attended. The assembly administrative staff consists of a full-time pastoral worker, two youth workers, and a secretary.

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In about 1970, the Des Moines assembly thought it would be wise to consider a hive-off, so they purchased property in the Federal Way area, about 10 miles south of Des Moines. In 1973, the new assembly was planted and began meeting in the Brigadoon School. Shortly thereafter construction was begun on Evergreen Bible Chapel in Federal Way at 21st Avenue SW. Robert ArthurTom ParksBill EricksonRussell Howard and George Mathews were the original elders there. Others involved in establishing Evergreen Bible Chapel were William MittonWilliam Erickson, and Homer Grob. Other leaders have been Marchant KingJerry Schwartz, and Dean Mills.

About 110 adults and youngsters were in attendance at Evergreen Bible Chapel in 1996. The assembly has seen blessing in a good Awana Club ministry, as well as Vacation Bible Schools. Workers have been commended to radio station HCJB in Texas and to Papua New Guinea.

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In October 1949, some brethren who were affiliated with the testimony at Hope Gospel Hall, and living in the north end of Seattle, began meeting in homes for prayer and Bible studies, with E.K. Bailey and Alex Ainslie as teachers. In May 1950, they purchased a building in the Northgate area from a Lutheran group and immediately began building up a Sunday School as well as reaching adults in the neighborhood. Northgate Gospel Chapel in Seattle was established in mid 1950 with the full fellowship and cooperation of the Hope brethren. Besides Messrs. Bailey and Ainslie, the people involved in establishing Northgate Gospel Chapel include the families of Bob FlintLes ReitzBill HitchmanFrank FultonBernie Salins, and Celoa Brown, and Olive Liefeld (Ainslie) was the first Sunday School teacher. Ray Anderson and Delbert Slattery also helped with the fledgling assembly. Leading brethren from the earlier days include, besides those above, Lee MillerSumner Osborne Sr.Virgil HoltermanEdwin WaldHenry SoderlundMax Johnson, and Bob Hess.

By May 1951, the Sunday school had grown to more than 100 children, and 60 to 75 adults attended the morning preaching service. An addition providing more classroom space was built in late 1952; remodeling in the late 1950s added more space. Attendance in 1996 was about 150 adults and youngsters. Workers have been commended by the assembly to Chile, Bolivia, and Australia.

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North Lynnwood Bible Chapel, WA began with six families meeting together in 1978. At that time the name South County Bible Fellowship, WA was chosen, since the families expected to be located in the south part of Snohomish Country, north of Seattle. The first meetings of the group were in a home for Wednesday evening Bible Studies and fellowship. By September 1978, they decided to meet as a church, on Sundays. During the first year, the group doubled in size and moved from one rented house to another and then to a YMCA. In 1981, they purchased property north of the town of Lynnwood, and changed their name to the present one. They met in rented space in a grade school until moving into their own completed chapel in 1986.

Gordon Strom, who has worked with several Seattle-area assemblies, was closely involved with the group during the early years. Among other leaders have been Dan Covert, who grew up in the assembly at Cosmopolis Gospel Chapel, and James Gray, a product of Emmaus Bible College and the Discipleship Intern Training Program. North Lynnwood Bible Chapel has commended workers to church planting and building in Puerto Maldonado, Peru.

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The Bainbridge Bible Chapel is an assembly which meets in the gymnasium of a school on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound. In 1997, there were approximately 35 adults who regularly came together for the Lord’s Supper, and approximately 120 adults and children for Sunday School and Family Bible Hour. A Monday evening adult Bible study is held in the Law Offices of a brother in the meeting, with about 30 to 35 attending. Other meetings are held in homes.

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Sunrise Fellowship in Edmonds, on the north edge of Seattle had its beginnings in the 1960s. Composed largely of young families and singles, it is a growing church fellowship in the 1990s.

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In the 1950s, the assemblies in the Seattle area purchased the site for a camp on a lake on Whidbey Island, 30 miles north of Seattle. Lakeside Bible Camp through the years has been a great blessing to young people and adults as well. Camps and retreats are held the year around.

A monthly Missionary Focus meeting for all the greater Seattle area assemblies is held in north and south Seattle assemblies on a rotating basis. This has been continuing for the past 40 years, and has been an important factor in stimulating local missionary interest. Missionary speakers are usually drawn from those who may be on furlough.

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In 1901, a business man invited evangelist James Harcus, then living in Portland to come to Everett, then a small town north of Seattle, and hold meetings. With the help of W.C. Arnold, Mr. Harcus pitched a tent in Everett and held meetings for several months. A number found Christ during the meetings. Mr. Harcus later moved his family to Everett and continued to work in the region for many years; he is buried in Everett.

Some of the Christians there, who included Lawrence Kane and William Harcus, a son of James, built a small hall and started a Sunday School. The Everett Gospel Hall first met in Riverside, the eastern, older part of the town. Mr. Kane married William Harcus’ sister Mary, joined William in the printing business, and became one of the strong leaders of the assembly. In 1926, the assembly moved into Parkside Bible Chapel in Everett at 2427 Lombard, its present location. Parkside Bible Chapel has commended workers to Paraguay.

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The Arlington Gospel Hall had its beginning at about the same time. In the early 1900s, several families, all related or acquainted, moved from Illinois to the area near Arlington, north of Everett. These families were all accustomed to attending the Dutch Reformed Church, but because the distance of the nearest church was too far to go by horse and buggy, they met in one another’s homes.

Three Klein brothers, John KleinRichard Klein, and Otto Klein, and their families, were among these early settlers. The Otto Klein family settled in Everett in 1900. One day Otto saw James Harcus’ tent pitched near his home so he stood near it to listen and liked what he heard. When Mrs. Klein passed away at about that time, Otto asked Mr. Harcus to share the funeral service. His daughter Mary (later Mrs. Peter Kazen) began attending the Sunday School in the Everett Gospel Hall, and they both attended Gospel meetings there, but did not join the fellowship.

In the fall of 1905, an evangelist held Gospel meetings in the Arlington Baptist Church. Several of the Illinois settlers attended the meetings, with the result that some trusted the Lord. Learning of the interest in the Word of God among these believers, Mr. Harcus began having Bible studies in the home of Otto Klein, who had moved to Arlington, teaching them about believer’s baptism and about New Testament assemblies.

In 1907, Mr. Harcus and W.C. (Ben) Arnold put up a tent on Olympic Avenue and held gospel meetings for six weeks. Souls were saved, but there was also some fierce opposition to the gospel. When the tent was taken down and readied for shipment to another area for meetings, the Northern Pacific Railway agent refused to receive it. Since the only way to send items then was by rail, Ed Eylander and John Klein loaded the tent on a hay wagon and took it to the agent at the Edgecomb Station.

Early in 1908, John Klein found it necessary to go to a medical clinic in Kansas City for surgery. Mr. Harcus, being well acquainted with the Kansas City brethren, gave him a letter of introduction to Caleb Baker and his associate Mr. Lockwood. John Klein and his wife Carrie were entertained by the Christians there and attended the assembly meetings. They became thoroughly convinced concerning the doctrines of believer’s baptism and gathering to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. After their return home later in the spring, sixteen believers were baptized in the river near the Lincoln bridge. In the fall of 1908, these believers met for the first time in assembly capacity in the home of John and Carrie Klein in Arlington. The assembly was composed mainly of the Klein, Kazen, and Kroeze families.

In 1909, Louis Hoy and Rose Hoy moved with their family to Arlington. They had been in assembly fellowship in Minnesota and Seattle prior to coming to Arlington and were most helpful to the saints in the newly formed Arlington assembly. Mr. Hoy was a faithful teacher and shepherd in Arlington for many years. The assembly meetings were held in the Hoy home until the Christians rented a tire store near the north end of Olympic Avenue. David Scott and Albert Payne held a six week series of meetings in that tire store. Mr. Scott was the initiator of the first Conference, held for two days at Thanksgiving time in 1912. The speakers, in addition to David Scott, included Albert PayneHarry FletcherJames Rae, and William Rae.

In 1913, the assembly moved to a building at 324 North Olympic, the first Arlington Gospel Hall. The number of Christians in fellowship continued to grow, and after about seven years they needed a larger building. When the Baptists ceased holding services in Arlington in 1920, the assembly rented their building at Third and McLeod. Three years later, Harry Fletcher of Vancouver purchased it and the assembly rented it from him. Mr. Fletcher employed Hector Alves to oversee much-needed renovation. The assembly was able to purchase the building from Mr. Fletcher in 1946.

Others of the Lord’s servants who ministered to the saints and held Gospel meetings during the early years include Alexander MatthewsEd StackJ.J. RouseGeorge DuncanC. Willowby, and David Oliver.

In 1931, Albert Joyce and Herb Harris held a series of Gospel meetings which resulted in many souls being saved, baptized, and received into fellowship. One of these new believers was Mrs. Maude Cumbow, who soon developed an outreach to the neighborhood children. For many years, youth services were held on Friday evenings in the Arlington Gospel Hall.

During the late 1940s, a burden developed among some of the Christians regarding the unsaved people living in the neighboring areas. In 1950, a portable hall was built under the direction of Hector Alves. This building was first used in Mount Vernon for a series of Gospel meetings conducted by Hector Alves and William Warke.

In the late 1950s, the Arlington Gospel Hall on Third Street could no longer accommodate the crowd attending the annual Labor Day weekend conference. The high school auditorium was rented for the services, and the meals were served at the Gospel Hall. The Hall became increasingly inadequate for regular meetings and Sunday school activities, and the believers began looking for a suitable lot. Vern and Helen Pickett then sold about two acres on South Stillaguamish to the assembly. The hall had a total seating capacity of 700 and 10 Sunday School classrooms.

In 1974, the assembly purchased a 60 x 40 foot tent for Gospel services, which has been used almost every summer in the Arlington, Marysville, and Mount Vernon areas, or has been loaned to other assemblies for gospel work. Beginning in 1978, a booth was set up each year at the Skagit Valley Fair in Mount Vernon where contacts are made with people in the Burlington and Mount Vernon areas. Many pieces of literature are handed out each year in this Gospel outreach. Gospel meetings were held in the tent at Mount Vernon for two summers, and a Youth Bible Hour was held there each Monday evening.

Two other evangelistic outreaches began in 1976. Several Christians started a Youth Bible Hour on the Swinomish Indian Reserve in LaConner. Many Indian children attended and after a few years an adult class was also held. The second evangelistic effort was a radio program on KWYZ in Everett.

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Sometime before 1909, Otto and Louisa Timmreck moved to Everett after a fire destroyed their tavern and hotel. In that city they heard the Gospel preached by W.C. Arnold and James Harcus. Louisa Timmreck was saved, among many others. Later, the Timmrecks moved to farm in the Okanogan valley, which was then a remote area in north-central Washington. In 1911, Mr. Arnold came to Okanogan and held Gospel meetings in a schoolhouse, at which time seven people were saved. His daughter, Mrs. John D. and Betty Robertson, later wrote: “In the fall of 1911, Dad took Mother with him to Okanogan. It was a trip she never forgot and she would tell of the terrifying stagecoach ride into that country. Dad had Gospel meetings in a schoolhouse. Very few folks knew the hymns and Dad could not carry a tune, so Mother led the singing.”

In 1924 and 1925, Mr. Arnold returned for more meetings at which several more were saved, including Lester P. Hinde, who was many years later commended by the assembly to minister throughout the region, and was instrumental in starting the Grants Pass Gospel Hall in Oregon.

In 1926, Henry Clifton of the Penticton Gospel Hall in British Columbia, came to the area for cottage meetings and visited extensively. In that same year, Lester and Leone (Timmreck) Hinde visited for a time at the Forest Grove Gospel Hall in Oregon, the home of the Arnolds, to learn of New Testament principles of meeting. Returning to Okanogan in early 1927, they started a meeting to Remember the Lord in their home, and the Okanogan Gospel Hall came into being. Seven people comprised that first assembly, the Hindes, Mr. and Mrs. SterleyMrs. Martha MossMrs. Amy Moss, and Mrs. Louisa TimmreckGarner and Nellie Garrett joined the assembly soon after that.

Soon, Lester Hinde and Henry Clifton began preaching together. Henry Clifton and W.C. Arnold are considered to be the pioneers of the Okanogan Gospel Hall. Of several others who led the assembly through the years, we mention Lester HindeAlvah T. WilliamsHubert C. HitchnerJ.W. (Chuck) Klein, and more recently Farel Hitchner.

In 1929, the assembly moved into a one-room schoolhouse at 1033 S. Seventh Avenue. In 1939, the Christians built their present hall at 304 Conconully Street. The assembly has always been small, and helped by men such as Hector AlvesRalph Goff, and Charles Summers. Many others also worked in the area and strengthened the assembly.

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The Shoultes Gospel Hall in Marysville was an outgrowth of the work at the Arlington Gospel Hall. The portable building used by Hector Alves and William Warke in the Mount Vernon area in the 1950s was later used for Gospel meetings in the Marysville area north of Everett. Because of the interest, the portable hall was erected on the Steen farm and used for weekly youth meetings. In 1960, a building for this work was erected on land donated by the Steens. Children’s meetings were held there on Friday evenings, and Gospel series’ from time to time. In 1981, Sunday evening Gospel meetings were added. Then in 1984, nine acres at 116th Street and 51st Avenue N.E., Marysville, were purchased. A building was constructed and an assembly was established at Shoultes Gospel Hall in 1994.

Some of brethren involved in the early outreach were Fred Steen and Chuck SteenJohn A. KleinJack SawordAl Flett, and George Styles. Later, Ken KroezePhil KazenJim Klein, and Tom Hoy joined to help carry on the Gospel outreach in Marysville. Leadership was carried by Phil KazenTom Hoy, and Tony Flett. The assembly has commended workers to El Salvador. Shoultes Gospel Hall has about 100 adults and youngsters in attendance.

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The assembly now meeting at Tieton Drive Bible Chapel in Yakima had its start in about 1908, when a group of families started meeting in the Yakima area in south central Washington, following the pattern of the early churches of the New Testament. They probably met first in homes. In 1910, the group moved into an old Methodist church building on North 4th Street. The name Yakima Gospel Hall was probably used then, although they did not legally incorporate until some time later. Some of the men involved in this early group were Robert StantonOtto W. ElderCharles Peterson, and Harry Guthrie; these had no connection or interchange with brethren assemblies at that time. John Mallett and a Mr. Duffield came from ‘exclusive’ assemblies in England.

In the period 1910 to 1913, two events occurred which had a major effect on the believers at the Gospel Hall. David Little came to Yakima from Spokane and preached on the second coming of Christ, then a radically new notion in the area. As the result of his teaching, area churches split over the issue. Some individuals then came over to the Yakima Gospel Hall, which was in full accord with Mr. Little’s teaching. Among these were J.V. Mohr and his daughters.

George L. Hunt, a dynamic evangelist-preacher, had also come to Yakima at that time and held a series of tent meetings in the Fruitvale district. He moved to Yakima and joined with the group at the Gospel Hall. His ministry drew many people to the assembly. Among the outreach ministries that Mr. Hunt helped foster were Sunday afternoon meetings in country school houses. O.W. ElderBert StewartJ.V. Mohr, and Ira Meyer helped in this ministry. Baptisms during this period were in the cold and gravelly Yakima River, and in an irrigation ditch on Park Avenue.

Around 1914, the building on North 4th Street was sold. The assembly met in various homes until about 1917 when a building was rented on west Yakima Avenue near 8th Avenue. In 1918 they rented a wood frame house on the southwest corner of 10th and Yakima Avenues.

The well known writer and teacher A.C. Gaebelein visited the area around 1918, staying in the home of Harry Guthrie. While there he taught in the Yakima assembly. Many people were attracted to the Yakima Gospel Hall through his teaching.

Saturday night street meetings were a regular part of the evangelistic outreach of the assembly from its earliest days, usually at 2nd Street and Yakima Avenue. These continued until the 1930s when automobiles became popular and dominated the scene.

By 1920, more space was needed to meet the needs of the new families that had come into the assembly. The old building was moved out and a new building was completed in 1921. In May 1922, the assembly was incorporated and officially took the name Yakima Gospel Hall. Records show that Breaking of Bread took place on Sunday evenings.

The numbers continued to grow. New family names were SweetMickelsonPurvianceCramerFranksonDavidsonMartha WinchesterLouise WalkerCharles Hamilton, and Percy Hamilton. Yakima Gospel Hall was also a center for the main social life of the people involved. The annual Thanksgiving Conferences were highlights of the year for the assembly. The platform was ‘open,’ meaning that any brother could speak. The meetings began in the morning and lasted into the evening.

Itinerant preachers came often to hold series’ of meetings, sometimes every night of the week. John SmartNeil Fraser, and Wallace Logan, are remembered. Henry Petersen had a series on Pilgrim’s Progress that lasted for three weeks. In the 1930s, Edward G. Dillon held a series of meetings and was instrumental in getting the assembly involved in door-to-door distribution of tracts. Leonard E. Brough and H. Allister Thompson were effective workers at the Gospel Hall in that period.

The 1940s brought dramatic change. World War II took many away, into the military service or ship building or aircraft facilities. The assembly founders passed from the scene. The itinerant preacher era began to phase out. The number of men in the assembly dwindled and did not revive much until after the war. Then John E. Crawford and Harold Buckley returned with their families. These men were much used in the assembly.

In 1950-51, the Christians remodeled their building and changed the name to Yakima Gospel Chapel. In the 1960s, Ernie and Helen Crabb and their family, who had served as missionaries in Alaska, came to live in the community. Mr. Crabb was a real driver for gospel outreach and he involved the assembly in door-to-door visitation. People were saved and added to the assembly. With the growth and also the movement of the city population toward the west part of the city, the elders decided that the assembly should buy a property on Tieton Drive. Total attendance was running around 150 at that time.

In November 1970 the move was made to the newly constructed building and the name was changed to Tieton Drive Bible Chapel. The time of construction was one of the most cooperative and supportive times of the assembly life. Through it all the visitation program continued and the new neighborhood canvassed.

The assembly recognized elders and deacons in the 1990s, and was growing again after a period of decline. Workers over the years have been commended to Malawi, Argentina, Mexico, Africa, and to Immanuel Mission in Arizona.

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The Cosmopolis Gospel Chapel on 3rd Street in Cosmospolis, 100 miles southwest of Seattle had its beginning through the work of E.K. Bailey. In the fall of 1922, Mr. Bailey held a three-month series, with meetings every day in the schoolhouses of the North River lumbering and farming area. He drove his Gospel Car over the precarious plank roads to reach these places, but God’s Word found an entrance into hearts, and an assembly testimony was established at North River.

At about that time, he purchased a tent and set it up in Cosmopolis, some 15 miles from North River. The little assembly of the Lord’s people moved from North River to Cosmopolis and met in a small hall there until the building of the Cosmopolis Gospel Hall. An apartment was built at the back of the Hall in which Mr. and Mrs. Bailey could spend the winters when tent work was impossible.

P.E. Pearson, who worked in a pulp mill, obtained employment at the mill for several people in the Cosmopolis assembly; he was instrumental in the formation of the assembly and was its treasurer for many years.

In July 1930, an inaugural Conference was held in the completed Cosmopolis Gospel Hall, with Harold Barker from London ministering the things of Christ. In May 1938, another Conference was held at Cosmopolis with Alfred MaceGeorge LandisHarold Harper, and Henry Petersen ministering the Word. This time the gospel tent had to be set up in the lot adjoining the Gospel Hall to accommodate the crowds attending.

In the late 1950s, the assembly moved to their current location and changed their name to Cosmopolis Gospel Chapel. The Cosmopolis assembly was primarily responsible for the building of Shiloh Bible Camp in the mid 1970s and still is the main supporter of the 70-acre facility.

During the 1960s and 70s, the assembly had a Friday night program for kids that drew more than 100 to hear the Gospel. In the 1990s, the assembly produced a weekly half-hour children’s program that aired over the local access cable TV station. About 40 adults were in fellowship in 1996.

Other men active in leadership in the assembly have been John CovertCharles SmithAl GeddesGary GeddesRobert Smith, and Don Norkoski. The assembly has had several full-time workers over the years: Leroy and Debbie JunkerJack and Irene HeseltineRay and Lynne WaldSam and Margaret StewartLarry and Wincie AndersonPeter and Louise DaleyScott and Marsha BlairPaul and Helen Flint worked in the assembly before moving to Emmaus Bible School.

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The Centralia Bible Chapel in Centralia, south of Olympia, began in 1962 through the efforts of Richard and Nora Barada, and Ken and Anne Schrier. First meeting in rented space in the Carpenters Union Building in Centralia, the assembly moved in 1970 to a vacant school building, and then in 1973 to its present location at 209 North Pearl Street. Mr. Barada was a chaplain at the local hospital at the time of the formation of the assembly. Centralia Bible Chapel has commended workers to Bolivia, Thailand, Peru, and other areas, including a military chaplaincy.

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The assembly at Longview, near the Oregon state line, was established in the early 1930s and for many years continued in rented quarters. In 1950 the brethren started building the Evergreen Terrace Gospel Chapel in Longview, using largely their own labor. They completed the building and moved into it in the fall of 1952, but within a few months fire completely destroyed the chapel. E.K. Bailey was on his third weekend visit to Longview when he suffered a stroke which took his life in June 1953. He had been asked to come for weekend meetings through June and July in the Gospel tent that the Longview assembly was using during the summer because of the destruction by fire of the chapel. The loss was covered by insurance, and after meeting for some time in the tent, the brethren rebuilt Evergreen Terrace Gospel Chapel. The Longview assembly continues today.


  • Questionnaire Responses
  • Recollections Concerning the History of Tieton Drive Bible Chapel, 1996
  • History of the Arlington Assembly, undated but probably late 1980s
  • A History of the Okanogan, Washington Assembly from 1927-1995, by Jean Hinde Klein and J.W. Klein
  • Letters of Interest, August 1953, p. 19; January 1954, p. 7; June 1959, p. 11


Alaskan assemblies, in the order of their establishment, were formed in Cordova, Chitina, Wasilla (Palmer), and Fairbanks. The efforts in Cordova and Chitina were Gospel works for the most part, the stable believers in both places being imports to the community for the express purpose of evangelizing and teaching the Word to the local people.

There were five or six open assemblies in Alaska in 1975, with fewer than 150 Christians in fellowship. Five assemblies are listed in recent address books, three in Anchorage and two in Fairbanks.

The work in Alaska in the beginning, and to a great extent now, was a missionary effort among the native peoples who lived and died by the shaman taboos and oracles. Most natives were dualistic in their attitude toward the new Christianity – it was just another and new phase for religious practice. Many of the white inhabitants were immigrants who had come for adventure and quick wealth and did not want to hear the Word or think about eternity. However, there are many compelling stories of genuine conversions among the native peoples, including Henry and Etta Bell who have solid testimonies among their people and are leaders in the work in the Copper River region near Cordova.

The summer season in Alaska is relatively short and many of the Christians must work during this time. Thus it is difficult for even the gifted among the local believers to reach the scattered population during the mild summer weather.

The Ernest Crabb and Harold Richards families were pioneers who served God faithfully amid rejection and persecution. They would often team up and cover many miles to reach the unreached.

Ernest and Helen Crabb spent 10 years in the Chitina area. Several others followed in the work in the Chitina Assembly and environs after the Crabbs moved to Fairbanks. May McKeller of Alberta, Ethel Zinn of Michigan, the Robert Fenty family from New Jersey, and Ray and Mabel Heaton were among the faithfuls.

In 1937, Harold and Mabel Richards, commended to the Lord’s work by six Los Angeles area assemblies, arrived in Cordova, on the Gulf of Alaska and 150 air miles east of Anchorage. There they were able to establish a small native Indian assembly. By 1939 they were operating a children’s home. The Richards moved to near Wasilla to begin the Valley Christian Home for Children after World War II. This home was a ministry to welfare children of Alaska. In 1945, the Lord sent Mr. and Mrs. Robert Fenty from New Jersey to replace them in the Cordova Assembly work.

When the orphanage system was ended in Alaska and placement of welfare children was done to private homes, the Richards began North Star Bible Camp on the Hatcher Pass Road out of willow.

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Bible Truth Gospel Chapel in Anchorage, the largest city, was established in 1964 in the following manner. Richard Stevens, one of the Indian converts of Harold and Mabel Richards, had moved to Seattle. Richard Stevens’ brother, William J. Stevens lived in Anchorage, and encouraged his brother to come there to establish a Sunday School work. The 1964 earthquake had destroyed so many properties that no rental property could be found for the Sunday School. So William and Elinor Stevens opened their large home for a Daily Vacation Bible School, conducted by Elinor and Richard’s wife Marjory, filling it with 50 to 60 children. That encouraged them to begin the Sunday School, and soon they had nearly 100 people in the house.

An assembly was established that year, meeting in the William Stevens’ home. From there the Christians rented a basement room in the Carpenter’s Hall, where they met until 1971, when they moved into a second floor room of a dairy plant in the Spenard area of Anchorage. Clara Eccles, a missionary at Chitina, came and helped until she went to be with the Lord. During that period, the children’s work diminished and the number in regular fellowship dwindled to just a few believers.

Then in the mid 1970s, Jim and Janet McCormick arrived in the area as managers of North Star Bible Camp when Harold and Mabel Richards left for health reasons. They brought John Walden tapes and got instruction classes going. Fred Steenmeyer came into the assembly and started a Christian witnessing course. People were being saved, and the assembly began looking for land. In 1977, the assembly purchased and moved into an attractive church building at 7206 Lake Otis Parkway, where they are now located. Their new location encouraged the believers to work more energetically for growth. An aggressive program was begun, combining visitation, extensive newspaper advertising, and an evening Bible school. The school was staffed by men from the assembly, and moved into its own building, bearing the name Anchorage School of Bible Doctrine.

Stuart and Linda Steenmeyer came in 1977 to help at the assembly and Bible School, and assisted at North Star Bible Camp. Dale and Lois Brooks were commended by the Bible Truth Gospel Chapel to work full time there. Dale Brooks became the President of the Bible School in 1979. The assembly congregation experienced a surge from its earlier handful to 116 in 1979.

Elders have included the Stevens brothers, James McCormickFred Steenmeyer, and Robert Fenty. Others active in the assembly have included Larry and JoAnn DavisSpencer and Carol Steenmeyer, and Larry and Cindy Kitchen.

  • * * * * * *

The Anchorage Bible Fellowship was begun in the mid 1980s by some members of the Steenmeyer family.

  • * * * * * *

The first effort to begin a work in the Fairbanks area was in 1948 when Ernest and Helen Crabb moved to Esther. This gold mining community was the first location of a youth work, and was the site of a summer Bible camp in 1949. The Crabbs moved to a location nearer Fairbanks in 1950 and lived there for the next 17 years. Don and Ruth Sauer of Buffalo, New York moved to Fairbanks in the early 1950s. Don was a good minister of the Word, and talented in music and youth work. The camp work was turned over to him. For several years, the camp work was held at Harding Lake. When Leonard Platt donated 40 acres of land for the use of a Bible Camp ministry, Camp LiWa was begun.

Denali Bible Chapel in Fairbanks was established in about 1950. Dwight Mattix and family played a significant role in the development of the assembly. Besides the Crabb, Sauer, and Mattix families, John and Doris Miller were important in the early work at Denali Bible Chapel and have provided a stabilizing force. Others leaders over the years include Greg Johnson and Winston Burbank. Denali Bible Chapel has some 200 in attendance on a Sunday morning. Denali Bible Chapel has commended several to the work of the Lord out of the state.

  • * * * * * *

In the early 1960s, the Crabb family developed a work on the north side of Fairbanks. The assembly – Country Bible Chapel – that formed from this work is considered a hive-off of Denali Bible Chapel. Located on Old Chema Hot Springs Road, it was first called Chema Bible Chapel. The assembly was started in 1970 by Doug CrabbWilliam Herning, and Guy Herning. Doug Crabb and his family served the Lord there for three years. Bill Herning has taken basic leadership of Country Bible Chapel since 1973. Its Sunday attendance is now about 45.

  • * * * * * *

Everett Bachelder was a faithful itinerant witness of the Gospel in Alaska beginning in the middle 1940s. He and his family moved to Nome in the late 1950s and began a Gospel work in that community of 1500 souls on the edge of the Bering Sea. Many were saved in his various ministries. His family and perhaps others remembered the Lord in his home for a time, and the gathering was listed in the Address Books of the time as Gospel Home. Mr. Bachelder had a literature ministry in which he placed Gospel floats on the sea ice during the winter. These floats were literally found around the world and even into the Mediterranean Sea.


  • Questionnaire Responses
  • Letters of Interest, May 1953, p. 11; April 1954, p. 3; July/August 1975, p. 8; Nov 1977, p. 20; Nov 1979, p. 5


Though not a part of North America geographically, Hawaii is nevertheless the 50th of the United States and belongs in this volume. Older Address Books have listed two or three assemblies, while recent editions list four. All have been on the island of Oahu. Neither the ‘Big Island’ – Hawaii, nor the smaller islands have had a brethren assembly to our knowledge.

In 1946, there were two assemblies in Hawaii. At Palolo Chapel in Honolulu, at 3462 Kaau Street, a work had been carried on since before World War II, led by Mr. and Mrs. Ephraim Field, formerly of Bethany Gospel Hall in Oakland, CA. The Honolulu Assembly was in the home of Mr. O.A. Larson, 1132 19th Avenue, Honolulu. In 1962, Joe Spacek mentioned that the believers at Friendly Bible Center meeting at Radford High School, were seeking a lot in the Honolulu area on which to build a chapel.

  • * * * * * *

Oceanview Bible Chapel in Pearl City, adjacent to Honolulu, may be the outgrowth of one of these. It and Waialae Kahala Chapel in Honolulu are the oldest of the assemblies existing in Hawaii today. Haleiwa Gospel Hall on the north shore of Oahu, existed for many years but disbanded in the early 1990s. Today the Waianae Gospel Hall is on the western shore of Oahu and may have a connection with Haleiwa Gospel Hall; information about them was not made available to us.

  • * * * * * *

Believers Bible Fellowship in Pearl City began in 1996. Dennis MedeirosLouis Tory Sr.Richard Chaves, and Louis Tory Jr. were among those who started the new assembly. Most of those in Believers Bible Fellowship were at one time in fellowship at Oceanview Bible Chapel. Louis Tory Sr. was at one time an elder there. Dennis Medeiros has been commended to local pastoral and teaching ministry. About 50 adults and youngsters were in the assembly at one point. When Louis Tory St. and his Louis Tory Jr. left the fellowship in 1999, the continuance of the assembly came into question. The remaining dozen Christians now meet in the garage of one of the believers.


  • Questionnaire Responses
  • Letters of Interest, November 1946, p. 30; April 1962, p. 10

Church Index

  • 87th Avenue Bible Chapel in Portland, OR 14, 17
  • Alameda Gospel Chapel, CA 10
  • Anchorage Bible Fellowship, AK 32
  • Antelope Valley Bible Chapel in Lancaster, CA 8
  • Arlington Gospel Hall, WA 22, 23, 25
  • Atascadero Gospel Chapel, CA 8
  • Avenue 54 Bible Chapel in Los Angeles 5
  • Avenue 54 Korean Assembly in Los Angeles 5
  • Bainbridge Bible Chapel, WA 21
  • Believers Bible Fellowship in Pearl City, HI 34
  • Bethany Gospel Chapel in Oakland, CA 9, 12
  • Bethany Gospel Hall in Oakland, CA 9, 34
  • Bethel Chapel in Riverside, CA 7
  • Bethel Gospel Hall in Los Angeles 6
  • Bible Truth Gospel Chapel in Anchorage, AK 31
  • Bible Truth Hall in San Diego 1
  • Bonita Gospel Hall, OR 15
  • Cascade Community Church in Gresham, OR 17
  • Castlemont Bible Chapel in Oakland, CA 9
  • Centralia Bible Chapel in Centralia, WA 28
  • Chema Bible Chapel in Fairbanks, AK 32
  • Chitina Assembly, AK 30
  • Claremont Gospel Chapel, CA 6
  • Clinton Street Bible Chapel in Gresham, OR 17
  • Clinton Street Chapel in Gresham, OR 17
  • Colton Gospel Chapel, CA 7
  • Community Bible Chapel in Hayward, CA 10, 11
  • Cordova Assembly, AK 30
  • Cornerstone Bible Church in La Mesa, CA 2
  • Cosmopolis Gospel Chapel, WA 21, 27, 28
  • Cosmopolis Gospel Hall, WA 27
  • Country Bible Chapel in Fairbanks, AK 32
  • Crescent City Christian Chapel, CA 12
  • Culver City Gospel Hall, CA 4
  • Denali Bible Chapel in Fairbanks, AK 32
  • Des Moines Gospel Chapel, WA 20
  • East County Bible Fellowship in El Cajon, CA 2, 3
  • East Los Angeles Gospel Hall 4
  • Eastgate Bible Chapel in Portland, OR 14, 18
  • Elm Avenue Gospel Hall in Long Beach, CA 5
  • Everett Gospel Hall, WA 22
  • Evergreen Bible Chapel in Federal Way, WA 20
  • Evergreen Terrace Gospel Chapel in Longview, WA 28
  • Fairhaven Bible Chapel in San Leandro, CA 10
  • Forest Grove Gospel Hall, OR 16, 24
  • Fresno Gospel Hall, CA 12
  • Friendly Bible Center, HI 34
  • Front Street Gospel Hall in San Diego 4
  • Garden Grove Assembly in Los Angeles 5
  • Glendale Gospel Chapel, CA 7
  • Goodyear Gospel Hall in Los Angeles 6
  • Gospel Auditorium of Oakland, CA 11
  • Gospel Home in Nome, AK 32
  • Grace and Truth Chapel in Portland, OR 15
  • Grace and Truth Gospel Hall in Portland, OR 15
  • Grace Bible Chapel in Fullerton, CA 6
  • Grace Bible Fellowship in Portland, OR 15
  • Grants Pass Gospel Hall in Oregon 24
  • Haleiwa Gospel Hall, HI 34
  • Hayward Bible Chapel, CA 10
  • Hayward Home Bible Fellowship, CA 10
  • Highline Gospel Assembly in Des Moines, WA 20
  • Hillview Bible Chapel in Cupertino, CA 11
  • Honolulu Assembly 34
  • Hope Bible Fellowship in Seattle 19, 20
  • Hope Gospel Hall in Seattle 19
  • Iglesia Cristiana de Westminster, CA 5
  • Iglesia Evangelica de Highland Park in Los Angeles 5
  • Imperial Avenue Gospel Hall in Logan Heights, CA 4
  • La Brea Gospel Chapel in Los Angeles 6, 7
  • Lakeside Bible Camp, WA 22
  • Laurel Bible Chapel in San Diego 2, 3, 6
  • Laurel Park Bible Chapel in Portland, OR 14
  • Linnton Gospel Chapel, OR 17
  • Loomis Assembly, CA 12
  • Marlborough Gospel Hall in San Diego 1, 3
  • Mission Peak Bible Church in Fremont, CA 11
  • Mission Valley Community Chapel, CA 3
  • Montebello Assembly, CA 7
  • North Lynnwood Bible Chapel, WA 21
  • Northgate Gospel Chapel in Seattle 21
  • Oceanview Bible Chapel in Pearl City, HI 34
  • Okanogan Gospel Hall, WA 25
  • Palolo Chapel in Honolulu 34
  • Parkside Bible Chapel in Everett, WA 22
  • Parkside Gospel Chapel in San Francisco 9
  • Penticton Gospel Hall in British Columbia 24
  • Pomona Assembly, CA 4
  • Pomona Gospel Chapel, CA 4
  • Portland Assembly, OR 14
  • Riverside Gospel Chapel, CA 7
  • Riverside Gospel Hall, CA 7
  • Sacramento Bible Chapel 12
  • Salem Gospel Hall, OR 16
  • San Bernardino Gospel Chapel, CA 7
  • San Francisco Gospel Hall 9
  • San Jose Bible Chapel, CA 11
  • San Lorenzo Bible Chapel, CA 10
  • Santa Rosa Assembly, CA 10
  • Shoultes Gospel Hall in Marysville, WA 25
  • South County Bible Fellowship, WA 21
  • Spring Mountain Bible Church in Clackamas, OR 15
  • Springdale Bible Chapel, OR 17
  • Springdale Gospel Hall, OR 17
  • Stark Street Gospel Chapel in Portland, OR 14, 16, 18
  • Stark Street Gospel Hall in Portland, OR 14, 17
  • Sun Valley Bible Chapel in Lafayette, CA 11
  • Sunrise Fellowship in Edmonds, WA 21
  • Taylor Avenue Gospel Hall in Seattle 19
  • Tieton Drive Bible Chapel in Yakima, WA 25, 27
  • Twelfth Avenue Gospel Chapel in Sacramento 11
  • Valley Bible Chapel in Napa, CA 12
  • Valley Bible Church in Pleasanton, CA 10, 11
  • Valley Gospel Chapel, North Hollywood, CA 7
  • Waialae Kahala Chapel in Honolulu 34
  • Waianae Gospel Hall, HI 34
  • Wedgewood Bible Fellowship in Seattle 20
  • West Jefferson Gospel Hall in Los Angeles 4
  • West Side Bible Chapel in Beaverton, OR 15
  • West Side Bible Fellowship in Portland, OR 15
  • West Valley Bible Chapel in Canoga Park, CA 8
  • West Valley Gospel Chapel in Canoga Park, CA 8
  • West Valley Gospel Hall in Canoga Park, CA 8
  • Westminster Bible Chapel, CA 5
  • White Avenue Gospel Hall in Fresno, CA 12
  • Whitman Avenue Gospel Chapel in Seattle 20
  • Willamette Bible Chapel, OR 18
  • Willamette Gospel Chapel, OR 18
  • Yakima Gospel Chapel, WA 27
  • Yakima Gospel Hall, WA 25, 26

U.S. Mountains and Desert

This section contains Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Apart from Colorado, these states have the smallest population density of those in the U.S., and inter-assembly interactions are not simple. The 1999 Walterick Address Book lists 39 assemblies in this grouping.

We begin in the north with Montana and proceed southward to the desert states.


In 1973, Doug and Jeanne Crabb moved to Montana, where they lived for 10 years in the Helena area. They began a Bible class that grew to several couples and youth. Eventually, Alvin and Gloria Shawver moved there and helped with the work at the newly formed assembly. They helped build the Helena Bible Chapel while living there. The meeting has ranged from 20 to 60 people. The assembly is now called Community Bible Fellowship. Walt and Marilyn Kertulla and Darreld and Brenda Scott and their families carry on the work at the present. Christians from this assembly travel to Basin, MT to preach the Gospel on Sunday evenings at a campground/trailer park. These Gospel meetings usually have good attendance.

  • * * * * * *

Prior to the founding in 1975 of the Plains Bible Chapel in Plains, its four founders were attending a new Christian fellowship and had not yet been incorporated. When the time came to formally organize, there was discussion and disagreement among those in the fellowship as to whether they should be a nondenominational, autonomous church or whether they should organize as a church with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

The four men started looking into the Scriptures to see what the Biblical guidelines for meetings and leadership of Christian believers in the New Testament were. They concluded that the New Testament pattern for church leadership was to have a group of elders leading and serving the church together. The majority of the fellowship decided, however, that they should organize as a denominational church. The four men opted not to be a part of it, but began meeting together with their families in a separate weekly Bible study. A few other families joined them, making a total group of approximately 35 people.

The four men, Dwayne BauerLynn AuslandKen McGann and Dennis Olson were chosen as the elders of the new assembly. They shared the preaching and leadership. The first meeting and a children’s church were held in March 1975. Children’s church was held at the home of Ray Steinbach, while the main service, with 39 people in attendance at the initial service, was held at the home of Larry Steinbach.

In time, the church outgrew home meetings and met in the Fairground Pavilion until the Plains Bible Chapel was built in 1979, constructed entirely from old, dead timber that was considered no good. Church members did all the logging and carpentering needed to erect the chapel.

In 1988, Joel Banham was invited to pastor the church. He is affiliated with the American Missionary Fellowship, a Christian service organization which allows home missionaries to be placed in small communities across the USA. Its goal is to assist in the growth of individual churches, developing them to the point of being self-supporting. Ken McGann and Dennis Olson still hold their positions as elders.

  • * * * * * *

The Glacier Bible Fellowship, MT was established by Doug and Jeanne Crabb in 1985 with as many as ten at the Breaking of Bread. The assembly first met in the basement of the Eagles Club in Kalispell, near Glacier National Park. When the Crabbs moved to nearby Whitefish, the assembly met in their home with a few local families. By 1987, all but one of those families had moved to other places for employment purposes, but seven were still Breaking Bread every Sunday morning. The assembly survived until about 1992 after the Crabbs left the area.

  • * * * * * *

The Bible Chapel in Stevensville, near the Idaho state line south of Missoula, began in 1977 at the instigation of Robert SykesNathan Luibrand, and Jonathan Luibrand. In its own building, the assembly has a weekly attendance of about 80. The Bible Chapel is a hive-off from Mountain View Chapel in Missoula.

  • * * * * * *

Corvallis Bible Chapel in the small town of Corvallis, near Stevensville, hived off from the Bible Chapel in Stevensville in 1997, with six families. Leaders were then Nathan LuibrandPeter DaleyRuss Koch, and Jim Gardner.

  • * * * * * *

In 1975, several saw the need for a Bible camp, and so the Crabbs began what has become Frontier Bible Camp, which has been a blessing to many kids. Doug Crabb also began High Trails Expeditions in 1975 with three young teens. These camps have grown to the point where some 100 youth attend these wilderness trail camps annually. Rick Norman of Stevensville directs these camps now. Doug Crabb also used the local Ham Radio Club as a means of witness in the area.


  • Questionnaire Responses
  • Uplook, February 1987, p. 63; March 1989, p. 104
  • Letters of Interest, April 1962, p. 10


The Walnut Avenue Gospel Chapel in Coeur D’Alene was established in about 1935 by William E. Rae from the Portland assembly, and Ernest F. UnruhRobert Unruh and Donald Unruh have shared leadership with these over the years. Meeting initially at the Ft. Sherman Hall, it moved through two other locations before coming to its present location at 2nd and Walnut in Coeur D’Alene. Walnut Avenue Gospel Chapel has about 20 in fellowship.

  • * * * * * *

The Westside Bible Chapel in Boise has also been in existence for many years, occupying rented quarters. In the early 1990s, it changed its name to Westside Bible Church.


  • Questionnaire Responses


As in all sparsely populated regions, assembly work in Wyoming has always been difficult to maintain. The earliest known assembly in the state was in Fort Washakie, population 250, on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Wesley and Gladys Kosin were missionaries to the Shoshone Indians for 23 years. They began Breaking Bread in their home in about 1959, and soon several of their converts joined in the fellowship, meeting as the Fort Washakie Assembly. However, many of these converts were drawn into Pentecostal fellowships over the years, and when the Kosins retired to South Carolina in 1981, the assembly discontinued.

Mr. Kosin worked with Wycliffe Bible Translators and taught classes at the Summer Institute of Linguistics in North Dakota for several years. He was the first to analyze the Shoshone language and did considerable Bible translation into that language. The Kosins had a Scripture literature booth at the Wyoming State Fair for many years, and had a local radio Gospel program in simplified English. They suffered the loss of a daughter, Beatrice Kosin, who with another commended missionary, was martyred by Viet Cong during the Vietnam war.

The Kosins were an influence on Stark Wilson of Casper, north of Cheyenne, who established the Casper Assembly in his home for several years. In 1989, one source says there was an unlisted meeting in Casper, probably this one. It has discontinued.

A family in the small town of Upton in the northeast corner of the state, had the Upton Assembly in their home for a time.

By 1970, Robert and Betty Twing were Breaking Bread as a family in their home near Buffalo in the north-central part of the state. They had been introduced to brethren meetings by Betty’s parents who lived in Tennessee and had been with an assembly started by T.B. Gilbert. In 1977, Rodney Parr moved his family to nearby Sheridan from Garden City, KS to help the Twings establish an assembly in northern Wyoming. The two families began regular assembly meetings in the Parr home in late 1977, and two other families joined with them a little later. The assembly was called Cloud Peak Bible Chapel.

Mrs. Parr developed a sizeable neighborhood Sunday School, but after the Parrs moved to a different area, that work came to an end. The assembly moved to the Twing home near Buffalo in 1982 and continued for just a few more months, discontinuing in May 1983.

The Cheyenne Bible Chapel, WY started in Cheyenne in the home of Roy Huffman in 1987 and lasted a year or two. Each of these assemblies consisted of just a few believers.

In 1985, the Bread of Life Fellowship in Laramie was meeting in the home of Robert Koenig in Laramie in the southern part of the state. It closed in the early 1990s when the Koenigs moved away, but has resumed in the Koenig home at 519 S. 4th Street, with the Lawrence Thomas and Matt Lundberg families.

A larger assembly formed in 1997 in the sizeable town of Powell, east of Yellowstone National Park. The Powell Assembly of Believers began in June 1997 through the efforts of the Tillotson, Kinkade, and Krevo families. The Olsens soon joined, then Nordlands, Schmidts, and Ottos. John Tillotson, [[Lloyd Olsen], Mark NordlandKevin Schmidt, and Don Otto are the current elders. Meeting first in the Tillotson home, the group subsequently moved to a funeral home, then to Powell Hospital, and currently meets at Northwest College. The Tillotsons and Olsens had been associated with Park Bible Chapel in Everett, WA. Others had some contacts with brethren assemblies, and others did not, and simply wanted to meet as a New Testament church. As to its start-up, “The Lord brought us all together; there is really no other way to explain it,” according to John Tillotson. The young assembly has commended a worker to Immanuel Mission in Arizona. About 40 adults and youngsters attend the Powell Assembly of Believers.


  • Questionnaire Responses and Letters


The Brethren in Colorado apparently had two independent beginnings, one of them the effort of an Englishman who had recently broken from the ‘exclusives’ in England, and the other by farming families from Kansas.

The Englishman, H.R. Sadler, had moved to Denver to set up a business. Together with a Mr. McIlven, he established an assembly in 1901 known as the Denver Bible Hall but often called the Sadler Meeting, which met first in rented space in downtown Denver.

The assembly later moved to 2428 Ogden Street, now one of the oldest residential areas of the city, but then a new area. Among the men in leadership at the Denver Bible Hall besides Sadler were Will Henry and Tom HenryEdward Brown, a Mr. Desch, and a Mr. Brookman. Tom Henry was one of the principal preachers. In 1923, John and Nan Scroggie came from Scotland and joined the group. John Scroggie was an able preacher.

The Christians at the Denver Bible Hall decided to move to a newer residential area in about 1930, to South Pennsylvania near Bayaud Avenue. The meeting, however, was then in a period of decline. When Mr. Sadler moved in 1938 to California, only the John Scroggies, Edward Browns, and perhaps two or three other families were left.

Another assembly formed in Denver in about 1908, probably a split-off from the first. It became known as the 6th Avenue Gospel Hall after it had moved through several locations. Some of the first people associated with it were Fred KenneyAnnie Van Wyk, and a Mr. Dale.

Its first meeting place was in rented quarters on Kalamath Street just south of downtown Denver. In about 1912, the group moved into the Charles Building at 15th and Curtis Streets in the central shopping district of Denver. After a time, they moved into another building at 13th and Curtis. At that location, John Chambers, a Mr. Kiddey, and a Mr. Fleming joined the assembly. Ted and Grace Ball from western Kansas joined them in about 1920, and Ted Ball soon became one of its leading figures.

In 1923 the group moved to 222 South Broadway, a commercial district in south Denver; this was several years before the Denver Bible Hall moved to that vicinity. They stayed there only two years, then moved to an old stone church building on East 6th Avenue and Detroit Street. This was an upper class residential area in east Denver, and may indicate a growing affluence among some of the members. They were known as the 6th Avenue Gospel Hall at that period. Among the many who joined the assembly in those days were Joshua Summerfield and Chester Burrows, who came in 1932. John Chambers was one of leaders in that period and did much of the preaching.

  • * * * * * *

When it was clear that the struggling Denver Bible Hall might have to close its doors, the two groups decided to merge. The merger took place in 1938, shortly after Mr. Sadler left, and the assembly took the name Denver Gospel Hall, and moved to a new location in the 300 block of South Pearl, just two or three blocks from the South Pennsylvania site. Perhaps the new group had learned some lessons from the declension, for subsequently it developed into a strong and stable assembly, able to pass leadership to succeeding generations.

Fred KenneyJohn ScroggieChester Burrows, and Ted Ball were the early leaders at the Denver Gospel Hall. David Horn and Cecile Horn moved to Denver from Longmont and joined with the Christians at the Denver Gospel Hall in its earliest days, although David was an itinerant preacher. Among the leaders a little later at the South Pearl Street site were Herb StowellHowell James, and Jesse James. Many of the families in fellowship at the Denver Gospel Hall in the 1940s were converts of David Horn and John Horn and had come from eastern Colorado and western Kansas. Some of those families had moved to Denver because of the Dust Bowl and economic depression, and their influence on the subsequent development of the brethren in Denver and other parts of Colorado was substantial.

Around 1946 the Denver Gospel Hall was joined by some families from the Ford Meeting, and in 1949 by some families from the Oltrogge Meeting, when those meetings closed. We discuss these two vigorous but short-lived meetings now.

  • * * * * * *

William Ford moved to Denver from Illinois in the 1930s. He was not accepted by either of the two existing meetings, the 6th Avenue Gospel Hall and the Denver Bible Hall, because he encouraged the use of a piano during the meetings, and held that the Lord’s Supper was open to all believers. In about 1938, Ford erected a building at Evans and South Lincoln and started a new meeting. If it took a specific name, that name is lost, and only ‘Ford Meeting’ is remembered. It was joined by Chester Burrows who had decided not to stay with the newly formed Denver Gospel Hall. Ford at first did all the preaching, and was said to be very good at it. He also did much personal work among Jewish people in Denver, and was instrumental in setting up the West Side Center of the Denver Hebrew Mission. The Ford meeting was very evangelistic, had an active Sunday School, visited in the neighborhood, and distributed tracts; it had about 55 in fellowship at its largest, comparable in size to the Denver Gospel Hall.

  • * * * * * *

Victor Oltrogge, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, was an ordained Baptist minister who had decided to leave the Baptists. He had preached often in Denver and had become acquainted with William Ford. A short time after Mr. Ford started the new assembly, he invited Mr. Oltrogge to join them, which he did. Victor Oltrogge was also a very able speaker and attracted many new people to the assembly. But tensions developed between these two powerful personalities. In the early 1940s, Mr. Oltrogge and a number of families left the Ford Assembly and started meeting in the Oltrogge home. After a short time, they began meeting in the Trevino Mortuary at Alameda and South Logan, and after that rented a church building in the 2100 block of South Milwaukee. They called their assembly the Bible Fellowship Chapel. This church was also very evangelistic. As were those in the Ford meeting, they were active in Jewish evangelism, and had a program of visiting prisons on Sunday afternoons. The meeting had about 60 or 70 in fellowship at its largest.

Mr. Oltrogge had preached in Baptist and Presbyterian churches in Denver and became well known for his abilities. In about 1948 he was offered the presidency of the Arizona Bible Institute, which was affiliated with The Bible Institute of Los Angeles (Biola). However, Oltrogge had made no provision for developing other leaders in his assembly, and when he accepted the Arizona offer and left Denver in 1949, the meeting dissolved.

The Ford meeting had been greatly weakened when Oltrogge left, and it disbanded in 1946. Some of its remaining members then joined the Denver Gospel Hall on South Pearl Street, the only remaining assembly in Denver.

  • * * * * * *

As the Denver Gospel Hall grew, it needed more space, and in 1949 purchased the Olinger Mortuary at 1475 South Broadway and converted it into a chapel. The assembly had about 75 people in fellowship at that time. Parking soon became a problem, and in 1952, the assembly found a church building for sale at 1405 South Vine Street in southeast Denver. Some called it the Denver Gospel Chapel from that time, and others simply the Vine Street Meeting. There the assembly remained for another decade, growing to about 100. Lucas Wilson, who had broken from an ‘exclusive’ assembly in Denver, joined the leadership at the Denver Gospel Chapel at about that time.

The assembly thrived and soon a group hived off to start a Sunday School work in Littleton, just south of Denver (see below). Even then, the Christians at Vine Street soon had outgrown their building, which could seat only 100 people. In about 1960 they purchased a lot in southwest Denver at Florida and South Ames. To help finance the construction, the Christians sold the building on Vine Street and rented an elementary school nearby at Florida and Wolf, where they stayed for about eight months until the Southwest Bible Chapel was ready for occupancy. Henry Van Ryn, who with his wife had come to Denver in 1961 and was an able preacher, oversaw the construction.

The first meeting in the new building was in 1963 and the leaders then were considered to be Fritz HatchLucas Wilson, and John Scroggie. Since 1983, when the by_laws were rewritten, Southwest Bible Chapel has had recognized elders and deacons.

Henry Van Ryn was an active teaching elder at Southwest during the 1960s. He preached in other Colorado assemblies and had a very successful Ladies’ Coffee Hour at Southwest for many years. Other brothers prominent in the ministry of the Word were Greg KoehnDavid J. MacLeodPaul Wright (then teaching at Western Bible Institute), and more recently, C.N. Tokatlouglou, and Thomas McAnally.

The active numbers have declined due to many younger families migrating to the outskirts of the metropolis, but neighborhood outreach through Kids’ Club and the Sunday School/Bible Hour continue. Southwest Bible Chapel hosts the Prison Ministries operation for Colorado, Wyoming and western Nebraska, and many assembly members are active in the grading and mailing of Bible courses and literature for that ministry. Approximately 100 are in fellowship now.

  • * * * * * *

In 1970, A.K. Varghese came to the United States and to Southwest Bible Chapel from Kerala, India, and was the first of many to follow; thus began a long relationship with brothers and sisters from India. The Abraham George family was welcomed in 1974, then the Thomas’, Daniels’, Matthews’, Kapp’s and others. In about 1994, some of these families began the Believers Assembly in Denver, meeting in rented quarters and having a special outreach to other Indian families, some of which have been added to their fellowship.

  • * * * * * *

In the early 1950s, the Sunday School of the Denver Gospel Chapel on South Vine Street was large. Several carloads of children were being brought from the Littleton area. John and Edna Todd lived in Littleton and began having Friday evening outreach meetings for the children in their home in 1953; in this, they had the blessing of the Vine Street assembly. These meetings became so popular that the Todds began holding Sunday School classes in their home. In 1955 the Todds rented the 4_H building on the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds for the Sunday School, and by this time several adults were involved; these included the families of Cecil BeckRoscoe TurnerRobert HoglandDick TaylorJoe SchwallerFrancis OrangeJackie Folks, and DeVada Wells.

It was not long before Remembrance Meetings were being held at the 4_H building, and in July 1956 the workers voted to form a new assembly. The assembly took the name Belleview Bible Chapel since the 4_H building was located on Belleview Avenue. They remained there for several more years. In the late 1950s, Sunday School attendance was 75 to 100 children. Earl JamesLeRoy HinkleJohn Todd, and Roscoe Turner were viewed as the principal leaders.

The Christians felt that the 4_H building wasn’t sufficient for their needs, and in early 1960 rented a small church building. Bill and Charlene James joined the meeting at that time, having moved from Phoenix. Herb and Alice Banks had also joined by then. However, after only a few months, the Christians moved back to the 4_H building, a sizeable group having split off (see below). Property at 991 W. Prentice Street in Littleton was purchased and a chapel was finished in early 1963. At about this time and a little later, the families of Sam DaltonDon FleetLarry Swenson, and Robert von Spiegel had joined the fellowship. Henry Van Ryn preached and gave assistance at Belleview Bible Chapel.

In 1975, the Belleview Christians traded for property at 937 Belleview Avenue, consisting of a house and small chapel. The families of Danny Ee and Bob Copley joined the fellowship in this period, along with many others. Then the Christians purchased land much further east at 9550 E. Belleview Avenue. The first meeting in the new chapel was held on Thanksgiving day in 1978. The assembly grew, nearly filling the building within a short time. The assembly supported a half-time worker, Dan’l Hollis, who ministered at the assembly from 1984 until 1990.

The elders have included Bill JamesCourtney HemenwayRoger Henderson, and Brian YoungMark and Fay Plaza are supported full-time in the assembly, and work especially with the youth. In 1999, the assembly sold their building on Belleview and purchased five acres in the rapidly growing area of Parker, south of Denver. The Christians took the name Parker Hills Bible Fellowship and met in an elementary school until the new chapel was completed. About 80 adults and children attend the assembly.

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In 1961, a number of families left the Belleview assembly because of differences in leadership philosophy. They included Herb BanksHerbert StowellPhillip HarrisonCecil BeckJohn Henry, and Cecil Westfall. With the encouragement of some at Vine Street, the initial group of about 30 people began a Sunday School work, and began Breaking Bread at the Littleton YMCA at 2233 West Shepard Avenue. They incorporated in 1962 as Littleton Bible Chapel.

The group decided to have recognized elders from the beginning; the first were Herbert StowellHerb Banks, and Phil Harrison. Other elders in the next few years included John HenryCecil BeckCecil WestfallDon Wilson, and William Lansdown. The elders shared most of the preaching ministry in the early days.

After about three years, the assembly began meeting at the Mark Hopkins Elementary School in a new residential area in Littleton, where it stayed for about a year, then moved back to the YMCA. The Banks home was used for Wednesday night meetings. The church was growing, so they purchased land in 1965, and constructed a new chapel at 6023 South Datura, their present location. The official opening took place in March 1969. At that time the congregation numbered about 125. Littleton Bible Chapel continued to grow; and a lower level was added in 1976, and a new auditorium in 1985, at which time about 300 were attending the Remembrance Meeting.

Alexander Strauch joined the Littleton fellowship in early 1969. In January 1970, Marilyn JamesDavid J. MacLeod, and Debbie Larson began attending the Chapel and helping with the youth group, which quickly expanded to 70 or 80, about half of the entire assembly population at that time. Soon David MacLeod and Alex Strauch were doing most of the expository teaching at Littleton Bible Chapel.

When Marilyn James and Alex Strauch married they opened a home for troubled young men, and maintained it for five years. Alex became an elder at Littleton Bible Chapel in 1975. He is the author of several books, including the popular Biblical Eldership. For about three years Kent Wilson was the sole full time worker at Littleton; several others have served full time for shorter periods. Many elders have served the assembly over the years. Littleton Bible Chapel has commended seven families to ministries in Mexico, Indonesia, and South America Currently about 300 families are in fellowship at Littleton Bible Chapel, making it the largest in the state. On a typical Sunday morning, about 400 or more people are in attendance.

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An assembly called University Christian Center in Denver started with the blessing of Littleton Bible Chapel in about 1980. The families of William Lansdown and Bruce Hayes were the prime movers, and two other families joined them in the new work. The group had a Breaking of Bread service at the Lansdown’s house adjacent to the University of Denver campus in south Denver, along with a preaching service, gave a Sunday meal to students, and had an active work among them. But the group was never able to attract families from the area, and after about four years decided to close as an assembly, although the work with students continued.

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In 1950, James Reynolds was in the military service at Lowry Air Force Base on the east edge of Denver. He and his family joined with the Christians at the Denver Gospel Chapel then meeting at the former mortuary on South Broadway.

Jim Reynolds had a burden for a work in a low-income district to the northeast of downtown Denver. With Lucas Wilson from the Denver Gospel Chapel, he began house-to-house visitation in the area along with home Bible studies. Sam Dalton moved to Denver from Chicago in June of 1952 and joined the effort. Six or seven people were saved, and the small group decided to form an assembly for Breaking of Bread. They began meeting in 1952 in the Masonic Lodge at 2800 Welton St. The assembly decided to take the name Denver Gospel Hall, since the Denver Gospel Chapel was no longer using that name. Caleb and Detra Gates moved from Kansas City, Kansas at about that time and became active at the Denver Gospel Hall.

The principal leaders at that time were Jim ReynoldsSam DaltonAndrew JonesJames Lanier, and Isaiah MacDonaldSam Dalton preached often at the new assembly, developing his gift so that by 1967 he was in full-time work as a traveling preacher.

In 1955, the Denver Gospel Hall purchased a former Lutheran church building at 1631 Martin Luther King Boulevard. The assembly still meets there and has about 40 households in fellowship. It has recognized elders. When the University Christian Center dissolved, the Lansdowns began attending the Denver Gospel Hall, where William Lansdown joined the leadership, with Curtis Holmes and others.

The Denver Gospel Hall has always had a strong concern for youth. Neighborhood Ministries, organized by Ted Travis, had its beginnings at the Denver Gospel Hall in about 1980. Soon after that, Colorado Uplift was started by Jim Reynolds and a Christian man from a different church, with help from Curtis Holmes. This was a program designed to help disadvantaged inner city youth find careers, and at the same time bring them the Gospel of Christ.

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Steve and Joanne Bennett had been saved in the assembly work in Alamosa (see below) in the late 1960s. After marrying, they moved to Denver and Broke Bread in their home alone for six months. When Rick and Vickie Dindinger, then in fellowship at the Littleton Bible Chapel, found them out, they joined with them. In the fall of 1970, after a year of prayer and counseling with brothers from Littleton Bible Chapel and the assembly in Alamosa, the two families decided that the Lord would have them begin a new fellowship of believers in the north or west areas of Denver.

A program of evangelism and visitation resulted in several couples being saved in north Denver and so subsequent evangelism was concentrated there. The Dindinger family moved to a large house in north Denver to accommodate the growing fellowship. At about this time the group took the name Fellowship Bible Chapel.

The assembly continued to grow and the Dindingers moved to a yet larger house. Evangelism and discipleship were focal points of the fellowship. Evangelism at the Denver Cascade Mobile Home Park near North Federal Boulevard led to the availability of the clubhouse there for Sunday morning services. The fellowship then purchased a modular building and moved it onto a lot at the Mobile Home Park, using the clubhouse for the Remembrance and Family Bible Hour meetings and the modular building for the large Sunday School work and nursery. About 180 to 200 people attended on Sundays at the time of their largest numbers, which was in the early 1980s. Several small group Bible studies were held in homes in the middle of the week.

During the early years, the families of Jeff WilsonPhil DindingerMike HamilGary BlankenshipJeffrey Wilhelm, and many others joined in fellowship at the thriving assembly. Others who came in the late 1970s and had leadership roles were Don ValentinePaul KnottLon Gregg, and Leonard Dare. Four families were commended to full time service in Spain and elsewhere during these years.

Looking to the future, the assembly purchased several acres of open land in the suburb of Westminster in 1984. But a doctrinal issue then divided the leaders and congregation, and many left. In 1988 the assembly closed, and several families joined with Fairview Bible Chapel in Boulder. The assembly had thrived for nearly two decades.

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This completes the Denver-area meetings, and we turn to assemblies derived from the farming areas of Kansas, Nebraska, and eastern Colorado.

The assemblies that formed in eastern Colorado had their roots in brethren from central and western Kansas and indirectly from Iowa. In 1916 or 1917, J.E. (Ned) Brown moved from Long Island in northcentral Kansas to the area of Kanorado, a small town on the Kansas/Colorado border (see Kansas). Soon after arriving, he started an assembly that became known as the Kanorado Gospel Hall. A good preacher, he held Gospel meetings at several different school houses in western Kansas and eastern Colorado.

Ned Brown hired two young men, David Horn and John Horn, to help him on his farm and in preaching the Gospel. Their pattern was to work in the fields during the day and preach at night. The two were soon full time Gospel workers. They were the principal carriers of the Gospel into western Kansas and eastern Colorado.

In 1919, David Horn married Cecile Brown, a daughter of Ned Brown, and moved to Longmont. John Horn moved to Imperial, Nebraska where he was instrumental in starting the Imperial Gospel Hall. Don McCormick and Harold McCormick farmed near Imperial and with their families joined that fellowship, along with the families of Floyd MillerGeorge Long, and Ken Hayward. Several of these came many years later to Colorado and joined the assemblies there.

Ned Brown took in another young man after the Horns left – John Walden. While living with the Browns, John helped with the farm work, but preaching God’s Word became most important to him. Shortly after John Walden and Nan DuBauge were married in 1931, they moved to Denver and then Colorado Springs. John Walden was one of the leading brothers among the assemblies in Colorado during his years of ministry.

Many of the traveling preachers who came to the Kanorado Gospel Hall and to other assemblies in the area for special meetings were from Kansas and included C.W. RossDon CharlesJack CharlesLeonard Lindsted, and Richard Burson. These brethren had a strong influence on the conduct and attitudes of these meetings in Colorado and western Kansas.

The Dust Bowl and the Great Depression of the 1930s induced many farming families to move off the farms to the towns and cities along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. There they affiliated with existing assemblies and had a considerable influence. The NohrStevensTurner, and Ted Anderson and Ed Anderson families were among those active at Kanorado who moved west and became active in new and existing assemblies along the Front Range.

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Some refer to the Longmont meeting as the oldest brethren assembly in Colorado, but it seems to have gotten started at about the same time that the earliest meeting in Denver began. In the early 1900s, Longmont was a small farming community 30 miles north of Denver. William Milner and his family lived on a farm east of the town. In 1902 his two sisters and their families – the Mike Hardesty family was one of these – moved to the area from north central Kansas, where they had been in fellowship in an assembly in Republic County. Shortly after they arrived, they and the Milners began Breaking Bread in their homes in the country.

A few families joined with them, and after a time the group rented a large room over a store in the 300 block of Main Street in Longmont. When that building was sold, the Christians rented a room in a building just across the street. William Milner’s son David Milner moved his family there from Kansas at about that time, and Joseph Milner, another son of William, joined the meeting when he arrived in January of 1920.

That same year, David Horn, then in his mid-twenties and already an itinerant preacher, moved to Longmont with his wife. In 1921, C.W. Ross from Kansas City, pitched a tent on the Horn’s lot and with David and John Horn, canvassed the town. For a week or two, they preached the Gospel, and many were saved and joined the meeting, including some members of the Mahagan and Lambert families.

In March 1924, John Mahagan built a one_room frame building for the growing assembly on the corner of Sixth and Sherman Streets in Longmont. John Horn and David Horn held three or four weeks of Gospel meetings at the Longmont Gospel Hall soon after it was opened. Others who held special Gospel meetings at the Hall in its early days were Tom Olson and John Walden. Although most men of the assembly would take their turn at bringing a lesson from the Bible on a Sunday, adhering to traditions brought in from Kansas and elsewhere, the principal preaching was done by the traveling preachers, such as those mentioned. Men would also come up from the Denver meetings to preach.

Leaders in the meeting in the 1930s were the Milners, Hardestys, John Mahagan, and Hase Nesmith. The Lamberts had moved to California, but when Albert (Bud) Lambert returned in 1937, he began taking an active part in the assembly. The Longmont assembly initiated a number of Bible Conferences. The first of these was held in a tent on the Horn’s place in 1925.

In 1960 a basement and an addition to the front were added to the chapel. The name was changed to the Longmont Gospel Chapel at about that time, and later to Longmont Bible Chapel. Leaders during this later period included Ted AndersonCharles Mar, and James Steele. The assembly disbanded in 1997, after more than 90 years of ministry.

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Many Colorado families in the Kanorado assembly were driving a long distance to go to the meetings there, and decided to start up their own assembly in Burlington, about 12 miles inside the Colorado border and about 30 miles from the Kanorado Gospel Hall. The prime mover in this was Ben F. Parmer, with Lyle James as an enthusiastic collaborator. With the fellowship of the Kanorado meeting, they initiated the building of the Burlington Gospel Chapel, whose seating capacity was 154. The two men were the first leaders of the assembly. The first Remembrance Meeting was in February 1949.

As the Kanorado meeting had done years earlier, the Burlington meeting grew rapidly. Sam and Mae Morrow joined the assembly and Mr. Morrow later became one of its principal leaders. For many years, the Burlington meeting sponsored annual Bible Conferences at the chapel, which attracted many people from Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Ben F. Parmer relinquished his responsibilities at the Burlington assembly in 1967 to establish a new work in the town of Limon, about an hour’s drive east of Denver. Over the next two decades the Burlington assembly slowly declined, and in 1989 the Burlington Gospel Chapel disbanded. It had been in existence for 40 years of service, seeing much blessing of the Lord. Its people had been among the initiators and strong supporters of the work at Camp Elim, in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, and were supporters of the Christian Home for Children in Colorado Springs, supplying both with farm produce and beef.

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Ben Parmer began outreach meetings in Limon in 1964. In 1965 he pitched his tent there and held three weeks of Gospel meetings, at which about a dozen people were saved. The Vernon Plant family came from Colorado Springs to help in these tent meetings. Weekly Bible studies were begun almost immediately after that, and within a few months several men felt that the Lord would have them start a new assembly in that town of 1800 people. They incorporated as the Limon Bible Chapel, and by February 1967 the newly built chapel was completed and regular Sunday services had begun. The assembly continues to hold a two-day Annual Bible Conference each spring.

Ben’s son Paul Parmer has taken the main responsibility for several youth outreaches, including an annual camp for children. Others who have taken responsibilities in the assembly over the years include Terry and Carol JaquesClem and Betty WiechmanRichard and Cherie ParmerDon and Janice WhiteDan and Sarah Goodsma, and Curt Parmer. The attendance varies as workers migrate from Limon to Denver in their quest for better jobs, but the assembly is active, with about 90 adults and children in attendance on an average Sunday.

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At about the time that the Burlington Gospel Chapel was formed, Roy Rinn started a meeting for Breaking of Bread at his home near Yuma in eastern Colorado, about 80 miles northwest of Burlington. Soon the Copley family, many of whom had been converted under the ministry of Ken Baird, began meeting with them, and perhaps one or two other families as well. The group later moved their Remembrance Meetings into a former chicken hatchery. The Yuma Assembly continued until the late 1950s, after which they began to attend the Haxtun Gospel Hall.

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The Roy Harrah family had lived near Champion in southwestern Nebraska, but moved to a farm near Haxtun in the 1940s. With a few other families, they soon began meeting for Breaking of Bread in their home. When William Morgan, originally from Iowa, and Arthur Rodgers of Omaha, Nebraska learned of the assembly interest near Haxtun, they came to the town and held Gospel meetings on the streets. Thus encouraged, the Harrahs bought the Concord school house and moved it into Haxtun in 1948. The Haxtun Gospel Hall was under way in October 1948. Arthur RodgersBill Morgan, and John Elliott spoke at the opening, and the latter two stayed for three weeks of Gospel meetings.

The assembly had the encouragement and help of families living near Imperial, Nebraska – especially the families of Casper Cook and Frank CookAndy Banks, and Pearl Ridlen. The Ridlens moved to a farm about 25 miles east of Haxtun, and helped with young people’s meetings in their home.

The Haxton assembly consisted of about nine or ten families at its largest and did not have much local preaching gift to draw on. Nevertheless it hosted a Bible Conference in 1952. Ken Baird came every other week from Boulder to minister the Word. Joe Balsan and Ben Parmer conducted evangelistic meetings at the Haxtun assembly. J.O. Brown, Roy Harrah’s uncle, visited the area in his Gospel Bus, and Richard Burson came from Kansas for ministry.

The assembly kept up an active midweek Bible study in the town, but few of the townspeople who came to these studies joined with the Haxtun assembly. When the Bereans started a church in the town, many of the people in the Bible studies joined that church, and this had a negative effect on the assembly. The Haxtun Gospel Hall closed in about 1981 after 30 years of existence.

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By about 1925, just a couple of years after the Kanorado Gospel Hall was built, the families of William R. Plant and Leroy A. Hinkle were meeting together to Remember the Lord in the community church building at Fondis, a small farming community about half way between Limon and Colorado Springs. They also started a Sunday School in order to reach out into the community.

Being in a sparsely populated rural area, the Fondis Assembly never grew to large numbers and never had more than a few families. Ira and Clara Daharsh, and Roy and Bertie Vote were among those in the Fondis Assembly. Traveling evangelists came frequently to help encourage the work, including Arthur Rodgers and Willard Rodgers from Omaha, John Horn and David Horn, and John Walden. Families from Colorado Springs and Denver assemblies would drive out to worship with and encourage those in the Fondis Assembly. Ned Brown preached there occasionally; J.O. Brown would come through with his Gospel Bus for gospel meetings; Frank E. Hathaway, who had been with the ‘exclusive’ brethren until about the mid 1930s, would come out from Colorado Springs to preach.

In 1936, the Hinkles moved into the town of Elizabeth, not far away, where Lawrence and Acile Allen lived, and the meeting decided to move there. It stayed there just four years, until 1940 when the Hinkles moved to Denver. Lawrence Allen was an active member of the meeting while it was at Elizabeth. The assembly then moved back to Fondis, and continued until about 1949 at which time the work was turned over to a Baptist group.

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John Walden felt led of the Lord to establish a full-time itinerant ministry among the assemblies. He and his wife moved first to Denver and used it as their home base as they traveled about the state, pulling a trailer which John had built. In late 1935 or early 1936, they were invited by William Irvine to come to Colorado Springs and help with a small assembly then meeting in the Lucerne Hotel. These Christians met in a tiny room at the rear of the hotel, which was in the 400 block of East Pikes Peak Avenue.

The origins of that assembly are not remembered. A Kanorado Gospel Hall connection is evident because Leroy and Venus Stevens from the Kanorado assembly were early in fellowship there. Besides the Irvines and Stevens’, some of the Hotel meeting’s earliest members were William and Janet Cosgrove, the Sam Barclay family, and Caroline Prosence.

Many in that assembly had a vision for outreach and further growth, and so the Christians decided to build their own meeting place. The East Side Bible Hall in Colorado Springs, at 749 East Pikes Peak Avenue, was completed in 1940 and seated about 100 people. After not many years, the growing assembly bought an existing church building on the west side of the city to provide more room, keeping the East Side chapel for Sunday school work and Friday night children’s meetings for children from the east side.

An influx of several committed families in the late 1940s and 1950s greatly strengthened the assembly. Ken and Ruth Baird had moved to Colorado Springs in 1945 to join the work at the Christian Home for Children, which had been founded by John and Nan Walden. They did much visitation for the work on the east side and did much to build up the assembly. Jack and Ruth PeglerBob and Jeanette WilsonJim and Ruth HastyWilliam and Hilda PlantMilton Weir, and Roger and Dorothy Cocking with their families were other additions to the assembly. Roger Cocking ministered often from the pulpit and was one of the early elders. During the 1940s, leaders at the assembly included Carroll Brown, Ken Baird, and Bob Wilson.

Needing more room, the Christians in 1952 sold both existing buildings and built Southside Bible Chapel at 1725 South Wahsatch Avenue. The Southside Bible Chapel is still at this address, and is the parent or grandparent of all the assemblies in the city today.

Bob Wilson and Carroll Brown had a Sunday School class of up to 75 high school and college age young people at one time. Jim and Louise Wright arrived in Colorado Springs in 1961 and took responsibility for the young people’s work. Jim Wright traveled often to Greeley and the San Luis Valley, encouraging young men who were endeavoring to see assemblies started in their areas. He became the Director at Camp Elim in 1965.

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Soon after Southside Bible Chapel was built, John Walden was urging an outreach into the northeast part of the city. He had broken with some of the traditions of the plains brethren by this time, espousing such things as recognized leadership and the openness of the Lord’s Supper. In 1956, several families met together for prayer for the Lord’s leading. These families met in Bob Larson’s home, although they continued Breaking Bread at Southside. In October 1958, the group had its first meeting as an assembly, at the Larson home.

Construction of Northeast Bible Chapel in Colorado Springs, seating up to 125 people, was finished in 1960. The group decided to have recognized elders from the outset. The first elders were Lester DolanBob Larson, and William Plant.

Northeast Bible Chapel has had several outreaches. In 1971, Mae LarsonMarilyn ParkerJan Hollingsworth, and Jerri Holmes started a coffee hour for ladies in the assembly and in the neighborhood. As many as 80 women were attending at one point. For eight years beginning in about 1970 several men in the assembly manned a booth at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo, distributing literature and talking to anyone interested in the Gospel.

John Walden held city wide Bible classes beginning in about 1973 which were sponsored by Northeast Bible Chapel. The attendance at one point reached 96 people, and during a series on prophecy, 23 people were saved. These classes were a driving factor for growth at Northeast. Another factor was the work at Camp Elim. When Paul Sapp was Director at the camp, he fellowshipped at Northeast and was very active there for several years until he moved from the area in 1988. To accommodate the increasing numbers at Northeast, an addition consisting of a sanctuary seating 300 people was built in 1980.

Northeast Bible Chapel has about 300 adults and youngsters in attendance, with about 200 at the Lord’s Supper weekly. The active assembly has men’s and ladies’ prayer groups, a missionary support group, a codependency support group, and youth and seniors programs.

A few families left Northeast Bible Chapel in 1969 to begin the Black Forest Bible Chapel in an area of that name, but that effort disbanded after a short time. Other derivatives of Northeast have been Rustic Hills Bible Chapel, Westside Christians, Cimarron Hills Bible Chapel, and Harvest Bible Fellowship.

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In 1970 about six young families from Northeast decided to form a new assembly in Colorado Springs, to be called Rustic Hills Bible Chapel. At its largest, this assembly had 60 to 70 people. Elders had been recognized by the group, and were active in counseling, teaching, and evangelistic outreach in the community. The assembly also had the counsel of older brothers and sisters from the established meetings.

For the first two or three years, the church met in the homes of the families. After that they rented space in office buildings for their meetings. They had very few financial resources among themselves and were unable to obtain financial support for purchasing land or for a building of their own. In 1980, after a decade of struggles and financial leanness, they decided to close their work, return to Northeast, and wait upon the Lord for His leading in starting a new work again.

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Another 40 people hived off from Northeast Bible Chapel in about 1975, calling themselves the Westside Christians. The initiators of this move were William McCotterBrian MichauxDaryl Valdois, and Kerry Langness. Meeting first in the home of Ron Reavis, they soon moved into rented quarters on the west side of the city, and now occupy rented space in the Bridge Club building. Ron Coons and William McCotter are the current elders of the fellowship, which consists of about 75 people. The Westside Christians have always emphasized discipleship of young men. About 50 Air Force cadets have met in the home of William McCotter for weekly Bible studies.

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In 1980, at about the time that Rustic Hills closed, two young men returned from the Discipleship Intern Training Program at San Leandro, California, desiring to form a new evangelistic thrust in the Colorado Springs area. Together with Marion Michaux, they began meeting together for Bible study and decided at the end of 1982 to form a new assembly. The Cimarron Hills Bible Chapel east of Colorado Springs had its first Remembrance Meeting in early 1983, meeting first in an elementary school, and then in rented space in a shopping mall as they grew. In late 1985 they purchased land, assisted by a substantial gift from Northeast Bible Chapel and a loan from Stewards Foundation. Some 15 to 20 families were then in fellowship at Cimarron Hills Bible Chapel, but after disagreements as to direction, the assembly disbanded in about 1990, many of the Christians returning to Northeast.

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In the late 1980s, several families at Northeast Bible Chapel, including some from the former Rustic Hills Bible Chapel, desired to start a new work again in the northern part of Colorado Springs. In 1990 they began meeting for prayer and planning. The core group included Andy BoucherJay BradyHarvey and Betty BrewingtonDan and Teri FaulknerBob and Brenda LarsonWalt and Barb MaselDave and Lynn MichauxBrian and Anne Moe, and Gene and Connie Theilig. This group chose the name Harvest Bible Fellowship in order to keep before them the desire to see people saved and brought up in the faith. In October 1991 they had their first meeting as an assembly at the Rockrimmon elementary school, with approximately 60 people in attendance.

In 1992, elders and deacons were selected to oversee the work of the church. In May 1994, Harvest appointed Dan Faulkner as a full-time worker to assist the elders in administration, music, and worship. Plans were made to move from the school to space at Berkshire Centre in the northeast part of Colorado Springs. After renovation of the space, the first services were held in the 6400 square foot facility in November 1994.

Missions have been a driving force for Harvest Bible Fellowship. Over the course of their history, short-term missions have been sponsored to Indonesia, Bolivia, Jamaica, Mexico, Russia, Israel, Lebanon, Canada, India, and Zimbabwe. In addition, local ministries have been heavily supported, including Camp Elim, Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center, and Japanese student homestay programs. Attendance averages around 140. Elders in the assembly have included Dan FaulknerDean FolkertsBob LarsonDave MichauxBrian Moe and Kent Wilson.

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Leslie and Winifred Sandberg had been serving the Lord among the Spanish speaking people in Arizona for many years. They moved to Pueblo, a sizeable city about 40 miles south of Colorado Springs, where there was a large Spanish speaking population and began a Gospel work there. As people were saved, they were taught further in the Word, and formed an assembly, called Salon Bíblico in Pueblo, which conducts its services in Spanish. (See Ethnic section)

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Four families living in and near Woodland Park, a small town in the mountains west of Colorado Springs and eight miles south of Camp Elim, formed the Woodland Park Assembly in the spring of 1967. These families were Bruce and Diane HintzeJim and Janet McCormick (then the caretakers at Camp Elim), Avery and Charis Harbaugh, and Frank and Pat Willie.

They met initially in the one_room cabin of the Hintzes. After that they held their meetings for a while at Camp Elim, and lastly at the home of the Harbaughs. At their largest they had about 30 in fellowship, although visitors and workers at Camp Elim would swell the numbers to as many as 60 in the summers.

In about 1970, a hippie commune took up residence in the area, and would cut wood near the Camp to support themselves. Al Donegan was then the caretaker at the Camp and witnessed to them whenever he could. In 1971, two of them, Rick Jackson and his wife, accepted Christ. They soon began meeting with the Christians at the Woodland Park Assembly and grew rapidly in the things of the Lord.

Most of the preaching was carried out by men in the assembly, but men from the Colorado Springs assemblies would often come to preach. In the mid_1970s, the assembly decided to recognize their elders, and these were Bruce HintzeAvery Harbaugh, and Rick Jackson.

Employment in Woodland Park was difficult in the 1970s, and several of the families moved away. When a door_to_door visitation campaign in the town seemed to produce no fruit, the Christians agreed to dissolve the assembly in the spring of 1978. Most of those in fellowship then chose to associate themselves with the assemblies in Colorado Springs.

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Bob and Carmen (Barkey) Copley moved in the spring of 1967 from the Yuma_Haxtun area of eastern Colorado, to Del Norte. This small town in the broad San Luis Valley in southern Colorado is 35 miles west of Alamosa. The Copleys began Breaking Bread in their home from their first days there. This was not unusual in their experience since the Rinn family of Wray, where the Copley family was converted, had done the same.

Rich Bishop, in fellowship at Northeast Bible Chapel in Colorado Springs, began attending Adams State College in Alamosa in the fall of 1967. He learned of the Copleys and drove to Del Norte each weekend to Break Bread with them at their log cabin home. Before long, they were joined by other Adams State students, and included Bible study in their time together. The Del Norte Assembly was thus the first in the San Luis Valley. The Christians continued to meet there for the winter and spring quarters of the school term.

Billy Graham had held meetings in Alamosa that fall of 1967, but the local churches were not providing adequate followup for those who had professed salvation or interest in the things of the Lord. So Rich Bishop and Bob Copley obtained the list of followup names and contacted them all. Midweek Bible studies were soon begun with several of these families, some of them from Monte Vista, a town lying half way between Del Norte and Alamosa. Two of the Monte Vista families were Jim and Juanita Magness and Eldon and Jan Daniel.

The Christians decided to move the assembly from the Copley home to Alamosa in the fall of 1968. There it met in various homes, including that of Rich and Betty Bishop. The meeting grew rapidly among students. At the same time, there was a growing spiritual interest among people living in Monte Vista. Six ladies invited Rich to come there to conduct a ladies’ Bible study and coffee. It was not long before three of their husbands were saved. These and other Monte Vista families convinced the Christians to move the assembly to their town after about another year. The new Monte Vista families included the RumseysAlan and Joanne Getz, and Butch and Rita Simpson. They met in the Daniel’s home until the Daniels moved to Colorado Springs; after that they met in the Getz’s garage.

After several months of meetings by John Walden in the Rural Electric building at Monte Vista, at which about 125 were in attendance, the assembly was well established. They decided to recognize elders, and had as many as six in the mid 1970s. The Monte Vista Assembly was a vibrant meeting, with many being saved and baptized. Marion Michaux and Jim Wright from Colorado Springs would come three or four times a year to give help. Bill MacDonald from California ministered there for a week. Even with opposition from other churches, the meeting grew. By the time Rich Bishop graduated in 1972, he was the principal leader in the Monte Vista Assembly. He began a furniture reupholstering business along with David Gouge in order to support himself and his new family.

  • * * * * * *

Don Anderson came to Alamosa in 1971 to start a new independent church. To help support himself and his family, he also took the pastorate of a Baptist church in the small town of Hooper, about 20 miles north of Alamosa. He soon met Rich Bishop, and after many Bible studies, came to the conviction that he should associate himself with New Testament style churches rather than those he had been associated with. He gave up the pastorate of the two churches in 1973. This cost him his income and housing but he had assurance that the Lord was behind his decision.

Don Anderson and his family moved to the small town of Mosca, near Hooper, where Don supported himself as a laborer, and later, with David Gouge’s help, as a furniture re_upholsterer. He began Bible studies in Mosca, but at the same time began attending the Monte Vista Assembly and continued there for about half a year. Several families in the Hooper and Mosca area soon came to know the Lord. One of these was the Chester Jones family. Mr. Anderson decided then to start the Mosca Assembly. About six families in the Monte Vista meeting joined the effort. The first elders in the Mosca meeting were Don AndersonDavid Gouge, and Chester Jones. The latter was a school teacher in Mosca, and had a great influence among high school students there with Bible studies.

At about the time that Rich Bishop graduated from Adams State, John Walden and others began to encourage him to plant a New Testament church in the Grand Junction area at the western edge of Colorado. Thus, the Bishops left the San Luis Valley at the end of 1973, at about the time of the formation of the Mosca Assembly. Another of the leaders at the Monte Vista meeting moved to Wyoming shortly thereafter. These departures from Monte Vista and the leaving of the several families to help start up the Mosca meeting, had the unintended effect of weakening the Monte Vista meeting. In the mid-1980s, the Monte Vista assembly decided to close and join the new assembly in Alamosa.

  • * * * * * *

Don Anderson and Chester Jones wanted to begin Bible studies anew in Alamosa; this work was underway by 1975, largely led by Chester Jones. Quite a few people were saved in these studies. Seven core families decided to start a new Alamosa Assembly, CO which had its first meeting in the spring of 1976 in the home of Lloyd Wright. In the fall they moved to the larger home of David Lickteig. Growing rapidly, they moved to the Senior Citizen’s Center in 1977, where they stayed for six years. During this period, the Mosca Assembly decided to merge with the Alamosa Assembly, and this was done with almost no loss of people. Jim Wright and John Walden were of great encouragement, coming often to preach and counsel.

The Alamosa Assembly Christians had wanted to start a Christian school. When the time came to build a chapel, they decided to combine the school and chapel into a single building. The first meeting in the Calvary Bible Chapel in Alamosa, which is located on the eastern edge of the town, was in January 1983. The chapel was free of debt at the time it was first occupied. The first elders were Don AndersonChester Jones, and John Landen.

The Christian school never developed according to expectations, and was closed in the late 1980s. Though this was a disappointment, the assembly has continued its strong testimony in Alamosa, and has grown to about 150 to 200 people in fellowship.

  • * * * * * *

When the Bishops arrived in Grand Junction in December 1973, they had been preceded by the prayers of many. John Walden had also had a radio tape ministry in the area for the preceding three years. Door-to-door visitation resulted in a few families joining with them to form an assembly, which met at first at the Bishop’s home on Elm Street for Breaking of Bread. Several other families soon joined, including the families of Ken StatonTerry KlineDick ShellabargerTom Wilkinson, and Harold AultSteve Midkiff came from California, where he had gone through the Discipleship Intern Training Program at San Leandro.

The Grand Junction Assembly had recognized elders by 1976. It grew and moved into the Lollypop Tree Play School in Grand Junction. The first half dozen years were filled with struggles. The initial families had different ideas about how the work should proceed, and six of those families left during this period. Steve Midkiff married and left the area. In 1980 the Grand Junction Assembly was down to about six remaining families.

But these did not lose faith in a work in the area. Marion Michaux and the leadership of Camp Elim were of great assistance, sending teams of young people to visit and recruit, making many new and fruitful contacts. The meeting began to grow again. Anonymous gifts enabled the Christians to purchase a building in Clifton on the eastern edge of Grand Junction. Rich Bishop and Jim Thomas did most of the remodeling and the Clifton Bible Chapel was ready in the early 1980s. Jim Thomas was a great help at Clifton until he moved to Arizona. Rich Bishop, Ken Staton, and Fred Haitz have been the elders since about that time. About 150 people attend the assembly.

  • * * * * * *

A hive-off from Clifton Bible Chapel occurred in 1997, when the families of Ron Beers and Rick Beers took the initiative in establishing an assembly in the home of Ron Beers in Paonia, a small town about an hour’s drive east of Grand Junction. Called North Fork Bible Fellowship in Paonia, the assembly meets now in the Paonia Town Hall. About five families are in the assembly at present, including Don and Nona Perrault, retired from service at Immanuel Mission in Arizona.

  • * * * * * *

In 1974, Don and Ann Watt moved from Boulder to Cedaredge, a small mountain town in west central Colorado. Harold and Mary Frazier also moved to the area after the conclusion of the 1974 camping season at Camp Elim where they had served as caretakers. The two families began a weekly Remembrance Meeting along with a Bible study in their homes. The Jim Wrights soon moved there, and shortly after that, Delbert and June Dyck arrived from Immanuel Mission. As other Christians joined them, the group became too large for home meetings, so space was rented in the Senior Center building in Cedaredge.

Alan and Lou GatesDick and Ava Jay, and others came from Montrose, some 40 miles to the south, and joined in the assembly activities. Sometimes the attendance at the Remembrance Meeting was as high as 65; several people were baptized during this period. The assembly took the name Surface Creek Valley Bible Fellowship.

In the early 1980s, the economics of the area crashed when both the oil shale and coal industries closed down. Many people had to move from the area. The Christian school begun by the assembly lost most of its students and Surface Creek Valley Bible Fellowship lost many of its people. Since many of the remaining families were traveling from Montrose, the decision was made to move to a more central location near Delta, a town of 3000 about 20 miles south of Cedaredge. The relocation took place in 1987, and with it a name change to Grand Mesa Bible Chapel.

The first meetings of the relocated assembly were in the home of the Bruce Halverson family, who later served as missionaries with Teen Missionary International. Door-to-door visitation, ads in the local newspaper, and a phone book insertion announced the formation of a new work in that town. However, not many responded to these efforts. With families still leaving the area, the Christians decided in mid-1988 to cease the attempt at an assembly work in Delta. The Christians living in Montrose met at the Gates’ home for a while, but it was not long before all these had been transferred from the area, and the assembly ceased.

  • * * * * * *

Lucas Wilson of Denver owned a ranch near Gypsum, in the mountains on Interstate 70. Several other assembly families owned ranches in the area, including Dorothy Brown and Grace WatsonJohn and Myrtle Wilkinson from Colorado Springs, and Harold Ault. When Lucas Wilson and his wife Kay retired to their ranch, Mr. Wilson organized these Christians into an assembly fellowship in about 1970. He purchased the town’s one-room schoolhouse and converted it into the Gypsum Bible Chapel for the assembly to use.

Jerry Maurer came over from nearby Eagle to join in fellowship, and did most of the preaching and working with children. When the Maurers moved to Denver in 1972, Willard Rodgers and his wife, originally from Omaha but then living in the mountains west of Denver, moved to Gypsum. For about three years they were the main workers, very good with children. Their son David Rodgers conducted the Vacation Bible School for four consecutive years at the Gypsum assembly. The first of these had an attendance of over 100 children. After the Rodgers’ retired and moved back to Omaha, Del and June Dyck came from Cedaredge to help out. Another active young man was Dave Bradford. The Bob Kohrmans from Fort Collins also moved to the area, and took an active interest in the assembly. The Gypsum Bible Chapel grew to as many as 50 people during some summers.

The Wilsons left the meeting in the early 1980s. After that the Christians met in the Gypsum fire house, since Del Dick and Bob Kohrman were both volunteer firemen for the town. Bob Kohrman was seriously injured in a fire at about that time and his help ceased. The remaining Christians decided to close their meeting after about another year, in the late 1980s.

  • * * * * * *

In the late 1950s, Fort Collins was a farming town about sixty miles north of Denver. A few Christians began meeting at that time in the home of John Robinson on South College Avenue for Breaking of Bread. These included the families of Cecil StevensDick Taylor from Estes Park, and Harry Rosenberg.

Within a short time, Roger and Dorothy Cocking of Colorado Springs found out about this work and made trips to Fort Collins to help out with Bible studies. A good number of people, including university students, came to these studies. During this period, Howard Kohrman came to Ft. Collins periodically on business, and met with the group.

In the mid 1960s these Christians began meeting on Sundays in the Carpenters Union Hall on Whedbee Street, but after a time moved back to the Robinson’s home. In 1968, both the Cockings and Kohrmans moved with their families to Fort Collins, and the Fort Collins Assembly was well underway. The Cockings worked extensively with the university students.

Others who joined the assembly shortly after that were the families of Leroy Stevens, originally from the Kanorado area, Ed Beidleman from Cheyenne, Roger Hathaway, and the Epples who came from Iowa. By 1969, the meeting was large enough that it had to move into larger quarters. The Christians rented a gymnasium in the Forney building on LaPorte Street on the north side of Fort Collins and stayed there about two years. During that period, the Dick FishersDee O’Dells, and Henry Schoenigs were among those who joined the assembly. The Cockings moved to the Pacific northwest in 1971, but the gap they left was filled by the Willard Taussigs who moved to Fort Collins at about that time.

In early 1972, the group purchased and moved into an old church building on Whedbee Street in northeast Fort Collins, and took the name Fort Collins Bible Chapel. Others who joined after that were the Russell Harrahs from Nebraska, and the David Andrews’ who moved up from Boulder. The meeting was characterized by the presence of many married young couples, many of them students at the University. The assembly thrived for many years, and had a full-time worker for a time. But eventually a leadership difficulty caused discouragement, and in 1990 the assembly disbanded. Most of these Christians still have occasional social meetings, and are active in the work at Camp Elim.

  • * * * * * *

Greeley lies about 25 miles southeast of Fort Collins. In 1964, Jim McCotterBrian Michaux, and Bill Taylor, all from Colorado Springs, began attending the university in Greeley. Together they rented a house and started a Bible study. The study was successful, grew rapidly, and many students were saved. Jim McCotter along with Bill Taylor instituted a Remembrance Meeting on Sundays, establishing the Greeley Assembly.

Don Pegler and his wife moved to Greeley shortly that, where Don enrolled in the university. The new assembly then began meeting in their home, which provided a needed stability. The meeting consisted mostly of students, many of them with Campus CrusadeDon Neilsen, who had been brought to the Lord through Campus Crusade, began meeting with them, and led Brooky Stockton, who afterward served in Las Cruces, NM, to the Lord.

When this first wave of young people graduated and left, the assembly had no permanent meeting place, and nearly became extinct. Don Neilsen and his new wife Donna Nielsen felt that the Lord would have them return to Greeley to help the work there. They moved back in early 1970 and invited Donna’s parents, the Donald Norbie family of California, to come and help.

The Norbies arrived in June of 1970. They purchased a house near the campus with a large room in the basement, which was used for the meetings of the assembly. The Lord blessed and a number were saved, and the meeting grew to the point where new facilities were needed. In 1972 a large house adjacent to the university campus was purchased; this served as a meeting place and as housing for about twelve students who were in the assembly. They called their house Koinonia House. Baptisms were frequent and were often held in Seeley Lake north of the town.

The group grew to about 70, at which time some felt that a hive-off would be good. It was tried, but the experiment was not successful, and the two groups rejoined. Feminism was strong on the campus in those years, and caused a deep split in the assembly, with a majority of the young people leaving in the fall of 1977 to form another meeting. That meeting however lasted only a short time before dissolving.

The remaining assembly struggled through years of uncertainty. Because of the depleted numbers, the meeting ceased Breaking of Bread for two years and met with the assembly in Fort Collins. Then in 1989, two other families that had been saved covenanted with the Norbies to restart the work.

A jail ministry, which was begun in the early 1970s, has been productive and continues. Some now in the assembly were saved while in jail. A ministry with international students is underway. The assembly is now called Fellowship Chapel, and Don and Marie Norbie still help with the work. Don has a camp ministry, speaks at conferences, helps organize the annual Worker’s Conference held at various location throughout North America, and is the author of many books and articles.

  • * * * * * *

Don and Ida McCormick had moved from Nebraska to a farm between Lyons and Longmont in about 1940. After attending the Longmont Gospel Hall for a brief period, they felt led to set up a brethren testimony in Boulder, located 25 miles northwest of central Denver. When a few other families agreed, the McCormicks moved into Boulder. The group rented an old business building at 14th and Water Streets in downtown Boulder, near the former train depot. The first meeting of what was later called the Boulder Bible Chapel was held there in 1943. Ben Tuininga had meetings there in 1944, and John Horn conducted a Vacation Bible School in 1946.

Eldon Baird moved his young family to Boulder in 1945. The Bairds joined with the assembly and Eldon was soon considered one of the leaders. Bud and Bernice Lambert moved to Boulder in 1947; they continued to fellowship at the Longmont assembly but after about a year joined with the Boulder group. Ken and Ruth Baird moved to Boulder in 1950 and joined the fellowship.

The assembly knew they would have to have larger quarters, so in about 1950 they purchased a lot at 7th and Evergreen in northwest Boulder. Many families were moving to Boulder in those days. Among them were Don and Ann Watt and their children, who came in 1951. Don was soon one of the leaders in the assembly and helped draw up plans for a chapel. The men in the assembly did most of the construction work and finished construction of Boulder Bible Chapel in 1952.

Ken and Helen Baird and Bud and Bernice Lambert had started weekly after_school Bible classes for youngsters at the home of the Eldon Bairds. When the chapel was completed, this effort was moved there and expanded to include crafts. The classes lasted for many years and saw many children saved. Henry Van Ryn often came to Boulder to teach at these sessions.

The assembly leaders in the 1950s were considered to be Don WattKen Baird and Eldon BairdDon McCormick, and Bud Lambert. The Don Valentines came in 1952. Lee Ridlen moved his family to Boulder in 1956 from Nebraska; in about 1960, the families of David AndrewsByron Blair, and Al Sapp came to Boulder and the Boulder Bible Chapel, followed soon by several other young families, including the John PortmansArnold Farstads, and Robert Petersons.

As early as 1961, the growing assembly was laying plans for a hive_off. Because several families lived in the Fairview subdivision east of Boulder, an acre of land there was purchased. In 1967 the friendly hive-off took place. Of those who remained at Boulder Bible Chapel, Don ValentineHubert Schmidt, and John Portman assumed leading roles along with Don McCormickEldon Baird, and Bud LambertKen Baird ministered to both assemblies, as well as having a preaching ministry throughout the state.

In the 1970s, several leading families who had stayed with the older assembly moved from Boulder. Hubert Schmidt and Byron Blair then assumed leadership in the assembly until they both passed away. Elders are now recognized, and consist of Paul LambertTom BellLloyd Kneebone, and Jim McCormick. About 40 persons consider Boulder Bible Chapel to be their home church.

  • * * * * * *

The assembly that split off from Boulder took the name Fairview Bible Chapel in Boulder. The chapel was built on 76th Street, five miles east of the Boulder city limits. A great amount of carpentry work was done by the men in the new assembly, notably Dave AndrewsLee Ridlen, and Byron Blair. The first meeting was held in April 1968. For many years, Boulder Bible Chapel assisted Fairview with mortgage payments.

Leadership was by an informal oversight at first, with Don Watt and David Andrews taking the main preaching and leadership responsibilities. In the early 1970s, Dave Andrews moved from the Boulder area and Byron Blair returned to Boulder Bible Chapel. A recognized eldership was agreed upon, and Arnold FarstadRobert PetersonLee RidlenDon Watt, and Lionel Wood were recognized at that time.

Keith Heck served as a commended worker at Fairview for about three years, beginning in the late 1970s. A few years later Jonathan Smith was commended for work at Fairview. He left in the mid 1990s to establish the Rocky Mountain Bible CollegeJonathan and Priscilla Hopkins are presently commended to the local work. The assembly has commended workers to missionary service in Mozambique and to short-term missions.

Fairview developed a strong craft class program for children in the neighborhood, which at times attracted nearly 100 children. This program was started in homes of Dave Andrews and Norm Frank before the chapel was built. The Frank, Farstad, and Peterson families, with help from many others, were active in continuing it for some twenty years. The craft classes fed children to Camp Elim in great numbers.

Many members of Fairview have been active in evangelism and Bible studies. Several young men and women have led large youth groups within the assembly, including Bonnie FrankJim and Cyndi EakinsDon Watt Jr., and Lars PetersonBob and Fleta Hathaway have been leaders in the interdenominational Bible Study Fellowship for many years, and Fairview has supplied many teachers for that work. Bud LambertEd Arguello, and Doug Agee have long been active in the GideonsBud Lambert and Denny Petersen had an active prison ministry for many years. The assembly has about 100 people in attendance on Sundays, with a midweek meeting numbering about 50. Elders over the years, in addition to those mentioned above, have been Jim EakinsBud LambertEd ArguelloSteve ThomsonBob HathawayGene ErwinDennis Petersen, and Mike Brewington.

  • * * * * * *

Grace Church in the Denver suburb of Arvada was started as an assembly in 1989 with the encouragement of Fairview Bible Chapel in Boulder and especially the efforts of Jonathan Smith. At the beginning, the group consisted partly of people who were left after a large Bible Church dissolved. Though Grace Church has elder rule, it does not now consider itself to be part of the brethren association of assemblies. Its Sunday attendance is typically several hundred.

  • * * * * * *

A graduate of Dallas Theological SeminaryStephen Holmes had pastored churches in California and in the Denver suburb of Aurora on the east side of Denver, but came to realize the importance of adopting the New Testament pattern of church governance. At about the time he resigned his Aurora position in 1977, he and his family met the Peter Marcus family who had moved from Little Rock, Arkansas.

The two families visited assemblies in the Denver area. They decided to try to initiate an assembly work in Aurora, and with the help of Ed Beidleman visited in the area near their homes and were able to interest a small number of people. The group met on Sundays for Breaking of Bread at the Holmes’s home, and on Wednesdays for Bible study at the Marcus’s. As they grew they rented space for their Sunday meetings, and located at the Village Green Recreation Center in Aurora. The group incorporated as Grace Bible Chapel in 1980.

They grew to their largest number in the late 1980s, consisting then of about a dozen families. Doctrinal differences split the leadership at about that time and a number of families left, including the original families. The assembly continues though small at the time of this writing.


  • Questionnaire Responses
  • Colorado Assemblies on Mountain and Plain, A History of the Brethren in Colorado, by Robert L. Peterson, 1992
  • Letters of Interest, April 1944, p. 31; June 1954, p. 22


No assemblies are listed for Utah in recent Address Books, though there have been listings in the past. Two were listed in the early 1970s. These had both discontinued by the late 1970s, and none have been listed since that time.

In 1962, evangelist Sam Stewart spoke of having nightly meetings spanning three weeks at a small assembly in Salt Lake City. This may have been Bethesda Bible Chapel or Salt Lake Bible Fellowship.


  • Letters of Interest, June 1962, p. 10


Born in 1927, Ed Greenwood was introduced to the Lord, and also to the assemblies when he moved to Claremont, California in 1947, he came to know the Lord thru folks at Claremont Bible Chapel in 1951, and was actively involved with assembly work among southern California, he believes Claremont is one of the healthiest meetings in that area to this day. He also served on the board of the Western Assemblies retirement home in Claremont for over 30 years.

Las Vegas Bible Fellowship started around 1998 when Ed moved from San Bernadino, California to Las Vegas to be nearer his children, and started breaking bread in his home, at 2511 Cedargulf Ave, with breaking of bread at 9:45am, and a Family Bible Hour at 11am. At one point they had up to 40 regularly to break bread, but numbers declined in recent years, and as of 2014, there is a small handful meeting faithfully in his home. He can be emailed at greenwd1 at cox.net.

Sagebrush Bible Chapel in Sparks meets in homes and in a church building. It began in the early 1990s. The homes of the believers were scattered widely, some living in Carson City, 30 miles to the south. Somewhere between 2004 and 2009, the correspondent, Wayne Sommer, died, and the assembly folded a few years afterward.


  • Uplook, February 1987, p. 63
  • conversation with Ed Greenwood from Doug Engle 10-4-2014


(See the Ethnic Assemblies section for additional details of work among the American Indians.)

Mr. and Mrs. James P. Anderson, in fellowship with the assembly at the Gospel Auditorium in Oakland, CA, were commended to work among the Hualapai Indians of Arizona. They established their home in Valentine, a small village near the reservation, in October 1916.

In addition to their missionary efforts, the Andersons started the Kingman Gospel Chapel. Kingman, a considerably larger town than Valentine, is some 30 miles southwest of Valen¬tine. Their first meetings were out in the Indian camps, but in 1919 Mr. Anderson was able to build a small chapel on the outskirts of Kingman, where they held the meetings for the Indians for a couple of years. They then purchased an old house at 417 Park Street in Kingman, and rebuilt it for use as a Gospel Chapel. Non-indians who were hungry for the real Gospel started coming to the meetings, and gradually it turned into a white work almost altogether. Mr. Anderson ministered the Word there once a week while able to do so. Many others worked at the Kingman Gospel Chapel; George Baxter and Harold Kesler both preached and worked there when not elsewhere preaching.

In 1929, it was necessary to erect a chapel for the Indians at Peach Springs, due to the fact that the Hualapai had been told to get out of Kingman, where they were only squatters, and move up onto the Reservation. Peach Springs was the only town on the Hualapai Reservation. In 1937 the believers began Breaking Bread at the Peach Springs Assembly.

When James Anderson died in 1942, Mr. and Mrs. George Baxter helped with the work among the Hualapai and at the Kingman Gospel Chapel. In 1943, about 16 were in fellowship at the Gospel Chapel. The assembly at Peach Springs was all Haulapai except for Mrs. Anderson and her daughter, with 10 Indians in fellowship. Mrs. Baxter had an Indian women’s meeting on Wednesday afternoons at the Kingman Gospel Chapel. Several missionary women also spent some time working among Indians and Mexicans in connection with the Chapel.

In 1946, Tom Carroll ministered the Word at the Kingman Gospel Chapel for two weeks and also helped in the Gospel at Valentine and Peach Springs. In 1947, A. LeRoy Livingston worked among the Hualapai and lived at Peach Springs. The U.S. had a good schooling program, so the Livingstons were able to reach them in English, albeit in a simple form. The Livingstons were conscientious to keep the assembly geared to the Indians, and just one white school teacher met with them to Remember the Lord.

In 1952, the assembly at Peach Springs still remained but was small. During World War II and the Korean war, many Hualapai boys from Peach Springs went overseas and their chaplains wrote Mrs. Anderson commenting on their Christian testimony and knowledge of the Word. Faithful Indian converts included Rupert and Rachel Parker, both Sunday school teachers; Grant Tapiaga, a Hualapai preacher, and his Apache wife, Fanny; and the Tomanatas, a four-generation Christian family.

The Kingman Gospel Chapel and the Peach Springs Assembly have both disbanded, the Kingman assembly continuing until the late 1980s.

  • * * * * * *

The work at Winslow, 200 miles east of Valentine and 50 miles east of Flagstaff, was initiated principally by Carl Armerding and his daughter Minnie. They labored among the Indians at Winslow and vicinity for more than 25 years. Mr. Armerding built a chapel at Winslow in 1934, which had gospel meetings, Bible studies, and Sunday schools, attended largely by Indians of the Laguna, Hopi, and Navajo tribes. The work continues today as Immanuel Bible Chapel in Winslow.

  • * * * * * *

In 1951, Mr. and Mrs. George Baxter, who had been commended by the Midland Assembly in Detroit (later Bethany-Pembroke), started the Arizona Indian Mission of Flagstaff. The Eldon Miners came to help after several years. Later Mr. Joseph Paulick, commended from Norwood Gospel Chapel in Chicago, and Miss Betty Hollman, commended from New Haven Gospel Hall in Hamden, CT, came to help at the Arizona Indian Mission of Flagstaff.

Messrs. Baxter and Paulick erected the Third Avenue Gospel Chapel in Flagstaff. The workers and native believers met there regularly for the Breaking of Bread, preaching of the Word, Bible study and Sunday School.

  • * * * * * *

Immanuel Mission, an outreach to the Navajos, was established in 1924 in the extreme northeastern corner of Arizona in what is known as the Four Corners country. A school for the Navajo children was begun in the fall of 1948 by Miss Evelyn Varder. Many of the Navajo children were saved, and some Remembered the Lord on Sunday mornings with the staff and Christian Navajo neighbors. In 1971, Don and Nona Perrault cared for over thirty girls at the school, and Delbert and June Dyck looked after nearly the same number of boys in the large, two-winged dormitory building.

Navajo Immanuel Chapel began as a regularly meeting assembly in the early 1970s. The principal people involved in starting the assembly were Eugene and James Nataches, Navajo brothers. Leadership has been shared by these and Willy Howe, Wesley Begay, Donald Perrault, and Greg Staley, the latter two associated with Immanuel Mission. About 90 adults and children are attend Navajo Immanuel Chapel, which is now usually called Immanuel Navajo Chapel.

  • * * * * * *

The Tucson Bible Chapel began sometime in 1936, meeting first in rented space in DeMolay Hall. It started through the Gospel outreach of T.B. Gilbert with effective visitation, home Bible studies, and a radio program. The Gilberts had moved to Tucson for Mrs. Gilbert’s health, and when she and their only son died in 1937, Mr. Gilbert moved back to Chicago as a home base, returning each year to Tucson for lengthy visits. The initial 12 believers continued to meet as an assembly. Mr. Gilbert returned in 1945, married Lena Spessard, and spent most of his time strengthening the assembly, which had grown and was in need of their own building. In 1947, the chapel at 1802 East Grant Road was finished, and is the present location of the assembly.

The principal families in the establishment of the Tucson Bible Chapel were those of Lloyd C. Donaldson, Kermit C. Oestreich, and Clifford Livingston. Subsequent leaders have included Fred Murray, Earl Mowen, Hank Donald, Richard Bayless, Wesley Grimes, Homer Grob, and Alex Laos.

There have been two hive-offs from the assembly, one in about 1959 and another in about 1980. Both maintained fellowship with the Tucson Bible Chapel, but both were relatively short-lived. Tucson Bible Chapel has commended several to the Lord’s work at home and abroad.


  • Questionnaire Responses
  • Letters of Interest, August 1943, p. 23; March 1946, p. 21; December 1947 p. 26; December 1948, p. 10; May 1952, p. 19; August 1952, p. 8; September 1952, p. 4; February 1957, p. 11; February 1962, p. 11; March 1971, p. 4
  • Uplook, March 1994, p. 10

New Mexico

There are presently six assemblies in New Mexico: three in the Albuquerque area, one in Las Cruces 225 miles to the south; a small assembly in Clovis on the eastern edge of the state, an equal distance away from Albuquerque; and one in Los Alamos, northwest of Santa Fe and about a two-hour drive north of Albuquerque. Thus, inter-assembly interaction is difficult in the state.

The work at the Clovis Gospel Chapel, was begun by David Metler and his wife, missionaries to the Indians. Mr. Metler is now with the Lord, but his wife carries on in the small assembly.

  • * * * * * *

The Los Alamos Christian Fellowship was formed in 1975 by Elwood Jordan, Ralph Dahlstrom, James Patterson, and Jack Jacobson. Meeting in the Patterson home until 1986, the assembly has met since then in the ROTC Room at the Pueblo School Complex. Leaders have been Andy McEwin, Paul Mendoza, Steve Hanson, Todd Haines, and Steve Booth. In 1996, the assembly had about 30 adults in fellowship and 20 youngsters.


  • Questionnaire Responses

Church Index

  • 6th Avenue Gospel Hall in Denver 6, 7
  • Alamosa Assembly, CO 22
  • Believers Assembly in Denver 9
  • Belleview Bible Chapel in Denver 9
  • Bethesda Bible Chapel in Salt Lake City 29
  • Bible Chapel in Stevensville, MT 2
  • Bible Fellowship Chapel in Denver 7
  • Black Forest Bible Chapel, CO 18
  • Boulder Bible Chapel, CO 26, 27
  • Bread of Life Fellowship in Laramie, WY 5
  • Burlington Gospel Chapel, CO 14, 15
  • Calvary Bible Chapel in Alamosa, CO 22
  • Casper Assembly, WY 4
  • Cheyenne Bible Chapel, WY 5
  • Cimarron Hills Bible Chapel in Colorado Springs 19
  • Clifton Bible Chapel, CO 23
  • Cloud Peak Bible Chapel in Sheridan, WY 4
  • Clovis Gospel Chapel, NM 34
  • Community Bible Fellowship in Helena, MT 1
  • Corvallis Bible Chapel, MT 2
  • Del Norte Assembly, CO 20
  • Denver Bible Hall 6, 7
  • Denver Gospel Chapel 8, 9, 11
  • Denver Gospel Hall 7, 8, 11
  • East Side Bible Hall in Colorado Springs 17
  • Fairview Bible Chapel in Boulder, CO 12, 27, 28
  • Fellowship Bible Chapel in Denver 12
  • Fellowship Chapel in Greeley, CO 26
  • Fondis Assembly, CO 16
  • Ford Meeting in Denver 7
  • Fort Collins Assembly, CO 24
  • Fort Collins Bible Chapel, CO 25
  • Fort Washakie Assembly, WY 4
  • Glacier Bible Fellowship, MT 2
  • Gospel Auditorium in Oakland, CA 31
  • Grace Bible Chapel in Aurora, CO 28
  • Grace Church in Denver 28
  • Grand Junction Assembly, CO 22
  • Grand Mesa Bible Chapel, CO 23
  • Greeley Assembly, CO 25
  • Gypsum Bible Chapel, CO 24
  • Harvest Bible Fellowship in Colorado Springs 19
  • Haxtun Gospel Hall, CO 15
  • Helena Bible Chapel, MT 1
  • Immanuel Bible Chapel in Winslow, AZ 32
  • Imperial Gospel Hall in Nebraska 13
  • Kanorado Gospel Hall, KS 12, 14, 16
  • Kingman Gospel Chapel, AZ 31, 32
  • Koinonia House in Greeley, CO 25
  • Limon Bible Chapel, CO 15
  • Littleton Bible Chapel, CO 10, 12
  • Longmont Bible Chapel, CO 14
  • Longmont Gospel Chapel, CO 14
  • Longmont Gospel Hall, CO 14, 26
  • Los Alamos Christian Fellowship, NM 34
  • Midland Assembly in Detroit 32
  • Monte Vista Assembly, CO 21
  • Mosca Assembly, CO 21
  • Mountain View Chapel in Missoula, MT 2
  • Navajo Immanuel Chapel, AZ 32
  • New Haven Gospel Hall in Hamden, CT 32
  • North Fork Bible Fellowship in Paonia, CO 23
  • Northeast Bible Chapel in Colorado Springs 17
  • Norwood Gospel Chapel in Chicago 32
  • Oldtrogge Meeting in Denver 7
  • Park Bible Chapel in Everett, WA. 5
  • Parker Hills Bible Fellowship in Parker, CO 10
  • Peach Springs Assembly, AZ 31, 32
  • Plains Bible Chapel in Plains, MT 1
  • Powell Assembly of Believers, WY 5
  • Rustic Hills Bible Chapel in Colorado Springs 18
  • Sagebrush Bible Chapel in Sparks, NV 30
  • Salo Bíblico in Pueblo, CO 19
  • Salt Lake Bible Fellowship in Salt Lake City 29
  • Southside Bible Chapel in Colorado Springs 17
  • Southwest Bible Chapel in Denver 8
  • Surface Creek Valley Bible Fellowship in Cedaredge, CO 23
  • Third Avenue Gospel Chapel in Flagstaff, AZ 32
  • Tucson Bible Chapel, AZ 32, 33
  • University Christian Center in Denver 11
  • Upton Assembly, WY 4
  • Vine Street Meeting in Denver 8
  • Walnut Avenue Gospel Chapel in Coeur D’Alene, ID 3
  • Westside Bible Chapel in Boise, ID 3
  • Westside Bible Church in Boise, ID 3
  • Westside Christians in Colorado Springs 18
  • Woodland Park Assembly, CO 20
  • Yuma Assembly, CO 15

U.S. Midwest

The U.S. Midwest consists of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. We group them geographically in what follows, beginning in the north with North Dakota, working our way south to Kansas, then step over to Missouri and back north to Minnesota, then east to Wisconsin and down to Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and end with Michigan.

North Dakota

In 1883, Henry and Emma Goff moved their family from Herefordshire, England to farm about 20 miles northeast of Langdon on the eastern side of North Dakota and not far from the Canadian border. They had been saved a few years prior to this. Henry was a staunch Church of England man, whereas Emma had been raised by two aunts who were in fellowship in assemblies in England. Soon after arriving, the Goffs initiated a community project to build a church building on their property at which any itinerant preacher could preach. Emma, who had known many of the brethren leaders in England, soon became dissatisfied with this arrangement.

The Goff’s second son, Alfred, had been saved under the preaching of Henry Craik, the colleague of George Müller in Bristol, before the family moved to North Dakota. Fleming May of Ontario came to the area to visit his brother, and became good friends with Alfred. He took Alfred with him to preach the Gospel, mainly in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Manitoba. With Fleming May, the Goffs started a Sunday School and prayer meeting in their home, and in 1887, a group of six began to Break Bread there. This may be the first assembly testimony in North Dakota.

In 1888, Emma Goff heard that the fiery preacher John Grimason was working in the prairie states and invited him to come to their area. Several were saved as a result of his preaching, and the small assembly became established. This assembly was identified with the village of Bealieau near Walhalla, five miles from the border of Manitoba.

A few miles northwest of Langdon, in the Woodbridge area, near what is now the town of Sarles, another little group of Christians gathered to Remember the Lord in one of their homes. These families had come from Ontario. The Loynes and Hazlitt families were among these, and became acquainted with the Goffs. Some of them would drive the 50 miles by wagon to visit the Goffs, and the two assemblies became closely tied. John Grimason and Alfred Goff held Gospel meetings in the Woodbridge area in 1900, and many were saved, including the Hazlitt girls, one of whom, Fanny, married B.B. Goff. They soon moved to Oregon (see Oregon).

At about that time, others of the extended Goff family began to move west. When Alfred and Henry Goff died (Alfred died at the age of 35), the two assemblies lasted only a short while longer. Thus the current assemblies in North Dakota are not derived from these early works.

In the late 1890s, Charles Hoehler, an immigrant from Germany, had been hired to help at the Goff farm, and through the influence of the Goffs, was saved. About the turn of the century, he moved to Iowa and was influential in the early development of assembly testimonies in northern Iowa (see Iowa).

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The assembly in Harvey in the central part of the state had its beginning in 1922 in rooms above the Pioneer Mercantile store, and became known as the Harvey Gospel Hall. Mrs. A. N. Beiseker had visited in Minneapolis that year and heard Paul Roder speak at one of the assemblies. An invitation was given him to come to Harvey for Gospel meetings. Harold Harper responded, coming and holding meetings in the English Congregational Church on 9th and Adams. Harold Harper and August Hasse came several times to have meetings, and a good number were saved.

Fred Bischke, Harry Sommer, Ludwig Huber, and Fred Liebelt were those who had most to do with the establishment of the assembly. The Gospel Hall in the Pioneer building flourished for a time, with up to 100 in the Sunday School and 30 or more believers for Breaking of Bread services each Lord’s Day morning; Gospel services were held on Sunday evenings. Among those active in leadership have been Fred and Alvin Bischke, Fred Liebelt, J.J. Reimer, Virgil Sommer, Arland Frost, and Marvin Mertz. In early fellowship, in addition to those already mentioned, were members of the Beiseker, Zweigle, Graser, Stein, McCarthy, Billigmeier, Spielberger, Schroeder, Fiskum, Revell, Wolf, Harris, Steinhaus, and Adams families.

Because of the steep stairs going up to the room above the store, the Christians purchased a building on 8th Street in July 1944, and remodeled and enlarged it to suit the needs of the assembly. The assembly is still at that location and is now known as the Harvey Gospel Chapel. Many speakers have visited the Harvey assembly, among them Neil Fraser, Edward Dillon, Ben Tuininga, and Alfred Gibbs, in addition to Harold Harper and August Hasse. About a dozen people attend the assembly.

  • * * * * * *

The Hurdsfield Gospel Hall, south of Harvey, existed for many years. The hall was damaged by a tornado in July 1953. The brethren quickly built a new auditorium, and repaired and remodeled the old building into Sunday school quarters and furnace and utility room. By 1977, it was called the Hurdsfield Gospel Chapel. The assembly ceased in the early 1990s.

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The assembly which meets now at Southwest Bible Chapel in Valley City in the southeastern part of the state was started in about 1930 by Paul Clark and his father. Paul Clark’s parents, Henry and Ella Clark, had moved with their family to Valley City in 1925 to operate a grocery store after a lifetime of farming. They were affiliated then with Baptists but had friends in ‘exclusive’ assemblies in Minnesota. In about 1930, they formed a small assembly, meeting in their apartment at the rear of the grocery-store, and probably affiliated with the ‘exclusive’ assemblies in Minnesota. Orval and Edna McConoughey and Oscar Peterson came out of the Baptist Church to meet with the Clarks, followed soon by others. When the elder Clarks died, their apartment home was converted to a one-room Valley City Gospel Hall. Later, a building nearer downtown Valley City was rented for the assembly, and connections with the ‘exclusive’ brethren were broken.

An assembly preacher, John Farquharson from Canada, held Gospel meetings at the Gospel Hall in 1935. After that, he and F.W. Swartz from Detroit went to the northern part of the state to preach the Gospel wherever they were accepted. They preached in school houses and the homes of Will Conn and Henry Halvorson near the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. Many people were saved in these meetings, including members of the Fauske, Noakes, Turneir, and Keif families. In 1936, Paul Clark followed up on John Farquharson’s work in the Turtle Mountain area. Paul Clark held meetings at Crary, and for a time the Crary Assembly met.

In about 1932, a small assembly was formed in an old church building in the tiny town of Hurd, about 60 miles west of the Turtle Mountain area. The Hurd Assembly essentially consisted of the Schoenig family and Otto Anderson from Lansford, the Cools from Newburg, and Ayars from Russell. John Farquharson also had meetings in the Lansford area in the northern part of the state. The August Schoenigs, Ray Cools, Ollie Varco, and Otto Anderson responded to these meetings. In inclement weather the Hurd Assembly met in the August Schoenig home and later moved to that home. The assembly ceased functioning in the mid 1940s.

Several from these families in the northern part of the state joined the assembly at Valley City over the years, and others continued to sponsor meetings in their homes for assembly preachers from Canada. Hector Alves from the west coast held meetings in Inkster. After that, the families of Don Hulst and the Wagars met for Bible study, but an assembly was not formed.

The Valley City Gospel Hall changed its name to Southwest Bible Chapel and introduced a piano after World War II, which caused a few people to leave. In 1966, the assembly sponsored a two-week evangelistic campaign, in which many were saved.

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A home assembly met in the home of Robert Hewitt in Grand Forks for many years, beginning perhaps in the 1960s. Wes and Gladys Kosin, missionaries to the Shoshone Indians in Wyoming, would spend their summers in Grand Forks, where Mr. Kosin taught linguistics at the University of North Dakota, and they helped out at the assembly. The Grand Forks Assembly discontinued in the mid 1980s. From the mid to late 1980s, a small home assembly, the Bismarck Bible Chapel, met in Bismarck, the state capital, with Mike Kopp, Brian Young, and David Bartlett as elders. In the town of Washburn north of Bismarck, the Washburn Bible Church was formed as an assembly in the late 1980s, and continues.

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Meadow Ridge Bible Chapel is the largest assembly in North Dakota. Paul Hipps had been in the Zion Christian Assembly in Sheboygan, WI and moved to the Fargo area in about 1970. He and his family, with Myron and Jean Losey who were Methodists, and Ron and Glenna Weidmann who were Baptists, began a Bible study as a follow up to a Billy Graham crusade in the Fargo area. The Hipps began to share New Testament assembly principles with them, which were quickly embraced. The group began Remembering the Lord at the old YWCA building in Fargo, and called their meeting simply An Assembly of Christian Brethren at the beginning.

At about this time, John Dabill, who had been in an ‘exclusive’ assembly in Minnesota, met one of the sisters in a Bible book store. He joined with those in the new Fargo assembly and had a passion for equipping the Christians there with books of the brethren writers.

The Hipps moved to St. Louis in the early 1970s, but preachers such as Ben Tuininga and William MacDonald came and ministered the Word. At that time, Mr. MacDonald was president of Emmaus Bible School, and Mr. Tuininga taught Greek there, although his principal interest was in preaching throughout North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. Jean Tuininga led ladies’ meetings when she and her husband were in the area.

The assembly operated a coffee house ministry in the early days. These were the days of the ‘Jesus People,’ to whom the ministry was principally directed. Several were saved in this outreach.

In the early 1980s, the Christians built their present chapel at 2198 Second Avenue E., calling it Meadow Ridge Bible Chapel. The elders have included Frank Brown, Kevin Brown, Gary Clark, Mark Wagar, and Myron Martinson. A feature of the assembly is that they retain the ‘open platform’ idea in the main Bible teaching time on Sunday mornings. This was taught by A.N. O’Brien from Duluth, and Ben Tuininga was a strong proponent of the open platform. Boyd Nicholson and John Phillips are among those who have preached at the assembly.

Teaming up with assemblies in Baudette, MN; Virginia, MN; and some in the Minneapolis area, the Christians at Meadow Ridge virtually rebuilt Story Book Lodge in Minnesota, making it a premier Bible Camp. They help staff the Box T Ranch, near Bismarck, each summer. The Meadow Ridge assembly holds a Bible Conference each year and sponsors Youth Conferences. In the last few years, spearheaded by Gary Clark and Myron Martinson, they have organized week-long Gospel campaigns to nearby cities, such as the 1998 campaign in Grand Forks where fifty young people gave a week to blanket the city with Gospel witnessing in conjunction with nightly evangelistic meetings in the Grand Forks civic center. The assembly has consistently had about 100 in fellowship throughout the years, and has commended missionaries to the Lord’s work in Bolivia.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Golden Lamp-stands of Northern Iowa, by L. DeBuhr, Ackley Publishing Co., 1985 History of the Forest Grove (OR) Assembly, by R. Goff, 1965, revised 1976 Report from Gaius C. Goff, 1999 Letters of Interest, November 1949, p. 3

South Dakota

South Dakota and North Dakota, are predominantly Lutheran and Catholic, and their people are primarily German and Norwegian. It is a region where endurance counts.

Assemblies in South Dakota have historically been difficult to establish and maintain. The Drummonds Bible Chapel in the small town of that name was formed in the late 1970s but lasted only a few years. In the early 1990s, Tim Jordison established the Sioux Falls Assembly. Two or three families joined with his family, but the work lasted only a few years. David and Kathy Possing started an assembly in the little town of Pickstown. They Remembered the Lord in their home, as the Pickstown Assembly, but were not able to persuade any others to work with them for very long. Both the Jordisons and Possings have since moved out of state, and no assemblies are currently known to exist in South Dakota. While living in Pickstown, David Possing had a good ministry at the prison facility in Yankton, some 70 miles away.

Sources: Conversations with several Christians


The assembly known today as Keystone Bible Chapel in Omaha began in perhaps the late 1890s or early 1900s. It was likely started by one or more of the traveling evangelists of the time, possibly Alexander Broadfoot, who was then working in western Iowa. The parents of Arthur B. Rodgers, Sr. were among the first in the assembly, as was a Mrs. Olbert. Don Charles was in the assembly in the period around 1909.

Known in the earliest days as Omaha Gospel Mission on 26th Street between Douglas and Farnham Streets, the assembly moved in about 1915 to 813 North 40th Street. In 1920 the Christians moved into their new building at 45th and Hamilton Street and changed the name to Omaha Gospel Hall (but it was often called the Hamilton Street Gospel Hall). At some point, the designation Omaha Gospel Chapel came into use. In 1970, the assembly moved to 7840 Maple Street, calling their new meeting place Keystone Bible Chapel.

By 1920, the assembly was well established with about 60 in fellowship. At that time it was the only assembly in the city, and even in the state except for small works in farming communities in the western part of the state. However, the Omaha assembly had frequent fellowship with assemblies in Iowa and Kansas City, and was visited regularly by the itinerant preachers. Legal documents show that W.A. Bradford, I.M. Roman, and J.A. Shopen were among the leaders in the 1920s.

The assembly did not have designated elders in the 1920s, but leadership was provided by O.M. Nelson and Price Patterson in addition to the three just mentioned. It would appear that Arthur B. Rodgers Sr. was the most influential man in the assembly for many years. After service in the army during World War I, he became an itinerant preacher but lived in Omaha most of the time and considered the Omaha Gospel Hall as his home assembly. In spite of his travels, he maintained a strong voice in the affairs of the assembly until his passing in 1961.

In the mid 1920s, Ken Baird moved to Omaha from Greenfield, IA and his gifts were used. Willard Rodgers began taking an active part by about 1930 when in his late twenties. In 1932, Glen Plowman arrived and developed into a good preacher. James Gilbert came into the assembly at about the same time and became a definite leader. Others in the assembly in its early days include the familes of Phil Olbert, Harry Hamilton, Bill Jones, Don Flat, Henry Peterson, Les Kent, Waldron Scott, Floyd Weaver, Wes Fox, Lyle Rockhold, and Earnie Rockhold.

In the decades of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, the assembly was very active. Besides a full slate of Sunday and week-night activities at the Hall, the assembly did hospital visitation every Sunday afternoon and held street meetings on Saturday nights in nearby towns. They held annual Bible Conferences almost every year from 1909. In the early days, the conference had an open platform, with as many as 20 speakers participating.

Keystone has commended a worker to Burundi. About 120 adults and children attend Keystone Bible Chapel today.

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In about 1962, the Grandview Gospel Chapel in Omaha began as a friendly hive-off from the Omaha Gospel Chapel, and resulted from children’s meetings being held in the neighborhood. The family of Willard Rodgers was instrumental in its founding. The assembly had an effective children’s work during its short lifetime. In the late 1960s, leadership conflicts caused the Grandview Assembly to disband and sell its building.

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Another hive-off of the Keystone Bible Chapel is the Council Bluffs Bible Chapel in Council Bluffs, IA, established in about 1980 (see Iowa).

  • * * * * * *

Northwest Bible Fellowship in Omaha was established around 1980, and purchased the building formerly occupied by the Grandview Gospel Chapel. William Fear is one of the leading men at Northwest.

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Hollywood Heights Chapel in Lincoln was established in the 1950s. Although a few assembly people lived in Lincoln prior to that, not until Ralph Swanson from Sioux City, IA moved there and built a chapel did the assembly begin. Andy Joye moved to Lincoln from Omaha and helped in the work, which continues today.

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The brethren were active in central Nebraska in the late 1800s, but information is sparse. A family history relates that J.A. Dahlgren and a Mr. Wahlstrom preached in the area. We quote: “These two men were real Bible scholars and held meetings wherever they went. They had spring and fall conferences and would have one certain place to meet. Folk would come from far and wide to hear the word of God. J.A. Dahlgren spent many a day and night in the Maline home. Mr. Dahlgren was a painter and paper hanger by trade. . . Mr. Dahlgren was a very kind man. He was a man that was a true friend and was respected and loved by many friends.” The Gustaf Malines and others were converted under the ministry of these men and an assembly was likely begun, but its location in the early days is not known – likely the Maline home or a rural schoolhouse near Gothenburg or Cozad. Gustaf Maline is remembered to have preached at the Gothenburg Free Mission church when its pastor was unavailable. There is no ‘open’ assembly in the area at this time.

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In about the 1920s, John Horn moved to Imperial, a small town in the southwestern corner of Nebraska, where he was instrumental in starting the Imperial Gospel Hall. Don and Harold McCormick farmed near Imperial and with their families joined that fellowship, along with the families of Floyd Miller, George Long, and Ken Hayward. Several of these families moved many years later to Colorado and joined the assemblies there. This assembly has since disbanded.

  • * * * * * *

The Palisade Gospel Hall developed at about the same time in the small town of Palisade not far away. Dan McCormick was the leader for many years, followed by Ray D. Ridlen. The Palisade Gospel Hall continues to meet though small.

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Sources: Conversations with Christians


Atchison is situated on the Missouri River, about fifty miles northwest of Kansas City. In the fall of 1901, Mr. and Mrs. John V. Davis and Mrs. Will Tietge began meeting regularly on the first day of each week to Remember the Lord, the beginning of the Atchison Gospel Hall, KS. Some years later their number had doubled, and the six began to pray definitely for the Lord to send His servants to labor in the field. Several Kansas City brethren took up the challenge and consistently visited this city to supply the needed help. Several brothers from the Troost Avenue Gospel Hall in Kansas City, MO went to Atchison on the third Sunday of every month to minister to and encourage the fledgling assembly while it was still meeting in the various homes of the believers. Among these were Wayne Matthews and Ralph Littlefield.

The first series of nightly meetings to be held by the assembly in Atchison was in 1936 when John and David Horn preached to large crowds in a schoolhouse at the edge of town and several were saved. That summer the Horn brothers returned for tent meetings, and the interest increased. In the fall of 1937 the assembly added a regular prayer meeting to its testimony. Jack Charles frequently came to help. Special meetings were again held in the homes and in two different schoolhouses across the Missouri River. Arthur Rodgers gave valuable help in one of the schoolhouses and also at various times in Atchison.

In February 1938 the assembly opened the Gospel Hall, an unpretentious rented building on a prominent street. For six years it served as a place of blessing. Many in the neighborhood attended the meetings and frequently the capacity of the building was taxed. Several itinerant preachers visited and gave special meetings, and also helped at the annual Easter Conferences; among these were David and John Horn, David Lawrence, Arthur Rodgers, E. G. Matthews, and Leonard Sheldrake.

During this time the Lord added to the number one by one, and the old rented building became overcrowded and was otherwise inadequate. When another group of people purchased the building, the assembly met for several months in the Masonic Hall, which had already been used for two conferences. Plans were undertaken for constructing a chapel. A corner lot was provided in a residential district where there was no other church building. In April 1944, the new hall was opened with a prayer meeting. Eight months later, the basement facilities were used for the first time at an all-day meeting, and in 1945 the fifth annual conference was the first to be held in the new building. John Horn and his wife moved to the city and remained there until the Lord took them home. It was at the Atchison Easter Conference in 1961 that Arthur Rodgers passed into the presence of the Lord. The assembly continued until about 1977.

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In 1950 or 1951, five families who lived on the Kansas side of the line between Missouri and Kansas hived off from the Troost Avenue Gospel Hall to form an assembly in the Overland Park area of Kansas City, KS. William and Ruth Hayward, and Wayne and Ruth Matthews were those who lived there, and when three other families moved to the area, the decision was made to start an assembly. Some of the early families, besides the Haywards and Matthews, were those of Russ and Doris Farwell, Lloyd Staley, and Robert Buelick and his mother. Among those who came a little later were the families of Jim Petersen, Harry Sommerville, and John Schultheiss, followed by Duncan Sommerville.

The assembly has occupied the same building – Overland Park Chapel – at 64th and Floyd since its inception. At its largest, in the 1960s, about 200 people were in fellowship. A division in the early 1970s caused a serious decline in numbers, but today about 75 are in fellowship. Leaders in past years include Harry Sommerville, Duncan Sommerville, Gifford Knapp, Truman Page, Harlan Baldwin, Glenn Lee, and Russ Farwell. Don Herrington, Ray Miller, and Nelson Cook are among the leadership today.

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The first assembly in Wichita was started by Will Thomas, a full-time evangelist from Wales. A document written by Mr. Thomas in 1929 is extant, referring to this assembly. After his early death in 1931, his widow and two small daughters moved back to Perry, where a small assembly existed at that time. The Wichita Assembly struggled after that, but is said to be the beginning of subsequent brethren testimony in the area.

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Leonard Lindsted was commended to full-time service in 1939 by the Fernwood Gospel Chapel in Chicago. Encouraged to come to Wichita by the Myron Lakes’, Leonard Lindsted and Tom McCullagh pitched a tent on the Meridian School ground in August 1941. The Lord blessed with fruit and they made contact with other Christians. By October 1941 Leonard had moved his family to Wichita. The Christians met as an assembly in a rented store on West Maple until the war started in December 1941.

At that time, the Lindsteds moved to Goessel, 35 miles north of Wichita. During this time Leonard held Bible studies in Newton, Canton, and in his own home. In the summer he had tent meetings in many Kansas towns with Joe Balsan, Ben Parmer, and other workers.

Under the leadership of Leonard Lindsted and Dean Jensen, the Wichita assembly was incorporated in April 1946 and met at the East Kellogg Gospel Chapel at 1933 E. Kellogg. The incorporators were Charles Cissel, Dean Jensen, and Bert Brower.

Dean Jensen urged William Horn, then at Drake University in Iowa, to move to Wichita to help out at the Wichita assembly. Bill Horn came in July 1948 and with the Lindsteds again started Bible studies in Wichita, using the Charles Cissel home on North Grove. They soon moved the studies to the Labor Temple downtown to accommodate the people.

Street meetings in Wichita and surrounding communities several evenings a week were held until legal restriction closed them down. Tent meetings continued and special Gospel meetings continued through the following years, and the assembly continued to grow.

In 1971, the construction of Highway 54 forced the church to move, and a new South Emporia Bible Chapel was erected at 2100 South Emporia. Soon after the new chapel was built, Leonard Lindsted’s son, Robert, returned to Wichita from Vermont to take a position at Wichita State University. Many college students were saved and brought into the fellowship of the assembly. Leonard and Robert, with the help of the South Emporia meeting, started a “Pioneer House” where young men could live and also attend special Bible classes in the evenings. These classes were designed to train them to be Christian leaders and speakers.

Several workers were commended to the Lord’s service by the South Emporia Bible Chapel, to Thailand, Immanuel Mission in Arizona, and to local ministry.

  • * * * * * *

After about a dozen years, some believers in the assembly at South Emporia hived off to start a new work on the east side of the city. They also began a school, which at the beginning had quite small classes. Robert Lindsted had moved to the northeast side of Wichita and the assembly began in his home and was incorporated in 1982. The number multiplied and in 1983, Sunrise Bible Chapel was built. The Sunrise school has been quite successful, with about 750 students enrolled at this time.

The Sunrise meeting divided in the mid 1990s. Most of the believers relocated nearby to Northside Bible Chapel in Kechi in 1996. The assembly has continued to grow at Northside, and has an active children’s program. In active leadership in the assembly over the years have been Leonard Lindsted, Dean Jensen, William Horn, Louie Becker, and Robert Lindsted. Randy Horn and Will Nuse are the current elders at Northside, which has also recognized several deacons. About 200 adults and children attend Northside.

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The other group from the former Sunrise Bible Chapel started in May 1996 in the home of Troy and Mary Jane Campbell. The believers moved to another home after a few months, then rented the Bel Aire Rec Center for almost a year. They now meet as Believers’ Bible Chapel at the Sunrise Christian Academy. This assembly has commended Robert Linsted for local ministry, has sponsored several part-time mission trips involving some 50 individuals, and has commended workers to full-time missionary work abroad. Believers’ Bible Chapel has about 150 adults and children in attendance.

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The assembly at South Emporia Bible Chapel remained in their building for a time after the hive-off to Sunrise took place. Some couples living on Wichita’s west side began meeting in a home for mid-week prayer and Bible study in 1981. Dan Linsted was one of the leaders. The Eddie Buchannan family and Darold Peters family were among this group. Land was purchased but no building was erected. The group gradually disbanded and by 1990 most had returned to South Emporia Bible Chapel.

Overcrowding in the South Emporia chapel induced the assembly to erect a building on the land that had been purchased on the west side. Pending completion, the assembly met in rented space in a mall. In 1995, they moved into the new building and changed their name to Westside Bible Chapel. The present elders at Westside are Eddie Buchanan, Arnold Burkle, Duane Denny, and Whitney Reader. Average attendance is around 100.

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A small racially mixed meeting began fellowshipping in Augst 1963 and incorporated in 1966 as Grace Bible Chapel in Wichita. The incorporators were Donald Govan, Duane Denny, and D. Wayne Becker. This meeting continued until January 1981 when the Govan family moved to Jackson, MS to work with Voice of Calvary Ministries. Their daughter and son-in-law moved to California to work with World Impact, and Carol Denny was commended to the work at Immanuel Mission in Arizona. The South Emporia assembly continued the commendation of Carol and her husband Rick Khol after Grace Bible Chapel closed.

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Richard Burson was a Baptist preacher working in Salina in the late 1930s and early 1940s. While he was helping some widows clean out their attic, he found old copies of Help and Food, published by Loizeaux Brothers, which he read, learning the principles of a New Testament church.

In about 1943, he moved to the city of Hutchinson, southwest of Salina, and took the pastorate of a newly formed Baptist church at 4th and Main. He set up a bookstore in the front of the building, had the services in a middle room, and had living quarters in the rear of the building.

In 1945, Lawrence Littlefield, who was then stationed at the Hutchinson Naval Air Station, and his wife Betty, found the bookstore. Conversations with Mr. Burson about the New Testament church ensued, and Mr. Burson became eager to change his church to the New Testament pattern. He contacted Loizeaux Brothers in New York City for help, and they in turn contacted Ralph Littlefield of Kansas City, who had already been informed by his son Lawrence. Ralph Littlefield spent much time in discussion with Richard Burson. Leonard Linstead and Tom McCoullagh also gave advice, and soon the Hutchinson Bible Hall was a reality at 4th and Main. Later the name was changed to Hutchinson Gospel Chapel to avoid confusion with the local Jehovah Witnesses hall.

Some of the families left to join a nearby Baptist group after the change. The remaining four or five families moved to an old funeral home at 228 W. 2nd. There Richard Burson set up a print shop, in addition to the book store and an apartment and meeting rooms for the assembly. After a few more years, the Christians rented a building on East 2nd Street, and later purchased a building at 212 N. Lorraine. Six families were then in the assembly, but felt that God was leading them to start a Sunday School with a bus for transportation.

In the late 1960s, the assembly, still small, purchased the Presbyterian building at 6th and Elm. In the 1970s, the families in the Hutchinson Gospel Chapel moved into that building, where it still meets today at 334 E. Sixth Street. Growth began at about that time, until today the assembly is the second largest in the state, with about 180 adults and children.

Those in active leadership over the years include Richard Burson, Leslie Jantz, Orville Hopper, Jim Gardner, Lowell Ramsey, Lane Scott, Billy Asberry, John Meinzinger, William Newcome, Darell Valdois, Steve Burson, John Bloom, Wayne Dudley, and Duane Schmidt. Workers have been commended by the assembly to Peru, Mexico, Immanuel Mission in Arizona, and to Kansas Bible Camp.

Hutchinson Gospel Chapel is closely associated with the work at the Kansas Bible Camp in Stafford, some 40 miles to the west, which Richard Burson started in 1946 and was the director for many years. Following Mr. Burson, John Bloom became director of the camp, and after him, John Denny.

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Near the Nebraska border, north of Salina and Wichita, is the town of Belleville. In about 1915, the Belleville Meeting was started by a Mr. Bachelor and Carss Nesmith, both of them business men. The small group of three or four families met in the second floor of a retail establishment. A little later, Eldon Baird moved to the area from Iowa and helped with the young people. Others who joined with the group were the families of Carl Ball, Charles Wilson, and Willie Hay. The assembly disbanded in about 1935 following the deaths of Messrs. Bachelor and Nesmith.

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By the time the Belleville Meeting ceased, Eldon Baird had married and moved to nearby Concordia. He, with Charles Wilson and Ed Korkill began Remembering the Lord in the Korkill home in Concordia. Soon they rented an old church building for their meetings, calling it the Concordia Gospel Hall. These three men did the preaching on Sunday mornings, and also had Sunday evening Gospel meetings. John and David Horn, Jack Charles, John Walden, and Arthur Rodgers are remembered as preaching at the Concordia Gospel Hall. The meeting, however, was short-lived, disbanding in the early 1940s.

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The history of the Coal Creek Gospel Hall stretches back to the 1880s, when three men – one of them Alex O’Brien – started meeting for prayer in the rural Coal Creek school house, south of Lawrence. Some time after this, Mr. O’Brien began pastoring at a church in nearby Perry, but soon realized he was not saved. He was brought into contact with brethren from Kansas City and was later saved through the truth of Acts 13:38.

The O’Brien family farm was near the Coal Creek School House, and Alex O’Brien pitched a Gospel tent on the family farm in about 1903. During three weeks of meetings, some of the O’Brien family were saved, including Alex’s brother James and his wife Edith. Soon after that, a few Christians began Breaking Bread in the farm home. They enjoyed fellowship with other small gatherings in Perry, Garnett, and Kansas City.

In 1918 and 1919, Charles Leonard held meetings in the Coal Creek School House, and several were saved. In 1921, the Remembrance Meeting began to be held there. In 1920 and 1922, Oliver Smith held meetings in the neighborhood, with many professing Christ. Ira Hird and many of his family were saved at about this time. Other evangelists who came were William Grierson, Will White, Charles Stow, Arthur Rodgers, John Horn, J.O. Brown, and Ernest Washington.

The Coal Creek School was closed in 1947, but the assembly continued to meet at the school house. The building later became known as the Coal Creek Gospel Hall. When a tornado destroyed the building in 1977, the Christians rented the American Legion hall in nearby Baldwin City until 1981, when they built their own hall on the crest of Baldwin Hill, north of town.

James O’Brien was a true shepherd of the Coal Creek assembly through the early years. With his passing, his son-in-law, Ed Rockhold led the assembly until 1950. At that time, the O’Briens and Rockholds became associated with the Lawrence Bible Chapel. Those engaged in shepherding the assembly in more recent years include Delbert Hird, LeRoy Olmstead, David Olmstead, Peter Naber, Curtis Naber, and Daniel Stewart. An unusual outreach of the assembly is to Russian-speaking families who attend the Sunday School and the Gospel meetings at the Coal Creek Gospel Hall each Lord’s Day. The messages are translated into Russian by some of the Russian visitors. Mr. Caleb Baker’s chart The Two Roads and The Two Destinies has been printed in matching English and Russian and are on display in the hall. About 50 adults and children attend these meetings.

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Those who gathered in Garnett were George DeWolf, E.N. Miller, Will Craig, Harry McAfee, Walter McAfee, John Thomas, Wilbur Thomas, and Sam Thomas. The Garnett Assembly met last in the home of Sam and Emily Thomas.

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Oliver Smith started the Perry Assembly in about 1920 in the town of Perry, 13 miles north of Lawrence. The Christians gathered in the home of Charles Bradford. Conferences were held at Perry for several years. With Mr. Bradford were Mr. Jennings, his son Tracy, Fred Lakin, and Mr. Liggett. Will Thomas’ widow and daughters, one of whom later became Mrs. Gordon Wakefield, were in fellowship there from the early 1930s.

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The Lawrence Bible Chapel in the university town of Lawrence just west of Kansas City, was begun in 1944 as a home meeting, first in the home of Jack and Mary Marquette, and later in William Sommerville’s house. It began as a result of gasoline rationing during World War II. Gordon Wakefield attended there after being saved at the University of Kansas in 1950. From 1951 to 1984, the assembly met at 1001 Kentucky in Lawrence, and in 1984 moved to its present location at 505 Monterey Way. The principal people involved in the start-up were Jack Marquette, Lawrence Littlefield, and Arthur Hird and their families. Those in leadership over the years include William Sommerville, Pete Youngberg, Ron Nadvornik, Dave Drelory, John Scollon, Don Schonberg, Russ Farwell, Terry Morgan, Larry Sherraden, and Dean Jordan. The assembly has commended several to the Lord’s work abroad. About 230 adults and youngsters attend Lawrence Bible Chapel, which is the largest assembly in the state.

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The Baldwin City Gospel Chapel, south of Lawrence, was established in 1967 by Ray Jones and Ed Rockhold. Not a hive-off from another assembly, it met first in a home at 819 Indiana Street. The Gospel Chapel has commended workers to service at the Turkey Hill Bible Ranch Camp in Missouri and Immanuel Mission in Arizona. It sponsors an annual open Bible Conference. The assembly has about 40 adults and young people in fellowship.

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The Topeka Gospel Chapel began in the Charles Bradford home in 1948, and later met in the home of Lloyd and Betty Walterick. The assembly moved into a newly built facility in 1958, where it resides today, at 5010 SW 20th Terrace. The Bradford, Leishman, and William Korkill families were those chiefly instrumental in the start-up. Also active in leadership have been Ted and Gene Everhart, Jim Stewart, and Jim Springer. About 25 adults and children attend the assembly today.

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Osage City is south of Topeka. Gospel meetings were held there by John Walden, followed by J.O. Brown. The Osage City Assembly was formed as a result and met in the home of Paul and Mattie Lauback for several years.

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Alexander (Sandy) Broadfoot from Iowa came to Kansas in the period 1910 to 1917 to visit and hold Gospel meetings in schoolhouses in the area south of Abilene in mid Kansas. The Bonnacord schoolhouse was one of these. Many were saved. Mr. Broadfoot instructed Robert Robson and others about the Lord’s Supper and plural leadership, and an assembly was begun. The Christians met first in the large home of Alexander McBoyle and took the name Bonnacord Assembly. For many years, the Christians met in homes; Bible Conferences were held in tents. In 1918, the assembly built Grace and Truth Gospel Hall on donated property in the Holland area, which is still the assembly’s location some eight miles south of Abilene. One of the leading men in the assembly at that time was Frank Nicholson. Some of the early families to fellowship at the Hall were the Roggendorffs, Gruens, Millers, Emigs, and Jurys, in addition to the Deerdorffs, McBoyles, Nicholsons, and Robsons. In the 1930s, the assembly changed the name to Grace and Truth Gospel Chapel.

In 1942, Jay Walden of Minneapolis was in the army at nearby Fort Riley. He fellowshipped at Grace and Truth, and was a great help in the assembly. Other men who came to the Chapel from their military bases were Ed Kellner, Toby Brocker, Marvin Studnika, and David Silver. Joe and Jan Gummel came during the Desert Storm conflict. Orville Robson was the long-time correspondent for the assembly; he and his wife Lois were known for their hospitality. Elders at Grace and Truth have included Orville Robson, Menno Dyck, Keith Engle, Kenneth King, and Jerry Lahr.

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When Gordon Wakefield was stationed at Fort Riley near Manhattan in the 1950s, he started an assembly which initially met in his home, then moved to a rented room in downtown Manhattan. This Manhattan Assembly consisted mostly of soldiers stationed at Fort Riley and students at Kansas State University. It lasted only about three years.

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An outreach of Grace and Truth Gospel Hall to an area south of the town of Carlton resulted in a group of believers meeting in the Elm Springs school house. Frank Nicholson from Grace and Truth held gospel meetings in the mid or late 1920s in area schoolhouses east of Roxbury. Interest grew and home Bible studies began. The Elm Springs school, a little way northeast of Roxbury, was the first meeting place for the new assembly. Others from Grace and Truth who came to help were Robert Robson and Dan Emig. Ed Buchenau and John Walden were among others who came to minister the word.

In 1937, a plot of ground a mile south of the school was donated to the assembly; lumber from a building in Carlton was used to build a meeting place on the property. The assembly Christians called it the Elm Springs Bible Hall. The assembly numbered about 60 at its largest. An annual three-day October Bible Conference was a highlight. Migration of farmers to the larger towns in the 1950s and 1960s caused a declining attendance at Elm Springs Bible Hall, and it disbanded in the late 1970s.

Some of the speakers at the Conferences sponsored by the two assemblies were Harry Ironside, George MacKenzie, Tom Carroll, Walter Wilson, Ed Bucheneau, Leonard Lindsted, Tom McCullagh, O.E. McGee, and Richard Burson. Missionary work was important to the believers at the two assemblies. They supported work among the Navajo Indians at Immanuel Mission in Arizona, making many trips there with supplies and co-commending workers for that work. Others commended include Kenneth Engle to the work in the Phillippines in 1951, and Kevin and Eloise Dyer to the Southeast Asia Literature Crusades in 1959.

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Sunset Bible Chapel in Salina, not far from Abilene, has connections to the work in Lawrence. Four men and three women now with Sunset were in Lawrence and attending Bible studies in the home of William and Marie Sommerville in the 1950s. Gordon Wakefield, Richard Burson, Paul Little, and Alice Kitchen were frequent in attendance at these meetings. George Easter was one of those attending these studies, and when he moved to Wichita in 1957, he was encouraged to give help at Grace and Truth Gospel Chapel south of Abilene. When Mr. Easter moved to Salina in about 1960, Richard Burson and John Walden encouraged him to begin a work there. He and others began with Sunday evening and midweek meetings, while still in fellowship at Abilene. Several couples from the Elm Springs Bible Hall met with them, and after two years, some 50 were meeting in Salina, about the same number as at Abilene.

The assembly was officially formed in 1969, and known simply as The Chapel. The assembly met alternately in the Easter home and Marvin Johnson home. After several years, they rented space in a school building while accumulating a building fund, and in 1979 built the Sunset Bible Chapel at 760 Hancock, which they occupy now.

Elders at the beginning were Marvin Johnson, Everett Johnson, Dale Becker, Lawton Owen, and George Easter. These with their wives, and Earl and Alberta Blair, and Dave and Karen Smith, have continued in active roles in the assembly. Paul and Greg Johnson and Chuck Thornburg have been added to the leadership. The assembly has commended and co-commended workers to ministry in East Europe, Ireland, St. Lucia and St. Thomas, and Immanuel Mission in Arizona. Others have received short term commendations to Kansas Bible Camp and elsewhere.

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In 1916 or 1917, J. E. (Ned) Brown, a wheat farmer then 60 years old, moved from Long Island in north_central Kansas to the area of Kanorado, a small town on the Kansas_Colorado border. Ned Brown had his roots in Iowa where he had helped establish the Berea Gospel Hall; when he moved to Long Island, his first concern was to begin a meeting in that town. So when he moved to his new farm a few miles from Kanorado, he directed his strong evangelistic concern toward planting a new work in that area also. Soon after arriving, he started an assembly that became known as the Kanorado Gospel Hall and which met initially at the Graybill school house north of Kanorado. A good preacher, he held Gospel meetings at several different school houses in western Kansas and eastern Colorado.

Ned Brown knew of two young men from central Kansas and hired them not so much to help out on his farm, as to help him in the evangelistic work. These were David and John Horn. Their pattern was to work in the fields during the day and preach at night. They both were soon full_time Gospel workers.

Many souls were saved in those years at the school house meetings and at tent meetings. Soon the assembly meeting at the Graybill school house was big enough to warrant its own building, and with volunteer labor built a chapel in about 1923 in the country northeast of Kanorado. They called it the Kanorado Gospel Hall. On a neighbor’s land adjacent to the Gospel Hall, the Christians would put up a large tent for their annual Bible Conferences, and a smaller tent where the farmers would bring produce and beef as an added attraction.

The Kanorado meeting grew rapidly, and numbered about 200 by 1929, remarkably large for a church out in the country. The Kanorado meeting had an oversight but not recognized elders.

Ned Brown took in another young man after the Horns left. This was John Walden. While living with the Browns, John helped with the farm work, but preaching God’s Word became most important to him. Shortly after John Walden and Nan DuBauge were married in 1931, they moved to Denver and then Colorado Springs. John Walden was one of the leading brothers among the assemblies in Colorado during his years of ministry.

John and David Horn frequently traveled and preached. They were the principal carriers of the Gospel into western Kansas and eastern Colorado. During their first series of meetings at the Happy Hollow school house in 1928, Ben F. Parmer, then 11 years old, was saved, with other members of his family. The Parmer family joined with the Kanorado meeting. After a few years Ben Parmer was teaching a boy’s Sunday School class there and sharing in the Gospel on Sunday nights.

Traveling preachers who came to the Kanorado Gospel Hall and to other assemblies in the area for special meetings included C.W. Ross, Don Charles, Jack Charles, Leonard Linsted, and Richard Burson.

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s caused much hardship; this together with the general state of the economy due to the Great Depression induced many farming families to move off the farms to the towns and cities along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. There they affiliated with existing assemblies and had a considerable influence. The Nohr, Stevens, Turner, and Ted and Ed Anderson families were among those active at Kanorado who moved west and became active in new and existing assemblies along the Front Range. The remaining Kanorado brethren moved their meeting to Goodland, Kansas, a few miles east of Kanorado, in the late 1950s. The meeting dwindled and was dissolved in the early 1980s, after about 60 years of existence which had seen multitudes of people saved and strengthened.

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The Garden City Assembly has recently been established in the town of Garden City, toward the west side of the state.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Reminiscences about Our Family, by William Baker Sommerville, 1978. Wichita Assembly History, by Dan Lindsted, 1987 History of Grace and Truth Gospel Chapel, written in 1993 for its 75th Anniversary A Condensed History of the (Wichita) Gospel Chapel, by Carolyn Schmidt, in Overview – Newsletter of the Gospel Chapel, December 1981 A Short History of Elm Springs Bible Hall, undated Letters of Interest, June 1945, p. 12; September 1947, p. 22


Caleb J. Baker had become a prosperous tent and awning maker following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. But before that, he had been saved and had developed a passion for the Gospel. In perhaps 1879, he met Donald Ross, who had set up a Gospel tent near Mr. Baker’s place of business in Chicago, and soon became associated with him. An assembly met to Remember the Lord in that tent, and Mr. Baker and several of his employees soon were in fellowship in that assembly.

In the 1880s, Donald Ross started westward. After being in Kansas City for a time, he encouraged C.J. Baker to relocate there because he recognized it as a logical center for reaching out to the southwest and west.

Deciding to separate from his business partner and move to Kansas City, Mr. Baker invited several of his Christian employees to move with him, chosen for their ability to help establish an assembly. The first assembly in Kansas City, MO, began the day after the group arrived, and met in the main room of the new canvas factory for several months. After that, they met successively in a number of rented places, usually above a store, sometimes on the third floor. Mr. Baker did not approve of buying a place and thought the assembly should never stay in one place more than about two years. He envisioned the assembly as a roving Gospel outreach, moving among neighborhoods. During his lifetime, Mr. Baker supplied tents, not only to the evange¬lists who engaged in pioneer work, but to missionaries around the world.

Mr. Baker was indefatigable and the assembly was active. Mrs. George Rendall, one of those brought from Chicago, was an excellent Sunday School teacher for the assembly. C.J. Baker instituted street meetings and started a Christmas Bible Conference, much like the Thanksgiving Conference initiated in Chicago by Donald Ross. C.J. Baker’s grandson, William Baker Sommerville, remembers it thus:

“…[the] conferences always lasted three days and sometimes four. The preaching services lasted at least an hour and a half in the morning, two hours or more in the afternoon, and an hour and a half again in the evening. The people all ate together, at least for the noon and supper meals. And there was a great deal of ‘conferring’ in the conferences which had nothing to do with the preaching services. There was a great deal of discussion among the elders of the various assemblies regarding their problems, whether theological or practical. It was a very great unifying exercise among the people in the assemblies in various parts of the country…. I don’t know that I ever heard about Santa Claus when I was very little. And since we were always at meetings on Christmas day, … Christmas to me as a small boy meant Conference. And this meant meeting interesting people, hearing interesting things, seeing things. It was the big point of my life in those days…”

The Christians met for a time at 14th and Main Streets. Eventually they desired more comfortable accommodations and began renting church buildings; the first of these seems to have been an old building at 16th & Holmes. After that they rented a church building at 31st and Charlotte. In the first decade of the 1900s, the assembly had about 150 people in it. In 1906 or 1907, Mr. Baker and his associates invited C.W. Ross, Donald Ross’ son, to move to Kansas City, labor among them, and make it a center for his ministries.

Finally, in 1918, the Christians constructed their own building on Troost Avenue at 28th, which became well known as the Troost Avenue Gospel Hall. It was one of the leading assemblies in the area for many years. Assemblies in Spruce Hill, MO; Overland Park, KS; and Kansas City, KS are descendants of the Troost Avenue Gospel Hall. The Troost Avenue Christians opened the Servicemen’s Canteen during World War II. Troost Avenue Gospel Hall disbanded in the early 1980s.

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Spruce Hill Bible Chapel at 11501 E. Bannister Road began in 1962 as a hive-off from Troost Avenue Gospel Hall. Those responsible for its establishment were Lawrence and Betty Littlefield, John and Betty Littlefield, John and Barbara Schultheis, Robert Beulick, and Viva and Ewart Gunn. For the first year, the assembly met in the home of Lawrence and Betty Littlefield. Then John and Betty Littlefield donated a small acreage adjoining their home for the construction of Spruce Hill Bible Chapel.

George and Gloria Martin joined the fellowship at Spruce Hill about a year after the chapel was completed, and have been pillars in the assembly. Those active in leadership over the years include George Martin, Ross Ragland, Lawrence Littlefield, Robert Cowan, amd James Robertson. About 65 adults and young people are in Spruce Hill Bible Chapel. The assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s service.

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The roots of the Bible Chapel in St. Louis, on the opposite side of the state from Kansas City, go back to 1873 when a 31-year-old James Campbell arrived in the city from Scotland and preached the Gospel. Several were saved in these meetings, including Mr. Donald O. Macleod. Mr. Campbell also instructed the believers in the principles of the New Testament church. Mr. Campbell went from there to St. Charles, MN, but returned to St. Louis in 1879 with Donald Munroe for more Gospel effort. They found a group meeting for Bible study in various homes and encouraged them to begin Remembering the Lord, which they did in the home of John Kerr. Others from various denominations joined with them, and the believers continued to meet for some time in that home as the South Side Assembly. They later moved into an old rock building in the 3000 block of Pine Street.

In 1895, the surnames of some of those meeting as the South Side Assembly were Brown, Bothwell, Buss, Couser, Dyke, Hughes, Macleod, Morey, and White.

At about that time, Mr. Buss left the assembly to form another, which met in a building at the corner of Florissant and O’Bear. This meeting lasted only a short time. In November 1901, the South Side Assembly moved to Jefferson and Pestatozzi Streets in South St. Louis.

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In 1902, tent meetings were held by brethren Currens and Camp from Chicago, at which many were saved, including members of the Henrich, Masek, James, and Todd families. These Christians immediately formed an assembly which met in the rented Power House at 7th and Lami Streets, then shortly moved to the Shaving Shop on 2nd and Sidney Streets. This structure had wood shavings on the floor, wrapping paper over the rafters, and home-made wood benches. This assembly later moved to a storefront at McNair and Lynch Streets, then met in various homes. Messrs. Edward Allan and I.R. Dean were in fellowship there, as was Mr. Buss, who however left again and formed an assembly meeting at Newhouse and Blair. In 1910, Mr. Buss built Bible Hall on Finney Avenue. Some time after that, a group left Bible Hall to form the North Side Assembly.

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So in 1906 there were three groups, the South Side Assembly at Jefferson and Pestatozzi, the unnamed group at McNair and Lynch, and the group that followed Mr. Buss. Mr. Allan of the McNair group went to see Mr. Macleod of South Side to discuss a merger. This was agreed upon, and the merger took place at the end of 1906. The merged group, still called South Side Assembly, met in a large number of places in St. Louis over the next two decades. In 1926, the assembly moved to 5021 Morganford Road, rented it for many years, then purchased and remodeled it in 1940. This was known as the South Side Gospel Hall. Other family names during these years are Thiel, Horst, Suess, Luethge, Judd, Newkum, Ostertag, Bonham, Richardson, Blackshaw, and Miller.

When Morganford Road was to be widened, the assembly built and moved into the South Side Bible Chapel on Leona Avenue at Bowen. The assembly now calls its building simply Bible Chapel. In 1973, the assembly started the Victory Christian School in this building for children from kindergarten through 1st grade. In 1982, the Christians purchased a school building on Musick Road, which is the present location for the assembly and the Victory Christian School, which now teaches kindergarten through 12th grade with around 200 students.

The assembly commended O. Morey as a medical doctor to Africa in the early 1900s; he worked with F.S. Arnot. Others have been commended for ministry in the U.S.

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Prior to the establishment of the present Maplewood Bible Chapel in St. Louis, a small group of exercised Christians from the Bible Hall and the South Side Assembly met for prayer and fellowship in various homes. The group first met in 1921 at the home of Mr. Reister, 2119 Alameda, with 30 present, but soon moved to a rented room at 7016 Manchester. In mid 1922, a lot at 7138 Southwest Ave was purchased; within a few months, a basement was finished enough to hold meetings there; an above-ground auditorium was not completed until 1930.

During the 1920s, the Maplewood Gospel Hall, as it was then called, held evangelistic tent meetings on an adjacent lot, with many visiting preachers. In the 1930s and 1940s, street meetings were common and held in St. Louis, Maplewood, Webster, and East St. Louis, IL. A Young Men’s Prayer and Bible Study was started in collaboration with other assemblies. A yearly Young People’s area-wide Conference and a bi-yearly area-wide Sunday School Teachers Conference were begun.

In 1935, Maplewood Gospel Hall published the Exhorter and a Chorus book. Radio ministries have included a KSTL Family Bible Hour and a broadcast by the young people of the assembly. Bible studies for Jewish friends were held in homes. Messianic Forum on Pine Street in downtown St. Louis was held weekly in May 1948. Palabras Fideles (Spanish Faithful Words) was started by Carl Ostertag. The assembly has commended many people to the Lord’s work at home and to countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Korea, southeast Asia, and Ireland.

In 1949, several assemblies – Maplewood, South Side, Kossouth, and Bible Hall – began the Masokobi Bible Camp for children. Now called Dayspring Bible Camp, the facility was purchased by the St. Louis assemblies in 1987.

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The assembly meeting at the Richmond Heights Gospel Hall in the St. Louis area seems to have begun in the 1920s, assisted in its early days by Maplewood Gospel Hall. The Christians have changed the name of their meeting place twice while staying at the same location – 7902 Dale Avenue. In the mid 1980s, the name became Richmond Heights Gospel Chapel, and in 1994 The Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Leaders have included David Woods, Donovan Case, Marvin Curry, Joseph Crenshaw, Harold Spiller, and Untra Northern. Mr. Northern was commended by the assembly to the Lord’s work in 1982.

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Emmaus Bible Chapel in St. Louis began in 1956 and has been at the same location in the Ferguson area since that time. George Nelson, Donald Walter, Frederick St. Clair, and Harvey Decker were those involved in its formation. George Nelson, E.T. Mauger, and Lester Collins have been among the leaders. The assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s vineyard in Ecuador, Phillippines, and Italy.

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Grace Bible Chapel in St. Louis was formed in 1986 by the merger of two home assemblies meeting in the southwest part of metropolitan St. Louis – the Moriah Assembly and Believers Church. Moriah was started in 1979, and Believers Church was formed in 1984.

The Moriah Assembly in St. Louis was started by John and Sue Callan and Lee and Shirley Holtgrewe, none of whom were present at the time of the merger in 1986. Believers Church in St. Louis was begun by Jim and Karen Frankel, Randy and Donna Gruber, and Joe and Mary Vogl. The primary leaders at Grace Bible Chapel have been Jim Frankel, Randy Gruber, Mark Keller, Dave Kozeny, Steve Leary, Brian Railey, Jim Robertson, Cordell Schulten, and Joe Vogl.

Grace Bible Church has rented and met in several facilities since its inception. Since 1990, the Christians have met at Parkway Northeast Middle School at the intersection of Ladue Road and Interstate 270. The assembly now has about 100 adults and youngsters associated with it.

Grace Bible Chapel has commended Cordell Schulten as a resident worker in the assembly. Other commendations have been to Set Free Ministries of Missouri and to Japan.

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A store front on St. Louis Street in Springfield, in the southwest part of the state, was the first home in 1933 of the Southeast Gospel Hall. John Elliot and Tom Cullaghough were the principal people involved in the start-up. The assembly moved to its present location at 1051 South Crutcher in Springfield in about 1936, and later became the Southeast Gospel Chapel. Those in leadership over the years include John Elliot, Carl Carey, Charles Brooks, Mark Newberry, Lewis Bigbee, Robert McWade, Don Thompson, Walter Cary, Ross Ragland, and Wendell Kerr. The assembly has commended workers to itinerant ministry in the U.S. About 45 adults and young people attend Southeast Gospel Chapel.

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Jefferson City Bible Chapel began in 1978 on Industrial Drive in Jefferson City, in the middle of the state, and moved to its present location at 2804 Sue Drive in 1996. James Allan, Stephen J. Allan, Stephen R. Allan, Alan Braun, Curtis Cox, Tim Rockhold, and Tim Adkerson were the principals involved in the start-up, and have served as the leaders of the assembly. Stephen R. Allan has been commended by the assembly to full-time work at Turkey Hill Ranch Bible Camp near Vienna.

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Brookfield is a small town in the northern part of Missouri. A Bible study that started in 1974 in the home of Bill and Georgeanna Howell in nearby St. Catharine developed into the Brookfield Christian Fellowship, which was officially incorporated in 1977. The men of the assembly built a chapel in Brookfield in 1984 at 409 S. State Street, which the assembly still occupies.

Besides the Howells, those involved in the start-up of the assembly were Jack and Sharon Anderson, and Mary Brammen and her daughter Ann. Leadership has been vested in B.D. Howell, Herb Huck, Rod Libby, Jon Mendenhall, and Bruce Haley. William R. Howell was commended to the Lord’s work as Camp Director of Story Book Lodge as well as other ministries. Tom Brammer has been commended to work in the assembly. Brookfield Christian Fellowship also commended others to the Lord’s service in Russia. It now has about 130 adults and youngsters in attendance.

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Hazelwood Christian Fellowship Assembly Church started in April 1998, meeting at 126 Flora in Hazelwood, having split off from an independent Bible church in which women held positions of authority. Clarence E. Jackson, Ron Smith, and Jimmy Russell are those who began the new assembly and are the leaders. About 35 adults and children comprise the assembly.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Reminiscences about Our Family, by William Baker Sommerville, 1978. Letters of Interest, January 1982, p. 18


The assemblies in Iowa started from two different sources. The coal mines in southern Iowa attracted miners from the British Isles and other parts of Europe. The coal there was not of the best quality, but was used by railroads and by people for fuel during the winters. These miners were a tough group, living in many instances from paycheck to paycheck, but many were devoted Christians and preached the Gospel. They and their families would meet in the local Miner’s Hall or a lodge hall, and often had a large Sunday School work.

Itinerant preachers, primarily from Ireland and Scotland and other parts, were the other source of assembly influence. These carried the Gospel to the farmers in the northern and western sections of the state, preaching in pitched tents and rural school houses, sometimes staying for weeks at a time, and establishing small assemblies before they moved on.

Northern Iowa

Assembly testimony in northern Iowa began in November 1891 with a visit of John Blair from Ireland, to his sister who lived near the village of Dunkerton. While there, he held meetings in a school house, where several were saved. Mr. Blair made other visits in 1893 and in 1895, holding meetings in a school house and a church building in Dunkerton. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Dunkerton were greatly blessed at these meetings and it was in their home that an assembly – the original Dunkerton Gospel Hall – was begun in about 1893. Later, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Nesbit were saved and Remembered the Lord with the Dunkertons and Mr. Blair.

Following John Blair’s pioneer efforts, others came to help and encourage the little gathering. In about 1896, Mr. E. G. Matthews, a businessman, began coming to Dunkerton for weekends where he could Remember the Lord and give help in the Gospel. A number were saved at a special Gospel effort conducted by Messrs. Bultmann, Lockwood, and Matthews in the Town Hall in 1896.

In 1898, a meeting to Remember the Lord was begun in the Matthews home in the city of Waterloo. C.W. Ross came to Waterloo with his tent for several summers. Messrs. Harcus, O’Brien, Broadfoot, and others helped in those days of pioneering. The result was that a large assembly developed in Waterloo and many assemblies were started in the surrounding districts.

The Christians met in other homes besides the Matthews home, and rented public buildings, among which were a funeral home at East Fifth and Mulberry Street, and an upstairs room on Commercial Street. In 1921, the brethren felt led to build a permanent building and purchased a lot at the corner of Western Avenue and Pleasant Street in Waterloo. The building is known as the Western Avenue Gospel Hall but is often called the Waterloo Gospel Hall. The first meetings to Remember the Lord there were in 1922.

The Dunkerton and Waterloo meetings were only fifteen miles apart and were closely associated in the early gospel efforts. The Dunkerton meeting joined with the Waterloo assembly in about 1922, when automobiles came into general use. The work was strengthened by the moving of the Leask family from Mason City in northern Iowa, and the Charles Herman family from Manchester, east of Waterloo. The help of young men who had good voices for street work was sought, and Jack Charles, Donald Charles, Tom Olson, and others responded. Thousands heard the Gospel in the open air in Waterloo.

Leaders in the Waterloo assembly in the early years were E.G. Matthews, Fred Lakin, William Leask, Glen Holloperter, Ray Nesbit, and Cliff Smith. Recent leaders include Richard Orr, Dilmer Stickfort, Ronnie Wessells, and Fred Cirksena..

About 38 adults are in fellowship now, with 13 children in the Sunday School. The Waterloo assembly became Oliver Smith’s home assembly, and he was commended to the Lord’s work by the assembly. Mrs. Mable Gillette has been commended to the work in Ireland.

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In the 1890s, Charles Hoehler, an immigrant from Germany, had been hired to help at the Goff farm in North Dakota, and was saved through the influence of the Goffs. In late 1895, Mr. Hoehler came to the Dubuque area looking for a place to hold Gospel meetings. He found a school house, and at those meetings, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Herman and Mrs. John Haltmeyer were saved.

The Hermans later moved to Manchester, and after that to a farm near Waterloo, adjacent to a dairy farm owned by Oliver Smith. They presented Christ to the young farmer, and in about 1913 he too joined the ranks of the saved.

Oliver Smith soon became so engrossed in Gospel activity that he gave up farming and devoted all his time to the Lord’s work. Many in the country districts around Waterloo were reached through his efforts. Oliver Smith became the towering figure among the assemblies of northern Iowa. Largely through his obedience to the Lord, several good-sized assemblies were established in northern and northeast Iowa. A feature story in the Des Moines Tribune in 1935 estimated that one thousand persons had been saved through Oliver Smith’s evangelistic efforts.

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In 1916, Oliver Smith, then still a farmer, hurt his hand badly in a corn sheller. While recuperating, he went to the village of Clayton on the Mississippi River, six miles north of Garnavillo, where he preached twice. At the end of that year, he returned to Clayton with John Dahlgaard, and preached through the following year, with many professing salvation. Among those saved were Henry Ramsey and Susie Ricker.

An assembly of believers was formed at Clayton in August of 1918, meeting at their Clayton Gospel Hall. One of the eventual leaders of the Clayton assembly was Ed Ostoff, saved under the witness of Oliver Smith. The assembly continued until 1951, when Ed Ostoff died. At that time the remaining believers joined with those at Garnavillo.

  • * * * * * *

Susie Ricker worked as a hired girl for Mrs. Fred Kramer in Garnavillo, and Oliver Smith went in 1919 to that village to meet with her. This led to Gospel meetings in Garnavillo in June 1919, and soon Mrs. Kramer, Mrs. John Dehn, and Mrs. Louis Brandt were saved, among others. In July 1921, six believers from the Garnavillo area – Elmer and Laura Brandt, Tillie Kramer, Louis and Nettie Tischhauser, and Amanda Brandt – Broke Bread for the first time, meeting in Elmer Brandt’s home. Louis Brandt, later to become an active preacher, was not saved until about 1922.

For a time they met in various homes; in the spring of 1922 they were able to meet in the West Side school house. A building fund for constructing a Gospel Hall was started in 1924, and in 1930 the believers built and met for the first time in the Garnavillo Gospel Hall.

The Christians at Garnavillo were diligent in the spread of the Gospel to surrounding areas. The brethren held street meetings and sponsored tent meeting for evangelists. The first Bible Conference at Garnavillo was in 1936 and has been an annual event since then. The Gospel Hall was enlarged in 1949 and again in 1983, at which time the number of adults and children associated with the assembly was about 100. Louis Brandt, Henry Wahls, and Joel Portman have been commended to ministry by the Garnavillo assembly.

  • * * * * * *

During the years 1913 to 1920, a number of men – Charles Hoehler, Tom Olson, A.N. O’Brien, Fed Hillis, William Grierson, Oliver Smith, W.W. White, and others – preached in the Manchester area and many souls were saved. In the spring of 1920, Messrs. Hillis and Grierson began a series of Gospel meetings in the North Manchester Union Church building, and continued for six weeks. It was while this series of meetings was in progress that 13 believers gathered for the first time, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Willie Tharp to Remember the Lord. The Christians continued to meet in various homes, in the North Manchester Church building, and at one time above one of the business establishments in downtown Manchester. In 1929, the brethren purchased a lot at the corner of Union and Wayne Streets and built the Manchester Gospel Hall, where the assembly met until 1990, at which time they moved into their new hall. Some 55 are in fellowship in the Manchester assembly, with 25 to 30 children..

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Stout is a small town west of Cedar Falls and Waterloo. It was to that town that Oliver Smith, Lloyd Smith, and Ward O’Neil came for street meetings in the summer of 1922. The response was good, and some local men – Herman Brandt, Alrich Brandt, and George Meyer – urged them to return for more meetings. Many were saved in these tent meetings which extended through the fall. As winter approached, Mr. Ubbie Reiter offered the use of an old church building that he had purchased. The meetings lasted about 14 months in Stout and nearby Parkersburg, during which time about 100 souls were saved.

In July 1923, about 30 believers gathered in assembly capacity to Remember the Lord. The assembly continued in the old building until 1937. At that time, the Christians tore it down and built the present Stout Gospel Hall on the same site. In 1979, an addition was built onto the south side of the hall. Several improvements have been made to provide for wheelchair accessibility.

Since 1926, a two-day Bible Conference and Thanksgiving Day meeting have been held annually. The Meyer and Stickfort families have played leading roles in the assembly over the years. Among the many who have ministered at the Stout assembly are Eric McCollough, Leonard deBuhr, Albert Hull, and Gauis Goff. About 100 adults are in fellowship at the Stout Gospel Hall.

  • * * * * * *

In the summer of 1925, while holding tent meetings in Aplington, Oliver Smith secured permission to use a United Brethren church building in nearby Hitesville for Gospel meetings. The meetings began in March 1926 and continued for nearly a year with much fruit. Farmers, business men, and people from all walks came under conviction of sin, and over 70 were saved. Two wives of the trustees of the church – Mrs. Leona Christopherson and Mrs. Ed Uhlenhopp – were the first saved in these meetings. They were followed by Chauncey Yost, Lawrence Christopherson, August Brinkman and his parents, Bert Street, Walter Eltjes, and a host of others.

When the meetings concluded, the young believers came together on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings for Bible readings, prayer, singing, and fellowship. When Mr. Smith knew this, he came and taught them truths about the Church. In October 1927, these believers, about 55 of them, first sat down around the Lord’s Table. The believers purchased the building that had been used for the Gospel meetings, and this became the Hitesville Gospel Hall. The building has been enlarged and improved several times since then.

The first Hitesville Bible Conference was held in 1931, and has been a continuing feature of the assembly. Open-air preaching in surrounding towns was common in the early days. In the 1930s, the small town consisted of just a few homes; today, Hitesville has just a cemetery and the Gospel Hall. About 75 are in fellowship, plus Sunday School children.

  • * * * * * *

Aredale, 15 miles northwest of Hitesville, has a population of about 100. In 1928, Harm Harms and George Uhlenhopp secured use of the Aredale town hall and presented the Gospel, with some interest shown. Chauncey Yost moved onto a farm south of Aredale in 1930, and continued spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in the area. In 1931, Oliver Smith put up his tent for Gospel meetings. Many were saved in this period, and in September of that year, 35 were baptized.

In the fall of 1933, several believers in Aredale came together to Remember the Lord. About seven couples and several single people constituted the assembly meeting at Aredale Gospel Hall in its early days. About 35 others have entered the fellowship since that time. The small Gospel Hall has been improved through the years, and is still at its original location in Aredale. The assembly has grown recently through the addition of 15 people from the Hampton area.

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Cylinder is a small town on Highway 18, 60 miles west of Mason City. Marlo Olson was born and grew up there, and had been converted during Gospel meetings at the Garnavillo Gospel Hall. He took employment in Washington, DC after graduating from college, but kept in touch with Oliver Smith by letter, urging him to go to Cylinder to preach. Mr. Smith came in the summer of 1933 for two weeks of meetings with fruit being seen. He returned several times through the summer and fall for more work in the Gospel. A letter written from Cylinder by Mr. Smith to Marlo Olson mentions 27 having been saved since the summer meetings.

Mr. Smith returned to Cylinder in March 1934 for Gospel meetings, and again in May, this time accompanied by Louis Brandt from Garnavillo. At that time, about 10 local believers, with some 40 from other assemblies, sat down together to partake of the Lord’s Supper. That first meeting was in the Odd Fellows Hall. After that, the meetings were held mostly in the Olson family home. The assembly increased to about 30 believers in fellowship at one point, but now consists of about a dozen. In 1967, the present Cylinder Gospel Hall was built.

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Hampton is a sizeable town south of Mason City. Henry and Mary Wohlenhaus and their daughter Rose moved there from Lyman, IA where they had been saved in meetings at the Lyman Gospel Hall. After coming to Hampton, they and the Malones fellowshipped at the Hiteville assembly, some 23 miles away.

In 1933, Oliver Smith rasied the Gospel tent in Hampton and continued with meetings for five weeks, with other brothers sharing the ministry. About 12 persons were saved in those meetings. The baptized believers formed an assembly at Hampton in 1934, meeting initially in the home of the Wohlenhaus and Malone families. Soon they rented rooms over a grocery store, where they continued until 1941, when they moved into their newly completed Hampton Gospel Hall, with 20 then in fellowship. Oliver Smith and William Warke conducted meetings at Hampton in the early days of the assembly, and many others since then. About 30 believers are in fellowship there now.

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Mason City is the business center of North Central Iowa. In the late teens and early 1920s, the Gospel was brought into the area by men such as E.G. Matthews and Mr. Robertson, followed by Samuel Keller, Oliver Smith, A.T. Stewart, and Samuel Hamilton. In 1932, Elgie Jamison and William Warke pitched a tent which drew large crowds, with several saved.

In September 1934, sixteen believers first gathered in Remembrance of the Lord, meeting in a rented basement on 4th and North Federal. Later they met in the YMCA and YWCA buildings. In 1952, an old church building was purchased by the assembly and became the Mason City Gospel Hall; it was sold in 1967 and another purchased on Maple Drive, the present home of the assembly of about 25 believers.

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West Union lies northeast of Waterloo and west of Garnavillo. Louis Brandt, Hy Wahls, William Warke and others pitched their tent in several localities in the area from 1941 through 1947 with some fruit and much opposition. The Christians from the Garnavillo assembly supported these meetings. Among those saved during this period were Gene and William Brainard, William’s wife Doris, Melvin Nutting, and his mother, Lester and Leta Crain, and Mrs. Lila Barnhouse. The first baptism was in 1945 and more followed soon. In March 1947, the West Union Christians met for the first time as an assembly in the Crain home.

They met from home to home for a while, then purchased the Freiden School at auction and moved it onto a lot at the end of East Elm Street, still the location of the West Union Gospel Hall. Forty two believers were in fellowship in 1985.

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The city of Cedar Falls borders Waterloo. Oliver Smith and others had Gospel series’ there several times beginning in 1941, in which many professed salvation. In 1962, a church building was purchased by the local believers, who included several in fellowship at the Waterloo and Stout assemblies. In February of 1963, Eric McCullough and William Warke began a series in the Gospel at this location. When several more were saved, the believers felt this to be God’s seal of approval for their desire to plant an assembly in that city. About 45 local believers Remembered the Lord for the first time as the Cedar Falls assembly in July of that year.

Since then, more have been saved and in 1985, about 60 were in fellowship, worshipping at the Cedar Falls Gospel Hall. Some 75 to 80 attend the assembly now, and expansion of the Hall is planned. The Waterloo and Cedar Falls assemblies jointly sponsor an annual Bible Conference, the two Gospel Halls being less than 10 miles apart.

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By 1956, the Western Avenue Gospel Hall in Waterloo had grown to the point where either a hive-off or an enlarged building was needed. The decision was made to forego remodeling and establish a Sunday School outreach in the Alabar Hills area of Waterloo. Thus a Sunday School work began in that district at the Black Hawk school in August 1956. At an April 1957 meeting of Western Avenue Gospel Hall, the decision was made to begin Breaking of Bread at the school and to form the Downing Avenue Gospel Chapel in Waterloo . The Western Avenue Christians helped with the purchase of a lot, and by January 1958 the new chapel was finished and the first meeting there was held.

Howard Dunkerton and Henry Anderson were the principals in forming the new assembly. Wendell Lockhard and the Ahreholz family were also involved in the start-up. Those in active leadership at Downing Avenue Gospel Chapel include Howard Dunkerton, Willis Jepperson, Oscar Ahreholz, Henry Anderson, Ed Dempster, William Farber, Ernie Matthias, Doug Dunkerton, and Bob Smith. Several people have been commended to the Lord’s work at home and abroad by Downing Avenue Gospel Chapel.

In 1998, the assembly relocated and became known as Bethany Bible Chapel in Cedar Falls. Nearly 300 people attend the assembly.

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Antioch is a small community north of Cedar Falls. Many believers lived in the Antioch area, which led to Gospel meetings being held in the old Antioch church building and surrounding areas. Russell Nesbit Jr., Duane Wessels, and others labored in the area for a number of years. The desire to plant a new assembly in Antioch reached fruition in April 1974, when 15 believers first gathered to Remember the Lord in the old Antioch church. Soon four more were added. These believers were all from the Hitesville, Stout, Cedar Falls, and Waterloo assemblies, and were driving quite a distance to attend their assemblies.

Later in 1974, these believers bought a lot adjacent the Antioch cemetery. In October 1975, they were able to move into the Antioch Gospel Hall. About 40 were in fellowship in the Antioch assembly in 1985.

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The Mason City Christian Assembly began in 1991, having split from nearby Gospel Halls. Located at 1819 South Coolidge in Mason City, the assembly was started by Glenn Lightfoot and Joe Balsan. Leadership has been shared by Eldon Finer, Dave Platz, and John Muldoon. The Mason City Christian Assembly has about 10 adults and youngsters in attendance.

Eastern Iowa

In the early 1950s, Oliver Smith, Paul Elliot, and William Warke held Gospel meetings in the area south of Manchester. Those saved in these meetings generally went into fellowship at the Manchester Gospel Hall. As employment opportunities grew in the Cedar Rapids area, these believers became exercised about establishing a testimony there. Herbert Dobson spent many weeks at various intervals in his labors in the area and was a large influence in the start and early days of an assembly in Marion, on the north side of Cedar Rapids. James Smith and Hector Alves also labored in the area.

In 1957, the believers rented a large upper room in the Memorial Hall in downtown Marion,. There they held Sunday night Gospel meetings and a weekly prayer meeting. They often enjoyed the fellowship and help of the Manchester brethren. In March 1962, with Ronald Borrett, Verle Smith, and Irvin Toenjes as initiators, the believers gathered as an assembly. Shortly thereafter, Albert Kampman also served as a leader, along with others.

The Marion Gospel Hall was built in 1967, a few blocks away from Memorial Hall. Adjacent to the Marion Gospel Hall is the Linn Manor Care Center, administered by believers from area assemblies. About 100 adults and youngsters currently attend the assembly, which has experienced recent growth. Workers have been commended to the Lord’s service in Zambia and to ministry in the U.S.

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Prior to 1966, the only assembly in the Cedar Rapids area was the Marion Gospel Hall. Three families not associated with that assembly were meeting together weekly to study the Word of God and enjoy happy fellowship. After careful consideration and counsel from Mr. Ben Tuininga, the three families decided to start Breaking Bread together as the Cedar Rapids Assembly, meeting in the home of Richard and Beth Plowman.

In that same year two other families moved to the Cedar Rapids area and began to meet with this small assembly along with two or three single people. With these additions there were nearly fifteen adults and about twenty children.

The assembly learned that a congregation on the northeast side of town wanted to sell their building to enable them to build a larger one. Stewards Foundation agreed to provide a loan to the new assembly if they could come up with a down payment. The Lombard Gospel Chapel in the Chicago area, which had been the home assembly of David and Ann Rodgers, provided what was needed to make the down payment for the new group in Cedar Rapids. The move was made in October of 1967.

In the mid 1970s, about 75 people were regularly attending the various meetings at the Cedar Rapids Assembly. Elders were recognized and functioning. Souls were being saved and the saints were being taught. Then two of the four elders became seriously ill and died, and the assembly declined. In the meantime some of the families attending the Marion Gospel Hall contacted the Cedar Rapids Assembly to see if a merging of the assemblies could be worked out. Eventually three of those families joined with the remnant of the Cedar Rapids Assembly and a new assembly was formed in 1989, using the same building but changing the name to Oakland Road Bible Assembly. By 1999, the assembly had grown to about 125 people, and had changed their name to Cedar Rapids Bible Chapel.

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An assembly of believers was meeting as early as 1887 in the home of C.W. Cross, seven miles from Grandview in southeast Iowa, close to the Mississippi. In 1896, the believers were meeting in Grandview, in various locations. This assembly discontinued in 1920, but at Letts, six miles northwest of Grandview, a small group seems to have been meeting to Remember the Lord. Whether this was connected with the work soon developed by brothers from Omaha is not clear.

Not long after Glen Plowman was saved, he moved his family to Omaha to find work. He knew nothing about the assemblies, or any other church for that matter; he just knew that he was a Christian and needed help to grow. In Omaha, he discovered the tent meetings that Harold Harper was having in conjunction with the Omaha Gospel Hall. Soon, he and his family were a part of that assembly. He greatly desired that his relatives in eastern Iowa come to know about the Lord. Arthur and Willard Rodgers and others in the Omaha assembly, took the Gospel to Glen Plowman’s former home area near Letts, and several were saved. An assembly was formed, meeting in various places in Muscatine, Grandview, and Letts. J. P. Patterson labored at the assembly when it met in Muscatine.

In 1932, after fifteen were baptized in the Mississippi River, the group obtained a building for their assembly in the country two miles east of the village of Letts. The testimony at the Letts Gospel Hall continued until about 1990.

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In 1952, the Garnavillo brethren learned of assembly interest in the Grandview/Letts area, and Louis Brandt and Dale Hyde began meetings in the Letts Town Assembly Hall , which was a country school house. Mrs. Becky and Mrs. Kent responded to the Gospel. In 1953, a tent was set in Letts, but without much local response. The tent was then moved into Grandview, where a number were saved, including Dan Gast and Ruth Cocklin. Gospel meetings were held in subsequent years in the Gast home and in tents. In 1959, the believers gathered as an assembly. The Grandview Assembly continued to meet in the Gast home until a hall was completed in 1972. About 20 were in fellowship in 1985.

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The Davenport Assembly began in the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Egger on West Locust Street in about 1936. Ten adults and three children were in that initial meeting. Others responsible for starting the assembly were Helen and Eldon Baird, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Iverson, and Mr. and Mrs. Morris. Some of those in leadership over the years are mentioned below in connection with hive-offs.

The Davenport Assembly later rented a remodeled garage on Laurel Street. While there, they held a one-day Bible Conference at which Arthur Rodgers was the speaker. After that, they met in four different rented places until 1949, when they built Harrison Gospel Chapel in Davenport at 3025 Harrison Street. The first Bible Conference at the new building was in September 1950.

The Harrison assembly purchased a seven-acre plot in about 1990 and built the larger High Point Bible Chapel in Davenport at 2600 63rd Street, at which about 75 attend now. Recent elders include James Iverson, Fred Scott, Bill Kuhl, and Tom Daly. Harrison/High Point has commended several to the Lord’s work.

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Harrison Gospel Chapel has hived-off three other assemblies. Robert Vogel and Lawrence Fors started the Community Christian Fellowship in Moline. Ray Routley, Jerry Stonehouse, Carl Trent, and August Stevens started Oak Ridge Bible Chapel in Milan, IL. Others started a home meeting in Davenport in about 1995 called Davenport Bible Fellowship. This group continues to meet in the basement of the Andy Parker family.

A recent hive-off from High Point Bible Chapel is the Fulton Assembly at Fulton, IL, started by Abe Chacko, Steve Geddin, and Jim Larson; that group meets in a Christian school in Fulton.

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Shortly after Emmaus Bible College moved to Dubuque, two assemblies were established in that city. The Asbury Road Bible Chapel, begun in 1984, meets at the college and has about 50 faculty and staff families, 50 townspeople, and 100 students in attendance during the school year. The Asbury Community Chapel started in 1986, meets in the nearby village of Asbury, and has a fellowship of about 40 townspeople, 40 faculty and staff families from Emmaus Bible College, and 130 students.

South Central Iowa

Christian coal miners from Scotland immigrated to the coal mining area of southeast Iowa perhaps as early as 1885. They formed little assemblies and began to preach the gospel to fellow miners and farmers. Forbush and What Cheer were among the early assemblies; then Rathbun, Mystic, Numa, Jerome, Hocking, Melcher, and Williamson; then Centerville and Albia. By removals these pioneers or their descendants became the nuclei of assemblies in Des Moines, Eddyville, Ottumwa, and Davenport. The last named had an earlier history, on a different basis, but its later strength was largely due to influx from Centerville. At one time, the assembly at Ottumwa was the largest and most influential in the state of Iowa; it disbanded in the mid 1990s.

The What Cheer Assembly was formed some time prior to 1888, making it the first or second in Iowa (see Berea). It quickly grew to a company of fifty or more Christians. When work in the mines ran out at What Cheer some of these brethren moved to Carbondale and Excelsior. They continued their Gospel activity and worked underground to pay expenses. When the mines closed in those places, they moved further afield into southern Iowa.

Around 1890, a few of the coal miners from What Cheer came to Forbush to work in the mine there, establishing an assembly there. Among them were James Whittem, John Moffat, and W.A. Wilson. They worked in the mine during the winter months, saved their money, then rented tents to use for Gospel meetings during the summer, in many small towns. As people trusted the Lord, small meetings were started. A feature of the work in these towns were joint quarterly meetings consisting of one-day ministry.

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When these towns lost population with the loss of industry, these assemblies moved to Centerville. They bought the Swedish Baptist Mission for meetings, calling it the Centerville Gospel Hall. In 1904, the old Methodist building on the corner of Main and Washington was purchased and became their meeting place until the present building was built in 1950, at 828 South 12th Street.

The Centerville assembly was a fairly large group for a small town; it was a leader among several other assemblies in the area. Their Labor Day conferences were highlights of the year, with several hundred people in attendance. In the late 1990s, only a handful of adults were in the fellowship.

Among those who worked and preached there were William Sommerville, John Moffat, W.A. Wilson, John McGee, John K. Wilson, John Hargrave, James S. White, W.W. White, and Thomas McCully. These men carried on for a long time before any of those giving their whole time to the Lord’s work arrived on the scene. Mr. Sommerville was a true shepherd and a good gospeller. John Moffat and W. A. Wilson were gifted men and spent their later years in full-time service. They were used in establishing the original testimony in Centerville in about 1897. W. W. White helped Mr. Moffat and others in tent work at Centerville, Numa, Jerome, and other places. The Welshmen David Lawrence and his brother-in-law were prominent in the assembly later; David Lawrence was an itinerant preacher who traveled often with Arthur Rodgers. John Lewis was another itinerant preacher who was associated with Centerville. George Jones is the current leading elder in the Centerville assembly, now called the Centerville Gospel Chapel.

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Williamson was an active mining town in South Central Iowa when its coal mine was in operation, but scarcely exists today. The assembly meeting at the Williamson Gospel Hall was started in about 1929. The group met first in the Williamson High School auditorium and had about 45 to 50 people in fellowship. Two years after the meeting was started, the group moved a building from Numa to Williamson for their fellowship. Mark Avitt’s truck was used to move the building. The Gospel Hall had a large sign on the outside with John 3:16 in bold letters.

Most of the brothers in the assembly were coal miners. Some had moved from Albia and other area meetings when those mines were closed. The Williamson Gospel Hall closed in the mid 1950s after the Williamson mine closed.

Speakers that helped in the meeting included David Lawrence, W.W. White, Albert Orcutt, James Stell, and David and John Horn.

Central Iowa

The towns of Pella and Sully, near Des Moines, were settled mostly by farmers from Holland. Still, the assemblies that started there were influenced by the assemblies begun by the coal miners. The Pella Gospel Hall was established in 1941 by James Steele, Walter VanDer Hart, and Gradus DeCook, and has always been on Union Street. The VanDer Hart family, Gradus DeCook, and George Pinches have shared leadership of the assembly, which has about 25 adults and youngsters in attendance.

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The Bible Truth Chapel in Oskaloosa was established in 1974 by Milo and Harold VandeKrol and Willis Veldhuizin. It was first located at 7th Avenue East, Oskaloosa. In 1991, it moved to a new building east of Oskaloosa on Highway 92, and changed its name to Hillside Bible Church. Milo and Harold VandeKrol, Elmer Roorda, Ray Plowman, Willis Veldnuizin, and Rick Johnson have been active in leadership.

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The assembly which meets today as Cornerstone Community Church in Des Moines at 3200 Lincoln Avenue, had its beginning on May 19, 1912 when a small group of believers met in the the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Green, who had moved to Des Moines from Centerville. That first group consisted of the Green family, John Moffat of Centerville, and Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Hodges of Hocking. Soon the Robert D. Livingstons of Hocking, and the J. H. Whites of Centerville began fellowshiping with this small group, which consisted primarily of coal mining families.

The meeting moved to the Livingston home at 1418 E. Court Avenue in November of 1912, where they continued to meet until May 1913. The assembly was strengthened by other families moving to Des Moines, among them Thomas McCully from Albia.

The first Des Moines Conference was held on May 30 – June 1, 1913 in a tent erected in what was then Governor Square Park. Ministry at the conference was provided by Messrs. Wilson, Moffat, Greer, Broadfoot and Pinches. The assembly soon became known for sponsoring Bible Conferences.

Immediately after the first conference, a store building was secured for assembly meetings. In the fall of 1913, Messrs. Greer and McCracken held a series of meetings there. The assembly grew, so an old storage building was found at 1315 E. Walnut, which served as the meeting place for a time. The “Neighborhood House” at 513 E. 13th St. was obtained for the Conference in 1914. The assembly continued to meet at the “Neighborhood House” for about 18 months.

John Green then rented a shop at 1309 E. Walnut Street, which became the Des Moines Gospel Hall. For two years the Bible Conference was held there, and to accommodate the larger crowds on Sunday, services were held at the Masonic Home Lodge at E. 6th and Locust.

In 1921, an old church building at 800 Des Moines Street, near the State Capitol, became available and was purchased. The assembly was then named Central Gospel Chapel. In these early years it was not uncommon for as many as eight or ten speakers to be in attendance.

The numbers attending the Conferences grew so large that the chapel could no longer accommodate them, and in about 1936 the Conference was moved to the Iowa State Fairgrounds, where attendance often reached 700 to 800. The Conference continued at the fairgrounds until 1954 with the exception of three years (1942-1944) during World War II.

By 1953 the assembly required still more space. Land was obtained at 3200 Lincoln Avenue and the construction of a new chapel was begun. The old building at 800 Des Moines St. was sold, and for approximately 16 months services were conducted in the gyrnnasium of Valley High School in West Des Moines while a new facility was being built.

The first Sunday services were held in the new chapel in May 1955, where the assembly presently resides as the Cornerstone Community Church. Elders since then have included Tom Baird, Jim Green, Jim White, Jack Bernard, Ray Johnson, Andrew Crawford, Albert Orcutt, Lew Clarkson, and Corwin Dawson. About 300 adults and youngsters attend the assembly. Many workers have been commended to the Lord’s service locally and abroad. The assembly has been known for its active youth program.

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In the late 1930s, E.F. Washington of Kansas City, KS, with help from Dale Inhofe and Harry Ferris, then associated with Central Gospel Chapel in Des Moines, held gospel meetings on the east side of Des Moines, a racially mixed neighborhood. A few were saved, and a group began to Remember the Lord at a location on W. 12th Street near University. In 1940, the Christians purchased a lot and built a hall at 1400 De Wolf Street, the present location of the De Wolf Street Gospel Hall. An addition was built later to accommodate the growing Sunday School. Dale Inhofe, Harry Ferris, Jack Bell, and Carroll Connett have been leaders over the years. About a dozen people are in the assembly at present.

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The Ames Gospel Chapel, north of Des Moines, began as a congregation consisting largely of university students from various Iowa assemblies. Robert Arthur helped in its early days, and Ansel Bolt was associated with the assembly for many years, until it disbanded in the 1990s.

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In about 1915, an assembly began in the home of Frank Payne at Fort Dodge. However, the Good News Chapel in Fort Dodge is considered to have begun in about 1930. In that city, for many years, Light and Liberty and The Fields, as well as much other Christian literature, were produced by Walterick Publishers, which later moved to Kansas. Here the Gospel Perpetuating Fund originated two great hymnals: Choice Hymns of The Faith, and Hymns of Worship and Remembrance, as well as Alfred Gibbs’ chorus books. Close to Fort Dodge is Twin Lakes Camp, where Karl Pfaff and others began a series of annual camps and conferences, principally for the young. The Good News Chapel discontinued in the early 1990s.

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From the Good News Chapel in Fort Dodge, Wayne and Carol Messerly went in 1963 to the Story Book Christian Camp in northern Minnesota to serve as volunteer counselors and teachers. In 1967, they felt that the Lord was directing them back to Iowa, so they settled near the small town of Stratford, close to the larger town of Boone, where Wayne took a position as managing editor of a local newspaper. They did not join any of the local churches, but simply Remembered the Lord in their home, praying for a revival in the area and the establishment of a new testimony.

By 1970, the drug and hippie culture had invaded central Iowa, and many of the area high school and college students were deeply involved. Some churches around Boone became alarmed and jointly sponsored a revival crusade. God was already working in the lives of some of the youth, and several were saved and others renewed at the crusade.

Two of the young men who were saved, Andy Crim and Carl Dorner, sought out the Messerly family, knowing of their Christian walk. The Messerly family was happy to work with them and their friends, opening their home to crowds of young people, most of them still in a hippie lifestyle. They instructed the young people in the things of God, and showed them how to lead Bible studies.

At the end of 1970, 22 young men gathered to Remember the Lord in the Messerly home, and were soon joined by young women and others. Andy and Carl became enthusiastic evangelists, able to speak the language of their compatriots. Within a few weeks, the area was exploding with Bible studies, in what has become known as the ‘God Awakening’ in that area.

The fellowship in the Messerly home was incorporated in August 1972 as the Stratford Bible Chapel, with Wayne and Tom Messerly, Andy Crim, Carl Dorner, Kevin Chalfant, Steve Huffman, and John Berglund as its leaders. The group at that time had 30 core believers, while up to 125 would come to midweek praise and study meetings.

A hive-off occurred in 1977 when some of the believers began the Boone Assembly. However, the two groups soon decided to re-unite. They purchased an old farm house on three acres between Stratford and Boone, remodeled it, and in 1982 incorporated as the Countryside Bible Chapel. In 1996, about 150 people were in fellowship at Countryside.

Southwest Iowa

The Berea Gospel Hall, in the small town of Berea nine miles from Anita in southwest Iowa, may be the oldest in the state. The Gospel was brought there in 1884 when Alexander Broadfoot moved to that area. Souls were saved through his efforts and the labors of others, among them Messrs. Both, Little, Gotchel, and McLarian. These brethren carried the Gospel to the neighboring towns of Mt. Etna, Massena, Fontenella, Anita, Greenfield, and Atlantic, holding meetings in country school-houses.

The assembly at Berea first met to Break Bread in the Berea schoolhouse not long after Mr. Broadfoot’s coming. Never a large assembly, it is yet the parent of the Lyman; Greenfield; Palisade, Nebraska; and Long Island, Kansas assemblies.

Prayerful exercise on the part of S.A. Brown resulted in Alexander Broadfoot and Don Charles coming to bring the gospel into the district near Lyman. In 1906, these two brethren began meetings in a church building and the schoolhouse. Jack Charles later held meetings in an old creamery building, using planks on top of pop boxes for seats. This building was purchased and made into the Lyman Gospel Hall shortly after the work started in 1907 or 1908. Later the assembly moved an abandoned rural church building into Lyman and have used it as their hall ever since. Annual Conferences were begun soon after the work started, and continue to the present. At the first Conference in 1909, the speakers were Alexander Broadfoot, Don Charles, C.W. Ross, Arthur Rodgers, John Moffat, and C. J. Baker.

In the early days, the assembly at Lyman numbered about 120 for special meetings. In active leadership over the years have been Cal Lindeman, Will Meyer, Lewis Lindeman, Fred Meyer, C.G. Lindeman, Harold Meyer, Edgar Kunze, and Jim Nichols. The assembly has commended workers to Korea and Brazil.

Many other of the Lord’s servants have labored faithfully ministering the Word and preaching the gospel in this district, among them C.W. Ross, James Erskine, John Moffat, A.N. O’Brien, William Thomas, A.B. Rodgers, John and David Horn, David Lawrence, C.J. Baker, W. Wilson, and James Gilbert, in addition to those already mentioned.

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The Mayflower Gospel Chapel in Cumberland, a small community a few miles northeast of Lyman, was formed in the 1950s, an offshoot of the Lyman Gospel Hall. Joe Johnson and Agnes Erickson are credited with starting this assembly. Larry Johnson has been its leader. About 20 adults and youngsters attend the assembly, which is now located one mile south of the original hall in Cumberland.

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The Atlantic Gospel Chapel, begun in 1954, is also an offshoot of the Lyman Gospel Hall. The Christians of the assembly met for a year in the Assembly Room at the county Courthouse while their chapel was being constructed. William Howell, Lyman Worthington, Lewis Lindeman, William Morgan, Don Wohlenhaus, Bob (Arnold) Lindeman, Bud (Lloyd) Lindeman, and Gene Mallette were those involved in the initiation of the assembly. Elders have included Ed Hill, Clair Wohlenhaus, Don Hartkopf, George Heuss, Ned Brown, Duane Brown, Jim Freeman, Johnny Mitchell, and Stefan Johnson. The Atlantic Gospel Chapel has commended several missionaries to foreign and local fields. About 160 adults and children attend the assembly.

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From 1932 through 1934, several men conducted Gospel meetings in various country school houses in Adair County during the summer months, and in a large tent pitched in the Greenfield city park. Among those who preached during this three year period were James Gilbert and Glen Plowman of Omaha, and the Horn brothers of Atchison, Kansas. Kenneth and Eldon Baird spent their summer vacations preaching in the Schofield country school house east of Greenfield, and in a rented vacant church building in Greenfield. J.G. Charles of Kansas City held meetings in Jackson Center school house, west of Fontanelle. As a result, an interest was created and some were converted to Christ. In the summer of 1936, a group of believers Broke Bread for the first time in the home of Eldon and Helen Stowell in Greenfield. Others present at this first meeting were Erskine and Grace Broadfoot, Had and Edna Sivage, Adeline (Jisa) Fils, Henry and Clara Limbaugh, Herb and Ona Stowell, Harold and Tillie Stowell, Herbert and Maurine Stowell, Bertha Baird, Merle (Jr.) Baird, Gwendolyn Baird, Mrs. J.H. Yeates, and Helen (Stowell) Hohertz. All of these had been baptized and received into fellowship at the Berea Gospel Hall prior to the beginning of the Greenfield Assembly.

Erskine Broadfoot and Had Sivage, because of their qualifications and long time association with the believers at Berea, were acknowledged to be the elders and Eldon Stowell was asked to be correspondent. Home meetings continued for about a year. Then it was decided to rent the old vacant Christian Church building and establish the Greenfield Gospel Hall. Even then, over forty people gathered in homes for Bible readings.

For a few years following the starting of the new assembly, speakers from other assemblies came on Sundays once a month to help, and a number of special meetings were conducted, mostly in the form of one or two-week series of evangelistic campaigns.

In the late 1940s, the assembly began meeting in the court room of the Adair County Court House for their Sunday meetings. In 1950, land was purchased on Highway 25 at the north edge of the town, and a country church building was purchased, moved onto the property, and remodeled. The assembly changed its name then to Greenfield Gospel Chapel. In 1962, they traded buildings with the local Lutheran Church at 401 E. Iowa Street in Greenfield. The assembly numbered about 80 in fellowship in 1998. Among those in leadership over the years have been Eldon Stowell, Ken Baird, John Guikema, and Gerald Reed, and many others.

In 1976, the Greenfield Gospel Chapel started sponsoring a 15-minute Radio Bible Studies program with Ken Baird every Sunday morning on a local radio station. Bruce Collins of Waterloo, IA took over the program when Ken Baird retired.

The Greenfield Gospel Chapel has joined with Berea Gospel Hall, Lyman Gospel Hall, Atlantic Elm Street Gospel Chapel, and Atlantic Sunnyside Bible Chapel in commending several people to the work of the Lord in Brazil.

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The Council Bluffs Bible Chapel, across the Missouri River from Omaha, was established in about 1980 as a hive-off from Keystone Bible Chapel in Omaha. Lloyd Andrew and Richard Lewis are the leading men in the small assembly. Though in a poor neighborhood in a poor building, they maintain the testimony and have seen blessing.

Northwest Iowa

Sioux City was the American home of the Robert Hoys, missionaries to France. On their first furlough Mr. Hoy pitched a Gospel tent and called Harold Harper as the evangelist. Omaha brethren began a course of Gospel preaching and follow-up, which continued for years. One winter was a real harvest time among farmers north of the city, followed later by an ingathering from the city. Arthur Rodgers baptized 21 one Sunday morning. The believers first rented a store building for their assembly meetings, then built their own Washington Heights Bible Chapel in Sioux City. George T. Pinches and William Trotter also did early work in the area.

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Sam Hayes and others of Sioux City had been saved in 1960 through the preaching of William Jackson, from an assembly in Kansas City. Following this, Sam Eadie faithfully instructed the new believers in the Word of God every Friday night, driving from Omaha to Sioux City, a journey of 100 miles one way. Mr. Eadie was in fellowship at the Omaha Gospel Hall. Others in this faithful ministry included Bill Fear and Messrs. Randolph, Petherick, Whitehouse, and Harvey. This continued for 17 years, until in 1977 an assembly was established in the Sam Hayes home. Sam Eadie and Louis Smith were also involved in the start-up of the assembly, which became known as the Sioux City Gospel Hall.

The assembly now meets at 120 South Leonard. Sam Hayes and Bernie Mertens are the current leading brothers in the small assembly of about a dozen believers.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses The Golden Lamp-stands of Northern Iowa, by Leonard DeBuhr, Ackley Publishing Company, Ackley, Iowa, 1985 The History of the Des Moines Conference, by Casey Shanahan, 1990 Mini-History of the Beginning of the Greenfield Gospel Chapel in Greenfield, Iowa, by Eldon Stowell, 1987; continuation by Ken Stowell, 1998 The God Awakening, by Wayne T. Messerly, 1996 The Formation and Growth of the Garnavillo Assembly, by Val Brandt, 1975; Untitled Report by Val Brandt, 1996, following 75th Anniversary of Garnavillo Gospel Hall Letters of Interest, Sept, p. 30 and Oct, p. 31, 1946; July 1956, p. 17; January 1952, p. 20


Vernon Schlief records that the first assembly in Minnesota was located in St. Paul Park, south of St. Paul, and was started by his great-grandfather in the 1880s. This assembly, however, does not seem to be the antecedent of any of the current assemblies in the area. The Vernon Schliefs also started an assembly in South St. Paul, probably in the 1930s, which grew to 35 at one time. It would seem that this assembly dissolved soon after the Schliefs moved to Louisiana.

Mr. Schlief also records that he attended the Sunday School at the Cedar Avenue Gospel Hall in Minneapolis in 1924. That assembly later met at the 42nd Street Gospel Hall in Minneapolis. Harry Ironside ministered there on occasion. Thus, this assembly as well as the above may have been associated with the ‘Grant exclusives.’

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The six current assemblies in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area – Believers Bible Chapel, Long Lake Community Church, Maryland Bible Chapel, Northeast Gospel Chapel, Northwest Bible Chapel, and Plymouth Bible Chapel – jointly meet in a Bible Conference over the Labor Day weekend each year, a tradition that began in the early 1900s. These assemblies also meet quarterly for joint Missionary meetings. Bible camps in three locations in Minnesota – Chandler, Paynesville, and Virginia – are supported in part by these and other assemblies. Co-commendation of missionaries to the Lord’s work abroad is common among these assemblies. Through the leadership of Homer Payne, Minneapolis assemblies have been helping an assembly in Bolivia, sending work teams for short terms.

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An assembly that eventually became Longfellow Gospel Chapel was meeting in various rented locations in the downtown section of Minneapolis in the early 1900s. These Christians called their various meeting places the Gospel Tabernacle during the early period. The first meetings were held in 1909 or 1910 and the first Breaking of Bread was in September 1911. Carl F. Leverentz and Henry Gilkerson were among those starting the assembly.

Nine people were in attendance at that first Remembrance Meeting. After 1911, records show the families of Walter Purcell, James Innes, Fred Beadle, O.E. Dunkerton, Carl Leverentz, August Leverentz, O.E. Magee, Carl Bergstrom, and R.D. O’Brien in the assembly.

Later leadership included Robert Wilson, Ted Bailey, William Denham, Paul Leverentz, Dan Leverentz, and William Western. Current elders are David Denham, Glen Ellis, and Philip Leverentz. Christians from Northeast Gospel Hall in Minneapolis apparently gave help in Gospel work in the early years.

From the early days, a Gospel outreach was made into South Minneapolis. When a lot in that area was given to the assembly, the believers moved their meetings into a temporary building there, in 1925 or 1926, and erected and occupied the Longfellow Gospel Hall at 3012 Longfellow Avenue S. Since then, the neighborhood has changed, but the assembly remains active at the same address in the inner city. In 1959, the assembly was incorporated as Longfellow Gospel Chapel.

Longfellow has been the prime sponsor for the Minnesota prison ministry of Emmaus Bible College in recent years. The ministry of distributing Bible courses to inmates in Minnesota prisons, is headed by David Denham. Brothers and sisters from various area assemblies correct these courses and conduct weekly classes in a prison in Moose Lake, MN. About 50 adults and youngsters attend Longfellow Gospel Chapel today.

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By 1923, several people were meeting to Remember the Lord in a rented storefront building at 1103 Johnson Street, N.E., in Minneapolis. The assembly was incorporated in October 1923 and called the Northeast Gospel Hall. The original trustees were W.A. Upton, L.W. Anderson, O.A. Anderson, J.A. Innes, W.E. Purcell, O.E. Magee, and W.R. Simpson. Some of these had been in fellowship at the Gospel Tabernacle/Longfellow Gospel Hall.

The trustees had already identified a lot at the corner of 29th Street N.E. and Ulysses Street for purchase. Construction of a basement was begun the next spring and the assembly moved into it; the upper portion was completed in 1929 or 1930. In 1966, an addition was constructed, enabling the provision of six Sunday School rooms. The assembly today is known as the Northeast Gospel Chapel.

Among the many men who have been in leadership at Northeast Gospel Chapel and its predecessors are Albert Upton, Truman Manning, J.S. McLellan, Joe Reavis, Jay Walden, Harold Crawford, Brad Biddle, John Block, Milton Haack, and James Green. With other assemblies in the area, Northeast has commended missionaries to the Congo, the Philippines, Brazil, Japan, Greece, and VietNam. About 85 adults and children are in the assembly today.

Northeast Gospel Hall and Longfellow Gospel Hall carried on cooperative efforts to spread the Gospel in the early years. This was a work for hundreds of children, held on Sunday afternoons on 45th Street between Heawatha and Snelling. The two assemblies also conducted joint open-air meetings at what is now called the ‘Seven Corners’ area.

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It was the burden of John and Ruth Clift of Northeast Gospel Chapel to begin a Sunday School work in the Golden Valley suburb on the west side of Minneapolis. In 1951, they challenged the newly married Don and Vi McLellan to assist them. The afternoon Sunday School commenced with 18 children in attendance. Teachers and helpers from other assemblies assisted in a temporary capacity and also were active in a Tuesday evening Good News Club. A ‘fun night’ was a happy activity at the Clift home.

An assembly then began, meeting at Westview School and then at Mission Farms. Those initiating the new assembly were John and Ruth Clift, Don and Vi McLellan, Robert and Marge McLellan, Bob and Mary Wilson, and Stan and Janette Tjomsland. In 1955, the Christians erected the Westview Good News Chapel. In 1970, the assembly moved to its present location in Plymouth as Plymouth Bible Chapel.

The assembly has always had a strong youth program, which included Sunday Schools, Christian Service Brigade, Pioneer Girls, Released Time Classes, and an Awana Club. Over the years, leadership of the assembly has been provided by John Clift, Bob Wilson, Arnold Petersen, Don McLellan, Scott Henderson, Jay Swisher, B.J. Tuininga, and Gary Campbell. Plymouth Bible Chapel has commended missionaries to Japan, Papua New Guinea, and elsewhere. About 150 adults and youngsters attend the assembly, making it one of the largest assemblies in Minnesota.

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In 1961, a group of families in fellowship at Northeast Gospel Chapel purchased a wooded one-acre tract on Long Lake Road at Sunnyside Terrace, in the rapidly developing residential area of New Brighton on the northern edge of Minneapolis. The Zedicher family had moved nearby a year earlier and started a children’s work in their basement, a work which was picked up by the new assembly when it began. Joe Balsan from Iowa set up a tent on the property in 1962 for a Daily Vacation Bible School, which was well attended by the neighborhood children.

A new building was erected later that year. The first meeting of the assembly at Sunnyside Bible Chapel in New Brighton was in June 1963. Fourteen families constituted the initial gathering, including the families of Lloyd and Lois Brandt, Claire and Karen Dean, Ken and Irene Manning, Grant and Helene Zedicher, Arthur and Audrey Redling, James and Mary Upton, Melvin and Coral Jacobson, and Sherman and Delores Camp. These shared in early leadership.

Recent leadership has included C. Ted Grant, Dennis Katterhenry, Kenneth Manning, Grover Sayre III, and David Wagner.

In 1987, the name was changed to Long Lake Community Church. An addition in 1989 doubled the capacity of the building, which is next to a high school; the assembly rents space in it for Sunday School overflow.

Two area assemblies have derived, all or in part, from Long Lake Community Church – Believers Bible Chapel in the Coon Rapids area of Minneapolis in 1987, and Northwest Bible Chapel in Minneapolis in 1994.

Bruce and Cheryl Ewing were full-time workers at Sunnyside from 1977 to 1984. Bill and Ginny Anderson came as full-time workers in 1989, until retiring in 1996. David Corbin and family came in 1996 to devote full time to the assembly. In 1999, Karl and Marcy Schmithe accepted a staff position to work with junior and senior high youth. With an active musical program and many young people, Long Lake Community Church has about 140 persons.

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A few brethren in fellowship at Longfellow Gospel Chapel and Northeast Gospel Chapel were burdened to start an inner-city ministry in St. Paul, which then had no assembly testimony. An assembly was formed in 1984 and met in rented space on Como Avenue as the Como Bible Chapel. Ted Gliske, Kurian Abraham, and Bruce Wahlin were among those who began the assembly. Scott Bourquin later joined in the leadership.

The work grew and a chapel at 606 E. Maryland Avenue in St. Paul was found and purchased, the present Maryland Bible Chapel. Approximately 60 persons regularly attend the assembly, whose principal burden is evangelization in that part of the city.

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Northwest Bible Chapel is the newest assembly in Minneapolis, and is located in Brooklyn Park. This assembly currently meets in a school facility but plans to build. The original members of Northwest Bible Chapel came primarily from Plymouth Bible Chapel and Long Lake Community Church. Rocky DeYoung is currently a full-time worker for Northwest.

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The assembly now meeting at Hinckley Gospel Hall, north of Minneapolis, began in 1985 in the home of Roland and Amelia Ekstrand. Some of the initiators had been in fellowship in assemblies at Willmar (130 miles distant) and Minneapolis (85 miles distant). The Hinckley Assembly was not derived from those, but was the result of numerous Gospel meetings and three years of home Bible studies. In 1990, the Christians purchased a building at 401Lawler Avenue South in Hinkley, their present meeting place. The brethren involved in the start-up, and who continue in leadership, are Roland Ekstrand, David Klar, and Raymond Grazin. The assembly consists of about 30 adults and youngsters.

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Evangelist A.N. O’Brien lived in Duluth for several years in the 1920s and 1930s, and was considered to be one of the elders at the Duluth Gospel Hall. For many years there was no assembly testimony in the city. The Duluth Bible Fellowship was begun in 1988 by Tim Blazevic, Leo Wittenberg, and Don Peterson, and these have been the elders. About 18 are in the assembly.

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There was a small assembly at Hibbing, 40 miles northwest of Duluth, at which Vernon Schlief held Gospel meetings. A larger assembly existed at that time in Alexandria, with a large chapel, possibly the forerunner of Manor Park Bible Chapel, which disbanded in the early 1980s.

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The Meeting House in West Virginia, MN, north of Duluth, was the home of an assembly that was established in about 1941 by Neil Fraser, Walter and Lois Neff, Selma Quade, Earl Perala, and Basil Ward. The assembly has since moved into the town of Virginia and meets at the Virginia Bible Chapel. Other individuals in leadership over the years have been Raymond Andersen, Eino Peralo, Ted Johnson, Roland Rogers, Elwood Abramson, and Martin Backman. A worker has commended by the assembly to the service of the Lord in Uruguay. About 80 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

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The Gospel Halls of the northern U.S. have a number of small testimonies in the state. The largest of these is the Willmar Assembly, some 90 miles west of Minneapolis, meeting at East 13th Street and Trott. The Warren Ramseys, in fellowship with the Willmar assembly, started a meeting in the late 1990s that meets now at the home of David and Dorothy Van Hal in Sunburg, north of Willmar.

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In the 1980s, unable to find the kind of fellowship in which they could wholeheartedly involve themselves, Dean and Ruth Lindstrom, daughter and son-in-law to Ben and Jean Tuininga, opened their home in Rochester in the southern part of Minnesota to Bible studies. In 1987, they began Breaking Bread together in their home. By 1989, the work had grown with five other households and some singles. The home assembly is today called the Rochester Bible Chapel.

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The Minnesota assemblies sponsor three Bible Camps in the state: Story Book Bible Camp in northern Minnesota, Lost Timber Youth Camp in southwest Minnesota, and Koronis Bible Camp and Conference near Paynesville on Lake Koronis.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Our Great Adventure in Faith, by Vernon Schlief, Beeline Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996 The History of Long Lake Church, by Grant Zedicher, 1998 Uplook, August 1989, p. 286


“One of the earliest assemblies in this area was probably LaCrosse. On June 9, 1890, they met for the first time to remember the Lord.” So wrote Val Brandt in 1996 of the LaCrosse Assembly. “I remember going to conference in LaCrosse. I remember Mr. Redpath who had a kind of whistle when he prayed. There was Frank Hussman. . . Some of the preachers there were Grandpa Gould (father of George Gould Jr.), John Ferguson (father of William Ferguson, editor of Words in Season), John Conoway (often used nature to illustrate), and W.P. Douglas (a stately gentleman from Cleveland).”

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The assembly initially called Bible Truth Hall in Cudahy was established in 1929 or 1930 by Harlan Vintage and P.A. Orloff. Those and Frank Gilanyi, Ralph Hartfield, Ray Routley, and Fremont Brauch were in leadership over the years. By the 1970s, the assembly had been renamed to Grace Chapel. After the last of the above named leaders had moved or died, the assembly closed in November 1996.

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Wauwatosa Community Chapel in the Wauwatosa area of Milwaukee was established in about 1920 by William Graf, Albert Cutting, and L. Andersen. It was first located on Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, and after that at three other locations before coming to its present address at 220 N. 67th St. in Wauwatosa. Other individuals active in leadership over the years have been John Hale, T. E. McCully, Gus Quindt, and Frank Brown. Among the many that Wauwatosa Community Chapel has commended to the Lord’s service, we mention Vernon and Gladys Schleif to work in the U.S., and Ed McCully to the work in Ecuador. About 200 adults and youngsters attend Wauwatosa Community Chapel.

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Oconomowoc Bible Fellowship, in the town of Oconomowoc between Madison and Milwaukee, began in the early 1990s in the home of Frank Brown. The Browns were involved in weekly neighborhood Bible studies, while continuing their fellowship with Wauwatosa Community Chapel in Milwaukee, some 35 miles away, where Mr. Brown was an elder. Several other families, including Alan and Kay Gustin, were also making the Sunday journey to Milwaukee. With the blessing of Wauwatosa Chapel, the Oconomowoc group started Sunday evening Remembrance and Family Bible Hour meetings in the Brown home. Most of these Christians continued to drive to Wauwatosa Chapel for the Sunday morning meetings.

After some months, they rented a Baptist facility, and met there for about a year. Then they rented a local Senior Day Center and began Sunday morning meetings, and have continued in that location. About 50 adults and youngsters attend on Sunday mornings. The Christians of Oconomowoc Bible Fellowship meet in homes for three different prayer meetings and Bible studies; some attend other Bible studies to meet and help Christians and the unsaved outside the assembly. Frank Brown, Wayne Scheppele, and Mike Brinkman have been elders in the assembly.

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The town of Appleton in east-central Wisconsin saw the Appleton Assembly begin in about 1930 in the home of James Simpson. The principal people at that time were the families of James Simpson, Lynn Carey, John Watson, Richard Watson, and Joe Alberts. These men together with James Watson, Oliver Krull, Harold Felten, William Gibson, Earl Asman, and Donald Abel have been the elders. The assembly moved in 1940 to 412 E. Wisconsin Avenue and took the name Appleton Gospel Chapel. In 1966, the Christians moved again, to N. Mason Street, taking the name Appleton Bible Chapel. The assembly discontinued in 1968. The Appleton Assembly has commended a worker to the Congo.

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In 1956, a group left the Appleton assembly to form an assembly in Kaukauna. The Christians met for a little over two years in an empty store on 2nd Street, while building Community Gospel Chapel in Kaukama at 1717 Main Avenue, which they opened in 1959. The principals in starting the Kaukauna assembly were R. Watson, J. Watson, K. Nichols, and Earl Asman. The latter three were the elders. The assembly commended a sister to work with Asian wives of U.S. service men in Colorado Springs. Community Gospel Chapel discontinued in 1976.

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Fox Valley Bible Fellowship in Appleton was established in early 1996 by Tim and Susan Geske and Ralph and Vicky Wells, and meets in the Geske home in nearby Kaukauna. Although there had been assemblies in Appleton and Kaukauna in years prior, the Fox Valley Bible Fellowship began independently of them. About 30 adults and youngsters attend the assembly. Leadership includes the Geskes and Wells’. Robert and Lois Sawyer, former missionaries to Spain, work in the assembly.

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When the Felten family came to Sheboygan, north of Milwaukee, from Germany in 1893, they found other families of believers and came together for Bible study and prayer. Assembly meetings were soon begun and were held from house to house. As more families were added, the Feltens built a house at 1628 Georgia Avenue in about 1912, and this became the permanent home of the assembly. Services were in the German language until 1916 when the change was made to English. At first the assembly met in the dining room, but as the numbers grew, it was necessary to enlarge the upstairs to accommodate the meetings. As many as 100 persons were present on some occasions. They continued to meet there for 33 years.

In June 1941, these families incorporated as Bible Truth Chapel in Sheboygan and started a building fund. But in 1942, a sad division took place. The 22 believers still remaining in fellowship leased and remodeled a store at 1226 Georgia Avenue and moved there.

Early in 1949, having more than doubled the membership and having well-attended Sunday School classes, with Friday night meetings that drew as many as 140 children, the believers determined to build on the lot they had purcha-sed years earlier on Broadway Avenue. With volunteer labor, help from other assemblies, and assistance from Stewards Foundation, the Broadway Avenue Gospel Chapel was constructed and occupied in December 1949.

The Lord blessed the testimony beyond expectation. Most of the families that left in 1942 returned, souls were saved, and Christians from churches around were added to the company. There were about 70 in fellowship in the early 1950s. The assembly continues today as Zion Christian Assembly.

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Grace Fellowship in Madison came into being in 1977, starting in the home of David Brauch and moving shortly to the Conference Center of a Quality Inn on Madison’s southeast side. Those involved in the start-up include David Brauch, Dick Matthews, and Jerry Barr, and those in leadership include David Brauch, Gerald Kurtz, Randy Jorgenson, George Jones, Dick Peik, and Al Schirmacher. Messrs. Matthews and Peik are former pastors of denominational churches. Grace Fellowship has commended workers to Portugal and Romania. About 30 adults and youngsters attend Grace Fellowship.

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The assembly at the Beetown Gospel Hall began in 1926 in the town of Beetown in southwest Wisconsin. Stephen Nick and Samuel Hamilton are those to whom the start-up is attributed. Stephen Nick, a preacher who lived in Boscobel, Wisconsin, was the leader in starting several Gospel Halls in Wisconsin. The first overseers at Beetown were Roy Barr, Adam Jamison, Buzz Jamison, and Sam Dixon. About 20 adults are in fellowship at present.

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The assembly called Believers Gathered Together in Beloit, almost at the Illinois state line, began in 1972, the result of efforts of Tom H. Ruff, Tommie Ruff, Leroy Ruff, and Thurston Sandlin. The latter was the correspondent for many years. A second assembly was was formed in the mid 1980s, meeting at Beloit Gospel Hall with Tommie Ruff as correspondent. The two assemblies existed together in the town until Believers Gathered Together disbanded in the mid 1990s. The Athlone Street Gospel Hall in St. Louis, MO was involved in the beginnings of the work of the Beloit Gospel Hall, which has an attendance of about 50 on Sundays. Leaders over the years include Tom and Tommie Ruff and Major Cain.

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Mt. Sterling, Lynxville, and Prairie du Chien are towns in the southwest part of Wisconsin, near the Mississippi River.

The Lynxville Gospel Hall was established in 1940. The assembly moved to the Mt. Sterling Gospel Hall in 1980 and continues today.

In 1993 a group split off from the Mt. Sterling assembly to form the Prairie du Chien Christian Assembly. These Christians, some of them elders from the Mt. Sterling assembly, first met in a home for about five years and now have their own building in Prairie du Chien. Daryl Asperson and Robert Borne were among those initiating the new assembly, which has about 40 to 45 persons attending. Daryl Asperson and Robert Borne are the elders.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Untitled Report by Val Brandt, 1996 Letters of Interest, February 1950, p. 1; January 1953, p. 7


The establishment of the early assemblies in the Chicago area is intimately associated with tent meetings and conferences, the transplanted Scotsman Donald Ross being the driving force for these. In 1879, he was holding tent meetings in the west side Union Park neighborhood, and publishing his newsletter, The Barley Cake. In it, he suggested holding a Bible Conference and mentioned two assemblies as possible conference sites. One of these was at 517 West Madison in Union Park, and the other at 2912 South State Street on Chicago’s south side. These unnamed assemblies were apparently the first in Chicago and the entire Midwest, and would have been formed before 1879, perhaps by several years. The first Bible Conference in the Chicago area was held in 1880, the first in a long series there.

When K.J. Muir left Canada in March 1880 to seek employment in Chicago, he sought out like-minded Christians. Not long saved in a Gospel campaign conducted by the Scots preachers John Smith and Donald Munro, Mr. Muir helped in tent meetings held that summer by Donald Ross and the remarkable business man and tent maker, C. J. Baker. When the tent campaign and subsequent Gospel meeting were finished, “the assembly” (not further identified) moved to a hall at the corner of May and Fulton Streets, where many of the early Chicago Conferences were held.

In March 1887, K.J. Muir established his home in Avondale, then a suburb of Chicago. In the fall of 1888, John Arnold, Cuthbert D. Potts, and K.J. Muir with their families formed the nucleus of the Avondale Assembly.

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The fellowship currently known as Palos Hills Christian Assembly in Chicago has its roots in the South State Street Assembly. In the next decade, that assembly moved through several locations, all in the area of 30th and State Street, steadfastly observing the Lord’s Supper, prayer, and teaching. In 1891, the Christians met on East 43rd Street, and then further south near 69th and Carpenter. A year later they were at 59th and Wentworth Avenue, and in 1894, at the corner of West 69th and South Wentworth Avenue, where they called their meeting place Alberta Hall. This served as their home until 1918, when they moved into a larger nearby building. For a time they were at 69th and Halstead Street. In 1923, the assembly divided, one group moving to a rented old church building at 66th and Normal, becoming known as the 66th and Normal Assembly, and another moving further west to start the Laflin Street Gospel Hall.

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The Laflin Street Gospel Hall, at 6617 S. Laflin Street, had as its early leading brethren Jim Humphrey, Ken Widener, and Messrs. Miller, Arnot, and Parker. As the demographics of the neighborhood changed, most of the assembly moved to Oak Lawn in 1959. However, a few stayed, notably Jack and Charlotte Mostert. They invited the black people in the neighborhood to join with them, and a few did so. Steve Thompson, saved while in prison in Japan, came to work with the Mosterts. He and Jack Mostert are the leading men in the integrated assembly, which is the most integrated assembly in Chicago.

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Perhaps in the early 1920s, some brethren, with the full accord of the brethren at 66th and Normal, commenced an assembly in Roseland on the far south side of Chicago, which became known as the Roseland Gospel Hall. The Roseland assembly was started by the Hoekstra brothers, of Dutch descent, along with Messrs. Faber, Boldt, and Slager. That assembly was active for many years, but eventually closed. The building sat idle for some time until a group of brethren asked permission to take over the building and start a new assembly, perhaps in 1926. Later they moved a few doors west on 111th Street. The assembly is now known as the Roseland Bible Church, with a good children’s work in the community.

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The group at the 66th and Normal Assembly stayed at that location until 1929. By the mid 1920s, the growing assembly was seeing the need for permanent quarters. The Christians purchased a lot and constructed a hall at 86th and Bishop, and in the summer of 1929, the first meetings of the Roberts Memorial Gospel Hall – or as most people called it, the 86th Street Assembly – were underway, ending forty years of nearly constant moving.

The 86th Street Assembly frequently had tent meetings in the southwest suburbs, conducted by visiting and local brethren. Traveling preachers who visited at 86th Street and its forerunners include many of the well-known brethren of the day. Herbert Dobson and William Warke were full time gospel preachers who made 86th Street their home assembly.

The Christians remained at 86th Street for about 35 years, through the Great Depression and World War II, and into the changing scene of the 1960s. At that point, the elders felt a move further out was desirable, closer to where the majority of the members then lived. A plot of land in Palos Hills was purchased and a new chapel built in 1969 at 10600 South 88th Avenue, the new and present home of the Palos Hills Christian Assembly.

Among the leaders in the earliest years of the assembly were William Dunnett, Thomas Pollard, Alfred and John Stevenson, and Messrs. Barth, Bassett, Weston, and Shewan. Since 1950, elders include Andrew Cotton, John Pollard, Bill Gould, Phil McKendrick, Tom Sendzimer, and Tom Carrick.

Palos Hills Christian Assembly and its antecedents have commended many workers to the Lord’s service abroad and locally, and have been substantial supporters of missionary efforts. About 140 adults and youngsters attend the assembly today.

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In 1894, Winsor Chase and James K. Fea of the Avondale Assembly explored the Austin area on the west side of Chicago, and that fall moved their families to Austin to pioneer a new testimony. Others followed, and early the next year a store was rented at On¬tario (now Ohio) Street and Parkside Avenue for assembly meetings. Gospel campaigns were held with such preachers as Donald Ross, James Harcus, John Smith, Donald Munro, Alexander Marshall, John Monypenny, Charles W. Ross, and W. J. McClure.

In 1900 the Austin assembly moved into a small building at Laramie and Chicago Avenues. Because of losing two leading brethren, the believers temporarily closed their meeting in 1901. They met with the Colorado Avenue Assembly in Chicago but con¬tinued the Gospel and Sunday School efforts in Austin. In 1903 they returned as an assembly and rented a hall on Chicago Avenue about four blocks east of Laramie. In 1908 they moved to an upstairs hall at 419 N. 52nd Avenue (now N. Laramie). Through conversions and the addition of believers moving from other parts, the as¬sembly grew to around 50 by 1913. In that year, the assembly incorporated and property was secured at 746-48 N. 51st Court (now Leamington) for the construction of a hall. An open¬ing conference was held in the new Austin Gospel Hall in August 1913.

Conversions and influxes from overseas swelled the assembly to about 200. The assembly continued for more than 40 years, until the build¬ing was sold in 1956, and the assembly moved temporarily to Emmaus Bible School in Oak Park. In 1959, the Christians built and moved into Woodside Bible Chapel at First and Chicago Avenues in Maywood on the western edge of Chicago.

Leaders after the Austin period were Henry Moffatt, Phil Clarkson, Donald Anderson, Harold Shaw, Clarence Welsher, John Duff, and Bob Wilson. Elders since then include Tom Bendelow, Chuck Christensen, Dan Smith, Bob Logan, Duncan Mathieson, Steve Wilson, Bob Ramey, Jack Barclay, and John Hurni.

Woodside has two other groups using its facilities: the India Assembly meeting in a separate room but at the same times as the English-speaking meetings; and a Spanish-speaking group of about 20 on Saturday nights for Bible studies. The English-speaking assembly now has about 70 adults and youngsters, while the India Assembly has about 40. The Austin/Woodside assembly has commended a large number of servants to the work of the Lord throughout the world.

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The roots of Norwood Gospel Chapel in Chicago date back to 1916. A group of Christians, dissatisfied with their denominational church affiliations, began meeting together in homes. The interest grew and they sought help from the Moody Bible Institute for someone to minister to them. Among the first sent was Harold Harper, who was associated with the assemblies. In the summer of 1917, Mr. Harper and others conducted a gospel tent campaign in the neighborhood. The good results created a need for a regular meeting place. At the close of the tent meetings a nearby store was secured at Central Avenue and Irving Park. Here a progressive work continued for four years. In 1922, the Irving Park Gospel Hall, a modest building at 5614 Dakin Street, Chicago, was built. The group at that time numbered about 40.

Henry Petersen built up a large Sunday School and Friday night children’s meetings. Alfred and Edwin Gibbs were also instrumental in building up the assembly. In leadership at the Irving Park Gospel Hall were J. Millard Doyle, George McAllen, Harvery Langguth, Paul Erickson, John Mall, S. J. Nelson, Charles Howard, Harold Lundquist, and Sor Sorensen. The assembly grew in attendance in the 1920s and 30s, but after World War II, felt they needed to move.

In 1951, after nearly 30 years on Dakin Street, about 125 members in fellowship in the Irving Park assembly moved into the newly constructed Norwood Gospel Chapel, located in a residential section on the northwest side of Chicago at Nagle and Foster Avenues. The Norwood Gospel Chapel has commended several to the Lord’s work.

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About 10 people of the former Irving Park assembly purchased the Gospel Hall on Dakin Street in 1951 and continued to meet there, calling it Portage Park Gospel Hall. Now called Portage Park Gospel Chapel, the assembly still meets at the location on Dakin Street.

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In 1977, two families immigrated from Korea to Chicago, having been in fellowship in the Korean Brethren Assembly in Seoul, Korea. They entered into fellowship at the Norwood assembly, but soon desired to establish a Korean-language assembly. Thus, in 1980, the Norwood Gospel Assembly of Korean came into being, the results of efforts of Young M. Lim, Bona Soo Rhee, and Joon H. Park. These and Sang Jin Park have been the elders. Korean is used as the language for the adults, and English is used in the Sunday School.

In 1985, the assembly divided in half, one becoming the Emmaus Gospel Assembly and the other San Jung Korean Assembly in Des Plaines. Emmaus Gospel Assembly rents space in the Park Manor Bible Chapel in Elgin and has about 60 adults and children in attendance. The San Jung Korean Assembly changed its name to Chicago Korean Bible Chapel. Both assemblies use Korean and English in their services, as before. Mr. Lim published a Korean hymnal in 1977 and is working on a second edition of it.

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The Union Ridge Gospel Chapel in Chicago began as a Sunday School outreach led by Charles Clohsey and Stanley Modrzejeswki of Norwood Gospel Chapel. By 1957, it had been established as an assembly. Paul and Al Streder, John Everding, and Art Modrzejewski were active in leadership.

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A group of brethren from the Laflin Street Gospel Hall – William McCartney, Doug Ibbotson, Art Miller, William Trotter, Fraser, Brown – decided to go further south in the early 1930s to begin a new work. They rented a store on 103rd Street and started the Washington Heights Gospel Hall. Doug Ibbotson was commended to the work of the Lord from Washington Heights. He was also involved in the work at the Navy Yard in South Carolina before returning to Chicago.

The Washington Heights assembly mushroomed and other works hived off from it. The assembly purchased a building, then later built another in the same block. They took the name Beverly Bible Chapel in 1962.

After that, a group left to form a new assembly in the western suburbs; its chapel was completed in 1976 and called the Oak Forest Bible Chapel. Don Thomson was a leader at Oak Forest, which has about 80 adults and youngsters in attendance. Over the years, this chain of assemblies has commended many missionaries.

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In 1958, about 15 couples from Laflin Street Gospel Hall built Oak Lawn Bible Chapel at 4259 W. 107th Street in the western suburbs. Some of the families at the Oak Lawn assembly were the Millers, Hamiltons, McCallums, Halyburtons, Norgards, Ganleys, McKendricks, Kennedys, Hinshelwoods, Schoerners, and Boyds. The assembly has commended workers to Cuba, Yugoslavia, South Africa, and to local ministries. T.B. Gilbert was commended from Oak Lawn. Jeff and Beth Tichelar are full-time workers in the assembly, which has about 100 adults and children in attendance.

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Fernwood Gospel Chapel hived off from the Washington Heights Gospel Hall in about 1939. William McCartney, Ira Wagner, Roy Mills and William Brook were those who started the assembly. These and George Brucer, Robert Mattingly, John Slager, Robert Drechsel, Wesley Mills, Lawrence Hurley, and Charles VanderVeen shared leadership over the years. Active for many years, Fernwood Gospel Chapel commended missionaries to the foreign field before closing in 1967.

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The assembly now known as Village Church in Oak Park has its roots in a work established before 1920. Known initially as Bible Truth Assembly and located on Austin Boulevard at Corcoran in Chicago, the assembly at some point moved to its own building at 1107 Ontario Street, calling it Bible Truth Chapel. Robert J. Little was associated with the assembly and was the ‘radio pastor’ at the Moody Bible Institute radio station in Chicago for many years, followed by Don Cole of the Lombard Gospel Chapel.

In 1952, the Christians built the River Forest Bible Chapel in River Forest at Harlem Avenue and Augusta Boulevard, where they remained until 1987. Those active in leadership at the River Forest Bible Chapel included Bob Constable, Jim Catron, Sam Brooks, Ernie Sandeen, Gordon Haresign, John Smart, Roy Horsey, and John Montgomery. At that time the assembly purchased a school building on East Avenue, between Roosevelt Road and the Eisenhower expressway in Oak Park, and changed the name to Village Church. Most of the men in early leadership at River Forest were gone by then. Jim Callahan is a full-time worker in the Village Church assembly. Many have been commended from the Oak Park/River Forest/Village Church assembly.

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A few miles south of Oak Park, at La Grange, an assembly was formed in about 1949 and met in temporary quarters, anticipating building their own chapel on a main road close to a large housing and shopping area. By 1959, the believers had completed their building, La Grange Gospel Chapel, which they occupied until the late 1980s, closing at that time. James Kennedy was an elder there for many years.

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Believers Assembly Chicago in La Grange is an assembly composed of believers from India. It is a product of a Bible study started in La Grange in the early 1970s by K.M. Mathews and others with a brethren background. In 1996, the Lord enabled the group to buy a church building in the town. The assembly has had the joy of seeing a few Hindus come to the Lord. Abraham T. John and Sajan Mathews are the current elders. About 70 people are in Believers Assembly, which has also commended one worker to the Lord’s service.

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In the spring of 1913, Henry Miller heard George M. Schmidt preaching the Gospel on the streets of Chicago, and stopped to speak with him. Shortly, they and their wives began to meet to worship the Lord in the Miller’s home. They were soon joined by Mr. and Mrs. Lange, and then others, meeting to Remember the Lord in a variety of homes. When their homes could no longer accommodate the growing German-speaking assembly of believers, they met in a series of storefronts, first on North Avenue, then Armitage Avenue. Finally the assembly settled at 1844 N. Larrabee Street, forming the Larrabee Gospel Hall. The Lord’s Supper was conducted in German, while the Sunday School, led by George Wagener, was conducted in English for the neighborhood children.

In 1928, a group of young ladies in the assembly, burdened for the spiritual welfare of the large number of children in the Jefferson Park community, did house-to-house visitation, then rented a large garage in which to begin a new Sunday School. That work eventually grew into the Grace Gospel Church with a succession of pastors.

During the early to mid 1930s, the gathering of Christians at Larrabee Street grew to encompass a group of Assyrian believers, among them Paul David, at first meeting separately. Then when two Mexican brothers, Otilio and Manuel Carrera, co-workers of George Schmidt, were converted, the German-speaking and Assyrian-speaking believers decided to merge and make the worship suitable also for the Carrera brothers.

The assembly grew and in the 1940s the believers purchased property at 3525 N. Damen Avenue. After remodeling the building, they moved into it in 1949 and took the name Lakeview Bible Truth Assembly. During this period, members of the Grace Gospel Church moved into new quarters and used their original building as a youth center, with a gym. In 1990, the Lakeview meeting purchased the properties of Grace Gospel Church. The Lakeview assembly moved into the building at 5555 N. Lotus Avenue and changed its name to Northwest Gospel Chapel. Families from the two groups merged into this assembly and retained the youth center. Elders have included Armando, Bill, George, and Manual Carrera, and George Bowman.

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In the 1920s, the Methodist Church Council ruled that “the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as a future event” was not to be preached by its pastors. This ruling caused an immediate uproar in the Lombard Methodist Episcopal Church. The pastor told five objecting families to leave, and about thirty did leave in early 1927. Among those were the families of Frank Erickson, William Routson, Dave Weber, William Kerr, Mae Patterson, and Noah Roeshley.

The people that left the Methodist Church engaged A.H. Fardon, an evangelist and Bible teacher from Kansas City, to join with them to conduct tent meetings in Lombard. So many people attended these meetings that a board was formed to consider the beginning of a new church. The Board asked Mr. Fardon to consider moving to Lombard and be their full-time worker, and he agreed.

At that time there was no brethren assembly in Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, or Lombard. At the end of 1926 and in early 1927, some individuals from the Austin Gospel Hall moved to the Lombard area, including the families of Will H. Durant, William S. Kellar, and Charles M. Allen. There was no apparent connection between the group from the Methodist Church and those from the Austin assembly prior to the tent meetings in August 1927, but the Durants became involved in that new work. They and Frank Erickson were instrumental in purchasing two lots in Lombard and the construction of a new building, the Lombard Gospel Chapel at 40 W. Ash St. The group had its first meeting in March 1928, and celebrated the Lord’s Supper each week from the beginning. Tent meetings were a regular Gospel outreach of the Chapel.

The Lombard Chapel continued to grow at a rapid pace into 1930. By March 1930, the Sunday School had increased to 150. Soon, plans were being made to begin a new work in Villa Park. A hall was secured and a group of 35 to 40 from Lombard began a similar work there. Starting as a simple hive-off in January 1931, this group continued to grow, but eventually joined with the Evangelical Free Church of America.

Even with the new work in Villa Park, the Lombard Gospel Chapel continued to grow rapidly. Many accounts are given of people coming to salvation through Jesus Christ. Tent meetings and special meetings at the Chapel were common. Noted speakers were James McKendrick from Scotland; T. Ernest Wilson, then a missionary in Portuguese West Africa; A. G. Bently of Toronto; William R. Newell of Deland, Florida; Harold St. John; and Alfred P. Gibbs. In May 1931, H. A. Ironside, then pastor of the Moody Memorial church in Chicago preached at Lombard Chapel.

Though Lombard Gospel Chapel had a strong brethren orientation by this time, many of its members from other backgrounds were not comfortable, and 1934 was a year of change. Many in the assembly wanted to name Mr. Fardon as the pastor of the Chapel, and this caused a deep division. Rather than be the source of problems, Mr. Fardon, who had led many in the church to Christ, resigned and left Lombard Chapel. About 25 left with him, but others who had left earlier during the conflict returned. The assembly continued to invite well known speakers, and was involved with the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. During World War II, many servicemen passed through the Service Men’s Center at 646 South State Street, and Lombard Chapel had an ongoing part in this ministry.

In the early 1940s, the numbers were down to about 50 people in regular attendance. These included the families of Will Kellar, Charles Allen, Earl Elliot, and Evelyn Varder. Miss Varder in 1948 went to Immanuel Mission in Arizona where she started a school for Navajo children. Lombard Gospel Chapel was the home church of Stacy Woods, later president of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.

During and after the war, families who joined with Lombard Chapel included those of Frank Wilson, Willard Rodgers, Robert Hanson, and Charles Howard. Wheaton College students who attended included Jim Elliot, Ronald Harris, Jim Yorgey, and Priscilla Hoy (Kaliodjoglou).

In the 1950s, the younger people in the assembly agitated for a new building in a different part of the town. This was done and the Sunday School grew so rapidly that an addition was built that was larger than the original building. Eventually over 400 children were in the Sunday School. Other families moved into the area and became part of the assembly. Among these were the families of John Harper, John Phillips, C. Donald Cole, Charles Fizer, Jack Fish, and David Glock. naomi Cole began a Bible class with help from the other ladies in the assembly; over a hundred women attended the class and many of them eventually came into the assembly along with their families. Lombard Gospel Chapel continues as a thriving assembly today at 369 N. Stewart.

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In 1930, T. B. and B. M. Nottage established the first black assembly, Grace Gospel Hall, in Chicago. Among its orig-inal members was W. F. Mullins. Edgar Burgess was associated with early Gospel efforts there. For six years T. B. Nottage commuted from New York, coming four to six weeks at a time, to help in the work in Chicago.

While this work was going on, meeting with discouragement and opposition, and some success, Theodore Williams Sr., a former Baptist pastor of Detroit, came in contact with B. M. Nottage and through him learned about the New Testament church. In February 1945, Mr. Williams moved to Chicago to give a hand to the assembly work there. In 1946 he was joined by Mr. O. F. Gall, commended from Grace Gospel Chapel in New York City. Mr. Gall had been exercising his evangelistic gift in and around New York for about 22 years while secularly employed. Louis Hoy of Arlington, WA also joined the efforts at about that time.

Grace Gospel Hall first occupied a store front at 4646 Langley Avenue. At the urging of Mr. Williams and Mr. Hoy, the assembly at 4646 Langley Avenue moved to a funeral parlor at 18 East Fifty-fifth Street, and then to another funeral parlor at 4842 South State Street. The testimony grew slowly, with 37 in fellowship in 1949. With financial assistance from the assembly at 86th and Bishop, the Christians purchased a lot at 9140 South State Street in the middle of Chicago’s South Side. Grace Gospel Hall was incorporated in 1947; the original trustees were Louis Hoy, Frank Mullin, and Theodore Williams, Sr. Construction of the Hall began soon, but several years elapsed before the roof and doors were in place, due to lack of funds. Saints at Arlington, WA and Vancouver, British Columbia provided financial assistance for this; some Chicago-area assemblies provided the heating plant, and an assembly in New York City paid for the plumbing and electrical work. In the 1950s, the highway department decided to build a highway through the property. With proceeds from the highway department, the assembly built a new Hall at 96th and King Drive. Close to a grade school with 1200 pupils, Grace Gospel Hall has emphasized children’s work.

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Grace and Glory Gospel Chapel branched out from Grace Gospel Hall under the eldership of Messrs. Gall, Mullin, and McCray. The Learning Center Gospel Chapel in Harvey, IL was a branch-out from Grace and Glory Gospel Chapel, under the original leadership of James Fair and Mr. Henry.

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For four or five years preceding World War II, Joe Nieboer spent considerable time laboring among the black population on Chicago’s South Side. Among those he contacted was Burleigh Edwards, a business man. Mr. Nieboer taught him the security of the believer and other Scriptural truths. In about 1944, Mr. Edwards started, from his apartment house at 41st Street and Michigan, a Gospel and visitation work under the name of South Side Gospel Testimony. In September 1949 an assembly with that name was formed, with assistance from the Nottage brothers, with ten in fellowship. A room in the apartment house was converted into a chapel. The Gospel was broadcast by loud speaker from the building and given out by tracts, visitation, and other means.

In 1949, the little assembly had opportunity to buy a substantial church building. This property with an adjoining corner lot at 64th and Drexel Streets was acquired, and the assembly was incorporated as South Side Gospel Assembly. The assembly numbered twenty seven at the time of the move. Visitors, preachers, and teachers from other assemblies were given a hearty welcome. Groups from Bethany Chapel at Wheaton and Emmaus Bible School helped in the ministry.

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The South Side Gospel Assembly carried on outpost work that developed into Westlawn Gospel Chapel, on South St. Louis Street near 21st, under the leadership of LeRoy Yates, Melvin Banks, and Mr. Rollerson. The Lighthouse Gospel Chapel was another branch-out from the South Side Gospel Assembly. From the Westlawn Gospel Chapel came Roseland Bible Church, the Christ Community Church in Chicago, and the Family Gospel Chapel of Bangor, Michigan.

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In the early 1940s, the only assembly in the town of Wheaton met in the home of Wheaton College professor Mortimer Lane, and only for the Lord’s Supper. Billy Graham, while attending Wheaton College, frequently attended those meetings at the Lane’s home. Many assembly young people attended Wheaton in those days, but because the closest assembly was in Lombard, seven miles away, most attended other churches. Knowing this, William McCartney, who had been active for years in helping to establish assemblies on the south side of Chicago, took steps to initiate an assembly in Wheaton.

In 1945, he was instrumental in having a large house purchased close to Wheaton College on President Street. A wing was added and the house, called Bethany House, was used for assembly meetings and was made available to students for relaxation and recreation. Mr. McCartney persuaded Harold Harper of Pennsylvania to move his family to Wheaton and minister to the students. Almost immediately, students, faculty, and staff of Wheaton College began attending the assembly. A few families from Lombard Chapel joined the Wheaton assembly.

In the early 1950s, Bethany Chapel in Wheaton was built next to Bethany House and became the home of the assembly. The chapel accommodates about 200 persons. Now it numbers approximately 150 during the regular Wheaton College semesters.

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Warrenville Bible Chapel in Warrenville, near Wheaton, was opened for regular services in November 1959. Branching out from the as¬sembly at Bethany Chapel, this work resulted chiefly from the efforts of one family in Warrenville bringing large numbers of boys and girls to youth meetings in Bethany. Interest in starting a new assembly testimony in Warrenville developed, and seven families – those of Robert Mojonnier, Herman Heise, John Sweemer, Charles Shelburn, Sophus Bolt, Del Dennis, and Maurice Martin – started to pray together about this. With encouragement from the elders at Bethany, a fund was started in early 1958. Money came from many sources, and construction of a building on a one-acre lot was carried out in the late summer of 1959. The building has been added to twice, seating 200. An adjacent lot was purchased in the early 1970s.

Robert Mojonnier, Herman Heise, John Sweemer, and Sophus Bolt were the first elders. Since then, Don Pope, A.G. Sutton, Maurice Martin, David Neal, William MacPherson, and Erwin Kittner have become elders. Several workers have been commended by Warrenville Bible Chapel to the Lord’s service abroad. About 200 adults and youngsters are in the assembly.

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Glen Ellyn is between Lombard and Wheaton. The Glen Ellyn Gospel Chapel began in 1986, having derived from the Lombard Gospel Chapel. Ron Walker, Chuck Formby, Richard Neal, Chris Barton, Ken Bylsma, and Tim, Jim, and Bill Hertz were the principals involved in the beginning of the assembly. Gerry Wright, Ed Auer, and Bob Marshall have also shared in leadership. The assembly has commended two workers. About 30 are in Glen Ellyn Gospel Chapel today.

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One of the largest assemblies in the outlying areas of Chicago is the Arlington Countryside Church in Arlington Heights. This assembly began in 1966 through the cooperative vision of men and women from various assemblies closer to Chicago and the staff of International Teams, formerly called Literature Crusades. As the northwest suburbs exploded with people, the new outreach grew rapidly. Elders there have included Walter Liefeld, Neil Glass, Cy Fors, John Elliot, John Stadt, and Evan Davis. Although the community and congregation have been transient, Abner Bauman has been involved full-time in pastoral and evangelistic ministry since 1971.

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The leadership of 13 families from Arlington Countryside Church resulted in the formation in 1982 of Alpine Chapel in Lake Zurich, which is northwest of Arlington Heights. Art Volkmann, Rick Knox, Jim Harshaw, and Dick Loizeaux were the principal people starting the assembly. Meeting initially in Seth Paine elementary school, the Christians in 1985 moved to their present location on 17 acres at the corner of Miller and Echo Lake Roads in Lake Zurich.

Dick Loizeaux assumed full-time ministry responsibilities that year. In 1990, additional staff members were added. Alpine Chapel has grown to about 700 people through an aggressive outreach in the expanding community, and the facility has been expanded several times to accommodate the growth. Leadership has included Jim Harshaw, Dick Loizeaux, Rick Knox, Fred Heick, Charles Christiansen, Juan Angolo, Rich Borst,and John Cross. About 70 people professed salvation in 1997 through the outreach of the assembly, and 60 new families were added.

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In the 1880s, James Harcus married Margaret Ross, daughter of Donald Ross, and moved northwest from Chicago to Elgin, where he obtained employment. He remained in that town for ten years and helped build up the little Elgin Assembly. L.C. Burbury was a leading elder in the assembly at one time, and more recently Art Modrzejewski.

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A mission group – the Gospel Expansion Fellowship – from Park Manor Bible Chapel in Elgin, Bethany Chapel in Wheaton, and Norwood Gospel Chapel in Chicago started the Meadowdale Gospel Chapel Carpentersville, north of Elgin, in 1956. The principals in the beginning were Louis Cook, Walter Albright, Robert Harper, and Emil Jordi. Sharing in leadership since then have been Charles Frame, Donald Mullins, Jim Hoeflich, Ralph Whitlock, and Dan and Dave Niequist. Meadowdale Gospel Chapel has commended workers to the Lord’s service. About 85 persons are in the assembly today.

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In the early 1940s, a Mr. Ransome started a meeting in his home in Rockford, in the northern part of the state. In 1943, these Christians formed Miriam Gospel Hall in Rockford. In 1957, they sold this building and built Ridgeview Chapel in Rockford. While in temporary quarters in the Community Hall, awaiting the completion of Ridgeview Chapel, a significant growth in the Sunday school occurred, with real blessing in the Gospel, and souls saved.

Ridgeview Chapel continued until 1978. However, an outgrowth of the assembly was the formation of the Beloit Gospel Hall in Beloit, WI, started by Mr. Ruff and his two sons.

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Believers Bible Chapel in Rockford began in 1995 in the home of Warren and Brenda Henderson. Ralph and Estelle Borchardt worked with the Hendersons in establishing this assembly. From eight people at the beginning, it grew to about 50 in 1998, and had moved to rented quarters in the Winnebago County Farm Bureau building. Elmer and Jean Wacker, and Rick and Ramona Kuntzelman were also early members.

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In the Evanston area on the north side of Chicago, believers were meeting before 1916, and in that year erected Grace Chapel there . The assembly had an active outreach and attracted many of the well known speakers who frequented the Chicago assemblies. By the late 1920s, some changes had apparently occurred because a small group was then meeting in a small room in downtown Evanston. As this group grew, they began meeting in a storefront. In 1941, the present building at the corner of Cleveland and Asbury was erected and called the Evanston Gospel Chapel.

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Farther north, almost at the Wisconsin state line, is the town of Zion, founded many years ago as a Christian community. A week-night Bible study in the home of Bill and Polly Allen, former assembly missionaries to the Belgian Congo, led to the start of the North Shore Assembly in Zion. Early members of the Bible study group were Clarence and Marge Wright and Ed and Helen Hanni. Soon Heinz and Lore Habel and their parents from Kenosha joined, and then a messianic Jewish couple, Martin and Fania Suess. James and Helen Kay and their son John and his wife Nadine, moving to Zion, encouraged the group to begin Breaking Bread together in the fall of 1965.

The numbers grew, and the North Shore Assembly moved to the home of the younger Kays a year later. When others continued to come, including Howard and Grace Armerding, the assembly moved to the basement of the administration building of Mt. Olivet Cemetery, of which the Armerdings were part owners. In 1969, they purchased and remodeled a home on 33rd Street and Gilead Avenue, changing the name then to North Shore Bible Chapel.

In spite of a hive-off of several members to start the Lakeland Fellowship in nearby Gurnee, the Christians felt the need for larger quarters, and in 1996 purchased and remodeled a funeral chapel at 2800 W. 29th Street in Zion, their present quarters. Leadership has been shared by David Herman, William Allen, Heinz Habel, and Al Leach. About 70 adults and children attend North Shore Bible Chapel.

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Four families in leadership at the Fernwood Gospel Chapel in Chicago were desirous of starting a testimony in the city of Lansing in the Chicago metropolitan area but near the Indiana state line. The Gilbert, Hurley, Leathem, and Murray families started holding prayer meetings in their homes. With the assistance of Stewards Foundation, the Lansing Gospel Chapel was erected on Bernice and Roy Streets and occupied in 1957. Though small, the assembly has seen souls saved and built up, and continues today.

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The assembly now meeting at Grace Bible Chapel in Springfield had its start in 1954 in the home of Robert Isringhausen on Milton Avenue. Robert and Camille Isringhausen, Lamont and Norma Haynes, Floyd and Helen Pierce, Lorraine Cantrall, and Barbara Lynard were among the founders. The assembly was known as the Springfield Gospel Chapel at that time. The brethren from Prospect Avenue Bible Chapel in Champaign gave assistance in the early days, and William MacDonald and Paul Flint from Emmaus Bible School, then in Oak Park, visited periodically. Nick and Alberta Guikema moved to Springfield in about 1958 and joined the assembly.

From the Isringhausen home, the assembly moved to the Knights of Pythias Lodge Hall on South Spring Street for a time, then to the Pleasant Hill School. In 1958, property was purchased and a building was constructed at the corner of Milton Avenue and Carpenter Street. The assembly was known then as the Milton Avenue Chapel. In 1977, property at 700 S. Livingston Street was purchased. The congregation relocated there and chose the name Grace Bible Chapel. Another move took place in February 1995 to 3335 Woodhaven Drive.

The Gene Haas family were the first fruits of the work begun in 1954 and the tent meetings held in 1957. Larry Haas was for many years in leadership and led the singing at Grace. Leaders over the years in addition to those mentioned include James McFarland, Nick Guikema, Philip Dossett, Tom Duncan, John Gantz, Mike Williams, Mike Rodier, William Ilch, Robert Wenneborg, Morton Morris, Richard Cooley, Rick Petrone, Mark Pribble, and James Fitzgerald. The assembly has commended workers to Brazil and Zambia. About 125 adults and children attend Grace Bible Chapel today.

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The assembly now meeting at Oak Ridge Bible Chapel in Milan in the Quad-cities area was formed in November 1978, a hive-off from Harrison Gospel Chapel in Davenport, Iowa. It was at that time called Valley Christian Fellowship and met at a day care center on Blackhawk Road in in Rock Island. The principal people in establishing the assembly were Craig Rolinger and Ray Routley. The families who lived in Illinois came with the new meeting, principally the Ferguson, Stevens, Stonehouse, Trent, Rolinger, and Routley families.

The assembly met in the day care center until October 1981, when they moved into a building they had purchased in Milan, at 2716 W. First Street. That building had been a restaurant, which the Christians renovated and enlarged. At that time they changed the name to Oak Ridge Bible Chapel. The elders have been Criag Rolinger and Ray Routley. Craig and Nancy Rolinger have been commended for work at the assembly. About 50 people attend Oak Ridge Bible Chapel.

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In Champaign, 100 miles south of Chicago, the assembly now known as Stratford Park Bible Chapel was established in 1917 by Paul Rader, a pastor from Moody Memorial Church in Chicago. Subsequent pastors were Charles Porter in 1920 and James Emblem in 1923. In 1930 the church began moving toward a New Testament structure when Harold Harper came and taught Scriptural principles of gathering. In 1935, E. G. Dillon helped to further establish the company as an assembly. It was called The Gospel Tabernacle in Champaign, IL until 1938.

The Christians met in a small rented hall from 1940 to 1948. They constructed their own building on the corner of Washington and Prospect Avenue in Champaign in 1948, and remained there as the Prospect Avenue Bible Chapel from 1948 to 1967. The new and current building was built in 1967 on the corner of Kirby and Stratford. Commended workers have been Tim and Shirley Dever, Robert and Debbie Whattoff, and William and Sue Tell. Leaders have included Frank and Robert Faulkner, Jim Kay, Ed Hildebrand, Aldon Jensen, Morel and James Dixon, Robert Jordan, Herb Atwood, John Garrett, Robert Whattoff, Ken Raymond, and Richard Schmall. Nearly 200 adults and children are in the assembly.

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Neighborhood Bible Fellowship in Carbondale in the southern part of the state, began in 1978 in the home of Glendall and Janet Toney at 801 W. Sycamore, and has moved through several locations, now being in its own building at 2605 Striegel Road. The originators came from Cape Bible Chapel in Cape Girardeau, Missouri – the Toneys, Stan Tucker, Kent Carrell, Laurel Faust, Curt and Cathy Caldwell, Mike Yockey, Glen Berry, Scott Adams, Janice Crumbacher, Peter and Dianna Chandler, and Debbie Cooper. Leadership has been shared by Glendall Toney, Stan Tucker, Kent Carrell, and Dennis Smith. About 130 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

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Servants Church in Batavia began meeting in January 1994, with Paul Regan one of the people starting the assembly. However, in 1998 the assembly removed itself from the fellowship of brethren assemblies.

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Several assemblies were begun in the period between the two World Wars, through the efforts of various pioneers. Henry Petersen was instrumental in starting the Melvina Gospel Hall in the western part of the state through visiting families around Melvina and Montrose. A store was purchased for meetings in the early 1930s. The assembly lasted seven or eight years. Sam McGill was a leading elder. The Peoria Assembly in the middle of the state, had ceased to function by 1949. The Joliet Assembly, near Chicago, met for many years. E. G. Matthews of Waterloo, IA and Joe Nieboer of Chicago are remembered to have ministered there.

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We also mention several inter-assembly activities, most of which are still continuing, and which served as connecting points among the assemblies. The fellowship among the Chicago assemblies was somewhat divided between north and south in the early days because of distances and transportation. The annual Thanksgiving Conference was a four-day conference usually held on the north side in the Logan Square Masonic Lodge. People from throughout the Midwest came to it. For that Conference the north side assemblies would often invite Northcote Deck as principal speaker.

In about 1938 the teenagers on the south side organized a committee with representatives from every assembly and started a monthly young people’s meeting. Their monthly Sunday evening Singspiration would pack out the building, and young people from the north side would drive all that way after their Sunday evening service to join. Some of the young men who were involved in those gatherings became the leading men in the Chicago assemblies, including Jim Kennedy, John Boyd, Neil Glass, and Wilson McCracken.

An assembly broadcast over radio station WAIT during World War II was a success. Some assembly young men who were in the armed forces would give their testimonies, and a male chorus from the 86th Street Assembly sang quite frequently on that program and became quite popular in the Chicago area. A mixed chorus from several assemblies also sang for the broadcasts. Peter Pell, Charles Howard, and Bob Arthur were among the speakers, and Dick Boldt, Phil Clarkson, and Jim Kennedy were announcers.

The Chicago Missionary Study Class was (and is) the joy of many young and older men. Started at the time of the First World War, classes are hosted by different assemblies throughout the city on the second Saturday of each month. A typical session consists of an afternoon devoted to reading of letters; then supper, followed by a two-hour evening meeting. Typically a young brother was assigned a topic several months in advance – a particular missionary or mission field, or a review of a missionary book. Usually a missionary was available to minister in the latter part of the meeting, or else one of the local brethren would speak. Roy Rapsch had much to do with the Class for many years.

The Chicago Missionary Study Class has for years maintained the Chicago Missionary Guest Apartments. In 1998, the location was in Glen Ellyn, with Harry and Jean Williams as host managers. Earlier managers have been Sally Weidner, Kirk and Paula Lithander, and Steve and Diane Richards. The building contains six apartments, five for furloughed or visiting missionaries, and one for the manager. The six apartments are ‘adopted’ by assemblies who are responsible for decorating and supplies.

The Lake Geneva Youth Camp has been another rallying point of the Chicago area assemblies.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses A History of Lombard Gospel Chapel (1927-1940), November 1994, by Ken Bylsma Great is Thy Faithfulness, Palos Hills Christian Assembly, 1890-1990 Random & Reminiscence, by Theodore Williams, Sr., undated but probably printed in mid 1990s. The Christian Brethren Movement, by Inez A. Clayton, undated Letters of Interest, June 1945, p. 13; November 1945, p. 29; March 1949, inside front cover and p. 21; November 1953, p. 3; July 1950, p. 20; September 1951, p. 3; February 1957, p. 5; June 1959, p. 11; July 1961, p. 8 Letters and Reports from Charley Ross, 1997; George Bowman, 1997; Tom Carrick, 1997; William Warke, 1998


Several assemblies were started by the Scottish pioneers in northwest Indiana not far from Chicago. Assembly testimony in Indiana began in the 1870s when James Campbell visited Valparaiso. As a result of his visit, an assembly was started in that city, and was strengthened when Judge Gillet, a well-respected Christian and Bible teacher, identified himself with the testimony. Alexander Matthews and Donald Ross, among others, ministered there. The work continued at the Valparaiso Gospel Hall until the mid 1980s.

Mr. Ross had meetings at Crown Point in the late 1800s and the Crown Point Assembly began at that time. A Mr. Turner and was in the fellowship there. In 1949, the assembly built a chapel seating over 100.

Mr. Ross also visited Lowell, and saw the Lowell Assembly started in that little town. The Lowell and Crown Point assemblies disbanded many years ago.

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T.B. Gilbert was led to the rural area south of South Bend to serve the Lord in 1917-18. His going was in response to the pray¬ers of a few people who had formerly been linked with assemblies in various places, but were strangers to each other. Mr. Gilbert helped them to establish assemblies in their various communities. The first of these began at Bass Lake. Three others were formed at Knox, Aldine, and Ora, all in happy fellowship with each other, and choosing “Meeting House” as their common name. The Gospel Meeting House in Knox continues today. The Meeting House in Aldine continued until the late 1970s.

The situation at Ora was a remarkable example of the power of the true gospel. Some cultish groups were already established there, when in 1918 and 1919, Mr. Gilbert visited this town of 150 people. On both occasions he held three weeks of meetings. He found it useless to preach on texts, as the people were skeptical that he was going to bring them his personal ideas. So he preached on the Gospel of John and the Acts, chapter by chapter. Several were saved in these campaigns, one old man saying that he had been praying that God would send someone to clear up his confusion, resulting from the cultish preaching in the town. The Ora assembly was started in about 1930, and probably called its meeting place the Ora Gospel Meeting House at that time. Charles Malott, James Stephenson, and Oliver Schwartz are remembered as being involved in the start-up.

From 1930 to 1942, the Christians met in a small hall. Then in 1942, through the Lawrence Bennett family, the assembly moved to its present building, now called the Ora Gospel Chapel. In 1945, about 25 were gathering to Break Bread regularly, and 50 to 60 came out to the Gospel meeting when Mr. Gilbert spoke, a remarkable number for a town of 150.

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In 1930, C.E. Bulander, then pastor of a church at Royal Center about 30 miles from Knox, invited T.B. Gilbert to come there for a series of meetings, which resulted in Mr. Bulander’s identification with the assemblies. Mr. Bulander soon began work around Logansport, 70 miles north of Indianapolis, and Mr. Gilbert held Bible classes at the city hall. The Logansport Gospel Chapel, also known as Bethany Gospel Chapel, was established in about 1934 as a result of these efforts. The assembly first met in the home of Byron Flory in the country; and from there in a succession of homes and storefronts until 1992, when the assembly acquired its own chapel at 321 Cliff Drive. Leaders in the assembly have been Byron Flory, Floyd Swigert, Fred Stout, Milsted and George Hammon, Clarence Rude, Bert Hostetler, and Bob Galinger. About 15 people are now in the assembly.

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Many of the adjoining towns were visited with gospel tent efforts. T.B. Gilbert held Bible classes at Mishawaka, near South Bend, and the Mishawaka Assembly was planted there. Its derivative today is Grace Bible Chapel.

In about 1934, C.E. Bulander and John Farquharson pitched a gospel tent near Brookston, and the Brookston Assembly was formed there as the result of this effort. It disbanded long ago.

At the beginning of World War II, an assembly was formed in Ripley when gasoline rationing prohibited travel. It continued at the Ripley Gospel Chapel until the early 1990s.

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Bethany Fellowship in Warsaw, southeast of South Bend began in 1977 as Bethany Bible Chapel. Ron Moore, Ron Scantlen, and Abraham Thomas were the principal initiators of the assembly. The Chapel was first located in the nearby small town of Winona Lake. Abraham Thomas, Ray Moore, Wayne Taylor, Dick Lehman, Irv Lindemuth, Ben Scripture, and Leo Belanger have been active in leadership over the years. Bethany Fellowship has commended several to the Lord’s work. About 45 adults and children are in the assembly.

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A. R. Cole, whose work was largely caring for orphan children, lived for many years at Kendallville in the northeast corner of the state. He was instrumental in initiating the Kendallville Assembly, which disbanded long ago.

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Grace Chapel at Frankfort, between Lafayette and Indianapolis, was underway in the 1950s under the leadership of John Freeland. They acquired and remodeled a small building at that time to provide facilities for Sunday school and adult meetings. It has since disbanded.

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The Round Grove Assembly, which had been in existence for years in the west central part of the state, moved in 1949 to the home of Bert Hostetler in West Lafayette. It disbanded many years ago, but the Westside Bible Fellowship meets today in West Lafayette.

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Muncie Bible Fellowship in Muncie, northeast of Indianapolis, began in 1985 as a Bible study in the home of Richard and Sharon Rawson, who were from an independent Baptist church. The group included Paul and Debbie McCollum and Gene and Reva Mussick. In 1986, Garlord and Barbara Kramer and family, from an assembly background, joined the group, and were followed in 1987 by David and Felicia Dixon, and the Anderson family, also from assembly backgrounds. At that time, the fellowship first began Breaking Bread.

In 1988, the group relocated to a hotel, and in 1990 to a store front at 4006 W. Jackson; in 1993 they rented and remodeled a 2400 square foot building at 3800 W. Jackson Street, where they stayed until the landlord sold the building, at which time they moved back into the Rawson home at 116 Winthrop, and continue there to the present. David Dixon and Richard Rawson are the leaders of the assembly.

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The assembly now known as Bethany Bible Chapel in Carmel on the north edge of Indianapolis, started in about 1915. In that year, Emile Carboz, an immigrant from Switzerland, moved his family to Indianapolis. They met Dan and Bonnie Robertson, and the two families began Remembering the Lord in one of their homes, since there was no meeting of ‘open’ brethren there. They were soon joined by the Butlers and Friebergs. In the 1920s, the growing group moved into a storefront building on North Tacoma Avenue for a meeting place. From there they moved to a YMCA on North Pennsylvania Avenue, and from there to a Youth for Christ building.

During the late 1930s, the Dave and Jean Sheele family moved from New York and came into fellowship. In the 1940s, Richard and Frances Hill started coming to the meeting with their family. In 1949 William M. Brown moved to Indianapolis to devote most of his time to the work there. The assembly had been meeting in a public building and in various homes and needed its own chapel. The brethren secured a lot and Mr. Brown drew up some plans, but the neighborhood selected objected to the chapel being built. The lot was sold and another one bought in a new location outside the city limits. Jack Davies, of California, was asked to give a bit of architectural treatment to the plans and in 1950 and 1951 the Indianapolis brethren built a functional and attractive chapel. Messrs. Carboz, Sheele, and Hill were the principal men involved in building the chapel at North Grand Avenue (now North Leland Avenue) in northeast Indianapolis. It was called Bethany Chapel at that time, and later changed to Bethany Bible Chapel.

During this period, many were saved and added to the assembly. But in the early 1950s, some of the elders moved or were transferred, and the assembly decreased. Then Leonard Sheldrake, son of the well-known full-time servant of the Lord, moved to the area and began coming to the chapel. Soon he was one of the stalwarts of the assembly. Ray Morgan became another elder of the assembly at about the same time. William and Mabel Burrows came in 1961, and William became a real shepherd. The chapel was enlarged in the 1960s.

In 1971 the Christians sold their building and began to meet in the Jordan YMCA until 1973 at which time they bought an older house at 4312 East 116th Street, Carmel, and renovated it for their meeting place. The assembly commended, among others, Mark and Carol Kieft to serve in the foreign field. The Kiefts have since returned and helped start Faith Bible Chapel in Farmington Hills, MI, where they serve the Lord full time.

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At Bicknell in the southwest part of the state, a large assembly arose through the efforts of saved miners from Scotland, but after the mines closed, probably in the early 1900s, the Bicknell Assembly ceased.

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Sources: Questionnaire Responses Letters of Interest, June 1944, p. 37; November 1953, p. 3; June 1959, p. 11; July 1961, p. 8 The History of Bethany Bible Chapel, Carmel, Indiana, by Ray Morgan, undated


Information about the earliest assemblies in Ohio is scant. The Scots evangelist John Smith, who worked with Donald Munro and others in Canada, made Cleveland his home in his later days, and was no doubt associated with an assembly in the early part of the twentieth century.

In 1930, T.B. Nottage began the assembly at Elim Gospel Chapel in Cleveland. Though he was an itinerant worker, he and his wife Josephine and children moved to that city in 1936 to be closer to the work. When World War II broke out and traveling became difficult, he curtailed his itinerant evangelism and concentrated his efforts in Cleveland, preaching, doing visitation, and radio programming. The Christians at Elim Gospel Chapel purchased a substantial building at 10522 Amor Avenue in the 1950s, where they still meet. Faith Gospel Chapel in Cleveland is an offshoot of Elim Gospel Chapel.

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In 1936, Central Gospel Hall met in a dilapidated theater building on Central Avenue in Cleveland. B.M. Nottage and Theodore Williams were associated with that assembly.

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The Addison Road Gospel Hall at 1447 Addison Road in downtown Cleveland had about 150 adults and children in attendance at the Breaking of Bread in 1945. Probably the largest assembly in Ohio at the time, the origins of this assembly have not been identified.

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A hive-off from Addison Road Gospel Hall occurred in 1950, when a group purchased land in Cleveland Heights, east of central Cleveland. While awaiting completion of construction of a new chapel, the group met in a Junior High School building. Gracemount Gospel Chapel in Cleveland Heights was occupied in the fall of 1951. It was a vibrant assembly in the 1950s and 1960s, under the leadership of Ken and Robby Pile, the Beattie family, the Baxter family, and others. When the demographics of the area changed, many people began to fellowship elsewhere. With dwindling numbers, Gracemount Chapel was sold to a different evangelical group in 1994.

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An assembly in the Willoughby suburb northeast of Cleveland, was established in the late 1950s. The Christians built the Willo Gospel Chapel on Johnny Cake Ridge Road with an auditorium seating capacity of 186. Its name was changed later to Willo Bible Chapel. The assembly disbanded in the early 1980s.

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Believers Bible Chapel in Painesville, a town northeast of Cleveland on the shore of Lake Erie, was an outgrowth of a local Wednesday night Bible study in the home of Rob and Jane Main on the far east side of Cleveland in the 1970s. Many in the Bible study were in fellowship at Gracemount Gospel Chapel at the time. The group desired to start an assembly, and the elders at Gracemount gave their blessing. The new assembly was initiated primarily by the Mains, Tice and Evelyn Ozinga, Arthur E. and Susie Auld, Arthur H. and Debbie Auld, Walter and Kathy Lord, and John and Jill Ozinga. Tice Ozinga had been an elder at Willo Bible Chapel, before that work dissolved. Arthur E. Auld had also been in the Willo fellowship, and had been an elder at Gracemount. Taking the name Concord Bible Chapel, hoping someday to be located in Concord Township, the Christians began Breaking Bread in 1978 at the Painesville YMCA. Tice Ozinga and Arthur E. Auld were recognized as the two elders of the new assembly.

After a year or two, the group began meeting in the Concord Township Fire Station. After another two years, they moved to a store front in Perry, where they took the name South Ridge Bible Chapel. By 1989, they had purchased and renovated an old Baptist church building in Painesville, and moved in as Believers Bible Chapel. Elders now include Arthur H. Auld and Rob Main. The assembly has commended workers to ministries within the U.S.

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Westlake Bible Fellowship began in 1968, a hive-off from Gracemount Gospel Chapel. Located first in Birch School in North Olmsted, a western suburb of Cleveland, the assembly moved to Cahoon Road in Westlake, and now has its own chapel on Hilliard Boulevard in Westlake. Those starting the assembly include Karl and Lois Reader, David and Sandy Bingham, Len and Cherry Dick, and Guy and Betty Meehling. These and Roger Meng and Donald Morris have shared the leadership of Westlake Bible Fellowship. About 110 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

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In north-central Ohio is the city of Mansfield where assembly testimony has long existed. The assembly at Lincoln Heights Gospel Chapel was active in the 1940s and 1950s, continuing into the middle 1980s. The Chapel was newly constructed in 1948.

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An assembly in the city of Norwood on the east side of Cincinnati was begun in 1938 in a small rented building, which the Christians called the Norwood Gospel Hall and later the Norwood Gospel Chapel. A Mr. Powers is remembered as initiating the assembly. Failing to find suitable property to purchase, the assembly moved to the home of John J. McGehee.

In early 1958, the little assembly purchased a half-acre site at Galbraith Road and Kirkland Avenue in the Finneytown area of Cincinnati. On the property was a large old house, which they remodeled. There the testimony had grown to about 80 in fellowship in 1961, with a Sunday school of 120, limited only by space.

In 1961, they built the Northern Hills Bible Chapel on Galbraith Road in Cincinnati, where they still meet. The chapel has an auditorium seating 210. Leaders in the assembly over the years include Gus Jacobs, Israel Martin, John McGehee, Thomas Parks, Bill Wilson, Jim Adams, and Phil Miekley. Today about 150 adults and children attend Northern Hills Bible Chapel.

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Ross Bible Chapel in Hamilton, north of Cincinnati, began in 1974 in the home of Brack and Donna Strong. Wayne and Betty Schlichter had contacted the elders of Northern Hills Bible Chapel for help in establishing a new assembly. Brack Strong responded, along with Ralph and Ruth Merritt, Jim and Sue Slay, and Jim and Jan McGuire. After about two months, the group moved to the Elda Elementary School, and in another two years to 2846 Hamilton-Cleves Road, the present location of Ross Bible Chapel.

Elders have been Wayne Schlichter, Brack Strong, Fred Patton, Ralph Merritt, and Mike Smith. With a large children’s work, Ross Bible Chapel has about 100 adults and children in attendance. The assembly has commended several to the work of the Lord.

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An assembly was formed in Toledo in 1950, a breakoff from a United Presbyterian Church. The assembly was originally located at 15th and Monroe Streets and called Christian Fellowship of Toledo. Waldo Yeager, Harold Vernier, and Herb Houck were among the principal people in the start-up.

In the 1980s, the assembly moved to Auburn and N. Cove, where it grew. From there, a group hived off in 1985, the remaining Christians taking a name similar to their old one: Toledo Christian Fellowship. That assembly continued to the late 1990s, when it disbanded, most of the Christians at that time joining with the group that had hived off.

The assembly that had hived off in 1985 moved into Southwest YMCA and took the name Christian Fellowship of Toledo South. In 1988 these Christians moved to their present location at 6711 Pilliod Road in Holland on the southwest side of Toledo. The assembly has commended several workers to the field at home and abroad. About 300 adults and youngsters are in Christian Fellowship of Toledo South. Leaders over the years in the two assemblies include, besides those mentioned, Ben Smith, Bill Wood, Gil Elliott, Dean Pilton, Paul Carter, Wally Yeager, Paul Delamater, Bill Webb, Don Bickford, and Lou Vasaturo.

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Believers Assembly in Bellbrook, just south of Dayton, began its birth process in July of 1975 with five believers meeting in the home of Rennes Bowers in Enon, a small town northeast of Dayton. Rennes Bowers III had been a hippie who was saved in 1974 and discipled by Don Welborn in Iowa. He came to Ohio in 1975 to witness to his parents and others, and decided to stay and lead Bible studies. He was commended by assemblies in Iowa and began the work which is now called Believers Assembly.

In 1977, the Christians meeting in Bowers’ home moved to Beaver Valley Road in Fairborn to accommodate growth and took the name Believers in Christ Jesus. The growing assembly moved through several locations in the Dayton area over the following 15 years – the Dayton City Mission, the Dayton Christian High School, a city recreation center, and the Fairborn Senior Citizens Center. From 1992 to the present, they have occupied their own chapel at 3821 Upper Bellbrook Road. The first elders were recognized in 1979, and have included Rennes Bowers III, Rodney Geiger, Mike Gaynier, and Dwight McMahan. Believers Assembly has commended several to the Lord’s work abroad. About 35 adults and children are now in the assembly, though at one time more than 100 were in Believers Assembly.

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Sources: Questionnaire Responses Letters of Interest, August 1945, pp. 11; June 1948, p. 18; November 1953, p. 3; January 1956, p. 19; June 1959, p. 11; July 1961, p. 8 Random & Reminiscence, by Theodore Williams, Sr.; self-published, undated


Detroit had no assembly testimony until around 1880. T.D.W. Muir lived in Hamilton, Ontario and spent his time preaching the Gospel in Ontario and in towns in the central part of Michigan. In 1881, he came to Detroit with his wife and they held street meetings in Cadillac Square, the downtown area of Detroit at that time. They met some Christian people and saw others led to the Lord.

These then formed a small assembly, the first in Michigan and later to be known as Central Gospel Hall. The first meeting room was located in a rented store at 5th Avenue and Michigan in the Corktown district of Detroit. The group was small and the people were in poor circumstances, so it was a constant struggle to meet expenses. They met in a variety of places over the next 20 years, even building and occupying a hall at the corner of Seventh and Perry Streets.

Each summer a tent was pitched and the Gospel was preached nightly. As the assembly grew larger, the Christians began to hold annual conferences. It was on the occasion of one of these conferences, perhaps in about 1889, that a small ‘exclusive’ assembly some 10 miles outside of Detroit came to seek fellowship with the Detroit assembly. Its people were French and had for some time conducted their meetings in their native tongue before switching to English. When they heard of the assembly in Detroit founded by Mr. Muir, they became associated with it.

By 1900, the assembly had moved to an auditorium over Dickinson’s Hardware Store at 416 Grand River Avenue and continued there for several years. The group was calling their meeting place Central Gospel Hall by then. As the assembly grew it became necessary to seek more space. A hall was built at the corner of Grand River and Harrison Avenues and occupied in about 1906. It was a large hall with a balcony and a seating capacity of about 300, with a large Sunday School room downstairs.

It was at about this time that H.A. Cameron, a young medical doctor, came from Scotland and joined the fellowship. He was soon Mr. Muir’s right hand man; Muir and Cameron were the two pillars of the work for many years. Muir’s excellence as a preacher and knowledge of the Word attracted capacity crowds to the auditorium; on occasion the stairs up to the speaker’s platform were used as seating when Mr. Muir spoke. Mr. Cameron was the exacting teacher, and was the person who encouraged Will Pell to begin publishing the Assembly Annals magazine and the Sunday School curriculum.

Detroit was grew rapidly in the early 1900s because of the automobile factories and the migration of many people from the British Isles and parts of Europe. Tracts were given out in various sections of the city and this resulted in a summer of tent meetings on the east side of Detroit in 1914. In 1917, Mr. Cyril Popplestone had a Sunday School in that area with 60 to 80 children in a tent. In November 1918, a new Gospel Hall was opened in the east side of Detroit. The outreach of the assembly included foreign missionary work; the first missionary commended was Miss Mary Ridley, who went to China and labored there many years.

One of the members of the assembly became interested in deaf people. For many years he conducted a Bible Class for deaf mutes in the balcony of Central Hall. A number of years later, a small assembly was formed for these Christians and met Sunday afternoons in the old Bethany Chapel (now Bethany-Pembroke Chapel in Detroit).

Tent meetings in the summer continued in various parts of the city. Special Gospel meetings were held during the year. A tract band was formed by the assembly, which reached out into the city and produced much fruit. The annual Conference of Christians was a high point in each year. Most of the local assemblies joined with Central Gospel Hall. For many years the conference was held in the Sank Temple on Grand River Avenue and as many as a thousand people attended. Some of the preachers over the years were Charles Ross, W. J. McClure, Mr. McCrory of Hamilton, Ontario, Leonard Sheldrake, William Robertson of Philadelphia, Andrew Stenhouse of Chile, John Ferguson, J. Alexander Clark, and many full-time preachers from Michigan, Ohio, and the Chicago area. These were times of blessings to the hearts of the Lord’s people.

As the Christians moved away from the center of the city, other assemblies were started. In Ferndale, a northern suburb of Detroit, tent meetings were held in the summer of 1925; the Ferndale Gospel Hall started in November of 1926 and continues today. (See below for the Berean Tabernacle in Ferndale.)

Also in 1926, Sunday School and Sunday evening Gospel meetings were held in a store on the west side of Detroit called Springwells. At least a dozen young people were saved as a result of that work. It continued as an outreach of Central Gospel Hall but never became an independent assembly.

A fruitful series of Gospel meetings was held at Central in the spring of 1927. William Gillaspie and Fred Nugent, both from Ontario, were the evangelists. At least 30 young people came to the Lord and were added to the assembly.

A group of the Christians had settled in a neighborhood near West Chicago Boulevard and Livernois Avenue and became interested in their neighbors. In the summers of 1926 and 1927 they had tent meetings on West Chicago Boulevard and many were saved. An assembly was formed and a building was erected by the men of the assembly and called West Chicago Gospel Hall. They later moved to Livonia, a suburb of Detroit, to a larger building now called Stark Road Gospel Hall.

There was a large population of Italian people in the east side of Detroit. Young people from Central Gospel Hall became interested in helping there during summer tent meetings. Two Italian evangelists from the eastern United States, Mr. Rosanio and Mr. Patrizio, conducted meetings in Italian and English. A group of Christians was formed and became an assembly in October of 1931. As the young people grew, up the meetings were held mostly in English but the outreach was mostly among Italians. (See Ethnic section)

That same year, Mr. R. Hopwood of Central Hall who was fluent in Spanish began meetings in homes among the Mexican people in Detroit. A small assembly was started in 1926 and continued for a few years.

The town of Windsor, across the river from Detroit, in Canada, was growing and Christian people from overseas had come there to live. For a number of years they came over on Lord’s Days for the meetings at Central Gospel Hall.

A real missionary spirit continued in Central over many years. Missionaries were commended and sent to various parts of the world. James and Olive Scollon were commended in 1938 to the work of the Lord in Honduras, South America. They continued working there for over 50 years, planting assemblies and carrying on an effective work in printing scriptural materials in the Spanish language.

During this period, the assembly held monthly ‘Fellowship Meetings,’ emphasizing missions and attracting well known speakers. Several young people at Central were exercised at that time about serving the Lord on the foreign mission fields. In 1946, Donald Cole was commended to go to Angola, along with his wife Naomi, who was commended from Central Hall in Toronto. They served there many years until civil war in Angola became too dangerous and the missionaries were evacuated. Others were commended to Sakeji School in Northern Rhodesia, Angola, Brazil, and Italy.

World War II was a time of serious prayer for the safety of the many young men from all Detroit assemblies who were serving their country. The young women at Central Hall made up a monthly newsletter to send to the servicemen, which included news of the boys who were overseas, as well as pictures and encouraging words.

After World War II, the Christians began to move to the outlying parts of the city. The brethren began to consider moving to a new location and an old church building was found at the corner of Curtis and Lenore Avenues. The assembly purchased it, tore it down, and erected the Curtis Gospel Chapel in northwest Detroit, which was dedicated in October 1957. Special Gospel meetings and summer Daily Vacation Bible Schools have continued, with many children coming from the neighborhood.

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In 1989, Faith Bible Chapel in Farmington Hills near Detroit was formed by some former members of Curtis Gospel Chapel. Mark and Carol Kieft, commended from Bethany Bible Chapel in Carmel, IN helped start Faith Bible Chapel, where they have served the Lord full time.

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Farmington Road Gospel Chapel in the Detroit area was built in the 1950s. The assembly continued into the 1970s.

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Jim Wallis and Don Fraser desired to start a new assembly in the Redford area of Detroit. Enlisting the help of four more couples, they began the work in a public school, with 50 people at the first service, at which time some were saved. Children’s classes were also held on that day in 1951. Gifts and loans enabled them to build Dunning Park Chapel at 24800 West Chicago Boulevard; the assembly still meets at that location.

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The Midland Avenue Brethren in Detroit, meeting for many years at 10025 Midland Avenue, built a new chapel in 1953 on Burt Road and Pembroke Avenue, with a seating capacity of 320 in the main auditorium. The name chosen was Pembroke Chapel, now Bethany-Pembroke Chapel.

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The assembly meeting in the Dearborn Chapel in southwest Detroit at Nona and Hamilton Streets, constructed a large new building in the 1950s. The assembly continues at this time.

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The Martin Road Christian Assembly in St. Clair Shores, in the northeast Detroit metropolitan area, has its roots in a Sunday School work begun in 1916 or 1917. Cyril Popplestone started the Sunday School in his home on Bewick Street. A room in an empty store was later rented at the corner of Warren and Pennsylvania Streets for the growing Sunday school work.

Around 1919, John Ferguson, Sr., pitched a tent nearby at Warren and Cadillac Avenue for a month of Gospel meetings. The need for having a place for special meetings induced Mr. Hitt of Central Gospel Hall in Detroit to purchase a frame building, which was transported in sections to Forest and Pennsylvania Streets. The work of erecting the building was done with the help of numerous Christians, many of them from Central Gospel Hall. The building was used initially for the Sunday School work.

The building was very modest in appearance, being of collapsible construction and set on wooden pillars driven into the ground. The Christians were constantly concerned that these pillars might collapse and the building fall, especially when large crowds were present at special meetings.

About this time Don Charles had special meetings there. A number of people from the neighborhood came and several were converted. John Pinches also had a six-week series of meetings on the chart ‘Two Roads and Two Destinies.’ It was after those meetings that the assembly was formed in January 1924, and the building designated East Side Gospel Hall in Detroit. John Pinches from Central Gospel Hall came at that time into fellowship at East Side Gospel Hall. H.A. Cameron, T. D. W. Muir, and John Ferguson were among those who gave help at the new assembly.

Some of the early workers were the families of Cyril and Harry Popplestone, David McKay, Walter Lyons, John Pinches, William Upleger and Mabel Gibson Upleger, William Ingram, Cluot, Nell and Tress Bonser, James Brown, Gunda Anderson Ghiata, Elsie Benning Weinert, Mabel Thompson Ross, Beatrice Mellick, Margaret Ingram Murdock, and William Smith. About 60 or 70 Christians were in fellowship in 1926.

During these years the assembly had tent meetings on Holcomb and Forest, a few blocks away. The tent was an attraction to the people who wouldn’t come into a building. George Pinches, brother of John Pinches, had several weeks of Gospel meetings in the tent. Many were saved during a Gospel campaign held by Fred Nugent, which was held nightly for six weeks.

The district was changing rapidly and those who could afford it began moving to the suburbs. The Sunday School was dwindling. In about 1950, the Christians bought property on Harper Avenue at Woodhall in Detroit, erected a building, and called it Harwood Chapel. Italian brethren acquired the East Side Gospel Hall at that time. A very fruitful seven-week campaign was held in Harwood Chapel in 1952 by Pat Magee.

Harwood Chapel was a one story brick building without a basement. Soon it was too small for Sunday School work, and when the Ford Expressway was designed to come near, the assembly decided to move. They had spent about seven years at Harwood.

Property in Detroit was too expensive then, so the present site on Martin Road outside the city at St. Clair Shores was purchased and the Martin Road Gospel Chapel was built in 1958. A Sunday School bus was purchased to bring children to the Sunday School. Mr. Hewson from Salem Hall in Detroit (which assembly built Plymouth Road Chapel within a year or two), gave help in Gospel ministry. John and James Barclay were the first Gospel preachers at the Martin Road Christan Assembly.

Allan Bennett, Barry Mahloy, Eleanor Wylie, Robert Simpson, Lawrence Vroom, James Barclay, and John Smedes are among the many who have worked with the young people. John Smedes and Barry Mahloy with others did house-to-house visitation work in the neighborhood. Lou and Doreen Jerome, Jack Wylie, and Eleanor Wylie accompanied the spoken word with their singing on the Lapeer Radio. John Smedes and Lambert Wilson assisted in the work of the downtown Mission. Daniel Nichols served with the Spain Team of Literature Crusades.

A group left to start a new assembly in a Sterling Heights in 1976. Martin Road Christian Assembly is much smaller today; nevertheless, it is active. Christians from India have joined the assembly. Each week during fall, winter and spring, the Christians conduct a Girls Club and a Boys Club, and a Daily Vacation Bible School in the summer. The ladies continue to have a weekly Bible Study and a Monthly Missionary Work Meeting.

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Lakeside Bible Chapel in Sterling Heights on the north side of Detroit began in 1976 as a hive-off from Martin Road Gospel Chapel. Six families from that assembly were instrumental in its formation. Meeting first at the Graebner Elementary School, land for a chapel was purchased in 1978, and the building was finished in 1980. An expansion of the building was completed in 1990, and more land was purchased in 1997. Robert Johnston is the full-time worker at Lakeside. Average attendance at the Family Bible Hour was about 275 in 1997. The assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s service in the U.S., Spain, India, and Colombia.

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C.V. Baby, with John M.Chacko and a few other believers, started meeting for Bible studies in 1978 in Warren, MI. This led to the formation of the India Believers Gathering. The assembly is now known as India Brethren Assembly. (See Ethnic section)

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The Middle Eastern Bible Fellowship in Detroit began in March 1991, when a group of men and women of Arabic descent, including Ata and Salwa Mikhael, Raphael and Renee Haddad, and Philipe Yacoub, gathered to Remember the Lord. (See Ethnic section)

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Black assemblies have historically been strong in the Detroit area, thanks in large part to B.M. Nottage. In 1956 these were Bethany Tabernacle, the home assembly of B.M. Nottage and established in 1932; Grace Tabernacle; Berean Tabernacle in the Ferndale area; River Rouge Bible Assembly in the River Rouge area; Community Tabernacle; Gospel Chapel of Detroit; and Oakdale Tabernacle.

The River Rouge Bible Assembly in Detroit had its start in 1933 when William McHenry began a Bible class in his home on Polk Street. Initially the group met from house to house, later renting a room in the McFall Funeral Home on Palmerston. Among those involved in the very beginning were Sisters Smoot, Folks, Douglas, and Larkins.

In 1934, a store front was rented from Mrs. Collier on Polk and Hall. Then the group moved to the home of Stanley Lamar. During this time, various men came to help minister the Word, including Brothers T. Williams, John Glover, Nottage, and McDonald.

A chapel at 332 Polk Street was completed in 1947, and the assembly met there for many years. A building fund was started in 1959 for purchase of property on Beechwood. River Rouge Bible Assembly was formally incorporated that year. Plans were laid in 1962 to build, and the new chapel at 329 Beechwood was dedicated in 1967.

The assembly has been led by several pastors, beginning with John Glover in 1937, followed by Stanley Lamar in 1938, John Moore in 1959, Timothy Love in 1962, and Pellam Love in 1982.

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A Baptist pastor in Detroit, Theodore Williams, Sr. became exercised about his denominational position, and in 1936 resigned his pastorate. Soon thereafter he came in contact with B. M. Nottage, through whom he learned of assemblies meeting in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. That same year, he and a small company of believers began Breaking Bread together in a canvas tent in the Ferndale area of Detroit. Called the Berean Tabernacle, the assembly was begun by Mr. Williams and another brother, with assistance from two brothers from Bethany Gospel Hall in Detroit. Soon they had erected their own building on Reimanville Avenue.

The Flint Bible Hall was started at about the same time. Between 1936 and 1945, Mr. Williams had weekly radio programs on various Detroit, Flint, and Pontiac stations.

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In April 1939, a group of Christians established the Pilgrim Assembly in Detroit and moved into their first church home. In 1946, they incorporated as the Gospel Chapel of Detroit. Increasing numbers impelled them to move into larger quarters on Gratiot Avenue in 1951. In 1977, they moved to a building on East Grand Boulevard, and moved again into their present facility at 16241 Harper Avenue. Leading brothers have included Regan Wright, Julius Rivera, Arkles C. Brooks, Sr., and later his son Arkles C. Brooks, Jr. each of whom have served as assembly pastors. The assembly consists of about 100 adults and youngsters.

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The congregation now meeting at the Metropolitan Community Tabernacle in Detroit came into existence on Armistice Day, 1923. It functioned as an independent community church for many years. In about 1940, under the leadership of John E. Glover and B.M. Nottage, it came into fellowship with assemblies of brethren. Known for many years as Community Tabernacle, at Cameron and Wellington Streets, the assembly moved in 1985 to a building at 9835 Hayes and remodeled it, calling it Metropolitan Community Tabernacle. William James Coleman was the full-time worker at Metropolitan for many years, and known for his Bible teaching ministry. He was jointly commended in 1966 by the six black assemblies then existing in Detroit. Metropolitan Community Tabernacle has recognized elders.

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Grace Chapel in Detroit, formerly Grace Tabernacle, is another fruit of the labors of B.M. Nottage in the 1930s. When Ken Hampton left the Detroit police force to become the full-time worker for the assembly in 1980, it had about 50 people regularly attending. In 1987, the assembly purchased a church building with a 600-seat auditorium; within a year, up to 500 people were attending Grace Chapel, which had three Sunday morning services and a Sunday evening Lord’s Supper. The active church sponsors a radio program, is involved in food and clothing distribution, and has several youth programs and an active music program.

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Smith’s Creek Bible Camp, initiated by Grant Love and supported by the Detroit black assemblies, provides summer camp grounds for youngsters. Another such group is at Muskegon and is known as the West Side Grace Mission.

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The assembly now known as Dexter Street Gospel Chapel in Flint began in about 1910 when James Turfus moved from Sterling, MI to Flint. Meetings were held in the home of Freddie Coombs. Robert Kersey was also involved in the earliest days. Tent meetings along the Flint River are remembered from those days. After the home meetings, the group moved to space over a drug store at 912 Richfield Road (now Lewis Street). The group seems to have taken the name Gospel Hall Mission at that time. In 1921, the meeting place was moved to downtown Flint, over a dime store, and became known then as Central Gospel Hall.

Early leaders were George McBain, Archie Smith, Meldrum Allen, George Garret, and George Youmans. Brothers who have helped in the assembly include Ross Rainey, Robert Johnston, George Pirie, and Donald Wellborn. Preachers in the early days of the assembly included Thomas Dobbin, T.D.W. Muir, and Dan McGeachy.

In 1932, the assembly moved to Davison Road Gospel Hall in Flint, at 3229 Davison Road. In 1955, the assembly built Dexter Street Gospel Chapel on the corner of Dexter Street and Dale Avenue. William Pell and Walter Jensen spoke at the dedication in March 1956. Elders serving then and since include Samuel Lynch, Claud DeWitt, William Stewart, Joseph Porter, James Turfus, Stuart Turfus, and Larry Lambert. About 40 adults are in fellowship in 1998.

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The assembly now meeting at Civic Heights Bible Chapel in Flint started in about 1913 in a home. The principals in starting and maintaining it from then until the 1930s were Thomas Lloyd, Thomas Gordon, Robert Irvine, Charles Smith, Thomas Lennox, David Kirkcaldy, Edward Vall, Jim Jackson, Robert Black, William Mackie, John Jackson, Roy Nelson, Thomas Kane, and Andrew Richardson, and their families. Subsequent leaders include Andrew Mackie, Archie Anderson, Joseph Black, Jack Wilson, Ed Bills, Fred Brown, Arthur Randall, Earle McGarvah, and Gerald Sanders.

When the Christians outgrew the home, they rented a building until 1926 when they built and occupied a new building at 601 E. Pasadena Avenue, taking the name Hebron Hall. In the 1930s they renamed it Pasadena Avenue Gospel Hall, and then Pasadena Avenue Gospel Chapel. In 1964 the assembly moved for one year to Flint Christian School while their new Civic Heights Bible Chapel, at 3610 Wisner Street in Flint was being constructed.

By 1984, neighborhood violence induced the Christians to sell the building. They met for a year at the Genesee Valley Mall auditorium, then decided to disperse to two other assemblies – Dexter Street Gospel Chapel in Flint and Countryside Bible Chapel in Owosso, near Flint – rather than reform their own. The funds from the sale of the building were used to establish the Civic Heights Bible Chapel Foundation, which contributed to many Christian ministries for a number of years. The assembly commended several to the Lord’s work at home and abroad.

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Countryside Bible Chapel in Owosso began in 1958, an outgrowth of a children’s work, and deriving from Pasadena Avenue Gospel Chapel in Flint. Roy Nelson, William LeCureux, and Sam Lynch were among those starting the assembly and have been involved in leadership along with Robert Tissot and others. The assembly has commended workers to serve at Bair Lake Bible Camp.

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T.D.W. Muir, with William Garnham, pitched his tent at Saginaw, north of Flint, in 1886. A few souls were saved at that time and the Saginaw assembly was likely planted in about 1887. In 1888, James Kay was encouraged to move to Saginaw by Mr. Muir, and remained there doing extensive evangelistic work in the area until his home call in 1901.

The Christians comprising the assembly first met in a rented building on the corner of Ames and Harrison Streets, the first Saginaw Gospel Hall. Later they moved to a building on Hamilton Street, then to a building on the corner of Madison and Fayette Streets, then in about 1938, to a building on the corner of Throop and Porter Streets. In 1945, the assembly built a new hall, known as the Madison Street Gospel Hall on the corner of Madison and Porter Streets in Saginaw, and has been at that location since.

Leaders in the assembly over the years include Joseph Pocket, John William, Edward S. Williams, and Mathew McDonald. The assembly has commended John Govan to the work of the Lord.

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The Sturgis Bible Chapel began sometime prior to World War II and still continues. It expanded twice in the 1940s and 50s to accommodate the growing attendance at both Sunday school and adult meetings.

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Coldwater Bible Chapel, about 15 miles north of the Indiana state line, was established in 1955 by the families of Robert Branch, Elmer Anderson, and Dak Warner. It was a hive-off of the Sturgis Bible Chapel some 25 miles away. First meeting at a location on U.S. Highway 12 between Coldwater and Quincy, it now meets at 120 South Jefferson in Coldwater. Those active in leadership have been, in addition to the above, Ted and Nancy Hadfield, Terry and Connie Vercruysse, Tom and Phyllis Duke, and Phil and Dixie Hoard. About 20 adults and children attend the assembly.

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In 1932, James Noall from Detroit held a series of meetings in an old schoolhouse four miles north of Sheridan, a small town northeast of Grand Rapids. Cecil Starks walked to those meetings from his home in Sheridan; there he heard the gospel and received Christ. Shortly after, in early 1933, an assembly was started in the home of the Starks. Charles Frisbey and the Pell family from Grand Rapids also helped in establishing the Sheridan assembly. The principal leaders over the years have included Clayton Baldwin, Bert Starks, Cecil Starks, and Wayne Beard.

In 1934, an old house in Sheridan was purchased for the meetings and called the Sheridan Gospel Hall. In 1940, a chapel was built at 124 N. Main Street, and since then the assembly has been called Sheridan Bible Chapel.

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The city of Muskegon lies on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Muskegon Gospel Chapel at Allen and Oak Grove, was constructed in about 1953 in a new residential neighborhood in a well-equipped and attractive building. This assembly disbanded in 1990.

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In the early 1900s, an assembly of Christians existed in Montague, north of Muskegon. The assemblies at that time tended to follow the railroad line: Montague, Muskegon, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids. A Mr. Meinert, for whom a county park and street are named, was one of the leading brethren in the assembly at Montague. Probably known as the Montague Gospel Hall, long since disbanded, the old building still stands.

In about 1970, a group of Christians with charismatic leanings began meeting in Whitehall, near Montague. After a time, some of them expressed an interest in joining with the brethren movement, and invited Ed and Peg Burdick, commended from Dunning Park Chapel in Detroit, to help them. The Burdicks came in the 1980s, knowing the situation, but after a few years, they realized they were not helping assembly to grow. The assembly was called White Lake Fellowship during that period.

The Burdicks, with Gary and Jan Seaver, Mel and Lois Rykse, Jay and Eva Lou Larman, and Jay and Becky Vander Laan, left that church in 1991 to form Friendship Bible Chapel in Montague. White Lake Fellowship disbanded soon after that. The assembly at Muskegon Gospel Chapel had also disbanded at about that time, and some of the Christians from there joined with Friendship Bible Chapel. The assembly first met in the Seaver’s home, and now meets in the Montague City Building.

The assembly has commended Mel and Lois Rykse to Operation Mobilization. Ed Burdick is a full-time worker at Friendship Bible Chapel, and Peg Burdick is president of Winning Women for Christ. About 30 to 40 adults and youngsters attend Friendship Bible Chapel on Sundays.

Bair Lake Bible Camp and Upper Peninsula Bible Camp are the two brethren-sponsored Bible Camps in Michigan. Jack and Carol Long of Friendship Bible Chapel have been commended to work with those camps.

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At Holland, southwest of Grand Rapids, the origins of the Holland Gospel Chapel are now lost from memory. Some have called it the Wielenga Assembly because of the prominence of the Wielenga family. The assembly met on East 14th Street prior to 1954. In that year, the Christians moved to their current location at 106 W. 26th Street. Other leaders over the years include Henry Ebelink, Simon Dogger, and James Derks. The assembly meeting at Holland Gospel Chapel has commended workers to Japan, Ireland, Turkey, and Mexico. About 100 are in the assembly.

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In 1998, a hive-off of the Holland Gospel Chapel formed an assembly in Burnips, a rural town east of Holland. Dave and Arleen Nyhof, and Bernie and Lil Nyhof have leadership roles there. The Burnips Assembly is characterized by the presence of several home schooling families. The home school network is active among the believers in western Michigan.

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From 1911 through 1914, evangelists T. Dobbin, R. McCrory, T. Touzeau, and T.D.W. Muir held tent and cottage meetings in Jackson, in the mid-southern part of the state. In 1914, as a result of these efforts, the Jackson assembly began in the home of Charles Atkinson. Among the early members of the assembly were Mr. and Mrs. Robert Atkinson, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Schilling, Archie Martin, and Elma Smith. The Christians later moved to a small rented building at 1325 East North Street. In 1946, they purchased a building at 910 Bennett Street, the present location of the assembly, and held the first meeting there in 1949. The meeting places have collectively been called the Jackson Gospel Hall.

Charles Atkinson, Archie Martin, Nick Sarlo, and Douglas Losey are among the leaders over the years. Lorne McBain and Norman Crawford are itinerant workers who have lived in Jackson and been active in the assembly. Other preachers working in the area have included William Ferguson, William Warke, A. Klabunda, Archie Stewart, Oliver MacLeod. The Jackson Assembly has commended a worker to Puerto Cabelo, Venezuela. About 38 were in fellowship in the Jackson Gospel Hall in 1946, and about 75 in 1989.

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The North Adams Gospel Hall was started at nearby North Adams in 1932 by the efforts of brethren Stewart, McBain, and Klabunda. About 20 believers gathered to Remember the Lord at their first meeting. About 100 came to a special meeting later in that year. Memory has lost further details of this assembly, which disbanded long ago.

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Other Michigan assemblies which have been started through those associated with the Jackson testimony are Battle Creek Gospel Hall (1918), Sterling Gospel Hall (1919), Midland Gospel Hall (1919), Deckerville Gospel Hall (1920), Boyne City Gospel Hall (1922), Ubly Gospel Hall (1928), Franklyn Mines (Laurium) Gospel Hall (1935), Alpena Gospel Hall (1938), Sherman Gospel Hall (1954), and Ceresco Gospel Hall (1968).

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The present Sherman Gospel Hall was planted by Fred Mehl in 1954. Originally in the village of Mesick, and known as the Mesick Gospel Hall, it moved to its present location in Sherman in the northwest portion of the Lower Peninsula in 1959. Some Christians from the disbanded assembly at Cadillac joined with the Sherman Gospel Hall. Others involved in the start-up were Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Spencer, Olive Spencer, Crystal Armstrong, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Marvin, Anthony Clouse, and Mrs. P. Oswald. Those active in leadership have been Lloyd Spencer, Chancy Spencer, David Spencer, Thomas Spencer; Robert Nielson, Arthur Phillips, William Armstrong, and Stuart Thompson. About 35 adults and youngsters are in the assembly today.

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The assembly known now as Rock Bible Chapel got its start in 1951 as a Sunday School work conducted by John Small at the town hall in the small town of Rock on the Upper Peninsula. In 1952, the Smalls built their home in Rock and held assembly meetings there for three years. Then in 1956, the Smalls built a chapel on the lot next to their home, and the work has been called Rock Bible Chapel since then. Benjamin Yeadon took principal responsibility for the work from 1968 until his death in 1998. William Ducote and Mike Lepisco have also shared leadership. About 125 adults and youngsters are in the assembly today.

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The Pelkie Gospel Hall in the Upper Peninsula, began in 1981. Many of the Christians who formed the assembly had been saved through the Gospel outreach of the Christians at Lake Linden Avenue Gospel Hall in Laurium, about 25 miles north. The leaders have been Eugene Maki, Hugo Kemppainen, Kenneth Sohlden, and Samuel McClung, who were also involved in the startup of the assembly. Joe Balsan, an itinerant preacher from Des Moines, was also one of those starting the assembly. Mark Martinmaki also preached in the Pelkie area. About 30 adults and children are in the assembly.

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Asamblea Evangelica in Grand Rapids began in 1995 in the home of Ricardo and Diana Tavarez home. The Christians moved after that to 635 South Division, where they currently meet. The Spanish-speaking assembly consists of Christians from Guatemala, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, as well as the U.S. (See Ethnic section)

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The roots of the assembly presently at Forest Hills Bible Chapel in Grand Rapids go back to 1899. Messrs. Tazelaar, Krone, and Vander Muelen had visited Fred Wunsch in Lowell, a town east of Grand Rapids. Fred was the father of Gerald Wunsch and was in fellowship in an assembly that these men had heard about. They asked him for help in starting an assembly in Grand Rapids. Shortly, a group began meeting to Remember the Lord in one of their homes. At the end of 1900, the growing group purchased a small building at 272 N. College Avenue, and this became the College Avenue Gospel Hall.

John Van Kammen, the father of Mrs. Betty Wunsch, emigrated from the Netherlands to Grand Rapids as a young man in 1902, and was saved while attending meetings at College Avenue Gospel Hall.

By 1925, the College Avenue Gospel Hall was too small, and the assembly purchased and moved into another building at the corner of Eastern and Baldwin in Grand Rapids and named it the Eastern Avenue Gospel Hall and later the Eastern Avenue Gospel Chapel. However, it was usually called either the ‘Eastern and Baldwin Assembly,’ and sometimes the ‘Van Ryn Assembly’ because it was the home assembly of the Van Ryns who had moved to Grand Rapids from the Netherlands. August Van Ryn itinerated among area assemblies in the years he lived in Grand Rapids.

Cornelia DeJonge, commended by the Eastern and Baldwin assembly in 1925, was the first missionary to go out from West Michigan; she served in Africa. In 1951, Gerald and Betty Wunsch were commended by the assembly to the Lord’s work in New Guinea. They served the Lord for 41 years as missionaries in that country.

Harry Ironside had an evangelistic campaign at the Gospel Hall in 1926, well remembered because of the number, young and old, who were saved. He, C.J. Scofield, and many other well-known speakers visited the assembly regularly. The Eastern and Baldwin assembly and its forerunner was a ‘Grant exclusive’ assembly until the 1930s. Peter Pell Sr., father of ten children including Peter Pell Jr. and Will Pell (who began Gospel Folio Press around the year 1925), attended the assembly for a time. Harry Ironside baptized Peter and Will by immersion there. He asked Will, “Are you dead?” Will knew enough to answer in the affirmative, and then Ironside said, “Good, because I only bury dead people.” Later young Peter would travel and preach with Ironside.

After breaking with the Grants, the assembly joined in fellowship with the ‘open’ meetings in Grand Rapids. During the course of years, it has taken a more progressive stance. Russell Van Ryn was a conscientious shepherd through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1975, the assembly moved to the suburbs and changed its name to Forest Hills Bible Chapel.

Kevin Dyer and Don Cole visited there periodically. Many missionaries have gone out from Forest Hills. Gerald and Betty Wuensch were honored by the government of Papua New Guinea for their work. Forest Hills has been active with Upper Peninsula Bible Camp where Russ and Ruth VanRyn worked as directors many summers.

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During the thirties, there was a great reaping in Grand Rapids. Peter and Will Pell largely held the same doctrines as H.A. Ironside; they worked with M.R. DeHaan in his early days; they also were great friends with Mel Trotter of Rescue Mission fame. These men, with David Otis Fuller were greatly used to shake Grand Rapids and to make it a kind of hub of evangelical and fundamentalist work. Peter and Will were active open-air preachers in those days.

A brother named Kramer had moved to Grand Rapids from Kansas. He was a strict ‘exclusive’ and a very careful Bible student. Peter and Will Pell both attended Kramer’s Bible readings, and Peter was especially influenced. However, Mr. Kramer’s assembly never received Peter or Will Pell into their fellowship. Will Pell went to Bay City to a Bible Conference he had heard about and there met ‘open’ brethren preachers such as John Ferguson and Leonard Sheldrake. He found the believers in Bay City to be sound in faith and practice. The Pells after that identified with the ‘open’ assemblies. About that time an assembly began in Mr. Sharphorn’s woodworking shop behind his house in Grand Rapids. Later Will bought a building, which was called the Evangel Hall, for the assembly. In about 1958, the assembly moved to the present Northwest Gospel Hall at the corner of Garfield and Myrtle on the northwest side of Grand Rapids.

From Northwest Gospel Hall several missionaries have gone out or have been jointly commended – to Mexico, Japan, India, Columbia, and Paraguay

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A hive-off from Northwest Gospel Hall occurred in 1985 when Mr. and Mrs. John Sawyer and Mr. and Mrs. Karl Rewa joined with George and Nancy Sturm in order to establish an assembly in Allendale, west of Grand Rapids, called Fellowship Bible Chapel. The Rewas and Sturms were both trained through the Discipleship Intern Training Program at Fairhaven in California, and therefore followed much of the emphasis of Jean Gibson and Bill MacDonald at the first. This work, though small, goes on. At the start it was enlarged through outreach to Grand Valley State University in Allendale. Bob and Lois Sawyer came in about 1987 and during that time the assembly saw its greatest gains. Bob Sawyer was a roommate of Jim Elliott in his Wheaton College days; he and his wife Lois were of great help to the many young converts. In 1988 they responded to an invitation to help a missionary family in Spain and labored there for seven years. The Sturms went to Albania in 1992.

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The Burke Street Assembly in Grand Rapids began in 1991, springing up from among the many home schooling families in Grand Rapids. Most of the initial families did not have an assembly background, coming rather from Baptist, Reformed, charismatic, and independent church backgrounds. There are about 10 households in the Burke Street Assembly, which presently rents space in a Christian School. John Bjorlie, Sid Patten, and Larry Baker are the elders.

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Bailey is north of Grand Rapids and Newaygo is nine miles north of Bailey. The assembly meeting for many years at Newaygo Gospel Chapel moved to Bailey in the early 1980s. After a division, some of the believers joined with the Bailey Gospel Chapel and others formed the Newaygo Believer’s Bible Chapel.

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James Kay had close links to the beginnings of the assemblies at Deckerville, Bay City, Midland, and Standish. A Mr. Morris was influential in starting the Cass City Assembly. Alex McDonald and Dan McGeachy are linked with testimonies at Bad Axe, Ubly, and Deckerville. An assembly at East Lansing goes back to the early pioneers; it has relocated to Williamston. An assembly in Kalamazoo, going back to earlier days, built a new hall in about 1949, but has since discontinued. The Schoolcraft Assembly in Detroit was originally a French meeting.

Washtenaw Independent Bible Church is a home meeting that started as a Bible Church, but desired to meet more as a brethren assembly after their pastor relocated, they incorporated as a new church around 1980. No one in the church at the time had assembly backgrounds, they simply studied the New Testament and came under conviction there was a more biblical way to meet. Over the years they have seen fruit from visiting students from the University of Michigan, which is a continued burden. Van Parunak and Dave Nelson serve as two of the elders, as well as correspondents for the assembly. They have a ministry meeting on Sunday mornings with a discussion afterward, and they break bread on Sunday evenings. Their website is www.cyber-chapel.org.

Washtenaw Independent Bible Church is a home meeting that started as a Bible Church, but desired to meet more as a brethren assembly after their pastor relocated, they incorporated as a new church around 1980. No one in the church at the time had assembly backgrounds, they simply studied the New Testament and came under conviction there was a more biblical way to meet. Over the years they have seen fruit from visiting students from the University of Michigan, which is a continued burden. Van Parunak and Dave Nelson serve as two of the elders, as well as correspondents for the assembly. They have a ministry meeting on Sunday mornings with a discussion afterward, and they break bread on Sunday evenings. Their website is www.cyber-chapel.org.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses A History of Central Gospel Hall and other Assemblies in Detroit, Michigan, by Mildred Simms Livingston, 1996 Reminiscences, A volume designed to commemorate the life and labors of T.D.W. Muir, by H.A. Cameron, Gospel Folio Press, Grand Rapids, 1939 The History of how Assembly Gospel Work came to Michigan, by Norman A. Crawford, 1989 Historical Notes on 75th Anniversary of Jackson Gospel Hall, 1989 Random & Reminiscence, by Theodore Williams, Sr., undated Letters of Interest, June 1945, p. 13; March 1949, p. 21; November 1953, p. 3; January 1956, p. 19; June 1959, p. 11; January 1986, p. 18; July/August 1972, p. 4; September 1988, p. 20; January 1990, p. 6


42nd Street Gospel Hall in Minneapolis 42 66th and Normal Assembly, Chicago 51, 52 86th Street Assembly, Chicago 52 Addison Road Gospel Hall, Cleveland 71 Alberta Hall, Chicago 51 Alpena Gospel Hall, MI 85 Alpine Chapel, Lake Zurich, IL 61 Ames Gospel Chapel, IA 37 An Assembly of Christian Brethren in Fargo, ND 4 Antioch Gospel Hall, IA 31 Appleton Assembly, WI 48 Appleton Bible Chapel, WI 48 Appleton Gospel Chapel, WI 48 Aredale Gospel Hall, IA 28 Arlington Countryside Church, Arlington Heights, IL 61 Asamblea Evangelica, Grand Rapids, MI 86 Asbury Community Chapel, IA 34 Asbury Road Bible Chapel, Dubuque, IA 34 Atchison Gospel Hall, KS 9 Athlone Street Gospel Hall, St. Louis, MO 49 Atlantic Elm Street Gospel Chapel, IA 40 Atlantic Gospel Chapel, IA 39 Atlantic Sunnyside Bible Chapel, IA 40 Austin Gospel Hall, Chicago 53, 57 Avondale Assembly, IL 51, 52 Bailey Gospel Chapel, MI 88 Baldwin City Gospel Chapel, KS 15 Battle Creek Gospel Hall, MI 85 Bealieau Assembly, ND 1 Beetown Gospel Hall, WI 49 Believers Assembly Chicago, La Grange, IL 56 Believers Assembly, Bellbrook, OH 73 Believers Bible Chapel in Minneapolis 44 Believers Bible Chapel in Wichita 11 Believers Bible Chapel, Painesville, OH 71, 72 Believers Bible Chapel, Rockford, IL 62 Believers Church in St. Louis 22 Believers Gathered Together, Beloit, WI 49 Believers in Christ Jesus, Fairborn, OH 73 Belleville Meeting, KS 13 Beloit Gospel Hall, WI 49, 62 Berea Gospel Hall, IA 17, 38, 40 Berean Tabernacle in Detroit 80, 81 Bethany Bible Chapel, Carmel, IN 69, 77 Bethany Bible Chapel, Cedar Falls, IA 31 Bethany Bible Chapel, Warsaw, IN 68 Bethany Chapel, Carmel, IN 69 Bethany Chapel, Wheaton, IL 60, 61 Bethany Fellowship, Warsaw, IN 68 Bethany Gospel Chapel, Logansport, IN 68 Bethany Gospel Hall in Detroit 81 Bethany Tabernacle in Detroit 80 Bethany-Pembroke Chapel in Detroit 76, 78 Beverly Bible Chapel, Chicago 55 Bible Chapel in St. Louis 20, 21 Bible Hall in St. Louis 21 Bible Truth Assembly, Chicago 55 Bible Truth Chapel, Oak Park, IL 55 Bible Truth Chapel, Oskaloosa, IA 36 Bible Truth Chapel, Sheboygan, WI 48 Bible Truth Hall, Cudahy, WI 47 Bicknell Assembly, IN 70 Bismarck Bible Chapel, ND 3 Bonnacord Assembly, Abilene, KS 15 Boone Assembly, IA 38 Boyne City Gospel Hall, MI 85 Broadway Avenue Gospel Chapel, Sheboygan, WI 49 Brookfield Christian Fellowship, MO 23 Brookston Assembly, IN 68 Burke Street Assembly, Grand Rapids, MI 88 Burnips Assembly, MI 85 Cape Bible Chapel, Cape Girardeau, MO 64 Cedar Avenue Gospel Hall in Minneapolis 42 Cedar Falls Gospel Hall, IA 30 Cedar Rapids Assembly, IA 32 Cedar Rapids Bible Chapel, IA 32 Centerville Gospel Chapel, IA 35 Centerville Gospel Hall, IA 34 Central Gospel Chapel, Des Moines, IA 36, 37 Central Gospel Hall in Detroit 75, 78 Central Gospel Hall, Cleveland 71 Central Gospel Hall, Flint, MI 82 Central Hall in Toronto 77 Ceresco Gospel Hall, MI 85 Chicago Korean Bible Chapel, IL 54 Christ Community Church, Chicago 59 Christian Fellowship of Toledo South, OH 73 Christian Fellowship of Toledo, OH 73 Civic Heights Bible Chapel, Flint, MI 82 Clayton Gospel Hall, IA 26 Coal Creek Gospel Hall, KS 13, 14 Coldwater Bible Chapel, MI 83 College Avenue Gospel Hall, Grand Rapids, MI 86 Colorado Avenue Assembly, Chicago 53 Community Christian Fellowship, Moline, IL 33 Community Gospel Chapel, Kaukama, WI 48 Community Tabernacle in Detroit 80, 81 Como Bible Chapel in St. Paul 45 Concord Bible Chapel, Painesville, OH 72 Concordia Gospel Hall, KS 13 Cornerstone Community Church, Des Moines, IA 36, 37 Council Bluffs Bible Chapel, IA 7, 40 Countryside Bible Chapel, Owosso, MI 82, 83 Countryside Bible Chapel, Stratford, IA 38 Crary Assembly, ND 3 Crown Point Assembly, IN 67 Curtis Gospel Chapel in Detroit 77 Cylinder Gospel Hall, IA 29 Davenport Assembly, IA 33 Davenport Bible Fellowship, IA 33 Davison Road Gospel Hall, Flint, MI 82 De Wolf Street Gospel Hall, Des Moines, IA 37 Dearborn Chapel in Detroit 78 Deckerville Gospel Hall, MI 85 Des Moines Gospel Hall, IA 36 Dexter Street Gospel Chapel, Flint, MI 82 Downing Avenue Gospel Chapel, Waterloo, IA 30 Drummonds Bible Chapel, SD 5 Duluth Bible Fellowship, MN 45 Duluth Gospel Hall, MN 45 Dunkerton Gospel Hall, IA 25 Dunning Park Chapel in Detroit 78, 84 East Kellogg Gospel Chapel in Wichita 10 East Side Gospel Hall in Detroit 78 Eastern Avenue Gospel Chapel, Grand Rapids, MI 87 Eastern Avenue Gospel Hall, Grand Rapids, MI 87 Elgin Assembly, IL 61 Elim Gospel Chapel, Cleveland 71 Elm Springs Bible Hall, Carlton, KS 16 Emmaus Bible Chapel in St. Louis 22 Emmaus Gospel Assembly, Chicago 54 Evangel Hall, Grand Rapids, MI 88 Evanston Gospel Chapel, IL 62 Faith Bible Chapel, Farmington Hills, MI 70, 77 Faith Gospel Chapel, Cleveland 71 Family Gospel Chapel of Bangor, MI 59 Farmington Road Gospel Chapel in Detroit 78 Fellowship Bible Chapel, Allendale, MI 88 Ferndale Gospel Hall in Detroit 76 Fernwood Gospel Chapel, Chicago 10, 55, 63 Flint Bible Hall, MI 81 Forbush Assembly, IA 34 Forest Hills Bible Chapel, Grand Rapids, MI 86, 87 Fox Valley Bible Fellowship, Appleton, WI 48 Franklyn Mines (Laurium) Gospel Hall, MI 85 Friendship Bible Chapel, Montague, MI 84 Fulton Assembly, IL 34 Garden City Assembly, KS 18 Garnavillo Gospel Hall, IA 27 Garnett Assembly, KS 14 Glen Ellyn Gospel Chapel, IL 60 Good News Chapel, Fort Dodge, IA 37 Gospel Chapel of Detroit 80, 81 Gospel Hall Mission, Flint, MI 82 Gospel Meeting House in Knox, IN 67 Gospel Tabernacle in Minneapolis 42 Gothenburg/Cozad Assembly, NE 7 Grace and Glory Gospel Chapel, Chicago 59 Grace and Truth Gospel Chapel, Abilene, KS 15, 16 Grace and Truth Gospel Hall, Abilene, KS 15 Grace Bible Chapel in St. Louis 22 Grace Bible Chapel in Wichita 12 Grace Bible Chapel, Mishawaka, IN 68 Grace Bible Chapel, Springfield, IL 63 Grace Chapel in Detroit 81 Grace Chapel, Cudahy, WI 47 Grace Chapel, Evanston, IL 62 Grace Chapel, Frankfort, IN 68 Grace Fellowship, Madison, WI 49 Grace Gospel Chapel in New York City 58 Grace Gospel Hall, Chicago 58, 59 Grace Tabernacle in Detroit 80, 81 Gracemount Gospel Chapel, Cleveland Heights, OH 71 Grand Forks Assembly, ND 3 Grandview Assembly, IA 33 Grandview Gospel Chapel, Omaha, NE 7 Greenfield Gospel Chapel, IA 40 Greenfield Gospel Hall, IA 40 Hamilton Street Gospel Hall, Omaha, NE 6 Hampton Gospel Hall, IA 29 Harrison Gospel Chapel, Davenport, IA 33, 63 Harvey Gospel Chapel, ND 2 Harvey Gospel Hall, ND 2 Harwood Chapel in Detroit 79 Hazelwood Christian Fellowship Assembly Church, MO 23 Hebron Hall, Flint, MI 82 Hibbing Assembly, MN 45 High Point Bible Chapel, Davenport, IA 33 Hillside Bible Church, Oskaloosa, IA 36 Hinckley Gospel Hall, MN 45 Hitesville Gospel Hall, IA 28 Holland Gospel Chapel, MI 84 Hollywood Heights Chapel, Lincoln, NE 7 Hurd Assembly, ND 3 Hurdsfield Gospel Chapel, ND 2 Hurdsfield Gospel Hall, ND 2 Hutchinson Bible Hall, KS 12 Hutchinson Gospel Chapel, KS 12 Imperial Gospel Hall, NE 8 India Assembly, Maywood, IL 53 India Believers Gathering, Warren, MI 80 India Brethren Assembly, Warren, MI 80 Irving Park Gospel Hall, Chicago 53 Jackson Gospel Hall, MI 85 Jefferson City Bible Chapel, MO 23 Joliet Assembly, IL 64 Kanorado Gospel Hall, KS 17 Kendallville Assembly, IN 68 Keystone Bible Chapel, Omaha, NE 6, 40 La Grange Gospel Chapel, IL 56 LaCrosse Assembly, WI 47 Laflin Street Gospel Hall, Chicago 51, 54, 55 Lake Linden Avenue Gospel Hall, Laurium, MI 86 Lakeland Fellowship, Gurnee, IL 62 Lakeside Bible Chapel, Sterling Heights, MI 80 Lakeview Bible Truth Assembly, Chicago 56 Lansing Gospel Chapel, IL 63 Larrabee Gospel Hall, Chicago 56 Lawrence Bible Chapel, KS 14 Learning Center Gospel Chapel, Harvey, IL 59 Letts Gospel Hall, IA 33 Lighthouse Gospel Chapel, Chicago 59 Lincoln Heights Gospel Chapel, Mansfield, OH 72 Logansport Gospel Chapel, IN 68 Lombard Gospel Chapel, Chicago 32, 55, 57, 58, 60 Long Lake Community Church in Minneapolis 44, 45 Longfellow Gospel Chapel in Minneapolis 42, 43, 45 Longfellow Gospel Hall in Minneapolis 42 Lowell Assembly, IN 67 Lyman Gospel Hall, IA 29, 39 Lynxville Gospel Hall, WI 49 Madison Street Gospel Hall, Saginaw, MI 83 Manchester Gospel Hall, IA 27 Manhattan Assembly, KS 16 Manor Park Bible Chapel, Alexandria, MN 45 Maplewood Bible Chapel in St. Louis 21 Maplewood Gospel Hall in St. Louis 21 Marion Gospel Hall, IA 31, 32 Martin Road Christian Assembly, St. Clair Shores, MI 78 Martin Road Gospel Chapel, St. Clair Shores, MI 79, 80 Maryland Bible Chapel in St. Paul 45 Mason City Christian Assembly, IA 31 Mason City Gospel Hall, IA 29 Mayflower Gospel Chapel, Cumberland, IA 39 Meadow Ridge Bible Chapel, West Fargo, ND 3 Meadowdale Gospel Chapel, Carpentersville, IL 61 Meeting House in Aldine, IN 67 Meeting House in West Virginia, MN 45 Melvina Gospel Hall, IL 64 Mesick Gospel Hall, MI 85 Metropolitan Community Tabernacle in Detroit 81 Middle Eastern Bible Fellowship in Detroit 80 Midland Avenue Brethren in Detroit 78 Midland Gospel Hall, MI 85 Milton Avenue Chapel, Springfield, IL 63 Miriam Gospel Hall, Rockford, IL 61 Mishawaka Assembly, IN 68 Montague Gospel Hall, MI 84 Moriah Assembly in St. Louis 22 Mt. Sterling Gospel Hall, WI 49 Muncie Bible Fellowship, IN 69 Muskegon Gospel Chapel, MI 84 Neighborhood Bible Fellowship, Carbondale, IL 64 Newaygo Believer’s Bible Chapel, MI 88 Newaygo Gospel Chapel, MI 88 North Adams Gospel Hall, MI 85 North Shore Assembly, Zion, IL 62 North Shore Bible Chapel, Zion, IL 62 North Side Assembly in St. Louis 21 Northeast Gospel Chapel in Minneapolis 43_45 Northeast Gospel Hall in Minneapolis 42, 43 Northern Hills Bible Chapel, Cincinnati 72 Northside Bible Chapel in Wichita 11 Northwest Bible Chapel in Minneapolis 44, 45 Northwest Bible Fellowship, Omaha, NE 7 Northwest Gospel Chapel, Chicago 56 Northwest Gospel Hall, Grand Rapids, MI 88 Norwood Gospel Assembly of Korean, Chicago 54 Norwood Gospel Chapel, Chicago 53, 54, 61 Norwood Gospel Chapel, OH 72 Norwood Gospel Hall, OH 72 Oak Forest Bible Chapel, Chicago 55 Oak Lawn Bible Chapel, Chicago 55 Oak Ridge Bible Chapel, Milan, IL 33, 63 Oakdale Tabernacle in Detroit 80 Oakland Road Bible Assembly, Cedar Rapids, IA 32 Oconomowoc Bible Fellowship, WI 47 Omaha Gospel Chapel, NE 6 Omaha Gospel Hall, NE 6, 32 Omaha Gospel Mission, NE 6 Ora Gospel Chapel, IN 67 Ora Gospel Meeting House, IN 67 Osage City Assembly, KS 15 Overland Park Chapel in Kansas City, KS 10 Overland Park Chapel, KS 20 Palisade Gospel Hall, NE 8 Palos Hills Christian Assembly, Chicago 51, 52 Park Manor Bible Chapel, Elgin, IL 54, 61 Pasadena Avenue Gospel Chapel, Flint, MI 82, 83 Pasadena Avenue Gospel Hall, Flint, MI 82 Pelkie Gospel Hall, MI 86 Pella Gospel Hall, IA 35 Pembroke Chapel in Detroit 78 Peoria Assembly, IL 64 Perry Assembly, KS 14 Pickstown Assembly, SD 5 Pilgrim Assembly in Detroit 81 Plymouth Bible Chapel in Minneapolis 44, 45 Plymouth Road Chapel in Detroit 79 Portage Park Gospel Chapel, Chicago 54 Portage Park Gospel Hall, Chicago 54 Prairie du Chien Christian Assembly, WI 50 Prospect Avenue Bible Chapel, Champaign, IL 63, 64 Richmond Heights Gospel Chapel in St. Louis 22 Richmond Heights Gospel Hall in St. Louis 22 Ridgeview Chapel, Rockford, IL 61 Ripley Gospel Chapel, IN 68 River Forest Bible Chapel, IL 55 River Rouge Bible Assembly in Detroit 80 Roberts Memorial Gospel Hall, Chicago 52 Rochester Bible Chapel, MN 46 Rock Bible Chapel, MI 86 Roseland Bible Church, Chicago 52, 59 Roseland Gospel Hall, Chicago 52 Ross Bible Chapel, Hamilton, OH 73 Round Grove Assembly, Lafayette, IN 68 Saginaw Gospel Hall, MI 83 Salem Hall in Detroit 79 San Jung Korean Assembly, Des Plaines, IL 54 Schoolcraft Assembly in Detroit 88 Servants Church, Batavia, IL 64 Sheridan Bible Chapel, MI 84 Sheridan Gospel Hall, MI 84 Sherman Gospel Hall, MI 85 Sioux City Gospel Hall, IA 41 Sioux Falls Assembly, SD 5 South Emporia Bible Chapel in Wichita 11 South Ridge Bible Chapel, Perry, OH 72 South Side Assembly in St. Louis 20 South Side Bible Chapel in St. Louis 21 South Side Gospel Assembly, Chicago 59 South Side Gospel Hall in St. Louis 21 South Side Gospel Testimony, Chicago 59 South State Street Assembly, Chicago 51 Southeast Gospel Chapel, Springfield, IL 23 Southeast Gospel Hall, Springfield, IL 23 Southwest Bible Chapel, Valley City, ND 2, 3 Springfield Gospel Chapel, IL 63 Spruce Hill Bible Chapel in Kansas City, MO 20 Stark Road Gospel Hall in Detroit 76 Sterling Gospel Hall, MI 85 Stout Gospel Hall, IA 28 Stratford Bible Chapel, IA 38 Stratford Park Bible Chapel, Champaign, IL 64 Sturgis Bible Chapel, MI 83 Sunburg Assembly, MN 46 Sunnyside Bible Chapel in Minneapolis 44 Sunrise Bible Chapel in Wichita 11 Sunset Bible Chapel, Salina, KS 16 The Chapel, Salina, KS 17 The Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ in St. Louis 22 The Gospel Tabernacle in Champaign, IL 64 Toledo Christian Fellowship, OH 73 Topeka Gospel Chapel, KS 15 Troost Avenue Gospel Hall in Kansas City, MO 9, 20 Ubly Gospel Hall, MI 85 Union Ridge Gospel Chapel, Chicago 54 Valley Christian Fellowship, Rock Island, IL 63 Valley City Gospel Hall, ND 3 Valparaiso Gospel Hall, IN 67 Village Church, Oak Park, IL 55 Virginia Bible Chapel, MN 45 Warrenville Bible Chapel, IL 60 Washburn Bible Church, ND 3 Washington Heights Bible Chapel, Sioux City, IA 41 Washington Heights Gospel Hall, Chicago 54, 55 Waterloo Gospel Hall, IA 25 Wauwatosa Community Chapel, Milwaukee, WI 47 West Chicago Gospel Hall in Detroit 76 West Union Gospel Hall, IA 30 Western Avenue Gospel Hall, Waterloo, IA 25, 30 Westlake Bible Fellowship, Cleveland 72 Westlawn Gospel Chapel, Chicago 59 Westside Bible Chapel in Wichita 12 Westside Bible Fellowship, West Lafayette, IN 68 Westview Good News Chapel in Minneapolis 44 What Cheer Assembly, IA 34 White Lake Fellowship, Whitehall, MI 84 Wichita Assembly, KS 10 Wielenga Assembly, Holland, MI 84 Williamson Gospel Hall, IA 35 Willmar Assembly, MN 46 Willo Bible Chapel, Willoughby, OH 71, 72 Willo Gospel Chapel, Willoughby, OH 71 Woodside Bible Chapel, Maywood, IL 53 Zion Christian Assembly, Sheboygan, WI 3, 49


U.S. South

This section contains information on assemblies in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, in that order.


Wheatland Bible Chapel in Duncanville, southwest of Dallas, has its origin in 1912. J. Thomas Dean was an ordained Baptist minister for many years. He and his brother, I. R. Dean, another ex-Baptist minister, left that organization at great cost to family relationships. When Thomas and his wife Antoinette moved to Dallas, they started a Remembrance Meeting in their home at 2613 Pennsylvania Avenue in about 1912.

James Sommerville and Charles Foord and their families were among the early Christians who met in the Dean home and they were responsible for continuing and expanding the work after Mr. Dean’s sudden death. In 1918, these two men, who worked at Dallas Tent and Awning Company, donated a tent and the meetings were held in it for over a year.

The next move, in 1920, was to a building on Hickory Street in Dallas. Several families were added to the fellowship during the time they met in that building. William Bush, Sr. of Waxahachie, was invited to hold revival meetings there and several were saved.

In 1924, the assembly moved to another tent, referred to as the Tabernacle, erected on Fitzhugh Avenue and Phillips Street in Dallas. T. B. Gilbert and his wife came to Dallas to help build the assembly and spent about six months in the area. After Mr. Gilbert left, he sent A.P. Gibbs to Dallas to continue working with the assembly.

Mr. Gilbert urged the brethren to build and in 1929 the assembly moved into Fitzhugh Gospel Hall, which they constructed on a lot across the road from the canvas Tabernacle. Six Sunday School rooms, a baptistery, and a small porch were added later to the original building and it was renamed Believers’ Chapel. The assembly continued there until 1954.

In the late 1930s and during the 1940s, Fitzhugh/Believers’ Chapel was blessed with several energetic couples and single young men and women. Their social lives were centered around the activities of the assembly and this vibrant group welcomed and included Dallas Theological Seminary students and visitors in these functions. No doubt, this warmth contributed towards attracting the students because every year, the assembly had a wealth of these young men in fellowship. It was during these years that the assembly organized the first Texas Youth Camp.

In addition to seminary students, the Christians were blessed by ministry from many outstanding preachers who came annually to teach short term courses at Dallas Seminary. Carl Armerding, Charles Feinberg, Harry Ironside, and Charles Van Ryn were some who regularly visited.

The area where Believers’ Chapel was located was rapidly changing in the 1950s from residential to commercial property, and the brethren decided to locate in Oak Cliff, an area where many of the Christians resided. Wilfred Looney found a lot at the corner of Polk Street and Nokomis Avenue. The first meeting in the new Polk Street Bible Chapel in Oak Cliff at 3303 S. Polk Street was a prayer meeting in March 1954. The assembly continued in this location for 26 years and had the distinction of being the first assembly to have a commended worker accepted as a Chaplain in the armed forces. Three young men in fellowship served in this capacity.

Once again, neighborhood changes forced the elders to consider a move. John David Rice found lots on Wheatland Avenue at Tucson in Duncanville. The new Wheatland Bible Chapel was completed in June 1980 and opened with a Daily Vacation Bible School during the day and Gospel meetings conducted by Brian Atmore at night.

Other men who have served as elders at the assembly include Edward Davis, Roy Sorenson, Noel Gardner, Larry Dean, Doug Rice, and Jimmie Hornsby. The assembly has commended several to the work of the Lord. About 60 adults and youngsters attend Wheatland Bible Chapel.

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Fitzhugh Gospel Hall and Polk Street Bible Chapel have given birth to other assembly gatherings in the metroplex. Lewis Johnson and several other families were exercised about commencing a work in north Dallas and it was shortly after the move to Polk Street that they announced their intentions. These men asked the elders if there would be any objection to the new group using the name Believers’ Chapel. Permission was granted and today this is a thriving ministry, though it no longer considers itself to be part of the brethren movement.

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Zane Hodges came to Dallas in 1954 to attend the seminary. He had a real zeal for the Mexican work. Following the worship meeting on Sunday morning, Zane and several other Christians would drive to the ‘mission’ on Jeffrey Street, where they had Sunday School and evening services. Later in the 1950s, they left Polk Street Bible Chapel to have all their services in that site. This move was made with the full blessing of the brethren. This work among Hispanics is now concentrated at the Victor Street Bible Chapel in Dallas, where Zane Hodges in the full-time worker. About 50 to 60 adults and children are in the assembly. Luis Rodriguez is a commended worker who works with Hispanic youth and has a weekly soup kitchen for poor people in the area.

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Some of the Fitzhugh/Polk Street Christians who lived in the Arlington area conducted Sunday evening meetings in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jameel Hissen. Eventually, this group became an assembly and purchased a building for the Arlington Bible Fellowship.

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For many years, several families came to Polk Street Bible Chapel from east Dallas. In September 1976 some of these formed the Garland Gospel Chapel. This created quite a void in assembly numbers at Polk Street, but the new work was started with the blessing of the Christians who remained.

The Christians comprising the Garland Gospel Chapel originally met in the North Garland YMCA, and moved to their current location at 1420 W. Avenue B in 1978, changing their name to Garland Bible Chapel, after that. The original families included those of John Rodgers, Ed Davis, Robert Muldoon, Joe Muldoon, Bruce Blake, and George Varner. Elders have included these and Tom Messer, E.J. Carter, Dave Shoop Gerry Meyer, Richard Peck, and John Daniels.

Garland Bible Chapel has commended or co-commended workers to Japan, Africa, Peru, Estonia, Sandy Creek Bible Camp, and Emmaus Bible College. About 90 adults and youngsters are in the assembly.

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Christ Congregation in Dallas started in December 1967, meeting first at the Civil Air Patrol office, White Rock Airport. The founders were Arthur L. Farstad and Garland Brock. Co-founders were students at Dallas Theological Seminary who were in fellowship at Polk Street Gospel Chapel. After meeting in several locations, Christ Congregation in 1971 established its meetings in the home of Arthur Farstad, 6218 Prospect, where it continues to meet. Before buying the house in 1971, Arthur Farstad rented rooms to seminary students who have since gone to the mission field. Christ Congregation has commended workers to the field in Russia and in the U.S. Elders have been Marcus Farstad, Rick Rencher, Roy Brown, Don von Dohlen, Dan Mosher, and James Davis. About 20 adults and children attend Christ Congregation.

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The Christian Brethren Assembly in Irving started in 1985 as the East Dallas Brethren Assembly and derived from the Dallas Brethren Assembly. The principal people involved in the start-up were P.C. Abraham, P.C. Chacko, Skaria Varghese, and M.O. Joykutty. The first three of these have been the elders. About 120 adults and youngsters attend.

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Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas began in 1976 in the home of Tony Evans. In that year, Reuben Connor of Urban Evangelical Mission, and Gene Getz of Fellowship Bible Church North in Dallas, who wanted to see a strong Bible church in the Oak Cliff area, approached Tony Evans, at that time an evangelist, about planting a church. Mr. Evans contacted Crawford Loritts of Norristown, PA and asked him to partner in this effort. When he agreed, they began the assembly, meeting alternately in their homes.

They both preached each Sunday, and in a month the assembly moved into the Briargate Apartments clubhouse. Soon they began developing programs to meet the specific needs of the congregation, including The Learning Center for children, with Elizabeth Cannings as the first teacher. When 25 families joined in the fellowship, they moved again, in 1977, to the Advent Lutheran Church at 6607 South Hampton.

Mr. Loritts left to minister with Campus Crusade for Christ, but still by 1978, about 100 families were attending Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship regularly, with Mr. Evans doing most of the preaching. The church then moved to Adelle Turner Elementary School at 5505 South Polk. In this period, Van Howard became an elder, and the women organized the Ladies’ Discipleship, under the leadership of Shirley Hawkins and Lois Evans.

Once again, the expanding fellowship needed more room, and when the Camp Wisdom Road property of Faith Bible Church became available, the money for its purchase was donated, and the assembly had a permanent home. Ministries were added, including the Child Development Center under the direction of Van Howard, and a tape ministry. Martin Hawkins was hired as assistant pastor, Tony Evans remaining as the main pastor.

The membership reached 250 families in 1982, and staff were added to minister to their needs and for outreach. Carl Husband and Larry Mercer were among those brought on in leadership capacities. Regular support to specific missionaries and Christian Organizations was instituted. Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship has not hesitated to add programs for the benefit of its people, which they call an alternative vision to provide a biblical foundation for all aspects of life. Growth was explosive as people were saved and strengthened. In 1987, 1200 families were associated with the assembly; in 1988, an interim facility called the Family Life Center was built. In 1989, 22 acres on Camp Wisdom Road were purchased. “Sonny” Acho was added to the staff in 1990, and Roger Skepple and Sylvester London in 1993. The newly constructed Worship Center was opened in 1995. Today, about 4000 adults and youngsters attend the assembly, which has about 50 full-time ministry staff.

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The early accounts of assembly activity in Fort Worth come from Earl Tatum. According to Mr. Tatum, the original Fort Worth Assembly was formed in 1901 and an assembly testimony has met continuously in the city since then.

In 1916 or 1917, the assembly was meeting in rented space on Samuel Avenue. In about 1919, the meeting moved to a north side location as the Fort Worth Gospel Hall; in 1946, the assembly moved to the near south side and was known as the St. Louis Avenue Chapel in Fort Worth. In the early 1960s, that property was sold and property on the east side at 1939 Handley Drive was purchased. Meadowbrook East Bible Chapel was completed in 1964.

J.A. Gracey and William Scott are remembered as leading in the early days of the meeting, while William Bush helped in preaching and visited regularly. Mr. Hillis and Mr. Grierson of Houston held six weeks of meetings in the early days, in which a number of couples were saved. Earl Tatum was a man of unusual ability in the Scriptures and did most of the shepherding in the earlier days. Fred Pearson came to Fort Worth from Byfield, MA in the early 1960s, and was a great help in feeding the flock.

In addition to Messrs. Gracey, Scott, Tatum, and Pearson, those in leadership at Meadowbrook and its predecessors have included L.B. Shilling, Ted Ball Sr., Otho Logan, and Kenneth Livingstone. Keith Livingstone now does much of the administrative and caring ministry as an elder, while Tom Duncan is a teaching elder. The assembly has commended George Byrum to chaplain duty in the U.S. Navy. About 50 adults and youngsters are in Meadowbrook East Bible Chapel, which has a vigorous outreach program to youngsters, in which nearly all the adults are involved.

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In 1968, assets from Meadowbrook East Bible Chapel were divided and several families purchased a building in northeast Forth Worth, establishing Glenview Bible Chapel in North Richland Hills. The principal men involved in this were Herb Fyke, Joe Hicks, Roy Milford, Dewey Shilling, Earl Tatum, and Ross Gutierrez. In 1984, the Glenview Chapel was sold and another building was purchased in the Summerfield Addition of north Fort Worth, and called Summerfield Community Chapel. Others in leadership at Glenview and Summerfield have been Donald Welborn, John Ferris, Ralph McCord, Kenneth Morrow, Bob Newberry, Richard Averett, and Jay Carter.

In 1993, the Christians sold the chapel because, among other reasons, building codes being enforced by the city would have necessitated remodeling. From then until April 1998, the meeting was in the home of Donald and Gloria Welborn. Following that, the assembly began meeting in the Children’s Palace Christian Learning Center on Davis Boulevard, with about 40 in fellowship, pending purchase of land for a new facility.

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An assembly was formed in 1994 in Lewisville, northwest of Dallas, and incorporated as Believers Bible Chapel. The assembly derives from Believers Assembly in Carrollton, an ethnic assembly which conducts its meetings in one of the languages of India. The Lewisville assembly was begun by John Ferris, a former missionary to Korea, his daughter Jan Ferris, and the families of Sajan Abraham, Johnson George, George Jacob, and George John.

The Christians originally met in an Inn. In 1996 they purchased land and, pending construction of a chapel, rented space in a realtor’s building for their Sunday meetings. They met in homes for prayer and Bible studies in midweek. They moved into their newly constructed chapel at 1724 Edmonds Lane in Lewisville in 1998, at which time they changed their name to Edmonds Lane Bible Chapel. John Ferris and George John have been the elders of the assembly, which has commended workers to the Lord’s service in Romania. About 60 adults and youngsters now attend Edmonds Lane Bible Chapel

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Pineview Gospel Hall in Houston began in 1937 as a hive-off from the Louisiana Street Gospel Hall, whose origin has not been available. Now called Pineview Bible Chapel, the assembly has been at 9742 E. Hardy Road since it began. Robert and Madge Lammert, Andrew Patterson, Earl E. Griffin, Roland Avenell, Charlie Jones, and Raleigh Smith were among those who began the work. Others in leadership over the years include J.B. Clooney, Luby Walker, Edwin O’Farrell, Eric Unander, James Patterson, Allen Thrall, Gene Bailey, and James Cross.

Missionaries have been commended by the assembly to work in Argentina; others have been commended to ministry within the U.S. About 60 adults and youngsters attend Pineview Bible Chapel.

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A Spanish-speaking assembly, founded by immigrants from Argentina, hived off from Pineview Bible Chapel in Houston in about 1960 and established the MacGregor Spanish Bible Chapel. (See Ethnic section)

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First Colony Bible Chapel in Sugar Land, on the southwest side of Houston, was established in 1964 by Sydney Green, Leland Smith, Allen Jones, and Herschel Martindale. Other leaders over the years include Herb Green, Dick Nohr, Art Griffin, and Al Yeomans. A hive-off from MacGregor Bible Chapel, the assembly was known first as Braeburn Bible Chapel; the name was changed to First Colony Bible Chapel in 1990. Nearly 200 adults and youngsters attend the assembly. First Colony Bible Chapel has commended several workers to the service of the Lord.

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The first meeting of the India Brethren Assembly in Houston was in 1975 in the home of John T. Mathew. From there, the assembly met in various homes for several years, and now meets in its own building at 14643 Henry Road, adjacent to Colonial Hills Bible Chapel in Houston. The assembly derived directly from the brethren in India, and supports many evangelists in India. Besides Mr. Mathew, those involved in the start of the India Brethren Assembly include P. Thomas Philip, Abraham Varghese, and T. John George. Other leaders over the years include Cherian Varghese, Skaria Varghese, Samuel Thomas, and V.K. Abraham. About 70 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

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Waco Bible Chapel began in the late 1940s in the home of John and Judy Lane on Mockingbird Lane. In 1948 or 1949, the Christians were able to buy property and build a chapel at 3300 N. 22nd Street, at which time they took their present name. A Mr. Hillis and Tom McCollough were involved in starting the assembly, along with the Lanes. Leaders have been John Lane, Howard Kohrmann, John Fullerton, Don Welborn, and Glenn Lightfoot. In its earlier years, Waco Bible Chapel commended several to the Lord’s work, including Don Welborn to ministry in the U.S. Today, the meeting has about 15 adults in fellowship.

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Temple Assembly, in the town of Temple north of Austin, was started in the early 1970s by Joe Vasilinda. He and his family had moved from Waco, where he was in fellowship at the Waco Bible Chapel. Possibly meeting first in the Vasilinda home, the small group of believers were meeting in the lobby of a theatre in downtown Temple by 1972; then they met for a time in a vacant mansion on 7th Street before returning to the Vasilinda home at 1311 N. 7th Street. There were never more than about 10 adults in fellowship at the Temple Assembly. Glen Lightfoot had a leadership role for a time. When Mr. Vasilinda died in 1997, the remaining members of his family returned to the Waco Bible Chapel, and the Temple Assembly discontinued. However, Mrs. Olga Farley, her two children, and Ralph Nowell, who had been in the Temple Assembly, continued to Remember the Lord in Mr. Nowell’s home in nearby Holland.

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The Amarillo Assembly of Believers started with two families meeting in the Puckett Elementary School Cafeteria in October 1988. Since then, other families have been added and gather at the same place, awaiting the Lord’s timing to purchase a building. Richard Hamilton and Roberto Estevez are elders.

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Community Bible Church in Bryan in the southeast part of the state, began in 1982 as an independent Bible church. The elders of Community Bible Church met with the elders of Eastfield Bible Chapel of Mesquite in 1994 to discuss establishing Community Bible Church as a New Testament assembly. Bruce Postma, commended by Eastfield Bible Chapel, is the current full-time worker for the new assembly. The average Sunday morning attendance is about 25. The vision of Community Bible Church is to plant and multiply home churches in the immediate area.

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Grace Bible Fellowship in Mauriceville has its roots with the Baptists. Charim Baptist Church began in 1982 in Vidor, near Beaumont in the southeast corner of the state, as an offshoot of Beaumont Independent Baptist Church. Through the efforts of Gary Sprinkle, who was the Baptist pastor, Grace Bible Fellowship was formed in about 1990 and moved into a warehouse at 320 W. Freeway. They now meet at 6025 Highway 12, further east in Mauriceville. In leadership have been Gary Sprinkle, Lynn Baker, Milton Hatton, Les Jones, Charles Klock Merrill Donahue, Joe Byerly, and Cliff Hilton. The assembly has about 80 adults and youngsters in attendance.

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South Plains Bible Chapel in Lubbock in the western part of the state, began in the 1960s, principally by people not associated with the brethren. Some believers came out of Bible Church backgrounds. One older couple, Charles and Ruby Waller, had become convinced of New Testament principles of gathering. They sought to encourage others in this direction, but progress was slow. With the encouragement of Edwin and Mary Ellen Meschkat, who had moved to the area and were commended earlier from the Houston-area assemblies, they opened a rented house near Texas Tech stadium as a meeting place in 1966, announcing it as South Plains Bible Chapel.

In 1969, a building was completed at 5402 Quaker Avenue, with seating for 100 persons, plus class rooms and a kitchen. In 1979, a Sunday School wing was added. Elders over the years have been Charles Waller, Edwin Meschkat, D.P. Holmes, Tim Lambert, Burt Bradley, and Stan Friedli. South Plains Bible Chapel has commended several people to the Lord’s work. About 120 adults and children attend South Plains Bible Chapel.

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The assembly known now as Grace Chapel in El Paso met at 2231 Montana Street for a number of years. In 1955, the Christians sold their building and purchased a site in a new subdivision at 7319 Alpine Drive in the Ranchland Hills section of southeast El Paso. First services were held in the new building in July 1956. The assembly now meets at 7601 Wilcox Drive.

Mr. and Mrs. John Halliday, formerly missionaries to Chile, moved to El Paso to work among the Mexican people as well as giving help at Grace Chapel.

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The San Antonio Gospel Hall was started in 1924 at West Laurel Street by the families of William Brown, Arthur Pomeroy, Frith Everett, Paul Lamb, Flora Darling, and Moore, Myer, Elford, Stolfus, Stockard, Baird (first names not remembered). From Laurel Street, the Christians moved to Kentucky Avenue as the San Antonio Bible Chapel. They later moved to 135 W. Cheryl Drive in San Antonio, and are now known as Cheryl Bible Chapel. Those in leadership have included Arthur Pomeroy, Lawrence Darling, Louis Kreusel, Sr., Alvin Beswick, Hugh MacMillan, Walter Hart, Kyle Turner, and Louis Kreusel, Jr. Cheryl Bible Chapel has commended a worker to Ecuador. About 60 adults and youngsters are in the assembly.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses A History of the Wheatland Bible Chapel, Duncanville, Texas, by Arlene J. Dean, 1989 Historical Sketch, The Lewisville Assembly, Lewisville, Texas, anonymous, 1998 Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Church History, anonymous, October 1995 Letters of Interest, November 1955, p. 12; November 1957, p. 9; July/August 1971, p. 13


The Tulsa Gospel Hall, OK was started in 1927 by Mr. and Mrs. Bert Wilder, Clayton and Neva Cox, and Mrs. Pearl Shea. The first meetings were in the Wilder home in Tulsa. From 1929 until 1940, the assembly met in the Cox home, and from 1940 to 1945 rented a store room at 8th and Peoria Street. From 1945 to 1967, they met in several homes, store fronts, and buildings. In 1967, the assembly built its own chapel at 4th Place and Trenton, where it stayed for 20 years, and then built again and moved into the present chapel at 1215 S. 135th East Avenue. In 1982, the assembly changed its name to Tulsa Gospel Chapel and then to East Tulsa Bible Chapel when they to moved the present location.

Leadership has been vested in Clayton Cox, Clifford Slayden, Les Schultz, Frank Moffitt, T. Victor Anderson, Philip Moffitt, Kenneth Miller, and John Heller. The latter was commended to full-time ministry in Tulsa and Little Rock, Arkansas. Another has been commended to France. About 120 adults and youngsters attend East Tulsa Bible Chapel.

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Before 1938, no assembly had existed in Oklahoma City. In that year, T.B. Gilbert met Carlton Jones in Arizona and put him in contact with Mrs. Pearl Shea and her grown children, Vincent and Grace Shea, who had moved to Oklahoma City from Kansas City, where they had attended Troost Avenue Gospel Hall in Kansas City, MO. Soon, a group of Christians began an assembly meeting in the home of Carlton and Lucille Jones in Oklahoma City.

In 1941, the assembly gathered for their Remembrance Meetings in a store front building at 44th and S. Robinson, which they called Grace Gospel Hall. During World War II, tent meetings were held for many years at 35th and S. Shields, the site of the present building, now called Grace Gospel Chapel.

Pioneering brethren came often to Oklahoma City to help build and encourage the assembly. Among them were Samuel Greer, Matthew Kennedy, Tommy Bush, Tom McCullagh, John Elliott, Leonard Lindsted, F.W. Schwartz, and more recently Don Norbie. Jim Elliott, the missionary martyred in Ecuador, was in the assembly while studying with Wycliffe Bible Translation.

Those in leadership over the years have been Carlton Jones, M.W. Gibbs, Ralph Burrs, Fred Hover, Ed Davis, Warren Bennett, James Davis, James Nelson, and Hugh Moore. Missionaries have been commended to the field in Equador and Africa. About 75 adults and children are in Grace Gospel Chapel today.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses


The Belleville Assembly in Belleville, a small town in west-central Arkansas, had its beginnings in 1923 when Lawrence London came from Henryetta, OK to preach the Gospel at a school house in Piney. Several souls were saved at these meetings. Over the years, the believers had Bible studies in their homes; Gospel preachers would come for one- or two-week Gospel meetings at the homes of the Christians.

Some of the believers moved to Belleville in 1944 for employment and continued to meet as before. In 1977, Donald Grisham from Oklahoma came to Belleville to help Victor Flesher with meetings in the Flesher home. In 1978, a building was purchased and the Belleville Assembly was formed called Christians Gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first Breaking of Bread was in July 1978. Clayton Cox from Oklahoma, John Elliott from Missouri, and Al Shutt of Arkansas have also provided leadership in the assembly.

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Not far from Eureka Springs is the small town of Alpena. An assembly began in the early 1930s, and the Alpena Gospel Hall was built in 1935. Michael Capp came to Alpena preaching the Gospel and saw some people saved. Nealy Grisham and Lee Grisham, who were among the first to be saved, carried on the work of the assembly for many years, with others.

The assembly has received helpful ministry and assistance from brethren such as Lawrence London, Tom McCullough, Henry Miller, John Miller, Peter Pelon, Dan Dunnett, George Thompson, a Mr. Steel, and George Hoekstra. These men probably came to Alpena in the 1930s and 1940s and maybe into the 1950s. Others who have come to preach the Gospel or give helpful ministry include Louis Smith, William Lavery, Lawrence Perkins, Art Ward, Walter Gustafson, Jim Webb, John Elliott, Joel Portman, Don Nicholson, and Rob Weber.

In 1975, following the home call of Nealy Grisham, there were only five sisters left in the assembly. These faithful women – Pearl Grisham, Fern McNinch, Elizabeth McIntosh, Mrs. Amos Eckhoff, and Gertie Grisham – continued to meet with the assistance of brethren from Springfield, MO until 1976 when two families from Minnesota – the Clifford Bjorks and Neal Olsens – moved to the area to help carry on the assembly work. Between 1976 and 1981, Al Shutt and Louis Smith and some other brethren from assemblies in Michigan made frequent visits to support and encourage the assembly.

In 1981, again the numbers were badly reduced and for a time John Chesney from Springfield, MO was the only brother left in fellowship along with a number of sisters. That same year Mr. and Mrs. Al Shutt from Michigan, Mr. and Mrs. Will Trowbridge from St. Louis, MO, and Mr. and Mrs. John Meader from Iowa came to reside in the area and were added to the assembly.

Today the assembly is small, but continuing to carry on in the ‘old paths’. The assembly has a very active Gospel outreach among Spanish-speaking people, who are numerous in northwest Arkansas. In this work , the assembly receives assistance from Paul Thiessen and Harrys Rodriguez, missionaries in Mexico. The assembly is also involved in a Gospel work in an area in El Salvador from where many of their Spanish-speaking people have come.

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Lone Star Bible Chapel in Eureka Springs, in the northwest corner of Arkansas started in 1979. Jack and William Faulkner and their wives had started attending a Bible church in Eureka Springs sometime before that. With their encouragement, this group constructed a new building in 1979 and began Breaking Bread, meeting as New Testament church. The elders since that time have been Jack and William Faulkner and Dan Hooten. The building was expanded in 1994.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses


The first assembly in New Orleans was established by Vernon and Gladys Schlief in 1942. The assembly met in a tiny room that had been a one-man barber shop about 10 blocks from Canal Street. After a few weeks, the assembly moved into a small shoe repair shop at the end of Magazine Street, renovated it into a chapel, and called it Good News Chapel, though the sign on the building stated “Gospel Hall.” Local opposition to this work was strong, and the assembly remained small.

In 1943, with World War II under way, the Schliefs felt led to establish a center for reaching servicemen. Depending on God for the finances, they rented the second, third, and fourth floors of a building on Carondelet Street in downtown New Orleans and opened the Christian Servicemen’s Center. They moved their home into the Center from their trailer on the edge of the city, and brought the meetings of the assembly to the second floor. From 10 to 30 would Remember the Lord there, including servicemen.

Thousands of service men passing through were made welcome and given the gospel; many trusted Christ. The work continued from 1944 to 1947, when the building on Carondelet Street was sold. The Schliefs felt the work should be widened to include ex-servicemen and other civilian young men. They rented four buildings on Magazine Street, still in downtown New Orleans, and moved all the activities there, including the assembly meeting place and their apartment. They named it the Good News Center. The incorporators included the Schliefs, Stan Hanna, the William Walkers, and Lloyd G. Walterick of Fort Dodge, Iowa.

After many years of service there, the Schliefs purchased a five-acre parcel on Oil Well Road in Belle Chasse, on the southeast side of New Orleans. They formed a new Belle Chasse Assembly, which met in a chapel they built on the grounds. The assembly grew to about 60 persons in fellowship. They eventually closed the Center in New Orleans, although the Good News Chapel continued for a number of years under the leadership of Stan and Esma Hanna.

After only a few years, the military appropriated the land on Oil Well Road, and another move was required. The Schliefs were able to acquire 42 acres a few miles away on which they built a home and a chapel – Lake Park Chapel. The assembly grew to several hundred.

They subdivided the property and sold parcels, put in their own roads, and built dormitories for a Boy’s Home and then a Children’s Home. Later they established the Good News Book Store on the grounds.

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Household of Faith Assembly in Gretna, a suburb of New Orleans, has an interesting beginning. In 1979, Raymond Lewis, a former baseball player and a new convert, walked into the Good News Book Store, concerned about eternal security. Vernon Schlief recommended some books and offered to help Raymond with Bible study. As they studied, learning about New Testament principles, Raymond kept bringing along new converts. Soon there a nucleus of about ten young men, including Orville and Cleveland Lewis, well educated and devoted to the Lord, being grounded in the Scriptures through the teaching of Mr. Schlief and other elders from the Belle Chasse Assembly.

In 1981, the new group of about 15 people bought a building with a seating capacity of 100 in Gretna, which is still the home of the Household of Faith Assembly. The assembly now consists of about 65 adults and youngsters. It is gifted with evangelists, teachers, and pastors, and is well ordered with capable, concerned, hard-working elders. The Christians have conducted street preaching, for which they have been arrested and jailed on occasion.

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When Guillermo Santos, who had been an elder in an assembly in Honduras, arrived at the Belle Chasse Assembly, the several Spanish-speaking believers in that assembly became interested in forming their own Spanish-speaking assembly. This resulted in the formation of Capilla Evangelica in New Orleans, which continued into the late 1980s.

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In the 1920s, Arthur Rodgers held Gospel meetings near Winnsboro in northeast Louisiana. Several were saved, and a farmer donated a plot of ground on which a small building was erected, the Winnsboro Gospel Hall. The assembly scattered after a time, but the building remained. Vernon Schlief and William Walker learned of this situation and went to the area, probably in the 1950s, and revitalized the assembly. John and David Horn visited the assembly regularly, and after them, Willard Rodgers. After a few years, the assembly moved to the Winnsboro Town Hall as the Winnsboro Bible Chapel. The Christians later moved to nearby Monroe and meet today in a home as the Monroe Bible Chapel.

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Evangelist A. Paul Duchesneau of Montreal, Canada was forced out of the mission field in Belgium by the threat of invasion by Nazi forces in 1936. Looking to the Lord for a field where his French language could be used, Mr. Duchesneau chose St. Martinville, a dozen miles south of Lafayette in southern Louisiana, 150 miles west of New Orleans, and began a work among the French-speaking people there.

With bicycle and books, Duchesneau brought the Gospel to remote sections of rural St. Martin Parish. The levee of the Atchafalaya River often served as meeting place for the evangelist to unfold the Scriptures through flannel-graph lessons. A building was rented on the main street of St. Martinville to serve as a chapel. One of the first of the St. Martin families to identify with the evangelical movement of Duchesneau was that of Martin J. DuCote, Sr.

Many Christians who were associated with the beginning of the work in St. Martinville relocated to nearby Lafayette, causing Mr. Duchesneau to move his evangelical work there. The Bible Chapel, later renamed Southside Bible Chapel, opened on Mudd Avenue. Roland Begneaud served as an elder and Treasurer of the Bible Chapel for a number of years. Mrs. DuCote was identified with the assembly until her home-call in 1993. Her children, Carolyn and Martin Jr. (Zeke), served the work over a long period of time. Carolyn DuCote joined the evangelical ministry of Duchesneau as a secretary following her completion of business college. Zeke DuCote served as an elder at Southside Bible Chapel for an extended number of years.

Young men in the Armed Services, stationed at various military facilities nearby, gave help and encouragement by their attendance and ministry. Some of these young men returned to their home churches after the end of the war to become leaders. The discipleship learned from Mr. Duchesneau at Southside Bible Chapel continued in these and many other communities.

After the war, Mr. Duchesneau returned to Montreal to establish the Bible Institute of Montreal. An interim worker at Southside Bible Chapel was Evangelist Elmer P. Gillespie. Mrs. Gillespie was a daughter of the noted author W.H. Griffith-Thomas, and she served as a consultant to Dallas Theological Seminary in their publication of her father’s work. As a Greek linguist, she served with Arthur Farstad in the translation of the New King James Version of the Scriptures.

The lack of local men gifted in public ministry, and Mr. Gillespie’s confinement to a wheel-chair, led the fellowship to seek help for its ministry from the Good News Center of New Orleans. The Schliefs drove to Lafayette and located Mrs. Meme DuCote, learning that the church’s building had been sold. The Schliefs suggested that an assembly could begin meeting in a home, and that they would secure help to get it underway. The home assembly in Lafayette was soon underway, keeping the name Southside Bible Chapel, and the Schliefs came weekly for a while. After that, William Walker, Irwin Headley, Stan Hanna, Bill Obenour, Herb McKay, and Art Reum would travel to Lafayette for the meetings.

William Walker had been saved while in the service, just before he was transferred to New Orleans. He became a regular at the Good News Center, and developed his preaching gift there. When he was discharged from the service, he worked full-time at the Servicemen’s Center. At the Southside Bible Chapel, he met and married Mrs. DuCote’s daughter, Carolyn, and the couple eventually moved to Lafayette to devote their time to the assembly.

In 1969, Southside Bible Chapel constructed a new facility on Acadian Drive. In the special evangelistic meetings that followed the dedication ceremony in September of that year, many came to know Christ as their Savior.

In 1990, a time when the average attendance at Family Bible Hour was about 100, a fire gutted the chapel facility. An athletic club in Lafayette fell on hard times in a business downturn, allowing Southside to purchase the building. The facility, with 14,000 square feet under roof, has a spacious sanctuary and numerous Sunday School rooms, with a small gym, a pool, and other facilities. Jeff and Alyce Bloom serve Southside Bible Chapel as full-time resident workers.

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Faith Bible Church in Covington in southeast Louisiana, was started in 1989 by Alfred N. Young, Jr. The large assembly has about 250 in attendance on Sundays. A worker has been commended by the assembly to the Lord’s work in Spain.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Southside Bible Chapel: Legacy of a Half-century, by William O. Walker, undated Our Great Adventure in Faith, by Vernon Schlief, Beeline Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996 Letters of Interest, June 1955, p. 15; September 1983, p. 19


Vernon Schlief reported that he and William Walker ministered at assemblies in McComb, Jackson, and Brookhaven. The latter two have discontinued, while assemblies exist today in Mendenhall, Moorhead, and Tylertown, besides McComb.

Maranatha Bible Church in McComb in the southern part of the state, was established in 1986 and has about 75 in attendance on a typical Sunday. Nathan Johnson is the pastor for the assembly.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Our Great Adventure in Faith, by Vernon Schlief, Beeline Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996


In about 1938, Karl Pfaff began meetings for Breaking of Bread in his home in Louisville. Several families joined with the Pfaffs at that time. Tent campaigns by Mr. Pfaff through several summers brought some response. The Louisville Assembly met in a rented building from 1947 to 1950, at which point the Christians bought a small building at 515 Montana Avenue and named it Bethany Chapel.

The Pfaffs moved to Colorado in 1950. Christians moving to Louisville for work, and Christian soldiers stationed at Fort Knox, swelled the ranks temporarily, and a young couple concerned about the mission fields, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Spacek, came for two years and developed a sizable children’s work in a large housing project. W.W. Elder was one of the leaders in that period.

By 1957, Bethany Chapel, the only assembly in Kentucky then, had declined to seven believers and eventually disbanded.

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An effort at about that time to establish an assembly testimony in the vicinity of Raceland on the eastern edge of the state did not progress beyond Bible studies in a home and in the local YMCA. In the 1970s, a small assembly was meeting in the home of R.J. Reetzke in Louisville, and existed until the mid 1980s.

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Harold and Vena Preston, Kentucky natives, were serving as missionaries in the Philippines and Borneo when they learned of the brethren assemblies. When they returned to the States in 1966, they fellowshipped and worked with assemblies in south Texas, but had a continuing burden for an assembly testimony in central Kentucky. In 1981, they learned of three families interested in starting an assembly in Lexington, two of them from assembly backgrounds and the other from a nondenominational church. The Manvel Gospel Chapel in Manvel, TX commended the Prestons to devote full-time to the work in Lexington. Thus the South Lexington Bible Fellowship began in 1982. The John Schmidt family and the John Frasher family, with the Prestons and a few others began Breaking Bread in the Preston home at 147 Tartan Drive in September 1982 on a regular basis. In 1991, the Christians moved to an office building at 160 E. Reynolds Road, their present address. The South Lexington Bible Fellowship jointly with the Manvel Gospel Chapel commended the Prestons to the work in the Philippines in 1995-96. Gifted young men for teaching and preaching have developed at the South Lexington Assembly.

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The Pilgrim Bible Assembly in Lexington began in the spring of 1995, the result of convictions by three families of assembly background – those of Paul Sloan, David Sloan, and Jerry Sweers – to meet in the manner of a New Testament church. Meeting first in the home of Paul Sloan, the group moved after a year to a 1000 square foot space on Waller Avenue, and in another year to a rented 4500 square foot building at 350 Elaine Drive. The new assembly supports missionaries, has an active youth program, and has a ministry to University of Kentucky international students. About 70 adults and youngsters attend on a typical Sunday.

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The Mount Washington Bible Chapel, in the town of Mount Washington near Louisville, is the most recent in the state, and has an interesting beginning. James B. Sparks left an Independent Baptist church in about 1995 to find a New Testament way of meeting. He researched Scripture, then wrote a book about his findings on church governance, and finally discovered the brethren. The assembly met in the Sparks home in 1997. Harold Preston from the South Lexington Bible Fellowship gives assistance.

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The assembly in Owensboro, a city on the Ohio River, began in the early 1980s. Called Trinity Bible Church, it met first in the Owensboro Junior High School, and continues.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Letters of Interest, April 1957, p. 3 Uplook, April 1996, p. 9


The assembly at Grace Gospel Chapel in Memphis began in 1934 at the corner of Trigg and Azalea Streets, started by two itinerant preachers, one of whom was a Mr. Curry. In 1951, Grace Gospel Chapel moved to 1591 Peabody; in 1958, the Christians sold that property and rented space at 10 S. Second Street. In 1961, the assembly moved to its present location at 3680 Rhodes. Active in leadership have been A.W. Worley, Fred G. Chambers, Lee Tallent, Bob Chambers, Mike Blake, Russ Horn, Chris McCoy, Frank Buck, Louis Sides, Eddie Schwartz, and Gordon Humphreys. Grace Gospel Chapel has commended several to the Lord’s work. About 55 adults and youngsters are in the assembly.

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The Nashville Gospel Chapel has its origins in tent ministries. In 1951, John Phelan and Harold Greene, with the help of William MacDonald, secured a tent, erected it on what seemed a desirable lot, and preached the gospel with little apparent success. But when they moved later in the summer to a less desirable location at 55th and Louisiana, they saw souls saved. With a group of young believers now, and little money, they decided to put a floor in the tent, erect temporary walls, and use it as a meeting place through the winter, amidst many hardships.

In the spring, the Lord arranged for them to purchase this lot and they constructed a simple shelter, consisting of one large room and no facilities. Phil Clarkson preached the first message in the new building. In 1955, and again in 1964, they added to the building. Each week they passed out 500 handbills in the neighborhood. Early in the work, Hal Greene left his secular employment and went full time in the assembly. Ruth Graether moved to Nashville in those days and was of great help in music and Sunday school teaching. Jack and Pat Linscott also moved to Nashville and became active in the assembly. Jack later had a major involvement in the beginning of Mid-South Bible Conference.

In 1964, Hal Greene moved to Cape Girardeau, MO to help establish a new work there. About that time, John Phelan left his secular employment and devoted his full time to the work of the Lord, including the Gospel Chapel in Nashville. Many people have given themselves to the work of the growing assembly, including John Everding, who for nine active years, before the Lord took him home at the age of 36, had special meetings for the children, and donated two buses for this ministry.

In 1957, the Lord burdened Harold Earthman to see a Bible Conference in Middle Tennessee, and the Nashville Gospel Chapel has maintained active involvement with this ongoing annual Mid-South Bible Conference. In 1975, Horton Haven Christian Camp at Chapel Hill, south of Nashville, was established through the efforts of John Phelan, David King, and others. The Mid-South Bible Conference now has its home there.

In 1979, the Nashville Gospel Chapel relocated to six acres at Old Hickory and Sonya Drive. An existing house was renovated and enlarged to a seating capacity of 200.

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In the early 1970s, George and Amanda Martin began a Bible study in the home of Phil and Delcie Moore in the Donelson area on the east side of Nashville. After a period of time, Dave and Teresa King were asked to help with a study on Friday evenings. In 1976, with the encouragement of the elders at the Nashville Gospel Chapel, four families began meeting on Sundays at the Lions Club in Donelson.

In early 1978, a house and two acres were purchased at 2209 Whipple Place in Donelson for the meetings of the assembly – the Christian Believers Fellowship. In 1990, after much prayer and growth, an addition was made to the house, which then could seat over 100 persons.

The assembly has commended three couples to the Lord’s work – to the Wycliff Bible Translators in Mexico and to Horton Haven Christian Camp in Tennessee. Christian Believers Fellowship has six elders who take the active leadership in expository Bible teaching ministry. The believers reach out into the community with an Awana program.

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T.B. Gilbert set up a tent for Gospel meetings in Murfreesboro in the 1950s. This was followed by Bible studies in the Earthman home. The College Heights Chapel in Murfreesboro developed from that in 1955, meeting initially in a rented building one block from the current location at 1601 E. Main Street. Mr. Gilbert, with Harold H. Earthman, Ben M. Earthman, Oscar Johns, and Neslie Underwood, were those who initiated the assembly. Christians from the Bible Chapel, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and the Gospel Chapel in Shelbyville, TN were helpful to the new assembly.

The men mentioned, plus Dan Decker, Tom Naylor, Ben Wallace, Frank Couch, and Jack Weatherford, have been the leaders of College Heights Chapel, which has commended several to the Lord’s work in the states and abroad. About 250 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

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Cumberland Bible Chapel in Tracy City, in southern Tennessee, began in 1971. Everett Pickett, who had grown up in the area, had worked in New Jersey and became acquainted with the assemblies while there. When he and his wife moved back to Tracy City, he encountered a barber, James Sargent, who asked Mr. Pickett, after some conversation, if he might be with the ‘brethren.’ This led to their families Breaking Bread together in each other’s homes. This continued for about three years, during which time others joined them, including the families of John Stadt and Chris Roberts. In 1974, they purchased, restored, and moved into a building three miles east of nearby Monteagle, at which time they took their present name. Laurence McClung helped in this phase of the assembly. Additions have since been made to the building. Leaders have been those mentioned above, with Alvin Pickett and Dan Sargent. About 50 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses The Gospel Chapel, 40th Anniversary Celebration, by John Phelan, 1991


In about 1950, Nate Taylor from Pennsylvania arrived in the area of Gallion, Linden, and Old Spring Hill, about 50 miles northeast of Needham in western Alabama and began Bible studies in the Old Spring Hill School. Occasionally the Bible study was held in Epps’ grocery store. People were saved and accepted the idea of gathering as a New Testament church. As more people began attending, the group began meeting as an assembly in the home of Herschner and Earline Coats in Old Spring Hill. Among those who attended were Mrs. Henretta Hall and her family, and Frank Glass. The meeting became known as the Scripture Truth Center in Old Spring Hill.

Other brothers who came to help establish the meeting were William Walker of Lafayette, Louisiana, Vernon Schlief of New Orleans, and E.G. Matthews, then 80 years old, from Waterloo, IA. Charles Lacey and his family ministered for a number of years at the assembly.

The group bought and remodeled an old building at the intersection of Highways 43 and 69. A split in the meeting in 1955 reduced the numbers, and the remaining 36 people decided to rename their building Gallion Bible Chapel. In 1970, a new chapel was built for the assembly by P.A. Bagley. The assembly has commended Mr. and Mrs. John T. Ferris to the Lord’s work. The meeting now has about 14 adults in fellowship.

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In about 1950, John H. Rupp of Altoona, PA came to Choctaw County as a Southern Baptist missionary. He preached to a number of small Baptist groups around Needham. In1951, some of the several Turner families in the area and Mr. Rupp left the Baptist organization and began to meet in homes. John Rupp and the Turners were invited to Old Spring Hill for the Thanksgiving Conference held by Scripture Truth Center that year, and thus became acquainted with assembly practice.

Soon, William Walker and Vernon Schlief learned of this work through E.G. Matthews of Waterloo, IA and came to the area for teaching and Gospel meetings. In the ‘Turnertown’ community west of Needham, they also had a vacation Bible school. People were saved, an assembly was formed, and in 1952 the Needham Bible Chapel was constructed. James A. Bethany, James F. Turner, and Charlie D. Turner were the founders of the assembly, along with Mr. Rupp. After John Rupp left the area, Charlie and Floyd Turner assumed leadership.

In the late 1960s, Raymond Swales came to speak at the assembly, and it was a time of revival. The assembly outgrew their original chapel, and a new building was constructed about six miles south of Needham in 1984; the name Needham Gospel Center Bible Chapel was taken at that time. James and Billy J. Bonner are the current elders. About 30 adults and youngsters attend the assembly today, which is active in mission and newspaper ministries.

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The first assembly in Birmingham began in January 1948 when a group of like-minded Christians decided to meet in the name of Jesus only. Meeting first at the Birmingham YMCA, they moved to their own building at 4th Court West – the Westside Gospel Chapel. In 1962 the assembly relocated to 3926 Montclair Road, its current location, where it took the name Mountain Brook Bible Chapel. The principal leaders at Mountain Brook Bible Chapel have included Robert J. Willey, Earl Miller, Vernon Poehner, Stephen Underwood, and Walter Heasty. The assembly has commended several workers to the foreign field; about 50 adults and youngsters attend on a typical Sunday.

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In 1974, a group living 15 to 20 miles west of the chapel, desiring to have a meeting in their area, hived off from Mountain Brook Bible Chapel to form the Westside Believers Chapel. The two assemblies maintain a close relationship. The new assembly began in the home of Stephen Underwood, who was in fellowship at Mountain Brook Bible Chapel, and had been having home Bible studies with college students for several years. Mr. Underwood’s father had been influenced many years earlier by T.B. Gilbert concerning the New Testament church. Some of the students in the Bible study were driving a long distance to attend Mountain Brook Bible Chapel, so with the blessing of the elders of that assembly, the Westside Believers Chapel was formed. The families of Stephen Underwood, Steve Davis, Craig Criss, Tom Davison, and Ken Sanford were involved in the startup.

In 1976, the assembly relocated to Hanckey Road, then in 1988 purchased its own building at 1490 1st Street S.W. in Graysville in the northwest suburbs of Birmingham, where it is presently located. Westside Believers Chapel has about 20 coming to the Lord’s Supper.

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The Mobile Assembly met in the home of John Todd for many years, reaching 35 persons at its highest. This assembly was begun through contacts made at the Deep South Bible Conference, hosted by the Good News Center in New Orleans. Vernon Schlief and William Walker came to Mobile to instruct the Christians dissatisfied with their denominational affiliations, and the assembly was formed. It continued into the late 1970s.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses History, Needham Gospel Center Bible Chapel, by James E. Bonner, Sr., 1998


We begin in the southernmost part of the state, Key West, in which resides the oldest assembly in the state, and proceed north along the eastern coast and the central area, across the panhandle, then south along the Gulf Coast.

The assembly meeting at Key West Gospel Chapel is the oldest meeting still functioning in the state, apparently started in 1869. The building in which the assembly still meets, at 720 Southard Street and known initially as the Key West Gospel Hall, is said to have been erected before 1880. The meeting was evidently associated then with one of the ‘exclusive’ branches.

Time has lost the details about the founders of this assembly or its activity until about 1900, when Charles Holder moved from the Bahama Islands to Key West and conducted street meetings around the town. Benjamin Demeritt, an avowed atheist and fisherman, was won to Christ by the open air preaching of Holder. The next day Demeritt led his friend Copeland Johnson to Christ. Copeland Johnson and Benjamin Demeritt became the main preachers and leaders at the Gospel Hall in the early 1900s. Copeland Johnson and his wife were drowned in a 1935 hurricane. Charles Holder had died sometime before that, and Benjamin Demeritt died in 1937.

In 1931, a split developed at the Key West Gospel Hall. Six men who considered themselves ‘exclusives’ moved out with their families and met in a different location. Demeritt and Johnson did not go out with them. The ‘open’ assembly continued to meet in the same location, but changed its name to Gospel Chapel, in part because of local confusion with the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

There were about 100 members of the assembly in the 1930s. Preachers would come from the north for six or eight weeks at a time and preach every night. During the years of heavy military activity, there was a substantial gathering, but with a declining military presence, the numbers have dwindled to less than two dozen. Sidney Bullman has been actively involved in the assembly since the 1940s. The work now depends on brethren from south Florida to minister the Word each Lord’s Day, and there are no regularly scheduled week night meetings.

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The assembly now known as Miami Bible Truth Chapel was the first in the Miami area and began in the early 1900s. The Christians first met in William Bethel’s home but then acquired a building on SW 8th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, called the Miami Gospel Hall A number of the brethren came from the Bahamas and Key West, including Copeland Johnson and his two brothers, T. G. and William. “Uncle Cope” was an able preacher and expositor of the Word, and was considered one of the leaders, although he remained in the Key West assembly. He constructed a beautifully illustrated “Plan of the Ages Chart” which he used very effectively in ministry meetings both in Miami and Key West as well as in some of the other Florida Keys.

Damage to the 8th Street quarters by a 1926 hurricane forced the gathering to move to a temporary location in Glenn Royal Parkway, over a store. Then they purchased a building in which to meet until a new one was constructed nearby on SW 7th Street. Leon Russell, Robert Humphreys, Tweedy Sawyer, and others were instrumental in the construction. It was at about that time that the assembly took the name Miami Bible Truth Chapel.

During World War II, the young people still at home would go to Bayfront Park and invite service men to the evening gospel services. Through the preaching of August Van Ryn and Lawrence Chambers, the Holy Spirit yielded a harvest in the conversion of many of the servicemen, one of whom was Gifford Beckon. He and his wife Madge went to Japan as missionaries. During the 1940s and early 1950s the young people’s group had a Gospel radio program. Elliot Van Ryn usually gave the message.

After World War II, a spacious addition was constructed on the rear part of the chapel. Many missionaries, some with families, were temporarily housed in that addition as they came through for ministry in the southern U.S., the Bahamas, and the Caribbean Islands.

Spanish brethren shared the building with the original group beginning in 1962 into the late 1970s, calling their group Sala Evangelica (see below). The Spanish group purchased the SW 7th Street building when Bible Truth Chapel moved to 6300 SW 99th Avenue in July 1978. Additions to the 99th Avenue facility were made as the assembly grew.

In fellowship at Bible Truth Chapel are saints from Jamaica, St. Kitt’s Island, India, and Cuba, most of whom take an active part in the meetings. The multinational group of believers have an excellent bond of unity and a great youth ministry. The saints have great opportunities with migrant workers and a youth detention center nearby. Several couples have gone out into full time service from the assembly.

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The Miami Asamblea Evangelica, a Spanish-speaking assembly, began in 1962 as Miami Sala Evangelica. At first sharing the building at 629 SW 7th Street with the Miami Bible Truth Chapel, the Christians eventually purchased the building. Rafael and Mariana Carter came to Miami from Santo Domingo to help start the assembly, joined in this effort by Alfredo and Maria Magluta. Dominican brethren coming from New York also helped. In 1982, the Christians changed the assembly name to Miami Asamblea Evangelica. Francisco Escarraman and Alfredo Magluta share in the leadership. The vigorous assembly has about 120 adults and youngsters in regular attendance.

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The 29th Street Gospel Hall in Miami has its roots in the summer of 1916. Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Warner and daughter moved to Miami in that year and looked for an assembly where they could Remember the Lord, but found only one small ‘exclusive’ group in the southwest section.

In 1917, William Conlon met and told E.J. Warner that a few Christians met each Sunday morning for a Bible reading at the home of an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Hector Munro, at 118 NE 4th Street. The Warners went the following Sunday and met the Munros, Mr. Stephen Wall, and Mr. and Mrs. William Clifford.

E.J. Warner wrote to Benjamin Bradford and mentioned the Bible Class they were attending, as they had found no assembly with which to meet. Both Bradford and Samuel McEwen had been praying about a gospel effort in south Florida, and took this letter as an answer to prayer. A short time later, Sam McEwen arrived and attended the Bible Class with the Warners; Mr. Bradford came soon after.

In 1918 these two pitched a tent on the corner of NW 7th Street and 4th Avenue, where they preached the Gospel nightly for two months. The first convert was Mr. Conlon’s wife, Jenny. Birge and Jenny Roberts were saved at tent meetings in 1919 when Sam McEwen was joined by W.G. Smith. Soon the group outgrew their small room at the Munro’s home, so Mr. Clifford rented Tompkins Hall on N. Miama Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets, where the first Breaking of Bread was held. In 192l, Mr. Warner selected and purchased a lot on NW 29th Street near Miami Avenue, then deeded it over to the trustees. The 29th Street Gospel Hall was completed in 1922.

Many of the well known brethren evangelists ministered during these early years, including Benjamin Bradford, William Matthews, W. J. McClure, W. H. Hunter, W. G. Smith, and H. G. McEwen. Many Christians came from the northern states during the winter and proved to be a blessing. George Walker and his wife, who had served in Cuba since 1941, came to Miami in 1961.

In the 1960s, the brethren in the 29th Street Gospel Hall offered their building for Spanish work whenever it was not in use. The neighborhood was by that time seventy-five percent Spanish.

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In 1924, a number of people left the 29th Street Gospel Hall to meet in the home of Carl Gustafson at 1080 NW 38th Street, Miami. Fred Coombs built and furnished a simple hall at 2416 NW 7th Court for the meeting. This was known as Ebenezer Gospel Hall and the assembly grew for a few years. The fellowship included the families of Fred Coombs, Carl Gustafson, George Mingo Sr., Reginal Morgan, Arthur Christie, Homer Evans, Knowels, Chris Nelson, and Sadie Roberts, Della Jackson, and Anne and Margaret Harrison.

In about 1930, Fred Coombs decided to go out as an evangelist, but returned after several harrowing experiences. Because of a disagreement as to his subsequent support, the majority left Ebenezer and began a new work as the Coconut Grove Assembly, renting Carpenter’s Hall in the Coconut Grove area for their meeting place. These were joined by several people from the 29th Street Gospel Hall. Among those in the Coconut Grove Assembly were the families of E. J. Warner, William McCartney, William Thompson, and Carl Gustafson.

In November of 1949, a small store front building was leased for one year on NW 54th Street, between 14th and 15th Avenues in a middle class neighborhood. The 15 believers took the name Central Gospel Chapel for their meeting place. The neighborhood was canvassed, gospel literature distributed, and a Sunday school started. In about six months, 160 people were in attendance. The members of the fellowship purchased a plot of land in the 1400 block on NW 53rd Street and erected a chapel, which was first occupied in June 1950. Individuals with responsibilities at that time included Carl, Gordon, and Don Gustafson, William McCartney, Benjamin Bradford, Carter Bundy, and Eric Young.

The Family Bible Hour and Sunday School at Central Gospel Chapel grew into the 400s and on a few occasions there were over 500 present on Sunday mornings. The facilities were expanded as the fellowship grew. Three large Sunday School busses and a number of station wagons were used to help with the transportation.

After some years the neighborhood changed and most of the families moved away. A lot at 10900 NW 19th Avenue was purchased in 1960 and a chapel was built. As the demographics of the area continued to change, the predominantly Jamaican assembly meeting in Liberty City approached the trustees with an offer to purchase the property, and the transaction was made. That assembly enlarged the building, which is known now as the Miami Gospel Chapel.

The small group meeting at Boulevard Bible Chapel in Pembroke Pines invited the Central Gospel Hall Christians to join with them, and the change was made in 1985.

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Miami Gospel Hall started in 1937 at its present address, 1417 NW First Place. John and Hester Higgs had moved from Key West to Miami with their family, and witnessed to Calvin and Eunice Thompson, who came to salvation, and thus Miami Gospel Hall was formed. John Higgs and Calvin Thompson both preached outdoors on Sunday evenings; others were saved, and the work grew under their leadership.

Edward Lightbourne and his wife came to the states in 1950, and joined the Miami Gospel Hall. They initiated a program that attracted lots of children; some were saved and led their loved ones to the Lord. John Higgs, Calvin Thompson, Edward Lightbourne, and William Rolle are among those who have assumed leadership in the assembly over the years. The work has always remained small.

Mr. Lightbourne went to Moody Bible Institute in 1953, and from there to New York City, where he helped in the formation of the Corona assembly, evidently Galilee Gospel Chapel. They returned to Miami in 1965. Some of the saints at Miami Gospel Hall wanted to expand, but the Lightbournes felt that the Lord would have them develop the work at 1781 NW 73rd Street in Liberty City. As the assembly grew, it purchased the former Central Gospel Chapel and became known as the Miami Gospel Chapel. The Lightbournes remained, however, in fellowship at Miami Gospel Hall.

When Hurricane Andrew blew through, the old Miami Gospel Hall was blown down, and the Christians there moved to other assemblies. Bethel Gospel Chapel in Fort Lauderdale was born out of Miami Gospel Hall.

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The assembly meeting at Hialeah Gospel Chapel started in 1954 and met in its new chapel for the first time in November 1957. This was the work with which the Van Ryn family was identified for so many years. By 1990, the city of Hialeah was nearly all Cuban, and the Christians of the assembly sold their property to a group who could reach that Spanish-speaking community. Some of the believers then merged into other English-speaking meetings in the area. A small group decided to stay in an area adjacent to Hialeah with the desire of maintaining a small English-speaking work for those who might be inter¬ested. After meeting for some time in a Lion’s Club building, these believers rented space in a Seventh Day Adventist building. They occupied several locations before disbanding in about the mid 1980s.

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North Dade Bible Chapel in Miami began in 1981, the result of efforts by Sanford Fray, Reginald Warren, and Charles Astwood, who presented the Gospel through films on prophecy. The assembly has also been known as Carol City Community Church and Faith Missionary Bible Church, its present name. Elders have been Sanford Fray, Lloyd Sawyers, and Derrick Bourne. About 32 are in active fellowship, with 20 to 25 children in the Sunday School.

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The Hollywood Bible Chapel has roots extending back before November 1937. Several families from the Hollywood area of Greater Miami would drive to the 29th Street Gospel Hall for Sunday services, and others went to Bible Truth Chapel. Then in November 1937, the Lord’s Supper was held at 1932 Fillmore Street, Hollywood, the home of Miss Yeager and Mrs. Lily Wolstenholme. These meetings continued through the spring of 1938, then started again in the fall of 1938 and continued through May 1939.

In October 1939, Mr. and Mrs. J. Baum, “Jac” Yaeger, Lily Wolstenholme, the R. L. Conlons, and the A.R. Crockers arranged for the rental of Carpenter’s Hall near Polk St. on North Dixie Highway. The first Gospel meeting was held there in November, and the first Lord’s Supper and the first baptism were celebrated in March 1940. The assembly took the name Hollywood Gospel Chapel at that time.

The Christians soon knew they needed their own building. An abandoned store at 2244 Hollywood Boulevard was purchased and remodeled in early 1941. A larger building was needed again as the assembly grew, so the adjacent lot was purchased in December 1950. Hollywood Gospel Chapel held its 3rd Annual week-long Bible Conference in March 1951. A main auditorium was built and completed by November 1951. In 1954, a Bible school classroom wing was built, and several expansions have been made since then. The name change to Hollywood Bible Chapel was made in 1978.

More than 350 adults and children attended the family Bible Hour and Sunday School on Easter Sunday morning in 1990, and as many as 450 have been in attendance. Hollywood Bible Chapel has a large bus ministry. In the winter a gathering in an¬other part of the building for French Canadian visitors has met with the help of Cyril Shontoff. Part of this group was involved in a beach ministry as well.

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In 1953 a group of about 70 Christians living in the Fort Lauderdale area, left the Hollywood Gospel Chapel to form a new assembly known as Fort Lauderdale Gospel Chapel, which became a large and thriving work and is now called Fort Lauderdale Bible Chapel.

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Boulevard Bible Chapel in Pembroke Pines, at Hollywood Boulevard and 69th Terrace, began as the West Hollywood Assembly. Their building was in need of repair so when families from other Miami area assemblies moved into the area, it brought an infusion of needed workers and funds. The Florida Gospel Pioneers bought the building in late 1957, then turned it over to the growing assembly. Over a period of three years the believers forged a thriving fellowship with a totally remodeled building, a new outreach into the surrounding community, and the new name. Evangelist William Brown devoted practically his full time to this work from its inception.

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Boca Raton Bible Chapel opened in 1970 at 3900 NW 3rd Avenue, its current address. James Humphrey, Donald Parker, Stanley Davis, Jack Hyser, and Allison Hopper were those starting the assembly. Those men, and more recently Jack Smith, Jack Miller, Perry Pasquale, Harold Buirkle, Keith Brown, and Douglas Waters have been in leadership. Boca Raton Bible Chapel has commended workers to labor among Hindus in England. About 100 are in the assembly in the winter months, with fewer in the summer.

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Bethany-Chapel-By-The-Sea in Cocoa Beach was erected in early 1959 at South Patrick Shores, 4355 N. Atlantic Avenue through the efforts of the Florida Gospel Pioneers, cooperating with brethren living in the Cape Canaveral area. In the fall of 1959 Dan Snaddon served the Lord there full time. An addition was necessary in 1960, and was fully financed by the assembly itself. On Easter Sunday morning 1961, the attendance reached 404.

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Boynton Bible Chapel in Boynton Beach began in 1984. After its initial meetings in a high school, the assembly purchased a church building in nearby Lantana in 1986, calling it Pinewood Bible Chapel in Lantana. Bill and Ena Crouse, Ian and Mary Purdie, and Charlie and Betty McMillan were those who started the assembly. Irvin Robertson and Bron Carlisle were involved in teaching and ministering the Word. Bill Crouse and Ian Purdie were the first elders, followed by John Tardonia, Steve Anderson, and others. About 150 adults and youngsters attend Pinewood Bible Chapel.

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The assembly meeting at Bethesda Gospel Chapel in West Palm Beach was in existence by 1951. Mr. and Mrs. Germany were active and much esteemed by the assembly.

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Palm Bible Chapel in North Palm Beach started in a home in September 1961. A dozen couples from the Bethesda Gospel Chapel in West Palm Beach had desired to establish a corporate testimony in their own neighborhood, to be a center for Bible teaching, missions, and evangelism. Because their history had marked three of the men as elders, it was agreed that these should function as the recognized overseers of the new church until the Spirit of God should raise up more. C.E. Tatham took up residence there to work in the new assembly.

For the first six months Palm Bible Chapel was a household church. With the help of the Florida Gospel Pioneers and Stewards Foundation, a parcel was purchased and a building seating 250 was erected. By 1971, Palm Bible Chapel had a functional building with a fully equipped Sunday School and an auditorium seating 425.

Palm Bible Chapel operated a daily morning radio broadcast and an extensive tape ministry of Sunday morning sermons and other Bible studies. The Chapel spawned many neighborhood Bible Classes. The Lord’s Supper was held on Sunday evening since the inception of the work. At the beginning this attracted only the committed core, but this meeting grew both in numbers and in spiritual exercise. The weekly prayer meeting averaged around 100, including dozens of young people.

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Grace and Truth Bible Fellowship in West Palm Beach began in 1997 as a result of the closing of Bethesda Gospel Chapel in that city. The assembly met in homes until December 1997 when they moved into the Cross Creek Condominium clubhouse. In 1998, the numbers were increased when some Christians from the assembly at Pinewood Bible Chapel in Lantana joined with Grace and Truth Bible Fellowship. The original organizers were Alfredo Palmer, David Marot, and Furman Martin, later joined by George Cox. These and David Hull, John Mollenhaver, and Don Gustafson Jr. have exercised leadership in the assembly, which has not recognized elders to this point. Attendance is greatest in the winter, then totaling about 25 adults.

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Grace Bible Sanctuary in Melbourne on the east coast below Cape Canaveral, began in 1980 as Saved by Grace Bible Sanctuary. The assembly has met in rented quarters on E. New Haven Avenue, on E. University Boulevard, on Monroe Street, and now meets at 52 E. Line Street. The assembly was begun by Myrue, Patricia, Dorothy, and Jonathan Spivey; Charles and Linda Butler; and Johnny and Denice Bentley. Leadership over the years include Myrue Spivey, Bradley King, Emmanuel Collins, Jim Mantorelli, Waymar Aldridge, Carlton Stewart, Charles Hendricks, and David Diez. Workers have been commended by the assembly to the Haitian community in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere. Grace Bible Sanctuary has about 50 adults and youngsters in attendance.

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Frostproof Bible Chapel, in the town of Frostproof in the middle of the state began in 1977 in a home on the property of Shepherd Christian Retirement Community. The assembly later moved its meetings to the chapel of the retirement community, where it meets now. Frostproof Bible Chapel was started by Ben Bradford, Ed Armstrong, Alan Walker, Leslie Harris, and Norwood Latimer. Those in leadership over the years include Ron Tewson, Carroll Van Ryn, William Clark, Jim McKendrick, Jim Dunbar, Charles Pinches, John Barclay, and Milton Pruitt. The assembly has commended Carroll Van Ryn as a home worker. About 75 adults are in the fellowship in the winter months, and fewer in the summer.

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In 1959, two small assemblies in the Orlando area decided to join forces. The larger of the two had been meeting in the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Rainey in Sorrento, 20 miles northwest of Orlando. The smaller group met in the Osborne Lepage home in Orla Vista, five miles west of the city center. The combined strength of the two groups was only 40, including children.

Meeting first in the town of Mt. Plymouth, near Sorrento, the merged assembly later met in Maynard Evans High School in the Pine Hills section of Orlando. Leaders at that time were Raymond White, Svend Christiensen, Robert Willey, and Ed Scott. Bob Harper gave several years to the development of this and other Orlando area assemblies. In 1960, the assembly had purchased property in nearby Hiawassa Highland, with help from Stewards Foundation and the Florida Gospel Pioneers. The inaugural service in the new Hiawassa Hills Chapel, was in April 1961, at which time the assembly had grown to about 50.

Over the years, Ed Scott, Louis Capeci, Ted Dippy, Keith Dilley, Don Pell, and Jim Hislop have served as elders. Now called Hiawassa Bible Chapel, the assembly consists of about 200 adults and youngsters. The assembly has commended about 20 people to the Lord’s work.

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In 1963 five of the Hiawassa families, three of them from the original merger, began meeting in Dover Shore School. They were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Tom Willey. In September 1966, this group broke ground for a chapel at Lake Howell, seven miles northeast of downtown Orlando. The new building, called Lake Howell Bible Chapel, was opened April 1967. It was built with a vision for growth, having a seating capacity of 220 to 250, several times the size of the congregation. Hugh MacDonald, commended by an assembly in Scotland, came in February 1972 to enter into the outreach of the Lake Howell Bible Chapel.

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Several families from Winter Garden began attending meetings at Hiawassa Hills in 1963. Disappointed in the modernism and heavy organization of the large denomination to which they belonged, they wanted a Bible Chapel in Winter Garden. Svend Christensen, who had pioneered extensively in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, started a Bible Class for them, about 20 people. In May 1965, they rented the city auditorium for Sunday night meetings. Later they moved to a school so that Sunday School classes could begin. The first Breaking of Bread meeting of the Winter Park assembly was in March 1966. Winter Garden Bible Chapel seating 100, was constructed in 1972.

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An Emmaus summer team, operating from the Hiawassa Hills Chapel, held a Vacation Bible School at Bear Lake in the northwest section of Orlando in 1967. The results were so encouraging that a group of Orlando brethren made the down payment on a 2.5 acre lot a few months later, and an assembly was begun in a nearby Community Center. Stewards Foundation granted a loan, and a building was begun. Bear Lake Bible Chapel was officially opened in November 1970. David Vander Noot and Harlan Brown were among the initiators of the assembly. Those and Bob Harper, Phil Guikema, and Dennis Petry have been in leadership. Bear Lake Bible Chapel has about 70 in attendance.

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At Deland, between Orlando and Daytona Beach, the assembly now meeting at Deland Gospel Hall began as Deland Gospel Assembly in 1975. The originators were Bill Walker and Bob Brant, along with several others. In leadership over the years have been Anthony Orsini, Phil Colella, and Bob Brant. About 15 persons are in the assembly today.

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Ocala Bible Chapel in the mid-Florida city of Ocala, north of Orlando, has its roots in a Bible study held in the home of John Suess in 1975, where Bob Saunders and John Suess and their wives been meeting with others. Three couples decided to organize themselves as American Bible Church. They became interested in New Testament principles of gathering and invited Ernest Woodhouse to meet with them for instruction; soon they were meeting as an assembly.

After meeting in homes for six months, they rented Pythian Hall for Sunday meetings. In 1978 they purchased a building, financed through Stewards Foundation, at their present location of 729 NE 2nd Street in Ocala, calling it Ocala Bible Chapel. This historic building was originally the first Jewish temple in the city, built in 1888.

The originators of the assembly are Ernie Woodhouse, and the Robert Saunders, John Suess, Smith, and Donahue families. Godfrey Weir, Art Auld, Howard Derby, Jack McLaughlin, John and Paul Barnard, and Al Nye have been in leadership over the years. About 50 persons attend the assembly, which is multi-cultural with believers from Jamaica and various places in the U.S. and Canada.

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Park of the Palms Church in Keystone Heights, near Gainesville, began in 1970, Robert Willey and Frank Waardenburg being among those who started the assembly. Ernest Woodhouse also had an early leadership role in the assembly. Occupying the same grounds as the Park of the Palms Retirement Homes, the assembly is comprised largely of Christians who live there or who come for a vacation at facilities on the 23-acre property. Winter attendance approaches 200, while about 100 persons attend the assembly in the summer months. An eight-week annual winter conference is a highlight of the assembly, attended by people from throughout the continent. Local outreach is made through Bible classes conducted by teachers in the assembly. Ernest and Joyce Woodhouse have been commended to the Lord’s work by Park of the Palms Church.

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The assembly meeting at Bible Truth Chapel in Gainesville was called Gainesville Bible Chapel when it started in 1974 in a home at 4828 NW 143rd Street. It moved in 1987 to its current address at 13410 Archer Road. A hive-off from Ocala Bible Chapel, it was started by Guy McDaniel, Lyman Loche, Jerry Svetlik, Roy Pell, and Clarence Irwin. These and William Grant and Robert Shevlin have shared in leadership. About 30 adults and youngsters are in the assembly.

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The Jackson Assembly of Christians in Jacksonville in northern Florida began in 1954, with its first meetings at the local YMCA. After that the assembly met at several locations before purchasing a lot at 2701 Dean Road in 1958 and constructing Dean Road Chapel in 1959. In the mid 1980s, the Christians changed the name to Southside Bible Chapel. The original group who started the assembly includes William Perry, Hollis Johnson, Ralph Butler, Garland Lester, Jack Lees, Hubert Fancette, Sam Sergent, and R.T. Elliott. These and Jerry Powers, Mike Lester, Dave Eastman, and Larry Price have been in leadership. The assembly has commended several workers to the mission field and full-time work at home. About 40 people are in Southside Bible Chapel.

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Grace Bible Chapel in Niceville in the Florida panhandle, began in 1987 in the Paul Carmean home. This was the first assembly in that region, the closest established works then being in Montgomery, AL, and Albany and Thomasville, GA, about 100 miles distant. The Carmeans had been in fellowship at Riverview Chapel in Hinton, WV, which has been supportive of the newer work. Grace Bible Chapel now meets in rented space in a store front. Four main families share leadership and teaching responsibilities, with about 12 adults in fellowship.

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Forest Lake Bible Church in Niceville began as the Open Door Bible Church in 1971, and was not affiliated with the brethren at that time. Those who started the Open Door Bible Church were Jack Murphy, Ed Avery, Phil Lacy, and Harold Thomas. Over the years, a number of people from brethren backgrounds chose to worship there. The Lord’s leading and study of Scripture convinced the leadership and the people of New Testament principles of church governance.

The Christians affiliated with the brethren assemblies in 1991, having changed their name by then to Forest Lake Bible Church. The assembly met for a few months in an elementary school in Fort Walton Beach before moving to its present location at 1000 37th Street.

In active leadership over the years have been those mentioned above, plus Dave Baker, Jung Leong, Dave Bergman, Bob Grete, Arnold Dykman, Joe Vetter, Pat Tidwell, Tom Marinello, and George Kaim. Forest Lake Bible Church has commended workers to Papua New Guinea, Emmaus Bible College, and Rocky Bayou Christian School in Niceville. George Kaim is commended as a resident worker at Forest Lake. About 50 adults and children attend the assembly.

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Holiday, Tarpon Springs, and New Port Richey are towns north of Tampa Bay and near the Gulf coast. The Tarpon Springs Assembly was apparently started by V. Phillips, a Greek immigrant. In 1951, he remodeled a house into a comfortable hall for the meeting. He labored there for years. Holiday Bible Chapel was started in the late 1950s by some of the younger people from Grace Gospel Chapel in St. Petersburg. They started in a store building but later bought land and built the chapel that they continue to occupy. They have a good Sunday school, though most of the people in the assembly are now senior citizens. Bible Truth Chapel in New Port Richey started in the early 1960s. They met at first in the backroom of a bookstore. Sometime before 1970, they built their chapel on Massachusetts Avenue in New Port Richey. Charles Faulkner and Mr. Schultz were among those who started the assembly.

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Grace Gospel Chapel in St. Petersburg was started in the late 1930s by people from the north who had retired, including Sam McCartney. Among those who came later and found work in St. Petersburg were Wally Hall, a paint store owner, and Mr. MacGregor, a builder. A Sunday school was started which grew to over 200 for a while. They built the chapel on 5th Street in the early 1940s, and it is still being used. The wing was built in 1956. Later many moved away and the assembly declined. It is considerably larger in the winter when there are visitors from the north.

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A Palm Harbor Assembly, north of Clearwater in the Tampa Bay area existed for a time, and had an outreach into Jamaican fruit pickers’ camps in the 1950s.

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Cornerstone Bible Chapel in Clearwater began in the home of Bill and Karen Davis. Mrs. Davis had played a leading role in two large non-denominational women’s Bible studies for many years. The Davises had also been conducting a home Bible study as a vehicle for Christian growth. When the believers in these studies found they were of like mind, they began Breaking Bread together in late 1994, desiring to form a fellowship based on New Testament principles of meeting rather than joining with existing churches in the area. Soon, Tim and Karen McDermott, neighbors of the Davises, joined with the embryonic fellowship, and both homes were used. Most of the people had no brethren background except for the Davises and the John Finns who had been in fellowship at Brooksville Bible Chapel in a small town about 60 miles north of Clearwater.

After the early period, the assembly met for a time in a school in the Long Center, then in a warehouse, and in an exercise gym. In 1998, Cornerstone Bible Chapel purchased property in nearby Dunedin, anticipating occupation in 1999. Those most active in leadership include Bill Davis, Mike Barlow, Speck Ansers, and Frank Brzezinski. About 60 persons regularly attend.

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Central Bible Chapel in Tampa was originally known as Tampa Gospel Hall, and later as Florida Avenue Chapel. The present building was built by Michael Hughey in the mid 1950s. Woody Murphy was the first full-time worker, followed by Wayne Carter, son-in-law to Mr. Hughey. The assembly has a large young people’s group. The chapel has a gymnasium, which is used for Awana and other programs.

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Carrollwood Bible Chapel, in a suburb north of Tampa, was started in 1983 by David Binnie, Conrad Campbell, Paul Krokenburger, Mike Gentile, and Paul Zapadenko. Some of the believers came from Tampa’s Central Bible Chapel. The assembly met first at the Carrollwood Civic Center, until their chapel was constructed in 1986. David Binnie, Conrad Campbell, and Mike Gentile have been the elders. Carrollwood Bible Chapel has commended a worker to Brazil. About 80 adults and children are in the assembly.

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North 56th Street Gospel Chapel in Tampa is also a hive-off from Central Gospel Chapel and has a good cultural mix of people from the continent and the Caribbean islands. Founded in 1966, it was known first as North Tampa Gospel Chapel and met in the Riverhills Elementary school cafeteria. In 1968, land was purchased and construction of the present chapel was completed, and the name North 56th Street Chapel was taken. The founding families were the Bennetts, Grattons, Greens, Huenishces, Peterkins, Paynes, Thisses, and Touzeaus. Over the last 20 years the leadership has consisted of Alfred Adams, Jerry Balloon, Raymond Montgomery, Pembroke Peterkin, and Ed Pawasarat. About 60 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

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The assembly at Lockwood Ridge Gospel Chapel in Sarasota, south of Tampa, began in 1968. Chartered as Saramana Bible Center, Inc., it took its present name after a few years. Those who began the assembly are Wesley E. Erickson, James P. Fraser, John A. Walford, and J.E. Hoffman. These, with Isaac Selby, Wendell E. Bearce, and Percy Sutton have been the elders. About eight persons attend the assembly in the summer months, and up to 20 in the winter months.

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The Church of the Open Door in Sarasota began in a home in 1980. One of its originators had been in fellowship at Believer’s Chapel in Dallas, TX. Since that time, the assembly has met in the West Coast Symphony Building and the Girl’s Club building, and now has returned to the home where it started. Chuck Nixon and Brian Chase started the assembly. Those and Steve Ponchot, Scott Schurr, and Bruce Ewing have been in leadership over the years. The Church of the Open Door has about 35 adults and youngsters in attendance.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Letters of Lillian Jones of DeLand, Florida, 21 October 1997; Eliot Van Ryn, 1 August 96; Frances Sands, dictated by her husband, Elijah Sands Grace Magnified or Captain Ben Demeritt’s Conversion, A. E. Booth, about 1940 In the Beginning, a History of 29th Street Gospel Hall, Ida M. Warner, 9 September 1980 History of Bible Truth Chapel, Ben A. Roberts, 28 July 1996 History of Central Gospel Chapel, Donald Gustafson, 3 November 1996 A History of the Hollywood Bible Chapel, November 1990, author not identified Miami Daily News, 16 Dec. 1951, reprinted in Letters of Interest, February 1952, p. 16 Letters of Interest, November 1949, p. 3; August 1951, p. 22; September 1951, p. 3; November 1956, pp. 7, 8; June 1959, p. 11; July 1961; September 1971, p. 13; May 1972, p. 5; February 1977, p. 3 Uplook, April 1989, p. 141; August 1990, p. 283


In the early 1930s, Owen Hoffman pitched his tent in a rural community some 15 miles from the town of Washington, which is about 50 miles northwest of Augusta. The tent was usually full to overflowing, and many were saved or strengthened in these meetings. When winter came, the new believers asked to have the Gospel meetings in their homes. Some were baptized and began meeting as an assembly in a rented one-room rural school house. Two brothers who took the lead in the new unnamed assembly were R.R. Whittington and Ned Stamey.

The tent was pitched again the next year in several places nearby, including Washington. Souls were saved despite opposition from townspeople. The following summer, Mr. Hoffman pitched his tent in another town, again with many saved. About 60 were baptized in a pond one Sunday afternoon. Many of these were expelled from their churches because of their baptism as believers.

About 50 of these believers then purchased some land in the country and built a chapel with an adjacent cemetery. The name of this chapel is not known. The work grew, and several full-time brothers ministered, including John Bramhall, Douglas Ibbotson, Frank Detweiler, and Lawrence Chambers.

When people began moving out of the rural areas, this assembly and the one in the school house merged and built a new two-storied brick chapel in 1949 in the town of Washington, calling it Washington Chapel. The assembly still occupies this building. Allen Rogers, Aage Hoffman, Carl Dawson, and Peter Hoffmann are among those who have led the work at Washington Chapel.

  • * * * * * *

In the 1930s, H.P. Crowell, the Founder and President of the Quaker Oats Company, had a winter home in Augusta, in which he had a Bible Class attended by Christians from many different denominations. He invited different men to teach the class, including Virgil Hollingsworth. During this period, Virgil Hollingsworth had come in contact with brethren such as Harold Harper. He also began reading the writings of brethren who explained God’s plan for the Church and began to teach this in the class at Mr. Crowell’s home. However, none in that class were willing to begin a New Testament church with him.

So in 1940, the Virgil Hollingsworths, the Liddon Sheridans, and another couple Broke Bread for the first time in the Hollingsworth’s home, the beginning of the first assembly in Augusta. After that they met at the Women’s Club on Greene Street, then at a beauty parlor on Walton Way. At about that time Sue and Gene Hollingworth came into the fellowship. They were followed in the next few months by the families of Hartford Timmerman, Frank Tice, Lewis Douglas, and Warren Hersey. For the first couple of years or so, the assembly was called The Christian Assembly Hall.

After a couple of years of meeting in the beauty parlor, the group purchased and renovated a house on Crawford Avenue near Walton Way. At about that time, they named their meeting place Bethany Chapel. Along with other truths having to do with the Church, Virgil realized that the Bible taught that there should be a multiplicity of elders. Gene Hollingsworth, Hartford Timmerman, and Lewis Douglas were then recognized as the oversight of Bethany Chapel, and others were added later.

Also at about that time, Owen Hoffman brought his tent to Augusta for a month of evangelistic services. Many were saved and some of them came into fellowship at Bethany Chapel. Mr. Hoffman came back on several occasions to preach in his tent or at Bethany Chapel. Other speakers at Bethany were John Bramhall, Harold Mackay, Lester Wilson, August Van Ryn, A.P. Gibbs, Harold Wildish, Richard Hill, and Welcome Detweiler.

Later the Christians purchased the house next door to the chapel to be used for Sunday School and other activities. In the mid 1940s, the Martintown Road Bible Class was started in North Augusta, and depended on speakers from Bethany Chapel to teach it. As a result a good number of these Christians came into fellowship at Bethany. Also in the 1940s, some of the brethren from Bethany Chapel, including Tip Welch, Virgil Hollingsworth, and Gene Hollingsworth, would go down almost every Sunday to help out at the Savannah Gospel Chapel.

In 1944, a large number of Christians came at about the same time, incuding the R.E. Barinowski and Thomas Stephens families. Messrs. Barinowski and Stephens were later recognized as elders. Needing more space, the assembly constructed an addition that doubled the capacity of the auditorium.

A few years later these facilities burned to the ground and a new Bethany Chapel was constructed on Milledge Road. A house on the lot was used to house visiting speakers and others, and a gymnasium was constructed later.

A large number of soldiers were stationed at Fort Gordon in those days. The young people’s group distributed tracts and invited the service men to Bethany Chapel for refreshments and to attend the Gospel Meeting. During the first year, they averaged having eight new soldiers each Sunday. As many as forty service men came on some Sundays. The Christians at Bethany faithfully continued this work for about twenty years, the sisters particularly, being willing to furnish meals and refreshments for this effort. Many of the service men professed faith in the Lord Jesus. One of the service men who came to the meetings was Tom Taylor, who received encouragement to go to Bible School and spend the rest of his life serving the Lord.

Bethany Chapel has commended several to the work of the Lord in foreign lands. A notable ministry at Bethany Chapel is the Labor Day Youth Conference. Each year hundreds of young people from different assemblies and many adults have been blessed through the activities of this conference. The present oversight at Bethany Chapel – Clarence Barinowski, T. S. Morgan, Jules Godin, and Ramon Waters – has continued this work.

In 1984, Clarence Barinowski obtained a license to operate a radio relay station in Augusta, designated as WLPE. He used this station to relay programs from Moody Broadcasting Network to the CSRA section of Georgia. and other stations in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

  • * * * * * *

Not long after they were saved, Edgar and Emma Murrah came into fellowship at Bethany Chapel. Having a successful business, they purchased in 1969 three buildings on Broad Street, which they converted into a chapel. In 1970 four families, including the Murrahs, established an assembly known as the Harrisburg Gospel Center. Several years later a chapel was built at 120 Grace Street, not far from the original location. This building has since been sold and those left in fellowship are gathering in nearby Martinez.

A few years after the Harrisburg Gospel Center was started, the Murrahs purchased a farm south of Augusta and established The Gospel Farm. Its purpose was to help young adults experiencing times of trouble. As a result many of them were saved. Warren Hylton, who worked with Edgar and was in fellowship at the Harrisburg Gospel Center, helped with this project. This property has been sold and The Gospel Farm disbanded.

  • * * * * * *

During World War II, Lee Lohre moved to Augusta with his family to start the Augusta Rescue Mission. With the help of many local churches, including Bethany Chapel, he was able to provide and sustain this mission, a place where service men from Camp/Fort Gordon could come and be helped with their spiritual needs and enjoy recreational activities. Lee was encouraged by being asked to speak at Bethany Chapel and seeing how the meetings were conducted there. He began to read the New Testament to see what truths were revealed concerning the operation of a local church. As a result, Glendale Bible Chapel was started and still continues to operate.

  • * * * * * *

In 1971, Bernie O’Neill and Dan Hollingsworth, in fellowship at Bethany Chapel, desired to establish an assembly in South Augusta. With the blessing of Bethany, Bible studies were started in September 1972 in a rented building on Lumpkin Road. Believers Gospel Chapel in South Augusta was soon started. Within a few months, the assembly purchased a chapel on Young Drive. Later, 5.5 acres were purchased on Peach Orchard Road, where the present chapel was constructed in 1980. Since then, more Sunday School rooms and a gym have been added. In 1990, the Christians at Believers Gospel Chapel started an Easter Conference, which has continued almost every year since. Sam Thorpe, Jr. was a leading elder at Believers Gospel Chapel for many years, involved in its growth to about 200 people.

  • * * * * * *

In the latter part of 1995, Bernie O’Neill and Sam Thorpe, two of the elders at Believers Gospel Chapel, believed the Lord was leading them to start an assembly in Lincolnton, north of Augusta. With the blessings of Believers Gospel Chapel, Lakeside Bible Chapel, was established in early 1996.

  • * * * * * *

In the early 1980s, several Christians in fellowship at Bethany Chapel and who lived in North Augusta, felt the need to establish an assembly in the north part of the city. After much prayer and several meetings with the elders at Bethany Chapel, there seemed to be an agreement that this was in the will of the Lord. In January 1983, this group of Christians met for the first time, calling their meeting place North Augusta Bible Chapel.

  • * * * * * *

In 1976, Dan Hollingsworth and Jon Reimer at Believers Gospel Chapel, Lee Lohre at Glendale Bible Chapel, Gene Sawyer of Bethany Chapel, and Sam Thorpe Jr. at Kalmia Hill Chapel, Aiken, SC, became interested in starting a Bible school in the Augusta area. The Augusta Center for Biblical Study began in September 1978, meeting first in the facilities of Believers Gospel Chapel in South Augusta. In 1980, five acres of prop¬erty were purchased on the south side of the city. The new dormitory and classroom building, finished in time for the 1984-85 school year, constituted the start of a campus development program.

  • * * * * * *

About 25 miles southwest of Augusta is the town of Wrens. As an effort to regather some of a scattered flock, a few believers began meeting together to Remember the Lord in the Wrens Community House in the spring of 1967. Shortly afterward, a small vacant church building was rented and repaired, becoming known as Wrens Bible Chapel. A regular schedule of meetings was undertaken, with the Lord’s Supper given prominence. Among earlier responsible men were P.N. Powell, John F. McCoy, Albert Allen, S.M. Mallard, and Curtis Thigpen.

Some outreach ministries have included a weekly radio program covering Jefferson County, initiated by George Landis in about 1968 and continuing to this day with the ministry of a variety of preachers. Children’s work has included Sunday Schools, vacation Bible schools, and Bible Hours. Missionary support has been accomplished through funds sent to CMML and a ladies’ handicrafts program.

In 1995, some of the men formed a corporation to enable the assembly to have title to real properties pertaining to the assembly. They then purchased the old Gospel Chapel in the nearby town of Avera, and relocation was accomplished in 1998. The Avera Gospel Chapel had been built in 1931 for the meeting place of a young assembly that had resulted from Gospel tent meetings held in the area by Evangelist David Brinkman. The assembly is yet small, but looks to the future for blessing as they faithfully minister the Word.

  • * * * * * *

In 1946, Edmund and Nell Bynes from Waynesboro, south of Augusta, came into fellowship at Bethany Chapel in Augusta. Others from Waynesboro soon followed. After a time, these Christians desired to start an assembly in their home city. The elders at Bethany encouraged them, and Burkehaven Chapel in Waynesboro was begun in 1955 on Park Drive at Church Street. Edmund Byne and Claud Brown were principal movers in starting the new assembly. William McCartney, Robert Love, William Gustafson, and James Gay have been active in leadership. About 70 adults and children attend Burkehaven Chapel.

  • * * * * * *

The Savannah Gospel Chapel, now called Savannah Bible Chapel, is one of the oldest assemblies in Georgia. The earliest gatherings as an assembly were in the first decade of the twentieth century and took place in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hussey on West 39th Street, Savannah. One of those most instrumental in teaching and encouraging others in New Testament church order was Peter Rabey, who had learned of this through contact with assemblies in South Africa during a trip there. Mr. Hussey was also a gifted Bible teacher. Others who were a part of those early gatherings were Messrs. Judson, Clifford Rowland, Stephen Rabey, Tom Rogers, and Miss Katie Wilkins.

After the first meeting in the Hussey home, the assembly moved to a locations near Henry and West Broad Street, to 115 West Park Avenue, to 115 West 40th Street, and then to the present location on Skidaway Road. Many of the well-known brethren preachers ministered at the assembly in the earlier years, of whom we mention J.D. Ibbotson, John Bramhall, and Owen Hoffman. Savannah Bible Chapel continues today, though small.

  • * * * * * *

A work hived off from the Savannah Gospel Chapel in 1997. A number of the saints attending the Savannah meeting lived in the Midway, Hinesville, and Richmond Hill areas south of Savannah and about 30 miles from the chapel. These families met in the homes of Tommy Taylor and Brooks Williams for prayer and Bible study on Wednesday nights. As this meting grew, they felt the need to establish a local testimony in the area. After two years of meeting, the group now numbers about 50 people. Taking the name Faith Bible Fellowship, the assembly is temporarily meeting in the chapel building at Marsh View Bible Camp in Midway. Leaders are Tommy Taylor, Brooks Williams, John Woods, and Irby Bazemore.

  • * * * * * *

T. Michael Flowers had been commended to the Lord’s work in 1949 by assemblies in the Bahamas, where he had been born and raised. After he had lived four years in Michigan, Grace Tabernacle in Detroit joined in his commendation. In February 1955, Mr. Flowers moved from Detroit to Savannah, GA, near the southern tip of South Carolina, knowing of no New Tes¬tament assemblies among the black popula¬tion of Georgia. Many months of door-to-door work passed before he saw his first convert or started his first Bible class, and before was he able to bring his family from Detroit. Face to face and over the air this gifted expositor preached the Gospel. He worked also in South Carolina, where he saw the Beaufort Bible Chapel established in 1958.

In 1967, a summer tent crusade was held in Savan¬nah with Tom Skinner as the evangelist. Some 85 out-of-state helpers, half of them young people from the Bahamas, called door-to-door with literature. When the Crusade concluded in August it was followed by about four weeks of Bible teaching and instruction in New Testament principles for the young converts. The crusade gave birth to the Berean Bible Chapel, located on Highway 175, the site where the tent had been pitched.

Berean Bible Chapel was dedicated in February 1968. The speaker was Ed Allen of Nassau, Bahamas, editor of Evangelistic Crusade and director of the Gospel Bells broadcast.

By 1976 there were at least three assemblies in Georgia and four in South Carolina, brought into being largely through the efforts of Mr. Flowers. Besides the two mentioned, these were Community Bible Chapel in Atlanta and Glendale Bible Chapel in Augusta; in South Carolina, they were Grace Tabernacle in Charleston, Grace Bible Chapel, North Charleston, and Grace and Truth Gospel Chapel in St. Helena .

  • * * * * * *

The assembly meeting at Albany Gospel Chapel in the city of Albany in the southwestern part of the state, began in February 1955. It was instigated by the efforts of a business man, Jacob Bishop, and established by the ministry of Lester Wilson.

Lester Wilson had been pioneering in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. His friend, Jake Bishop of Albany, knowing that Mr. Wilson needed a break, begged him to come to Albany to recuperate and get his strength back. The Bishops had also long wanted a work started in Albany. Mr. Wilson came in the latter part of 1954 and taught at the Bible study group in the Bishop’s home. Those who heard him and saw his ability to explain and teach the Bible were impressed with the power of his presentation of the Word. The Bishops urged him to stay in Albany and establish an assembly there. After much prayer by many, he made the decision to reside in Albany for that purpose. Albany became a permanent settlement for him for the rest of his active days.

To gather a group of interested persons, Messrs. Wilson and Bishop rented a Youth for Christ building. Mr. Wilson established a radio broadcast and Bible studies in various homes. The first assembly in Albany was thus formed in 1955. On the lot adjacent to the building, Mr. Bishop, a building contractor, erected a large tent for Gospel meetings. This structure had sawdust flooring and two wood heaters. The wooden benches did not deter people from coming. In two series’ on the book of Revelation that year, Mr. Wilson preached to crowds who came to hear his message and the Gospel of salvation, and many accepted Christ.

Then it became evident that a permanent structure should be built. The lot on which the tent was located, at 2556 N. Slappey Drive, was purchased and ground breaking for the Albany Gospel Chapel was held in February 1956. Adjoining property was purchased in 1958, giving additional space for parking and a nursery building. In 1960, a large recreational building was built.

Lester Wilson faithfully preached the Word of God at the Albany Gospel Chapel for nearly 35 years. Due to declining health at age 84, he went to live in 1989 at Pittsboro Christian Retirement Village, where he died a year later. Among the early leaders of the assembly were Mac Marchman, Hugh Roach, Jake Bishop, and J. D. Gunnele.

Sunday School attendance of 150 was reported in 1956, only a year after the assembly began. The assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s service and is active today, with recognized elders and deacons, and with five gifted brothers involved in ministry from the platform.

  • * * * * * *

The Macon Bible Chapel in the middle of the state, was formed in 1968. It was soon renamed Three Oaks Bible Chapel, with Jim and Linda Leaptrot, and Vaughn and Betty Sitepley being the principal instigators of the work. John Moore and Tom Skillen have shared leadership with Jim Leaptrot and Vaught Sitepley. About 40 adults and youngsters attend Three Oaks Bible Chapel. The assembly has commended Jim Leaptrot to a preaching and pastoral ministry.

  • * * * * * *

Community Bible Chapel in Atlanta began in January 1971, the fruit of many years of prayer on the part of T. Michael Flowers and Mrs. Barbara Simon of Atlanta. Mr. and Mrs. John W. Moore, Jr., formerly of Detroit, had moved to Atlanta and labored abundantly for the Lord among the black population. About 30 to 35 people were in the assembly in 1971, which then met in the Joseph B. Whitehead Branch YMCA of Atlanta for morning services on the Lord’s day.

  • * * * * * *

The North Atlanta Gospel Chapel at 1475 Druid Hills Road in Atlanta, had come into being by the late 1940s. By 1985, it had changed its name to North Atlanta Bible Chapel. In the summer of 1992, several families attending the North Atlanta Bible Chapel felt a need to start a new assembly in Gwinnett County. With the blessings of the elders at North Atlanta, 12 families began meeting for prayer and Bible study about this effort. In 1993 a transition leadership team was recognized, and in September 1994, the group met for the first time as an assembly in a rented day care facility on Wynne Russell Drive.

Attendance grew steadily from the first Sunday’s attendance figure of 51. In 1995, the assembly moved into a larger day-care facility on Indian Trail Road. Later that year, property was purchased, and the first meeting in the Gwinnett Bible Chapel occurred at the end of 1996. George Groezinger, Charles Brown, and John Stewart are the elders. About 110 attend the assembly today.

  • * * * * * *

In the late 1940s, Charles and Betty Fouche, who had been in fellowship at Bethany Chapel in Augusta, moved to Atlanta. For a while they fellowshipped at the North Atlanta Gospel Chapel. Then Charles Fouche and others started Northwoods Chapel in Doraville, a suburb of Atlanta. This meeting grew rapidly and in a few years they were able to construct a chapel. This meeting continued into the 1990s.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Washington Chapel, anonymous, 1990s Gwinnett Bible Chapel – Chronology, anonymous, 1998 Bethany Chapel – Augusta, Georgia, The First Few Years and Other Important Information, by Gene Hollingsworth, 1996 Lester Wilson and Albany Gospel Chapel, by Harold P. Henriksin, February 1998 Letters of Interest, November 1949, p. 3; January 1956, p. 19; November 1956, p. 7; June 1959, p. 11; February 1968, p. 4; April 1971, p. 16; October 1976, p. 14; April 1985, p. 16; January 1985, p. 11

South Carolina

Florence Bible Chapel was begun in 1937 by John W. Bramhall. Initially on Gregg Avenue in Florence, it later moved to its current location at 1400 Second Loup Road. Leadership over the years has been shared by Bill Anderson, Henry Blackwell, John Wenteler, Fred Kosin, Ernie Gross, Robert Floyd, Allen Montrose, and George Kirk. In the late 1990s, the assembly had about 45 in attendance on a Sunday.

  • * * * * * *

Community Bible Fellowship in Florence began in 1973 as an off-shoot of Florence Bible Chapel. After their first meeting in the chapel of a funeral home, the small group of Christians met for a year in the community room of a local bank. During this time they purchased a lot on the west side of Florence, and the chapel was ready by the end of 1974. Fred Kosin, E.J. Creel, George Crow, Phil Baugh, and J.L. Windom were those involved in the start-up. Leadership over the years has been shared by Fred and Roy Kosin, John Pritchett, Don Chambers, Sam Munnerlyn, David Strawn, and Robert Meyers. About 25 adults and youngsters are in the assembly, which has commended workers to the Lord’s service at home and abroad.

  • * * * * * *

Soon after Bethany Chapel in Augusta, GA was formed in 1940, the Warren Herseys, in fellowship there, moved to the capital city of Columbia, where with James T. Rawls they were able to establish an assembly. The Christians first Broke Bread in June 1944 in the home of E. Quattlebaum at 2502 Devine Street. Before then, some of these Christians were aware of some scriptural gathering principles, and had contacted John Bramhall of Florence and Virgil Hollingsworth, Jr. of Augusta, GA. When these two preachers came, the new assembly received the Word with a ready mind. A year later there were more than 40 in fellowship in the new Bethany Chapel in Columbia.

In 1946, Gene and Sue Hollingsworth were invited to move to Columbia from Augusta to help to build up Bethany Chapel, and this they did for three years. Bethany Chapel has moved through four locations, always keeping the same name.

The young assembly was greatly helped by soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Jackson. Bethany Chapel in Augusta sent one of their number to minister quite frequently, and helped by arranging for speakers with engagements in Augusta to spare a few days extra in Columbia. John Bramhall continued in contact with the Bethany assembly in Columbia. The assembly has commended several to the work of the Lord.

  • * * * * * *

Believers Chapel in Columbia started in 1975, principally by Henry Blackwell, Shockley Few, and Dave Johnson from Bethany Chapel. Meeting first in the Carpenter’s Union Hall, the Christians moved to 3106 Broad River Road in 1978. This assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s service in Italy, Germany, and Turkey.

  • * * * * * *

In November 1941 a Sunday school and Gospel work was started in a Government building at Navy Yard, just north of Charleston, on the Atlantic coast. Walter Nelson assisted in the work in the beginning. The activities were soon moved to a tent on a vacant lot and the Navy Yard Assembly was established. Although there were only five or six in the newly formed assembly, the need of a suitable building was felt. The lot was purchased and construction was commenced in November, 1942. The Lord provided for the building of the chapel through the self sacrificing of the few who were responsible for the work and through the gifts of individuals and assemblies, chiefly in Chicago.

In January 1943, J. D. Ibbotson came from Savannah and helped in completing the chapel as well as conducting regular meetings. R. E. Tewson, then in the army, was active in the work. The building was formally opened in April.

Sunday School attendance reached 335 at the peak of World War II. In 1946, the Sunday school attendance still averaged close to 200. The work was started as a wartime effort for the benefit of the Navy Yard and other workers. After the war, most of the families moved from the area, and the Navy Yard Assembly disbanded after a few years.

  • * * * * * *

Whipper Barony Bible Chapel in Charleston was a follow-up work from the Navy Yard Assembly. In 1974 the assembly relocated and became known as Jamison Road Bible Chapel.

  • * * * * * *

In the early 1980s, the Summerville Bible Fellowship, northwest of Charleston, branched off from Jamison Road Bible Chapel. For the first few years, the Christians met at Hickory Street in Summerville, then moved to the present location at 10428 Dorchester Road. This was originally a house, but has been remodeled and an auditorium added.

The men primarily involved in getting the assembly started, and who remain active in the work are Walter Elliott Jr., Charles Ridgway, Walter Elliott III, Ted Fry, and David Drumheller. Approximately 50 people, including children, are in the meeting.

  • * * * * * *

The North Charleston Bible Chapel started in 1970 as a branch off from Whipper Barony Bible Chapel. It continued for about 15 years until it disbanded, its people joining with Summerville Bible Fellowship and Jamison Road Bible Chapel.

  • * * * * * *

Christians from Aiken and Granitevelle, SC and the adjoining areas just east of Augusta, GA were attending a Bible Class in Graniteville in the early 1950s, conducted by Gene Hollingsworth and later by Virgil Hollingsworth. From these beginnings, the Colleton Avenue Chapel in Aiken was started in the spring of 1957. The assembly was initiated by Newman Sanders, Henry Beck, Kenneth Flinchune, Henry Dascher, and LaVern Sanders. E.P. “Crow” Thomas labored from 1950 to the 1990s in the assembly. In the spring of 1970, the Christians moved to Kalmia Hill Chapel.

  • * * * * * *

Two assemblies in the Charleston area began in the 1940s primarily through the work of Julian Dennis. These are Grace Bible Chapel and Grace Tabernacle.

  • * * * * * *

Overbrook Gospel Chapel in Greenville was established in 1947 by Ernie and Virginia Gross. It met first at Parker High School. The growing assembly built a chapel at 26 Overbrook Road and moved into it in October 1949. Among those in leadership have been Ernie Gross, Edwin Shivers, William Hurlsong, Edward Goodwin, Dewitt Jones, and Alex Fields. The assembly has commended workers to Nigeria, Senegal, Zaire, Paraguay, Spain, and elsewhere.

  • * * ** * *

Bethany Bible Chapel in Conway on the eastern side of the state, began in 1960 on Oak Street, and moved in 1976 to its present address at 3304 Fourth Avenue. Hilmon and Mildred Horton, who lived in Durham and were saved under the ministry of Welcome Detwiler, were the initiators of the assembly. David Rickert, Larry Deeds, and Jeff Richert have served as elders, and are commended to full-time work in the assembly. Bethany Bible Chapel has grown, with many coming to Christ; about 200 attend the two Sunday morning services.

  • * * * * * *

Myrtle Beach Bible Chapel started in 1991 in the Alec Collette home in Conway, the result of efforts by Ken Gladden, H. Glendinning, and Alec Collette, who had been in assembly fellowship at Conway and elsewhere, and are the current elders. In 1993, the Christians rented space in Myrtle Beach and met there for about three years. The assembly now owns its own building at 2903 Church Street. About 35 adults and youngsters are in Myrtle Beach Bible Chapel.

  • * * * * * *

Believer’s Bible Chapel in Longs, at the eastern edge of the state, hived off from Bethany Bible Chapel in Conway and was established in 1980. Its initial designation was Buck Creek Bible Chapel. The principals involved in the start-up were H.B. Horton, Paul Prince, and Larry Crabb. These and O.C. Tuck and Danny Martin have been in leadership over the years and do most of the preaching at the assembly. About 25 adults and children are in Believer’s Bible Chapel.

  • * * * * * *

The assembly at Beaufort, between Savannah and Charleston, was established in 1958. Beaufort Bible Chapel was built in 1959. Paul Beverly came to the work there when T. Michael Flowers found it necessary to concentrate his efforts in Savannah. Julius Dennis labored there for some years.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Letters of Interest, November 1945, p. 21; September 1946, p. 32; November 1949, p. 3; November 1956, p. 7; June 1959, p. 11; October 1976, p. 14; January 1985, p. 11


29th Street Gospel Hall in Miami 25, 26 Albany Gospel Chapel, GA 42 Alpena Gospel Hall, AR 10 Amarillo Assembly of Believers, TX 7 Arlington Bible Fellowship, TX 2 Avera Gospel Chapel, GA 40 Bear Lake Bible Chapel, FL 32 Beaufort Bible Chapel, SC 41, 47 Believers Assembly, Carrollton, TX 5 Believers Bible Chapel, Lewisville TX 5 Believers Chapel, Columbia, SC 45 Believers Gospel Chapel, South Augusta, GA 39, 40 Believers’ Chapel in Dallas 1 Believer’s Bible Chapel, Longs, SC 47 Believer’s Chapel in Dallas 35 Belle Chasse Assembly, LA 12, 13 Belleville Assembly, AR 10 Berean Bible Chapel, Savannah, GA 42 Bethany Bible Chapel, Conway, SC 47 Bethany Chapel, Augusta, GA 38, 40, 43, 45 Bethany Chapel, Columbia, SC 45 Bethany Chapel, Louisville, KY 17 Bethany-Chapel-By-The-Sea, Cocoa Beach, FL 29 Bethel Gospel Chapel, Fort Lauderdale, FL 28 Bethesda Gospel Chapel, West Palm Beach, FL 30 Bible Chapel, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 20 Bible Chapel, Lafayette, LA 13 Bible Truth Chapel, Gainesville, FL 33 Bible Truth Chapel, New Port Richey, FL 34 Boca Raton Bible Chapel, FL 29 Boulevard Bible Chapel, Pembroke Pines, FL 27, 29 Boynton Bible Chapel, Boynton Beach, FL 29 Braeburn Bible Chapel, Houston, TX 6 Brookhaven Assembly, MS 16 Brooksville Bible Chapel, FL 34 Buck Creek Bible Chapel, Longs, SC 47 Burkehaven Chapel, Waynesboro, GA 40 Capilla Evangelica in New Orleans 13 Carol City Community Church in Miami 28 Carrollwood Bible Chapel, Tampa, FL 35 Central Bible Chapel in Tampa 35 Central Bible Chapel, Tampa, FL 35 Central Gospel Chapel in Miami 27 Cheryl Bible Chapel, San Antonio, TX 8 Christ Congregation in Dallas 3 Christian Believers Fellowship, Donelson, TN 20 Christian Brethren Assembly, Irving, TX 3 Church of the Open Door, Sarasota, FL 35 Coconut Grove Assembly, FL 26 College Heights Chapel, Murfreesboro, TN 20 Colleton Avenue Chapel, Aiken, SC 46 Colonial Hills Bible Chapel, Houston, TX 6 Community Bible Chapel, Atlanta, GA 42, 43 Community Bible Church, Bryan, TX 7 Community Bible Fellowship, Florence, SC 45 Cornerstone Bible Chapel, Clearwater, FL 34 Cumberland Bible Chapel, Tracy City, TN 20 Dallas Brethren Assembly in Dallas 3 Dean Road Chapel, Jackson, FL 33 Deland Gospel Assembly, FL 32 Deland Gospel Hall, FL 32 East Dallas Brethren Assembly in Dallas 3 East Tulsa Bible Chapel, OK 9 Eastfield Bible Chapel, Mesquite, TX 7 Ebenezer Gospel Hall in Miami 26 Edmonds Lane Bible Chapel, Lewisville, TX 5 Faith Bible Church, Covington, LA 15 Faith Bible Fellowship, Midway, GA 41 Faith Missionary Bible Church in Miami 28 First Colony Bible Chapel, Houston, TX 6 Fitzhugh Gospel Hall in Dallas 1, 2 Florence Bible Chapel, SC 45 Florida Avenue Chapel, Tampa, FL 35 Forest Lake Bible Church, Niceville, FL 33 Fort Lauderdale Bible Chapel, FL 29 Fort Lauderdale Gospel Chapel, FL 29 Fort Worth Assembly, TX 4 Fort Worth Gospel Hall, TX 4 Frostproof Bible Chapel, FL 31 Gainesville Bible Chapel, FL 33 Gallion Bible Chapel, AL 22 Garland Bible Chapel, TX 3 Garland Gospel Chapel, TX 2 Glendale Bible Chapel, Augusta, GA 39, 42 Glenview Bible Chapel, North Richland Hills, TX 5 Good News Center in New Orleans 12 Good News Chapel in New Orleans 12 Gospel Chapel, Key West, FL 24 Gospel Chapel, Shelbyville, TN 20 Grace and Truth Bible Fellowship, West Palm Beach, FL 30 Grace and Truth Gospel Chapel, St. Helena, SC 42 Grace Bible Chapel, Charleston, SC 47 Grace Bible Chapel, Niceville, FL 33 Grace Bible Chapel, North Charleston, SC 42 Grace Bible Fellowship, Mauriceville, TX 7 Grace Bible Sanctuary, Melbourne, FL 30 Grace Chapel, El Paso, TX 8 Grace Gospel Chapel, Memphis, TN 19 Grace Gospel Chapel, Oklahoma City, OK 9 Grace Gospel Chapel, St. Petersburg, FL 34 Grace Gospel Hall, Oklahoma City, OK 9 Grace Tabernacle in Detroit 41 Grace Tabernacle, Charleston, SC 42, 47 Gwinnett Bible Chapel, Atlanta, GA 43 Harrisburg Gospel Center, Augusta, GA 39 Hialeah Gospel Chapel, FL 28 Hiawassa Bible Chapel, FL 31 Hiawassa Hills Chapel, FL 31, 32 Holiday Bible Chapel, FL 34 Hollywood Bible Chapel, FL 28 Hollywood Gospel Chapel, FL 28, 29 Household of Faith Assembly, Gretna, LA 12 India Brethren Assembly, Houston, TX 6 Jackson Assembly of Christians, FL 33 Jackson Assembly, MS 16 Jamison Road Bible Chapel, Charleston, SC 46 Kalmia Hill Chapel, Aiken, SC 40, 47 Key West Gospel Chapel, FL 24 Key West Gospel Hall, FL 24 Lake Howell Bible Chapel, FL 31 Lake Park Chapel, Belle Chasse, LA 12 Lakeside Bible Chapel, Lincolnton, GA 39 Lockwood Ridge Gospel Chapel, Sarasota, FL 35 Lone Star Bible Chapel, Eureka Springs, AR 11 Louisiana Street Gospel Hall, Houston, TX 5 Louisville Assembly, KY 17 MacGregor Spanish Bible Chapel, Houston, TX 6 Macon Bible Chapel, GA 43 Manvel Gospel Chapel, Manvel, TX 17 Maranatha Bible Church, McComb, MS 16 Martinez Assembly, GA 39 Meadowbrook East Bible Chapel, Fort Worth, TX 4 Mendenhall Assembly, MS 16 Miami Asamblea Evangelica, FL 25 Miami Bible Truth Chapel, FL 24, 25 Miami Gospel Chapel, FL 27 Miami Gospel Hall, FL 24, 27 Miami Sala Evangelica, FL 25 Mobile Assembly, AL 23 Monroe Bible Chapel, LA 13 Moorhead Assembly, MS 16 Mount Washington Bible Chapel, KY 18 Mountain Brook Bible Chapel, Birmingham, AL 23 Myrtle Beach Bible Chapel, SC 47 Nashville Gospel Chapel, TN 19, 20 Navy Yard Assembly, Charleston, SC 46 Needham Bible Chapel, AL 22 Needham Gospel Center Bible Chapel, AL 22 North 56th Street Gospel Chapel, Tampa, FL 35 North Atlanta Bible Chapel, GA 43 North Atlanta Gospel Chapel, GA 43 North Augusta Bible Chapel, GA 40 North Charleston Bible Chapel, SC 46 North Dade Bible Chapel in Miami 28 North Tampa Gospel Chapel, Tampa, FL 35 Northwoods Chapel, Doraville, GA 43 Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas 3 Ocala Bible Chapel, FL 32, 33 Overbrook Gospel Chapel, Greenville, SC 47 Palm Bible Chapel, North Palm Beach, FL 30 Palm Harbor Assembly, FL 34 Park of the Palms Church, Keystone Heights, FL 32 Pilgrim Bible Assembly, Lexington, KY 17 Pineview Bible Chapel, Houston, TX 5, 6 Pineview Gospel Hall, Houston, TX 5 Pinewood Bible Chapel, Lantana, FL 29, 30 Polk Street Bible Chapel in Dallas 2 Polk Street Gospel Chapel in Dallas 3 Riverview Chapel, Hinton, WV 33 San Antonio Bible Chapel, TX 8 San Antonio Gospel Hall, TX 8 Saramana Bible Center, Inc., Sarasota, FL 35 Savannah Bible Chapel, GA 41 Savannah Gospel Chapel, GA 38, 41 Saved by Grace Bible Sanctuary, Melbourne, FL 30 Scripture Truth Center, Old Spring Hill, AL 22 South Lexington Bible Fellowship, KY 17, 18 South Plains Bible Chapel, Lubbock, TX 7 Southside Bible Chapel, Jackson, FL 33 Southside Bible Chapel, Lafayette, LA 13, 14 St. Louis Avenue Chapel, Fort Worth, TX 4 Summerfield Community Chapel, Fort Worth, TX 5 Summerville Bible Fellowship, SC 46 Tampa Gospel Hall, FL 35 Tarpon Springs Assembly, FL 34 Temple Assembly, TX 6 The Christian Assembly Hall, Augusta, GA 37 Three Oaks Bible Chapel, Macon, GA 43 Trinity Bible Church, Owensboro, KY 18 Troost Avenue Gospel Hall, Kansas City, MO 9 Tulsa Gospel Chapel, OK 9 Tulsa Gospel Hall, OK 9 Tylertown Assembly, MS 16 Victor Street Bible Chapel in Dallas 2 Waco Bible Chapel, TX 6 Washington Chapel, GA 37 West Hollywood Assembly, Pembroke Pines, FL 29 Westside Believers Chapel, Birmingham, AL 23 Westside Gospel Chapel, Birmingham, AL 23 Wheatland Bible Chapel, Duncanville, TX 1, 2 Whipper Barony Bible Chapel, Charleston, SC 46 Winnsboro Bible Chapel, LA 13 Winnsboro Gospel Hall, LA 13 Winter Garden Bible Chapel, FL 32 Wrens Bible Chapel, GA 40


U.S. Mid Atlantic

This section contains North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

North Carolina

The earliest work in North Carolina seems to be in Asheville in the western part of the state. The story of the Asheville Gospel Chapel starts with W. G. Smith, born in Scotland in 1884. Coming to the U.S. in 1911, he was commended to full-time Christian work about 1913. Mr. Smith moved to Asheville and first lived in a tent at the lower end of Swanannoa Avenue, from which he witnessed for the Lord Jesus. When several were saved and instructed, the Christians became interested in having the Lord’s Supper. Mr. Smith instigated the building of the Asheville Gospel Hall on Alabama Avenue.

The Varner family moved to Asheville in 1921 and were among the first in fellowship. Miss Carrie Bellinger, who had moved from Columbia, SC was a devoted and useful sister in the assembly. Evangelist Robert Curry worked with the assembly in the early 1920s. W.G. Smith had tent meetings in the summers of 1924 and 1925. During the later 1920s, Fred Nugent and Andrew Foster worked in the Gospel at nearby Canton. Some who were saved there and who later came to Asheville were Opal Snyder, Mrs. Reed, and Willa King. An assembly was started in Canton but was short-lived. The Lannings moved to Asheville in the 1930s and contributed much to the Asheville assembly.

In the early 1930s, three different evangelists – James Smith, David Calderhead, and Oswald McLeod – lived in and worked out of Asheville. James Smith’s initiative in 1937 brought about the purchase of property and building at 20 Hanover Street, the home for many years of the Asheville Gospel Chapel.

During the World War II years, there was much to discourage. At times Ralph Poole was the only man to carry on at many of the meetings. Mr. Poole had been saved through the ministry of Donald Ross in Savannah. The women were faithful in maintaining a Sunday School. In about 1945, James A. Innes, his wife, and their three sons moved to Asheville from Minneapolis. They were a great help to the assembly for many years. About 24 were in regular fellowship in this period. William Brown came from New Jersey to assist in the work until late 1947.

After the war, the Sunday School, which had been discontinued, was restarted and a period of growth ensued. Soon the assembly needed more room. An addition to the Ashville Gospel Chapel was made in the fall of 1947. The children’s work grew through the start of a Bible school by Tom Innes and children’s meetings with Ernie Gross. Some were saved and several Christians who had left the fellowship in previous years returned, so that by 1952, there was again need for more room. The lot next to the chapel was purchased. This was the time of the Korean War, and some young men who had been active in the assembly were drafted. Plans went ahead, however, and an addition was started in 1953, about the time when a Family Bible Hour was started. When the Korean War ended, some men returned. Walter Peck moved back to Asheville and associated with the assembly. The Southeastern Workers’ Conference was held there in March 1955.

A peak attendance of 145 was reached in 1958. There was a shift at this time from attendance by children whose families had no connection with the assembly, to an increase in the assembly family. By 1964, the Christians were considering a move. An offer for the Chapel property was made and accepted. Property on Old Haw Creek Road was purchased and a chapel built. The first meeting in the new building was January 15, 1967. An addition to the building was completed in the fall of 1993.

  • * * * * * *

At about the same time that the work in Asheville began, a similar interest was stirring in Raleigh in the north-central part of the state, the so-called Piedmont area. The work at Raleigh dates back to before 1924, when James C. Chappell returned from World War I. He had heard about the New Testament church meetings through a fellow soldier. He discussed what he had learned with his friend David Allen. They invited Sam McEwen and W.G. Smith to come to Raleigh for a Gospel effort, and these evangelists held a tent campaign in September 1924. After the campaign, a hall was rented on Gaston Street, and the first Remembrance meeting in the Raleigh Gospel Hall was held in November 1924, attended only by David Allen, Mr. and Mrs. Chappell, and the two preachers. About a month later four other Christians had joined the circle around the table. Records of the assembly show a continuous growth in numbers.

The two evangelists returned each year for five years. Souls were saved each year. By 1931, there was an assembly with 40 in fellowship, meeting in a former church building. James Chappel, a pharmacist, carried on an extensive pastoral and visita¬tion ministry.

  • * * * * * *

Before continuing with the work in Raleigh, we turn to the ministry of Lester Wilson in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. Mr. Wilson, more than any other individual, was responsible for the building up and maintaining of the assemblies in this area, and for instituting a modified style of meeting. He favored the use of large buildings for the meetings of the assembly, introduced the now common practice of a Sunday morning Family Bible Hour, and encouraged a strong musical program. The following are the words of Mr. Wilson from his article in Letters of Interest, month?, 1943, p. 25, with portions edited out:

…[In 1931], I came south [from Canada] with Brother Fred Nugent. We arrived in Canton, NC and after about three months we went to Raleigh where there was a hearty little assembly of around twenty; the fruit of the labors of Mr. Sam McEwen and W.G. Smith.

Mr. Nugent left me after three weeks in Raleigh and I labored alone around Raleigh for three years, having meetings mostly in rural sections. A number were saved in the following places and fruit of these meetings remain unto this day [1943]: Clayton, Six-Forks, Wendell, Wilder’s Grove, Ebenezer, and Swift Creek…

I then went to Winston-Salem about 100 miles from Raleigh… The first tent I pitched in the city was destroyed by a storm a week after it was erected. We obtained a new one and started meetings again. After five years of labor we had an assembly of around 100 with a nice Sunday School… The Lord then exercised me about Greensboro, a city of 55,000 thirty miles away.

With the Winston work not strong enough to be left alone, the brethren still but babes in the things of God, and the interest good, the Lord led me to invite brother Harold Mackay to take over the work in Winston. This move was definitely of God as brother Mackay applied himself wholeheartedly to this work, and after four and a half years has established and built up the Winston work until today [1943] we have an assembly of around 150, with a Sunday School over 200.

… After four years in Greensboro we had an assembly of about 100 with a Sunday School over 200 and a fine big building with large auditorium and 17 Sunday School rooms. This is known as Forest Avenue Tabernacle and prior to our obtaining it, was a Baptist Church… I was helped in the Greensboro work by Mr. and Mrs. Gross who lived there about ten months, and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Brown who were with us for nine months.

While at Greensboro I opened up Burlington, a city of 20,000 about 20 miles from Greensboro. Mr. and Mrs. Gross were with me and we had two six-weeks series of meetings. The result was a nice group of Christians gathered, some saved in our meetings and other Christians contacted who were seeking food and fellowship. Mr. and Mrs. Gross stayed in Burlington until spring helping these Christians, and then moved to Florence, SC. I then went back [to Burlington] and had a six weeks series which was the best series yet in that city. The interest picked up remarkably and a number were saved and more Christians contacted. Each Sunday afternoon we have a meeting there and from 100 to 150 attend. We expect to give them more meetings during the winter and then another summer in the gospel, by which time we should be ready to “Remember the Lord.”

After the Burlington campaign I went to Siler City, a town 35 miles away where a group of Christians were exercised about New Testament principles. This interest was contacted and helped by our radio work and these Christians built a nice tabernacle capable of holding 300. We started meetings the middle of October… some eighteen professed and a nice number of Christians were contacted and helped. The interest was excellent for a new field, up to 150 some week nights, and 235 Sunday nights. Mr. Frank Detweiler helped in this series by taking care of children’s meetings and singing, as well as noon hour meetings in factories. An assembly should be established in Siler City in the spring after a winter’s work of teaching and consolidating.

Thus we have in these parts three large, active assemblies [in 1943]: Raleigh with around 75 in fellowship; Winston-Salem with about 150; and Greensboro with 100; a possible 50 Christians in Burlington not yet breaking bread, and around 35 in Siler City not yet breaking bread. Some 800 children are in the Sunday Schools of these assemblies.

I have had five series this year… [and] some 150 radio broadcasts… and now that brother Mackay has recently moved to Greensboro, I will be free to work Burlington and Siler City…

The secret under God that has produced results in NC is going to a place and staying there until something is done. This will take years. You can’t expect people to get saved one summer, and without any teaching or pastoring during the winter, find them going on and ready for an assembly the next summer…

Mr. Wilson continues in this article to espouse his philosophy of pioneering, which was quite different from that common in Canada and the northern part of the U.S.

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The Christians at Raleigh Gospel Hall constantly brought the Gospel to the surrounding cities and countryside. Fred W. Nugent had introduced the young Lester Wilson to Raleigh in 1931. A building at Clayton, 17 miles southeast, was made available for a Gospel campaign, which the seasoned evangelist and the young preacher were to launch together. Home affairs kept Mr. Nugent from participating, and Lester Wilson fearfully started the meetings alone. Crowds packed the big building and in five weeks 51 persons professed faith in Christ. For three years, Mr. Wil¬son, a guest in the Chappell home, preached in church buildings and school¬ houses, and held Bible readings in homes around the Raleigh area. A branch work at Six Forks, nine miles away, was opened up by Lester Wilson in 1932.

In 1939, the Raleigh Gospel Chapel was built on Franklin Street, about a mile northeast of the city center, to house the growing assembly. Evangelistic meetings, the Sunday School, and personal work all contri¬buted to further growth. By 1946, about 225 regularly attended the Breaking of Bread. In 1952 the main auditorium was enlarged to hold 420 people. The Sunday School averaged 375 at that time.

In November 1974, more than 400 people filled the Gospel Chapel on Franklin Street for a service commemorating the fifty year history of the Raleigh work. W. G. Smith, then 90, reminisced about tent work in the early days. Lester Wilson, then working in Albany, GA spoke of the burdens and blessings of pioneering days in North Carolina.

The Christians at Raleigh Gospel Chapel sold their building and joined with other Christians in 1993 to form the North Ridge Bible Chapel in Raleigh. (see below).

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In 1967, forty people hived off from the Raleigh Gospel Chapel to start a second assembly on the north edge of the city. The new meeting grew rapidly and soon built its own chapel at 5421 Six Forks Road, called the North Raleigh Chapel. Comma Danieley, Jerry Lovelace, Norman McKelvey, Tommy Jeffreys, and George Sloan were those instrumental in starting the new assembly.

William McNeil moved to Raleigh from his native Scotland in 1959 and was of assistance to all the Raleigh assemblies. When the North Raleigh Chapel was opened, he was responsible for the services for the first six weeks. William Oglesby of Virginia visited the area frequently, then moved to Raleigh in 1970. In mid-1974, Donald Pelon came to work with the assembly. Ingimar DeRidder has since been commended as a full-time worker at North Raleigh Chapel, where about 150 to 200 adults and youngsters attend.

  • * * * * *

North Ridge Bible Chapel in Raleigh was formed by a merger in 1993. Several Christians desiring a testimony in a new part of Raleigh were joined by the group that had been meeting at the Raleigh Gospel Chapel on Franklin Street. The latter Christians had decided that a move should be made from Franklin Street at the time. Helping with the establishment of this testimony were Clarence Jeffreys, Richard St. John, L.H. Price, Cliff Webber, C.C. Pipkin, and John Gordon.

The North Ridge Bible Chapel, including an auditorium, class rooms, and fellowship hall, was built in 1994. About 200 were in the fellowship in 1999, with a Sunday School of about 100 students.

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Faith Bible Fellowship in Raleigh was not a hive-off from another group. Instead, a small number of Christians, anxious to have a testimony for the Lord in their part of the city, started meeting together in about 1967. Meetings, including a Sunday School, were held in a large home. Some of the number wanted to establish a Baptist Church, but others wanted to form an assembly patterned after the New Testament churches. In time this view pre¬vailed. A new building was erected in 1974 for Faith Bible Fellowship, just across the southern boundary of the City of Raleigh.

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Pittsboro is about 30 miles west of Raleigh, and is the home of the Pittsboro Christian Village, a retirement facility sponsored by the brethren. The Pittsboro Bible Assembly meets there, established in January 1972 by Eugene Hollingsworth, Thomas Ridley, David Ednie, Robert Gay, Colin Heath, and Charles Balsan. The constituency of the assembly are the retirees living at the Village, plus some service staff.

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In 1934 a call for meetings came from Winston-Salem through Mrs. James Chappell’s sister, and Lester Wilson moved to that city. The work was slow in starting, but in time an assembly developed. Radio work started in 1936 brought many out to the Gospel services and established contacts with Christians. By 1939 there were 35 believers in fellowship; in that year another 46 professed faith in Christ and of these 38 came into the assembly. The Winston-Salem Gospel Chapel was built there that year, 1939, and Lester Wilson moved on to Greensboro to conduct evangelistic work and teach believers there. Harold Mackay moved to Winston-Salem to minister at the assembly. When Mr. Mackay left a few years later, Gordon Reager came for a time, followed by William Bousfield.

Glenn Avenue Gospel Chapel in Winston-Salem had its roots in the work of Lester Wilson, Mr. Gentry, Mr. Drage, and Mrs. Grace Snead. The assembly first met in the home of Mrs. Snead on 4th Street, and later moved to a storefront on 9th Street, and then to Glenn Avenue. Elders in the assembly have been H.R. Cromer, George D. Binkley, A.R. McConkey, Tommy Steele Sr., R.H. Wofford, C. Stender, H.R. Larrymore, C.C. Fishburne, James Crouch, and J.H. Cockerham. In the mid 1960s, the assembly dissolved into two new assemblies – Fair Oaks Chapel and Parkway Chapel.

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Parkway Chapel in Winston-Salem, at 2651 Buchanan Street, was established in 1964 by J.H. Cockerham, R.H. Wofford, H.R. Larrymore, C.C. Fishburne Sr., Tommy Steele Sr., L.A. Cowling, and H.R. Cromer as a hive-off from Glenn Avenue Gospel Chapel. For a time the assembly had the name Parkway Gospel Chapel. In addition to those mentioned, elders at Parkway Chapel include P.J. Bonardi, W. Kornelis, and I.G. Scherer. About 135 adults and youngsters are in the assembly. Parkway has commended a worker to serve with Child Evangelism Fellowship.

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Fair Oaks Gospel Chapel in Winston-Salem began in the fall of 1967, its roots being in Glenn Avenue Gospel Chapel. Those involved in the start-up include George Binkley Jr., Herman Cromer, Bill and Don Fulk, Nelson Davis, A.T. Watkins Sr., Jim Binkley, and Frances Forcum. The assembly is now known as Fair Oaks Chapel. Leadership has been shared also by Tommy Steele Sr., Julian Stephenson, and Charles Baker. Fair Oaks Chapel has commended a worker to the Lord’s field in Korea. About 30 adults and youngsters attend Fair Oaks Chapel.

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Lester Wilson found the going tough the first year in Greensboro in 1939, but the second year was different. He held tent meetings and souls were saved. About 30 people were involved in starting an assembly. A vacated Baptist church on Forest Avenue, having a large auditorium and 17 Sunday school rooms, was purchased in 1940 by the assembly and became the Forest Avenue Tabernacle. Within 15 months of taking this building the assembly tripled and the Sunday school had over 250 in attendance. Ernest Gross joined Mr. Wilson in August 1941. A steady radio program was carried on in connection with this work. In January 1943, William Brown moved to Greensboro and remained until about August, when he moved to Asheville. Harold Mackay then moved to Greensboro. The work continued to grow under his care and reached over 100 in fellowship, with a Sunday school over 300. A daily radio program was carried on at that time. A branch Sunday school at Halburg, opened up during Mr. Gross’ stay, was carried on by local brethren.

From this work has developed the present Shannon Hills Bible Chapel in Greensboro on Vandalia Road. Leaders since the early days include Jim Redling, J. Eddie Schwartz, Larry Batts, C.R. Andrews, Charles Crawford, and Mark Shelley. The assembly has had seven full-time workers over the years, and 12 others have gone into full-time Christian service. Shannon Hills Bible Chapel has commended several missionaries to the foreign field, including South Africa and Burundi. About 350 people attend Shannon Hills Bible Chapel.

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In July 1942, Lester Wilson rented a large tobacco warehouse in Burlington, which is between Greensboro and Durham, and started meetings, assisted by Ernest Gross. Souls were saved and Christians contacted. Mr. Gross cared for the work until he left for South Carolina in June 1943. Mr. Wilson held three more campaigns in Burlington. A simple hall was built there in about 1943, and a larger Ireland Street Chapel in Burlington was built in 1946. Sunday school attendance soon reached 170. Harold Mackay and Welcome Detweiler helped out in this work when occasion permitted. W.G. Smith moved to Burlington in February 1946 and continued the work there.

Other families involved in the start-up of Ireland Street Chapel were Warren Miles, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Sutton Sr., Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Cooper, and Mr. and Mrs. Bob Burns. Besides the men mentioned above, elders have included Kirk Dixon, Ed Lovette, Larry Hughes, and A.G. Sutton Jr. One of the sisters has been commended by Ireland Street Chapel as nurse at the Pittsboro Christian Village. About 115 adults and youngsters are in the assembly.

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Evangelistic work was carried on simultaneously in Burlington and Siler City, with Sunday morning services in the former city and Sunday evening services in the latter. A temporary tabernacle was employed in Siler City for the evening Gospel meetings. A little company started Breaking Bread in 1941. Some Christians, having heard Mr. Wilson over the radio, urged him to come to Siler City; these gave the work an early start by their solid testimony. In October 1943, Mr. Wilson held his first series in Siler City, with a number of souls saved. Later, Frank Detweiler and William Bousfield had a series out in the country in a tent, and more were saved. In 1946, about fifty Christians in the Siler City assembly were carrying on the work, and built the Siler City Chapel in April of that year. William Bousfield stayed for three or four years in the area, living in Winston-Salem and also helping in Siler City and Sanford. Joe Giordano moved to Siler City in 1949 to help with the work there.

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A Christian woman in Durham, who had heard the Burlington radio broadcasts, asked Lester Wilson to have meetings in her home. Mr. Wilson came in January 1944, and a month later followed with a special series of meetings in a large rented store building on Mangum Street. Welcome Detweiler, from the Curly Hill country in Pennsylvania, came during a quiet time in farming to help with the singing in these meetings. Some 25 people were saved, and many more in a follow-up series. The Gospel effort continued through 1944, although in smaller quarters. During that year Welcome Detweiler traveled seven times back and forth between the Pennsylvania farm and Durham. In October 1944, he helped form a Young People’s Discipleship group.

The new converts in Durham expressed a desire to establish a nondenominational local church, and at the end of 1944, purchased a lot on Driver Street for a building site. In January 1945, Welcome Detweiler and his wife Helen moved their family to Durham to guide the young believers. In April 1945, a company of 18 gathered in a rented building to Remember the Lord, their first meeting as an assembly. In June, the first section of the new chapel, seating 300, was officially opened and called the Gospel Center.

The first Thanksgiving Bible Conference of the Gospel Center was held in November 1945, and has continued to be an annual event throughout the church’s history. Interest quickened in September 1947, when quite a number were saved. An addition was completed in October 1948, but within six months the enlarged building was being crowded as much as the original. In March 1950, a house and lot behind the chapel were purchased, and the building was enlarged to a capacity of over 960 in the main auditorium. By the mid 1950s, average attendance at the Family Bible Hour was about 1200.

In 1954, Welcome Detweiler had two weekly radio broadcasts in Durham. A leading professor at Duke University telephoned that he had been listening to Mr. Detweiler on the radio for several years and wanted him to come and try to help him. Psychiatrists had done him no good. That visit eventuated in the man’s salvation.

Several score of the Christians at the Gospel Center have written out their testimonies. Many of them mention visits to their homes by “the preacher.” Most of the men in the assembly were drinkers before they were saved; some were rather desperate characters. Real shepherd work on the part of Welcome Detweiler and of others in the assembly, both men and women, was a vital phase of the work at Durham. Doubtless it had much to do with the progress and growth there.

A number of Christians living in the Northgate area of northern Durham desired to reach their own neighborhood with the Gospel. In 1964, about one-fourth of those attending the Gospel Center left to start the new assembly, now known as Northgate Chapel. Still, the Gospel Center continued to expand. A gymnasium was built at the Gospel Center to accommodate youth programs.

Larry Batts became Mr. Detweiler’s associate in 1973. Later, he left to engage in full-time service in Burlington and later in Greensboro. Rod Sharp of Scotland joined in the work at the Gospel Center in January 1979 and remained there until 1990.

A number of men and their wives were commended by the Gospel Center into full-time Christian ministry, most within the U.S. though two served in Zambia.

  • * * * * * *

When the East Durham area began deteriorating, causing many members to move away, the Christians purchased an 8-acre tract on Sherron Road in 1976. Many were reluctant to move, but when one of the members was shot and killed in the church parking lot in 1987, the decision to relocate became imperative. Construction of a new chapel was begun in 1989, designed to seat 450. A new name was chosen – Grove Park Chapel. The first services in the new Chapel were in July 1990.

Dale Brooks began serving part-time at Grove Park Chapel at that time, and became full-time in 1991. For three years, Daniel and Teresa Pierce served as full-time youth ministers. These serve with several elders. About 300 adults and youngsters are in Grove Park Chapel today.

  • * * * * * *

Sanford Chapel in the town of Sanford, had its beginning in March 1946, when Lester Wilson and Welcome Detweiler rented the Armory at Sanford for three weeks of meetings. Some eighteen persons professed salvation. An army barracks was bought from Camp McCall (Fort Bragg) in the summer and moved to McIver Street where it was remodeled. Temporary benches were installed, and the auditorium seated more than 400. Gospel meetings were held nightly for six weeks that summer. Clarence Low joined in the campaign in 1947 and later moved to Sanford. Ray Felton also ministered at several meetings. Lester Wilson stayed with Sanford Chapel until his health broke in 1948 and he had to leave for a rest.

A lot on 405 South Third Street was purchased, and there the first Sanford Chapel was built. The first service was held in January 1949. Clarence Low served the Lord there for 18 years.

In 1966, the original building was remodeled. Attendance had increased, with record attendance being 315. Construction on a new building at 650 Franklin Drive was begun in March 1983, and the assembly occupied it in February 1984.

After Clarence Low transferred to Asheville, Jim Redling worked in the assembly for approximately seven years, Ken Ashton for three years, and Franklin Taylor for ten years. In January 1989, Joseph Gould and his family came from Liverpool, England to minister to the Sanford Chapel assembly.

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An assembly work began in Goldsboro, 42 miles southeast of Raleigh, in about 1954, helped along by John Milton Mills from Raleigh. It continues today as Goldsboro Gospel Chapel.

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The Piedmont assemblies have historically had much interaction. An Easter Conference at Greensboro each year, a Thanksgiving Conference at Durham, and a monthly get-together of the young folks in one of the places each month, supported a strong regional testimony.

Some 1954 statistics provide the following: At the Gospel Center, Durham, the Family Bible Hour attendance stood at about 850 to 1000, including adults and children. About 350 attended the Sunday morning preaching service and Sunday school in the Raleigh Gospel Chapel. Sunday attendance was typically over 200 at Sanford Chapel. At Siler City Chapel, attendance was about 150. Sunday morning attendance was 380 at Ireland Street Chapel, Burlington. At Forest Avenue Tabernacle, Greens¬boro, about 300 were in attendance, and at the Gospel Chapel in Winston-Salem, attendance was usually over 200 at the Family Bible Hour.

  • * * * * * *

In the late 1940s, a little group began meeting for Bible readings in the home of Ralph Carter at Zebulun, 17 miles east of Raleigh. About 45 were attending, and about a dozen of these, mostly women, began Breaking of Bread in the Carter home. In the early days, a Sunday school was held and on Sunday evening there was a Gospel service in an abandoned store and service station four miles from Zebulun, with from 35 to 50 attending. The assembly continues today as Union Hope Gospel Chapel.

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A protracted campaign in Reidsville, north of Greensboro, in the early 1950s did not result in the formation of an assembly there, though that had been the goal. However, an exercise developed in the late 1980s in the hearts of four brethren from Shannon Hills Bible Chapel in Greensboro, for a New Testament church in Reidsville. In the spring of 1989, with the hearty encouragement of the brethren at Shannon Hills, the Reidsville Bible Chapel was launched. Jeff Johnson, Steve Andrews, Jerry Denny, and Andy Burgess with their families began the work after serv¬ing in responsible positions at Shannon Hills Chapel for several years.

Reidsville Bible Chapel met first at the Reidsville YMCA, but in 1997 constructed its own chapel at 3016 S. Park Drive. About 80 adults and youngsters are in the assembly.

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In October 1975, seven brethren met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Hill for the purpose of forming a new assembly in the Burlington area. They decided to seek a meeting place in the town of Graham, and called their new assembly Graham Bible Fellowship. The Graham Civic Center was rented for the earliest meetings, and Philip Bomberger gave the first sermon there. In May 1976, a permanent building at the corner of Trail 8 and Moran Street in Burlington was secured and renovated. A piano was donated and an organ was purchased, the beginnings of an active musical program.

Ernie Gross conducted a series of Gospel meetings in the fall of 1976, introducing the young people to Camp Hope in Canton, NC. Also in the first year, a Senior Citizens monthly fellowship was formed, as well as a Youth Fellowship. In 1985, seven acres were purchased on Ivey Road in Graham, and the meetings of the assembly were moved into a building already there. This building was enlarged and renovated in 1988. Graham Bible Fellowship has a tradition of events such as annual Christmas banquets, annual graduation banquets, youth involvement in the muscial programs, and Bible Conferences. Leadership has been shared by W.R. Humble and Roy Loflin, in addition to those already mentioned.

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Sedge Garden Chapel in Kernersville, between Greensboro and Winston-Salem, began in 1968, having hived off from Glenn Avenue Gospel Chapel in Winston-Salem. J.C. Musten, Leo Whicker, Charles Atkins, Robert Stuart, Richard Williard, and Jack Micheal were those involved in the start-up. These with David Cedolia, Jack Parrish, and Bill Puritt have been in leadership over the years. Sedge Garden Chapel has commended a worker to Immanuel Mission in Arizona. About 55 adults and youngsters attend Sedge Garden Chapel.

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The Wilmington Bible Chapel started in the summer of 1968 and met initially in the home of Ralph and Marietta Samppala. The three families who began the work – George and Linda Bowman, Robert and Blanch Duncan, and Ralph and Marietta Samppala – had moved to Wilmington for work reasons and each had an assembly background. The meeting moved in 1972 to a rented house on 41st Street, and in 1974 built and moved into the Wilmington Bible Chapel. The active assembly later added an auditorium and a gymnasium for its Awana program.

Ralph Samppala, Jim Whaley, George Bowman, Willis Stancil, and Bill King have been leaders over the years. Wilmington Bible Chapel has commended workers to the Lord’s vineyard in Colombia. About 175 adults and children come to the chapel.

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Waynesville Christian Fellowship in the southwest part of the state has its roots in a children’s work, as is frequent in the formation of many assemblies. David Adams had left Cuba after the communist take-over of the country, and contacted Clayton and Kathleen Davis about Gospel meetings in the Waynesville area. A campaign of many weeks showed no evident conversions, but when a Sunday night Bible class for children was begun in the basement of the Davis home, the interest was evident. With Joe and Wilma Jo Arrington, and Dennis and Mary Lou Caldwell helping, the class grew to over 100, and several were saved.

A desire for other meetings developed, and in 1967 three families joined with the Arrington, Caldwell, and Davis families to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the Davis home in Maggie Valley. Later the assembly purchased and moved into a building on Highway 19, opposite Lake Junaluska, and took the name Waynesville Christian Fellowship. George Corn and Dick Reed have shared in leadership of the assembly, which now numbers about 100. Other workers who contributed significantly in ministering in the early history of the work were George Landis and Charles Rolls. The assembly has commended Harold Wells to ministry in the U.S.

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The assembly meeting now at Mebane Gospel Chapel started in 1963 in an unoccupied house on 5th Street in Mebane, between Burlington and Durham. The Christians met in the upper story of a store on Center Street before constructing the Mebane Gospel Chapel at 503 North Ninth Street, the current address. Mebane Gospel Chapel did not derive from another assembly, and was begun by Robert Suitt, George Davis, Moody Summerell, and Samuel Taylor. Robert Suitt, Edwin Petree, James Adams, and Samuel Taylor have been the leaders. Average attendance is around 50.

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Early in the 1960s, the Wallace Hylton family, who had been in fellowship at Bethany Chapel, Augusta, GA moved to Salisbury, south of Winston-Salem, and entered into fellowship at the Parkway Gospel Chapel in Winston-Salem. Others living in Salisbury were also traveling to Winston-Salem. Because of the distance, Bill Hylton, Wallace Hylton, Warren Hylton, Joe Walmsley, and Jim Myers decided in late 1971 to start an assembly in Salisbury. Thus Bethany Chapel in Salisbury was born, a hive-off of Parkway Gospel Chapel. The group first met in Warren Hylton’s office building, then in the Dukeville School, and then in an apartment for a few years. In 1973 they were able to purchase a church building on Main Street in Salisbury. In 1995, the Christians built the chapel at 4260 Stokes Ferry Road where they are now meeting. Elders in the assembly have been David Brewer and Tim Miskell in addition to the above. Bethany Chapel has about 50 adults and youngsters in attendance.

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Pembroke Family Fellowship in the town of Pembroke in the southern part of the state began in 1994 in the home of Ron and Wendy Locklear, where it still meets. For a brief time it was called The Family Church in Pembroke. Ron Locklear, Johnny Locklear, Nicholas Clark, and Scott Kitchens were the principals in the start-up, and Ron Locklear has been the leader. About 75 adults and youngsters attend the assembly. Workers have been commended by Pembroke Family Fellowship to the Lord’s work in Zambia.

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The adjacent towns of Newton and Conover are midway between Ashville and Winston-Salem. The Newton-Conover Gospel Fellowship grew from a Bible study in the home of Andy Schaper. The study was attended by members from several local churches. Teaching from the Scriptures led the group to desire observing the Lord’s Supper and establishing a testimony as directed in the New Testament. Helping to establish this testimony were Andy Schaper and Jack Proctor. The group met as an assembly beginning in May 1989 at the local YMCA.

In 1992, two adjacent buildings were purchased and modified to provide a facility for meetings and Sunday School. About 20 are in fellowship now, with about 25 in the Sunday School. Several Spanish-speaking folks are attending.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Asheville Gospel Chapel, anonymous, undated but after 1994 Historical Sketch of the Sanford Chapel, anonymous, undated, but after 1989 Brief History of Graham Bible Fellowship, anonymous, undated, about 1990 Letters of Interest, January 1944, p. 25; July 1946, p. 16; December 1949, p. 18; November 1953, p. 3; March 1954, p. 12; June 1959, p. 11; March 1975, p. 5 Uplook, October 1989, p. 357


Assembly testimony in Virginia seems to have started when Henry Catts from an assembly in Chicago, opened a business in Staunton in the western part of the state and was instrumental in bringing two well-known Gospel pioneers, James Campbell and William Matthews, to Staunton. These brethren pitched a tent there in 1887, resulting in an awakening in which many people were saved, black and white. The joy of these new-born souls abounded over all racial feelings and all were baptized together.

Alexander Lamb and William Beveridge, both from Scotland, were working for the Lord in Philadelphia when Mr. Campbell encouraged them to spend their vacation preaching Christ in Virginia. They went down together the following summer and God used them in bringing souls to Christ.

In 1890, Messrs. Lamb and Beveridge returned to Virginia, this time going to Richmond. James Campbell shipped his tent to them and they pitched it in Fulton, a suburb of Richmond. This was something new in that area, and nightly the tent was packed. A rich harvest of souls was reaped. The work continued into the fall, until the weather turned cool. The tent was taken down and these brethren secured an old building and continued there until the end of the year.

Their first baptism was in the James River in October. The whole community had been stirred and all kinds of evil reports were in circulation about the preachers and the “new doctrine.” Throngs came to witness the baptism that day and small boats were lined up the river as far as could be seen. In late October 1890, the preachers and the converts sat down to Remember the Lord in Breaking of Bread and soon about sixty were in assembly fellowship.

Benjamin Bradford, just beginning his work as an evangelist, met the preachers from Virginia and they encouraged him to go to Richmond and continue at the Richmond Gospel Hall while they visited Canada. This he did and more souls were saved, though opposition was strong, especially from a secret order called the “White Caps.” One morning, placards were posted in Fulton, setting a time limit for the “Mormons” to get out. The following Sunday night, the hall was crowded. The devil was defeated in his purpose, for the leader of the “White Caps” was saved that night and the saints were left unmolested.

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In 1891 and after, Messrs. Beveridge, Bradford, and a Mr. Stevens from Cleveland would walk to a coal mining village called Gay ton, about 25 miles from Richmond to preach the Gospel. Many souls were saved, and a small assembly began Remembering the Lord in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Clairborne of Gayton. This Gayton Assembly seems to have lasted only a short time.

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The preachers went also to Matoaca, a town south of Richmond. Messrs. Lamb and Beveridge secured a hall there with only planks for seats, but the place was crowded. A tent season followed and there were very few homes in that village that did not witness the grace of God in the salva¬tion of some of the members of their families. The preachers – Lamb, Bradford, and James Hamilton from Scotland – built Matoaca Gospel Hall for the new assembly in 1897. The Matoaca Gospel Hall continues today.

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Hugh Campbell, who was saved in tent meetings held by Mr. Matthews and Mr. McGill, moved to Petersburg, a short distance south of Richmond. The brethren pitched their tent in that city and again the work took hold, and an assembly was formed. W. R. McEwen had a tailoring business in Petersburg and a number of his daughters and his son Sam were saved in those seasons of blessing. Sam McEwen became a well-known servant of the Lord and was much used of God in Vir¬ginia, as was the youngest son, Hugh. The Petersburg Gospel Hall dates to 1900.

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Al and Mattie Ridolfi, Joseph Cheetham, and Thelma Reams, who were in fellowship at Shurm Heights Gospel Hall in Richmond (now Carlisle Avenue Gospel Chapel), decided in 1950 to have a series of children’s meetings in a home in McGuire Park in south Richmond. These meetings drew the interest of a number of parents, and a number of them came to know the Lord as their Savior. A small assembly was started in a home in that area, and before long, plans were made to build a chapel.

With the help of a number of Christians, primarily from Durham, Raleigh, and Siler City, Grace Gospel Chapel in Richmond was completed near the end of 1951 at 3459 Chapel Drive. A number of additions followed over the years, including an apartment which was used by visiting speakers and traveling missionaries.

During the 1950s and early 1960s, the attendance reached 200 or more each Sunday. But when urban blight reached the area, families moved away and attendance dwindled. A six-acre site in Chesterfield County was found and purchased, but it was about eight years before the old chapel was sold. The new chapel at 1201 Spirea Road was finished enough for occupancy in 1995. Attendance was up to about 80 people in 1998 and has grown as a result of visitation in the neighborhood. Grace Gospel Chapel has commended workers to the Pittsboro Children’s Home and other service in North Carolina.

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Bethany Gospel Chapel in Newport News dates back to the turn of the century when five families met each Sunday to Break Bread in the home of William Dunning in the 300 block of 49th Street. At about the same time, a different group formed a Sunday school in a nearby building that had been used by different churches. The leader of that group met Mr. Dunning and was so impressed with the type of services held at Dunning’s home that he made his building available for the assembly services.

A few years later the growing assembly purchased a house and land, and organized under the name Gospel Hall. Expansion led to plans for a new building in 1938. The first meeting held in the new Newport News Gospel Hall at 82 – 29th Street was in May 1940.

Around 1962, when the area around the area was becoming more commercialized, the assembly moved to 40 Ballard Road in a residential neighborhood, where more children could have easy access to hear the Gospel. Construction of Bethany Gospel Chapel was begun in September 1963 and the chapel was dedicated in June 1964.

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Hampton Roads Community Church in Poquoson, north of Newport News, began in September 1989 in Poquoson High School, having split off from Bethany Gospel Chapel. Earl Cheek, Gary Stewart, Chancellor Bailey, Joseph Kingsboro, Kenny Cheek, and Tom Ward were those who started the assembly. The church grew slowly in the first six months as the elders developed a philosophy of ministry. Then they moved into the Poquoson Primary School, where they had exclusive use of the facilities on Sundays. Gary Stewart, Kenny Cheek, and Tim Rutman have been the elders. About 110 adults and youngsters attend Hampton Roads Community Church.

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The assembly known today as Cherrydale Bible Church in Arlington started in the mid 1950s from a home Bible study group led by Colin Heath. This group established an assembly and moved into Tucahoe School in North Arlington, where it was called Cherrydale Community Chapel. In 1958, the assembly moved to the present building at 1905 North Monroe Street. In 1980, the group took the name Cherrydale Bible Chapel, and later Cherrydale Bible Church.

Mr. Heath was with an assembly in southeast Washington before starting the home Bible study in Arlington. In addition to Colin Heath, Warren Lane and George Grimm were involved in starting the assembly. In 1963, the assembly recognized elders as their leaders, and these have been Bill Barr, Donald Tinder, Dale Knowles, Claude Poole, Edward W. Payne, Excell Duncan, and Conrad Tolosa.

The congregation was fairly large through the 1960s with a good youth ministry. The 1970s witnessed a departure of a large percentage of the young members, and today about 40 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

Cherrydale has commended or co-commended workers to Ecuador, The Netherlands, Chad, Rumania, France, the Emmaus Correspondence School, and to prison and youth work in Virginia. Ted Payne has been commended to ministry at Bethany Bible Fellowship, Canton, OH.

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An assembly in Hopewell was prospering in 1953. Hopewell Gospel Chapel was built in 1955.

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Northside Gospel Chapel in Victoria, a rural town in southern Virginia, was begun in 1951 through the efforts of Robert Adcock, Les Doby, C.O. Dunnavant, Ralph West, W.H. Hardy, and A.S. Holloman. The assembly began as a Baptist church, but after about a year, and discussions with the brethren in Durham, NC, they switched to a New Testament style of governance and worship. The group has always occupied the same building at 2300 Marshal Avenue. In leadership over the years have been Woody Murphy, W.J. Oglesby, and Glenn and Clifford Hood, in addition to those mentioned above. In 1996, the assembly had about 40 adults in fellowship and about 20 children. Northside has commended Glenn Hood to work in the assembly. Charles Vaughan of Lynchburg, VA often ministered the Word at the assembly.

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Blacksburg Christian Fellowship in southwestern Virginia, began in 1969 in rented facilities of the Wesley Foundation at Virginia Tech, where it met until building its own chapel in 1989. Jerry Caskey, Paul King, Sam Metcalf, Paul Ribbe, and Victor Zitta, with their families, were the initiators of the assembly. Others in leadership have been Joseph Kelley, David Kingston, David Kenyon, Dennis Schnecker, and Jay Sullivan.

The assembly has commended workers to Spain, Ecuador, Bolivia, Austria, Cambodia, Nigeria, and Austria. Attendance at Blacksburg Christian Fellowship on a typical Sunday is about 600 to 700.

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Sunnybrook Gospel Chapel in Syria, near Culpeper, about 60 miles southwest of Washington, DC, began in 1952 in Criglersville. Mr. and Mrs. Ermal Robinson were the principal people involved in the start-up, and since then McKinley Jenkins and James Hasse have shared the leadership. About 65 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses History of Cherrydale Bible Church, in The Cherrydale Messenger, fall 1997 Hampton Roads Community Church, mid 1990s Grace Gospel Chapel: Historical Sketch of Assembly, 1998 Letters of Interest; November 1946, p. 34; December 1946, p. 30; October 1966, p. 9

West Virginia

Assembly work in Huntington, at the western tip of West Virginia, began as a tent meeting conducted by William Graham Smith in 1931. He also had a children’s meeting in his garage around this time. He invited Harold Mackay to come and assist in the Word. Willie Bousefield and Willie Foster came to help with special meetings. In 1935, a store building was rented and Lester Wilson was asked to come and have Gospel meetings. He stayed for six weeks. He was followed later by Robert Holliday. Lester Wilson returned for Gospel meetings in 1937.

W.G. Smith, his wife Ruth, and their two children continued faithfully in their labor of love until 1945, when they moved to Burlington, North Carolina; they saw many saved. One convert, Edwin Porter, developed real ability in preaching. Others who ministered were ‘Mac’ McDaniel and Harry White. These brethren began the chapel building in about 1938. The Huntington Gospel Chapel was dedicated in 1940. Arnold Clary was saved in the 1940s and continues in the ministry.

Harry Pilkington conducted several Gospel campaigns at Huntington in the 1960s. Eddie Huston from Riverview Chapel in Hinton came into fellowship in 1960 and provided valued Bible teaching. Through the witness of Eddie Huston, Darrell Adkins was saved and also has greatly assisted in the meetings. Herman Luhm of Morgantown has regularly provided helpful teaching over the years. Charles Fizer of Emmaus Bible College assisted in the work in the Huntington assembly in the 1970s.

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In the 1940s, brethren including Herman Luhm, who was commended to the Lord’s work by Marlborough Gospel Hall in San Diego, CA in 1942, began a work in the coal mining area of Mullens and Allen Junction. Souls were saved and an assembly formed. Welton Bible Chapel at Allen Junction was built to house this assembly. Harry and Joan Pilkington came from Ontario to assist in the new work. When the Pilkingtons moved to Hinton in 1962, the work at Welton was left in the hands of David Pollock, who had moved there the year before to help.

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In 1956, another work began in the coal mining area at nearby Otsego and continues today as Otsego Bible Chapel. Mike Cook, Doug Hedrick, and Gary Rhodes are leaders in that assembly.

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Riverview Chapel in Hinton in the southern part of the state, began in the late 1940s at 1401 Temple Street. It was called West End Chapel at that time, but changed to Riverview Chapel when it moved to 16th and Temple. Frank Monroe and Herman Luhm were those who started the assembly. Herman Luhm, Bill Chewning, Larry Deeds, Robbie Merritt, and Harry Pilkington have been leaders over the years. Riverview Chapel has commended Bob Deeds to the Emmaus Correspondence Ministry, Larry Deeds to the assembly at Conway, SC, and Harry Pilkington to the local work. About 70 to 80 adults and youngsters attend Riverview Chapel.

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The city of Morgantown sits on the east bank of the Monogahela River, just south of the Pennsylvania state border. In 1949, Guy Meehling started a Sunday School in Morgantown, and out of it an assembly developed, meeting in a school house. In 1957, Herman Luhm moved from Hinton to Morgantown to help the small group of Christians who were meeting to Remember the Lord. Radio outreach was added to camp and Sunday School ministries.

By 1960 the group had outgrown its rented quarters. Family Bible Hour at¬tendance was averaging 100, and reached a record of 153 on Easter Sunday of that year. But the hall only seated 80, so the Bible Hour was being held in two sessions. The assembly itself consisted of only ten families – 33 people, including children.

A lot was purchased across the river in Westover and funds were borrowed from Stewards Foundation for building costs. Brethren from Durham, NC drew up building plans and sent a team of volunteers to help with steel work, carpentry, and plumbing. Crescent Hills Chapel was opened in late 1960.

Growth continued, and a Sunday School wing and assembly room were added to the building. Bible Hour attendance aver¬aged 185 in 1972.

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The Morgantown assembly also reached out to other communities. During the period when the assembly ¬still met in the school house, a young George Kirk, Jr. was won to Christ. Later he moved to Terra Alta, 25 miles to the southeast, and helped establish an assembly there. Hillcrest Chapel in Terra Alta was built and occupied in 1969.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Letters of Interest, July-August, 1972, p. 22


Frostburg Gospel Hall

Perhaps the oldest assembly in Maryland is the Frostburg Gospel Hall in the northwest corner of the state, near Cumberland. It seems to have been in existence in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Nathaniel Dunn, an immigrant from Scotland and a convert of John Knox McEwen, had arrived in the coal mining regions in the late 1800s, and at some point had associated with the Frostburg assembly. In 1938, evangelists Samuel Rea and Alexander Cathers pitched a tent in a country place near Frostburg, and many were saved and joined with the assembly at that time. The assembly continues today.

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Eastern Gospel Hall

Eastern Gospel Hall was one of the oldest assemblies in Baltimore. Located close to Johns Hopkins University and hospital, it ceased to exist around 1987.

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Forge Road Bible Chapel

The assembly at Hillendale Bible Chapel in Baltimore has its roots in a chicken coop. In about 1941, a lady left a chicken coop and the land around it to whomever would use the land and coop for a Sunday School. Mr. Alfred S. Loizeaux along with several others decided to incorporate as a church in order to get this land and begin a Sunday School in the area. The coop was cleaned and renovated, and eventually was added on to. The sessions were held on Sunday afternoons initially in order not to interfere with their other assembly activities. The activity developed into a joint effort of several assemblies in the area. Other founders include Stanley Loizeaux, Sidney H. Tinley, Jr., and Matthew Wilson.

Mr. Bud Young was active in bringing children to the Sunday School, which at one time had about 200 children in attendance.

In 1952, the workers formed an assembly, meeting in a building on Goodview Road with land donated by Alfred S. Loizeaux. The work at that time had no recognized elders. Will T. Miller, a preacher from New Zealand, and James Dunkerton moved to the area, called Hillendale, in about 1973. They encouraged elder recognition. Elders since then have included Jim Dunkerton, Bill Dunkerton, Roger Dunkerton Jr., Tom Schetelich, and Norris Gorman. The assembly, taking the name Hillendale Bible Chapel, grew and is now the largest assembly in the Baltimore area.

This building served as the home of the Church until 1995. It was twice expanded, and two contiguous lots were added to it in 1960. The ministry expanded from a Sunday School to include teaching services for adults, and then full Church ministries.

The Church continued over the years, small in numbers but not in faith. It established many ministry traditions which have continued over the years, including a Vacation Bible School and an annual Family Retreat (first held on April 16 and 17, 1976).

By the early 1990s, Hillendale Bible Chapel (as it was then called) was steadily growing, and had overgrown the small facility on Goodview Road. In 1995, the Sunday Morning Services were moved to Pine Grove Middle School, with mid-week services continuing at the Goodview Road property. During this time, the Church aggressively sought for land on which to build a facility which could accommodate those attending, and which could serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Perry Hall area. Land on Forge Road was identified and purchased in 1999. Construction of the present building was begun in 2001 and finished in 2002. Services there began in July, 2002, and the building was dedicated on September 28, 2002 as Forge Road Bible Chapel.

Glad Tidings Chapel

Glad Tidings Chapel in Baltimore began in about 1950 at 1633 Laurens Street. It derived from Maranatha Gospel Hall in Washington, DC. Glad Tidings moved from Laurens Street to its current address at 4801 Garrison Boulevard in 1970. Aubrey Wilson of Washington DC established the Assembly, and Sister Lawrence purchased the first building. Those in leadership over the years include Aubrey Wilson, William Strickland, and Arthur Evans. About seven adults and youngsters are in the assembly at present.

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SAYSF Bible Church

SAYSF Bible Church in Lexington Park near the southwest tip of Maryland, has its roots back in 1935, when Gould M. Brown began an assembly meeting in his home in New York. Newly saved, he studied the Bible to see what the Lord would have him do, and came on his own to New Testament principles of meeting. Upon meeting E.C. Hadley, he learned of the brethren. It was then that he established Parkside Gospel Hall in Milford, NY. During this period, Theron Davidson met and married Mr. Brown’s daughter Barbara, and Theron Davidson joined in the work with Mr. Brown.

Mr. Davidson was a Naval Officer in World War II, and was sent after the war to the Patuxent Naval Air Test Center, adjacent to Lexington Park. The Davidsons began camp work at St. Mary’s City in 1946, and when 17 persons were saved as a result, they purchased 13 acres of nearby land to be used for full-time work for the Lord. They built a home and began an assembly there in 1951, calling it the Lexington Park Christian Assembly. After a chapel was constructed on the property, and because of Pentecostal confusions, they took the name SAYSF Bible Chapel. When they learned that local people thought of a ‘chapel’ as an insignificant church, they changed the name to SAYSF Bible Church (SAYSF stands for ‘Seek and Ye Shall Find’).

The assembly of about 500 has had dozens of men in leadership, including at present Tom Hanrahan, Dick Jordan, and Peter Dobson. SON-KISS Ministries, which provides construction assistance to assemblies, is one of the many outreaches of SAYSF Bible Church.

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South Potomac Church

South Potomac Church in Accokeek, south of Washington, DC, began in 1991, having hived off from Clinton Community Chapel in the Washington metropolitan area. David and Deanna Sutherland, Rod and Beth Parker, Chuck and Kit Coleman, Peter and Avis Buckingham, Mike and Margo Clarke, and Brent and Jill Brooks were the principal people starting the assembly. These, with Doug Moore, Eric Burkhardt, Mark Adams, Bob Keysar, Vince Miller, and Storm Hutchinson have been in active leadership. South Potomac Church has commended several to the Lord’s work. About 550 adults and youngsters are in regular attendance at the assembly.

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Faith Bible Church

Faith Bible Church in Mechanicsville, south of Washington, DC, came into existence in 1992 as a hive-off of SAYSF Bible Church. Theron Davidson was the principal person involved in the start-up, and leadership has been shared by Rodney Spade, Leon Kelly, and Dick Nevala. About 100 adults and youngsters attend Faith Bible Church.

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Rockville Bible Fellowship

Rockville Bible Fellowship, which now meets in a hotel on Rt. 28, began in nearby Gaithersburg in about 1969, and was known then as Gaithersburg Christian Fellowship. George Shabarji and Julius English were those who initiated the assembly; both had assembly backgrounds. Those men, with Arthur Garnes, have taken leadership in Rockville Bible Fellowship, which has about 50 adults and youngsters in typical attendance.

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Cedar Ridge Community Church

Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, just north of Washington, began in April of 1982 in Riverdale, by eleven friends, mostly in their twenties, from a diversity of Christian backgrounds, near the University of Maryland.

Several weeks before, Brian McLaren, a college English instructor, had called an old friend, Bill Duncan, to see if Bill had an interest in helping launch this new venture, and they, along with their spouses, Grace and Shobha, decided to call the new church “Community Church.” Soon there were twenty people, then thirty. Some families from those early days are still actively involved in the church today. Eventually Brian was asked to lead the church as its full-time pastor.

The church grew over the next 15 years, moving to Greenbelt, then Beltsville to accommodate its increasing size, until in 1996, after an outpouring of sacrificial giving, Cedar Ridge became owners of a beautiful 63 acre historic property in Burtonsville, Maryland.

At about the same time, Brian McLaren began writing books, and soon became an increasingly significant participant in networks of emerging leaders and churches around the world. Seeking to utilize his unique gifts as an influential thinker, writer and speaker, Brian left pastoral ministry to respond to his call to the public arena full-time. After a prayerful and extensive search for a new Senior Pastor, the Cedar Ridge community appointed Matthew Dyer as Senior Pastor, to whom Brian passed the baton of leadership in January 2006. Matthew had been a pastor in the Vineyard denomination of churches since 1995 in both the US and UK (his native country).

At the time of this transition of pastoral leadership, Cedar Ridge had grown to include several hundred people and was supporting many activities, ministries and programs that were difficult to sustain in terms of resources and staff, and there was an increasing recognition that a central, unifying focus was needed. Seeking greater clarity and purpose for the future, yet desiring at the same time to maintain its underlying values and beliefs, the people of Cedar Ridge engaged together in an intense year of “re-envisioning the church.” This time was both difficult and rewarding. It meant profound change as old systems and programs were released to make way for something new, and also provided opportunity for personal transformation as participants engaged in discernment, fasting, sacrifice and prayer.

Through this extensive process that included church-wide discussion and collaboration, a clear, comprehensive vision was formed and in September 2007 our church community embarked on its quest to serve God, one another and the world in a unique and focused way. Interestingly the vision process led us back to our roots and the earliest dreams for our community: to become a people simply devoted to following Jesus and loving people in his name. As of the 1990’s, the church had over five hundred in attendance and has commended numerous church planters.

Loch Hill Ekklesia

Loch Hill Ekklesia in Baltimore was a merger of Arunah Chapel and the Lauraville Gospel Hall in 1951. In the Arunah assembly, the elders included Milton Loizeaux, Paul Loizeaux, Alfred S. Loizeaux, Edwin Fesche, Roger Dunkerton, and Elmer Knirimen. In the Lauraville assembly, the elders included Earl Barlow, G.T. Willey, and John Suess. After the merger, these men continued in leadership. The Lauraville Christians had been meeting in an old country school house rented from the city; the Arunah assembly sold its building. A new chapel was erected for the new assembly at 6601 Loch Raven Boulevard, still the location of Loch Hill Ekklesia.

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Brooklyn Bible Chapel

Brooklyn Bible Chapel in Baltimore has its roots in a church school started in a small community known as Masonville by a family named Leishear. In 1918, Dr. Davis became an ardent leader of the early group. In 1922 a Sunday School Class was started which later rented then purchased a home in Masonville for their meetings. Mr. Sneppe went through the neighborhood to tell children it was treat day. It wasn’t long before friends and relatives from Curtis Bay and Brooklyn came to join the villagers in social gatherings and meetings. In 1927 Stan and Margarite Loizeaux joined the work, followed in a few short years by other active families like Herbert Gray, Ermal Robinson, Tates, Voshells, and Warfields.

The Tate parents were invited to attend with their children in 1931 and by 1933 an additional home next to the meeting house was purchased to accommodate the growing group.

Within the Masonville Sunday School in 1942 were names like Acree, Akehurst, Arnold, Carneal, Chaney, Cookus, Copper, Drinks, Edds, Ellsworth, Faber, Foster, Frances, Gleason, Gray, Harman, Holy, Jackson, Jeeter, Jenkins, Jensen, Jordon, Lancaster, Lemon, LeMaster, McNamara, Stewart, Tate, Voshell, Warfield and Watson.

In 1943 the name was changed to Masonville Gospel Hall. Attendance was over 360 and no less than five sessions in three separate locations were going on.

In the early 1950’s the Curtis Bay Terminal expanded and little by little the once peaceful hamlet of Masonville was taken over by the railroad industry. In a relatively short time, all the inhabitants were gone. The Masonville group purchased a location at Jack and Sixth Streets, in Brooklyn, Maryland, where they continued to worship, taking the name of Brooklyn Gospel Chapel. At first it was only a small building, but in 1960 an upstairs area was added and a sanctuary built.

In 1973 the name Brooklyn Gospel Chapel was changed to Brooklyn Bible Chapel. The work continued to grow and 1998 saw yet another expansion of the present facilities. A side extension and additional parking area were added to provide more Sunday School class rooms and offices.

For many years, William Cunningham did much of the preaching and visitation. Others in leadership since the early days have included Alfred S. Gray, and Don Brower who presently (2015) serve as assembly correspondents, as well as Norman Cannon, who has also served as a president at the Baltimore School of the Bible.

The assembly of about 160 people (as of 2015) has an active foreign missions program, and has commended several workers to foreign and local fields.

Bel Air Bible Chapel

Bel Air Bible Chapel, formerly called the Bel Air Bible Community Church, in the town of Bel Air northeast of Baltimore, began in about 1964. It is a small group of about 20 people, of whom Neal Wogsland, Edward Suess, and James P. Sabatino have been leaders over the years.

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Countryside Fellowship Church

The assembly at Laurel Chapel, in Laurel between Baltimore and Washington, DC, came into being on Easter Sunday, 1987. Its founding was encouraged by Christians at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, MD . When the Christians at Laurel purchased an old Congregational Church building in nearby Savage in 1994, they changed the name to Countryside Fellowship Church. Many of the older members of the Congregational Church stayed and joined the assembly.

Commended workers Dan and Sue Schmidt, the principals in starting the assembly, were supported initially by Interest Ministries and the Cedar Ridge assembly. When the Schmidts left for the Lord’s work in Chile, Charles and Katherine Coleman were commended for work in the assembly, which has about 140 adults and youngsters in attendance.

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New Hampshire Avenue Gospel Chapel

The assembly now meeting at New Hampshire Avenue Gospel Chapel, Silver Spring began in April 1916 at F. G. Ruebsam’s house at 5224 Illinois Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. The assembly moved in January 1917 to N. Fillmann’s home, 1422-22nd Street, SE, Washington, where it remained for a time.

Bible Readings were held each Lord’s Day at the homes of C. W. Birkett and F. G. Ruebsam alternately, previous to the Breaking of Bread, which was the outcome of Gospel tent meetings for two consecutive summers (1915 and 1916) by Evangelists Benjamin Bradford and Samuel McEwen. Their ministry was followed by F. B. Hanle in the fall of 1916 and the spring of 1917.

The assembly moved to a rented building at 1420 H Street, NE, and later to a rented building at 245-15th Street, SE. In 1938, the assembly constructed a chapel at 5720 South Dakota Avenue, NE, in Washington.

After the chapel at South Dakota Avenue was sold, the assembly services were held in the Seventh Day Adventist’s church building on Riggs Road in Adelphi, Maryland on a rental basis, during the construction of the New Hampshire Avenue Gospel Chapel at 12608 New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring, still its current location. The first services were held in the chapel on May 24, 1964.

Lloyd Wineberg, Thomas Hall, and Marlow Olsen were the leading brethren for many years. The Sunday Schools have always been important in the assembly. Dorothy Peter (Aunt Dot) is especially remembered for her Sunday School interests. The superintendents have included Lloyd Wineberg, Lou Wieland, Don Kuester, Fred Corley, Ira Mitchell, Ron Gaskins, Rick Markley, Dan Solanki, and Doug Crow. Sunday School picnics were initially held once a year, then twice a year – the Saturday before school closed and a week after it opened in the fall.


Washington, D.C.

Immanuel Bible Assembly in Washington, DC has its roots in home Bible studies conducted in the city prior to 1970. Several persons were saved in the Bible studies, and other Christians were drawn to the group, being discouraged with the church settings in which they found themselves.

In 1970, the Christians began meeting in full assembly capacity in the home of one of the saints at 207 Taylor Street, N.W. Soon they were having a Sunday School and had an active young people’s group, with 45 in fellowship. Outgrowing the home, they moved into a Washington Bible College building for a time, and by 1977 moved into their own building at 3303 10th Street, N.E. Leaders in the assembly have included LeRoy W. Burns, Burdette S. Burton, Willis L. Davis, Jr., and Lorren E. Hackett.

  • * * * * * *

Washington Christian Assembly at 30 Kennedy Street NW in Washington, DC is active. Samuel and Joseph Jeremiah have been in leadership.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses


In about 1940, Edward and Jean Richmond were commended by the Olney Gospel Hall in Philadelphia, to come to Dover for evangelical work. They started a children’s work in a store on the main street in Dover. From that work, the Dover Gospel Hall began in 1946 at a location in central Dover. From 1950 to 1975, the assembly was located in West Dover and called the West Dover Bible Chapel. The assembly discontinued in 1975 but revived in 1979 when Norman Wilkerson and Don Henry came. The group then moved just one mile west and took its present name, Dover Bible Chapel. About 30 adults and youngsters attend on a typical Sunday.

Mr. Richmond and a Mr. Brown in the Dover assembly began an outreach in the late 1940s in the village of Hazelville, about 10 miles from Dover. A Gospel series resulted in about 20 being saved, and a Sunday School was established in an old school house in the town.

Sources: Questionnaire Responses Letters of Interest, August 1948, p. 22


An assembly known as the Old Meeting in Philadelphia at 18th Street and Fairmount Avenue is known to have existed in Philadelphia by 1881, for Miss Mary Ann Smith (later Mrs. Mary Harry), a recent immigrant to the United States, was directed there by the Irish evangelists James Campbell and William Matthews. A Mr. Reed was a leading elder in that assembly. But after Miss Smith visited a nearby ‘exclusive’ meeting, she was not allowed to return to the Old Meeting.

Mrs. Harry records that there was no other assembly in Philadelphia to which she could turn, so the Old Meeting was evidently was the only ‘open’ brethren meeting in the city at that time. The young girl wrote to the evangelists, pleading with them to come to Philadelphia, and they did in May 1884, holding tent meetings on South Broad Street below Federal Street. On the first Sunday of the tent meetings, seven Christians Broke Bread together, the beginning of what became known as the Philadelphia Assembly or the Downtown Meeting. Those present were Miss Mary Ann Smith, her brother Robert and mother Mrs. Charles Smith; James Campbell, William Matthews, William McEwen (brother of John Knox McEwen and father of Hugh and Sam McEwen), and John Greer.

Many were saved in the first season of these tent meetings. When winter came, the Philadelphia Assembly rented a room over a blacksmith’s shop at 1113 South Broad Street. It was there that the assembly had its first Conference on Christmas Day, 1887 at which Donald and Charles Ross, James Campbell, William Matthews, Norman Case (later with the China Inland Mission), Frank Crook, William Staner, David Oliver, and John Haliburton were preachers. (Mrs. Harry also mentions attendance by her future husband from the Harrisburg assembly, so the Harrisburg Assembly was in existence by 1887.)

The Christians met for several years over the blacksmith’s shop. Many were saved and added to the group, and many believers came from the ‘old country’ and joined them. Open-air meetings conducted by the assembly were common, and there the greatest opposition to the Gospel was felt, stones and bricks being thrown at the preachers.

From this Downtown Meeting, several others sprang up. People living in north Philadelphia rented the Iron Hall in Kensington for assembly meetings, in fellowship with the Downtown Meeting. These later moved to Howard Street, and in 1910 purchased their own building at 2447 North Mascher Street, known as the Mascher Street Gospel Hall. The Mascher Street assembly continued to exist until 1982, but was not on Mascher Street in its final years.

The Christians at the Downtown Meeting went through several moves, to13th and Wharton, 15th and Federal, 17th and Federal, 21st and Latona, and then to 20th and Dickinson, where they remained for many years and apparently erected their own building. This building was sold in 1945 and they moved to rented quarters at 71st Street and Woodland Avenue, and then to 64th and Woodland until 1952, when the meeting disbanded, after 68 years of existence.

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While the Christians were at 20th and Dickinson, some of the group then living in the vicinity of Darby in the southwest suburbs, built Maranatha Hall or Maranatha Tabernacle in or near Darby. A radio preacher, George Palmer, was there for many years. This assembly later was called the Collingdale Assembly.

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This Collingdale Assembly is not to be confused with another assembly of similar name, which began when an Irish preacher, Mr. Nickelson, came to Darby in 1914 and held Gospel meetings. Several were saved, and the little band began meeting in 1915 as an assembly in a rented room in the Odd Fellows Hall in Darby. Robert Henry and Harry Pinney were the principals at establishing the assembly, having moved from Philadelphia. In 1921, the growing assembly built Collingdale Gospel Hall a mile west in Collingdale at MacDade Boulevard and Hillside Avenue. The assembly grew and increased its auditorium and Sunday school capacity in 1953. Now called the Collingdale Gospel Chapel, the assembly has commended several to the Lord’s work in the Dominican Republic, Zaire, and Quebec.

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In the 1880s or 1890s, George McCandless, who had a printing business, was preaching on the streets of Philadelphia. He rented a store at 20th and Kater Streets in south Philadelphia, and put a big Bible in the window along with some Bible texts. He invited men to a Bible study and in other ways attracted families to gather, apparently as an assembly. A number of these families later moved to west Philadelphia and met in a room in a large building at 67th and Market Streets, owned by James Arthur, a building contractor. The assembly at that time became known as the West Philadelphia Assembly.

Mr. Arthur knew of George MacKenzie, who had only recently become acquainted with the New Testament manner of gathering and would soon become outstanding itinerant preacher, and encouraged him to teach at the new assembly. In about 1900, Mr. Arthur won a contract to develop a residential area in Kenilworth, New Jersey. He brought some of these Philadelphia Christians with him and helped start an assembly in Kenilworth. He sold the Philadelphia building at that time, and the Christians who had been meeting there moved a short distance west to a store between 58th and 59th on Market Street. The group at that time was small and was affiliated with the ‘Grant exclusive’ brethren.

A Mr. Mory then built a four-story apartment building at 5917 Chestnut Street and rented the whole first floor to the assembly. There it flourished and grew, and many well known speakers came for special meetings, including H.A. Ironside, A.E. Booth, and George MacKenzie.

Then a split occurred and one group moved out, to 58th and Hoffman Avenue. These were identified with the ‘open’ brethren. In 1948 they moved into a basement-only building in nearby Lansdowne and became known as the Lansdowne Gospel Hall, and after that the Lansdowne Gospel Chapel. They later added an above-ground auditorium, but a fire forced them to move out for six months. At that time, the brethren who had remained at 5917 Chestnut, invited them back into that space. When the repairs were finished, the rift apparently healed, those brethren joined with the Lansdowne group.

In 1956, some of the families moved further out into the suburbs and established the Malvern assembly. The Lansdowne assembly today is known as the Lansdowne Bible Chapel, located at Greenwood and Wycombe.

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Another group of Christians were also called a West Philadelphia assembly. Though the names given to its various meeting places have not been identified, I will refer to them collectively as the West Philadelphia Gospel Hall. The assembly was formed in about 1914, and was an off-shoot of the Downtown Meeting because of a number who were living in the western area of the city. They first met in a store front property on South 60th Street near Spruce. Some of the early brethren at the West Philadelphia Gospel Hall were David Sutter, John McLeod, Thomas Anderson, Albert Anderson, William Cameron, James Smith, Albert Wilson, William King, William Long, and Edward Moffitt. In 1933, the assembly purchased a building at 62nd and Jefferson Streets in the Overbrook section of the city. It was simply a basement with no above-ground floor. In 1933, Sam McEwen had Gospel meetings in the newly purchased building. In 1963, they sold that building and moved further west to rented quarters in Broomall before moving to their new hall in 1967, located on Route 252 south of Newtown Square. In 1927 or 1928, Robert Halliday and John Conaway had fruitful meetings at the West Philadelphia Gospel Hall.

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In 1906, a group of Christians who had been commuting in to town from the suburbs began meeting as the Ardmore Assembly in the Merion Title Building. A year or so later they moved to Bryn Mawr and became known as the Bryn Mawr Assembly. The believers met for years in the reading room over the public library. Mr. Cesare Patrizio was commended from the assembly in about 1918, and Oswald MacLeod in 1928. Others have been commended to the Lord’s work at home and abroad since that time. The preacher James Marshall made the Bryn Mawr assembly his home assembly for many years.

A new building was erected in 1923-24 – the Bryn Mawr Gospel Hall – which is still used today. Some of the names from that time are Samuel Martin, Hugh Clark, Harry Iolitt, Robert Irvine, King Irvine, William Goldsmith, William Oliver, and Charles Dautle. Two expansions to the building have been made since the original, the first in 1975, and the most recent in 1994.

One of the interesting things about the Bryn Mawr assembly was the large number of men and women who worked in the private estates in various capacities. The weekly prayer meeting was on Friday evening to accommodate these folk. Another feature of those days was that the prayer meeting at Bryn Mawr was almost as large as the morning meeting. The Bryn Mawr assembly sponsored an annual Thanksgiving Conference for many years.

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Before 1921, a work was being carried on among Italian immigrants in Philadelphia. Cesare Patrizio and Louis Rosanio had tent meetings and decided to form an Italian meeting because of the need to use the language for many coming into the country who did not know English. This meeting began in 1921. They met for years in different places in south Philadelphia. Among the various addresses was 8th and Reed Streets. In later years they moved to the Tycony section of Philadelphia; in the 1966 the meeting was disbanded. (See Ethnic section)

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The assembly now at Enfield Gospel Chapel on the north side of Philadelphia, came into being in 1906 at 2838 Ridge Avenue. It later moved to 14 E. Clapier Street where it was known as the Germantown Gospel Hall. The assembly moved to its present location at 6 Summit Lane, Oreland in 1968. Leaders over the years include Charles Brinkman, Harry Sailer, Fred Vollmar, William Wills, William Rickert, Chester Myers, and Ernest Schwarz.

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In 1926, the Olney Gospel Hall in North Philadelphia hived-off from the Mascher Street assembly, which had become quite large with over 200 in fellowship. The Christians met first on N. 5th Street between Lindley Avenue and Tabor Road. In 1928, they moved to 314 W. Chew Street, which is the present location of Olney Gospel Hall

The original elders at Olney included John McQuillen, David Oliver, David Harry, William Richmond, E.B. Sykes, Harry Strain, and John MacEllan. Another early elder was John McQuillen. Sam and Hugh McEwen had Gospel meetings there in 1927. Open-air preaching at the corner of 5th and Tabor was a feature of the assembly. John Bothwell was known for his distribution of Gospel tracts in the neighborhood. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, five preachers made Olney their home assembly. They were Charles Keller, John P. Conaway, William Robertson, Ed Richmond, and Clay Fite. In the late 1940s, Paul Plubell made his home there.

Among those commended to the Lord’s work have been Edward Richmond, who pioneered and shepherded a work in Dover, DE (now called Dover Bible Chapel), and C.C. Fite, who preached throughout the continent. The Italian evangelist Cesare Patrizio was also associated with Olney Gospel Hall, though commended by the Bryn Mawr Assembly.

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Grace Gospel Chapel in Philadelphia began in 1927 when a group split off from Olney Gospel Hall. These Christians met on the second floor of a commercial building at 5th and Rising Sun Avenue in Philadelphia. Robert Barnes, George Canning, Granvil Godshalk, and James MacDonald were the acknowledged leaders and among those who started the assembly. In 1944, they rented a former Episcopal church building for their meetings, on Willow Grove Avenue in the suburb of Wyndmoor on the north side. This small building was next to a large Roman Catholic facility; about a year after Grace assembly occupied the building, the Catholics purchased it and had it torn down for their own expansion.

So in about 1946, the assembly moved into a storefront in the Erlen section of the city on Cheltenham Avenue. This was a busy street and the storefront was next to the Erlen Theater. The Christians called their new home Erlen Gospel Chapel.

The area gradually deteriorated and the Christians began looking around for a more suitable place to meet. In 1970, they learned of an available building long known as Ardsley Chapel in Ardsley, then about 10 miles north of the city. The Erlen assembly purchased the building, calling it Ardsley Bible Chapel, which is the current meeting place of the assembly on Jenkintown Road at Harrison Avenue.

In 1984, the assembly was small and struggling. Apart from Robert Barnes, the early leaders had all passed on, and the assembly had no designated elders. The Enfield Gospel Chapel, about three miles away, was at that time a thriving assembly with a number of young families. A number of these families, about 40 people in all, decided to leave Enfield and join the Ardsley group. James Hulshizer was the leading brother among these.

The assembly became convinced of the Scriptural need for designated elders, and James Hulshizer was chosen, followed later by Albert Crompton. Paul Logan and his family then returned from the mission field in Zambia for medical reasons, and Paul became another elder. In 1989, Norman and Alice Roberts came to the assembly, and Norman joined the three in eldership. In 1994, four young men were added to the eldership: Karl Peterson, Dean Henrich, John MacPherson, and William Parfitt. Karl Peterson was commended for work within the assembly. Ardsley Bible Chapel has commended and co-commended workers to Zambia and Mozambique.

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An assembly in Malvern, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, was founded in 1957. In 1956, several families living in that area and who were attending the Lansdowne Gospel Chapel, which was closer in to the city, were exercised to start a new testimony in their neighborhood. They met together for prayer for several months. Some from the Bryn Mawr Gospel Hall joined with this group, as did others. The families of Thomas Fraser, James Mehaffey, Stanley Hart, John Dorazio, Herman Sauer, Charles Wilson, and Hans Kurash formed the nucleus of the group.

In 1957, they purchased and extensively remodeled an old Quaker Meeting House at Woodland Avenue and Roberts Lane, calling it Upper Main Line Gospel Hall in Malvern, and that year celebrated their first Lord’s Supper there. A major effort was made to reach the children of the neighborhood. A Friday night “Happy Hour” for children would run for 12 weeks each spring and fall; a very desirable side benefit was the involvement of the whole congregation.

Because of the different backgrounds of those in fellowship at the new assembly, decisions and agreements had to be made on matters such as choice of hymn book, the style of the Lord’s Supper, and the type of preaching meeting. This was done in a spirit of unity. As the numbers grew from the starting group of about 50, an addition was made in the 1960s, and another in the 1980s. The name Upper Main Line Gospel Hall was changed to Gospel Chapel to distinguish the group from the Kingdom Hall title used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Another change to Malvern Gospel Chapel was made to better reflect the area, and then Malvern Bible Chapel was adopted to emphasize that the whole Bible was preached. The number in fellowship in the late 1990s is about 140.

Those active in leadership from the early years include Harold Harper, Edgar Brightbill, Mervin Madsen, Bart Sloane, Godfrey Greenhow, and William Calderwood. In the early 1970s, the church government was placed in the hands of a group of seven elders. The assembly has commended workers to France, Zambia, and Peru.

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In the mid 1930s, Whitfield Nottage moved to Philadelphia, where he founded the Ebenezer Community Chapel in Philadelphia, ministering there for more than 30 years before retiring.

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The Germantown Christian Assembly began in 1973, the planned product of a Gospel Crusade convened at the Church of the Atonement in the Germantown area of Philadelphia. Under the leadership of B. Sam Hart and others from Calvary Gospel Chapel in West Philadelphia, the new assembly began with 27 members. The assembly’s initial Sunday morning services were conducted in the local YMCA, and the Breaking of Bread and other services were held in the building of the Church of the Atonement on Green Street.

In 1974, the Christians purchased a large house at 610 E. Mount Pleasant Avenue, which became the home of the assembly and of the Grand Old Gospel Fellowship, the organization established by Mr. Hart for camp work and radio ministry. By mid 1975, more space was necessary, so plans were drawn to approximately double the seating capacity. The expansion was finished in 1978 after delays caused by a fire and neighborhood opposition. Within a few months, the new sanctuary was filled with new faces.

In 1980, B. Sam Hart left to plant another church (his radio broadcasts and Gospel crusades have led to the establishment of ten or more assemblies in black communities along the eastern seaboard), and Charles Hart was called to pastor the Germantown Christian Assembly. By 1982, the assembly had five elders and nine deacons. In 1983, the assembly observed the 100th birthday of its oldest living member, Whitfield Nottage, whose name is written large in the history of black evangelism in America.

The growing church with its many outreaches into the community and prisons, and active programs within the church, soon required three full-time and three part-time workers. At the end of the 1980s, the old building was torn down, and replaced by a new structure, seating 450 persons.

Others active in leadership over the years have been John Holley, Andrew Trusty, Dan Curbison, Charles Jones, Ed Harris, Ron Felten, and more recently Emmitt Cornelius. The assembly supports many missionaries and has commended workers to India and within the U.S. Ed and Carmen Harris were commended to the Lord’s service at the Willingboro Christian Assembly in New Jersey.

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The assembly at Frankford Gospel Hall in Philadelphia bought a church building in Mayfair in the early 1950s and called it Mayfair Gospel Hall. The new building doubled their seating capacity and gave them a new neighborhood in which to work.

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The assembly of Christians now at Roxborough Bible Chapel began in about 1913 and was known as Wissahickon Gospel Hall, with members residing in the Wissahickon, Roxborough, and Germantown areas of Philadelphia. Three brethren were instrumental in starting the assembly as a convenient location for the local residents – James Martin, Thomas Craigmile, and Albert Berry. They came from other assemblies in the Philadelphia area. Over the years, the meeting place for the assembly moved through several rented facilities in Wissahickon, the last being at 5154 Ridge Avenue.

In 1953, a parcel of land at 460 Flamingo Street in Roxborough was purchased. The Roxborough Bible Chapel was completed that year. From this location, the Sunday School and youth work begun in Wissahickon has continued to be an outreach. William Von Buchwald, James Herman, Samuel Thomas, and Paul Roberts are presently active in the leadership of the assembly.

Missionary interest is important in the assembly, and they regularly contribute to the support of workers who have had an association with the assembly and have labored in France, Honduras, and Indonesia. Miss Alice Buckland was commended in 1993 to youth work in the assembly and camp work at Greenwood Hills and Iroquoina.

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In the mid 1920s, Ralph Richards lived in Hatboro, a small village north of Philadelphia, but was in fellowship at the Downtown Meeting in Philadelphia at 20th and Dickinson. He met a Mr. Hunton, a Christian business man who lived in Hatboro but was not affiliated with the brethren assemblies. Mr. Hunton, however, was acquainted with some of the Christians at the old Germantown assembly. Mr. Richards brought him to the Downtown Meeting one Sunday, and Mr. Hunton liked what he saw.

Emory Richards, Ralph’s brother, returned to the area about then, and joined the fellowship at Mascher Street on the north side of the city. Soon, in 1926 or 1927, Mr. Hunton and his large family were in the fellowship at Mascher Street.

Mr. Hunton and others at Mascher Street were exercised to start a Gospel effort in Hatboro, and held cottage meetings there. They invited Oswald MacLeod, who along with Samuel Rea had tent meetings there in 1928. A Gospel outreach was continued in Hatboro in 1929 by James Marshall, Charles Teller, and local brethren from Philadelphia. In tents pitched that summer, they saw a few saved, including Mr. and Mrs. Haskell Coleman. A new assembly was formed in Hatboro in November 1930, with more than 20 in fellowship. The assembly first met as the Hatboro Gospel Hall in half of a rented storefront on Montgomery Avenue, a partition dividing the assembly meeting room from a drum storage area. In 1935, the partition was taken down, and the assembly had full use of the storefront. The wooden floors, wooden folding chairs, and walls filled with Bible texts, are remembered. In that first year, the Hatboro assembly jointly with Mascher Street commended Samuel Rea to the work of the Lord.

In 1943, a building fund was started, and in 1946 the Christians purchased a lot at 23 W. Moreland. Construction was begun that year and completed in 1948. The Hatboro Gospel Hall still meets at that location. Many Gospel series were held by the assembly in the following decades, with speakers such as Gordon Reagor, Hector Alvez, Norman Crawford, Paul Plubell, Fred Holder, and many others. The hall was enlarged in 1982.

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Believers’ Fellowship, now meeting in a rented building in Yardley, northeast of Philadelphia, began in 1983 in the home of Paul and Joy Karleen in nearby Levittown. The assembly was started by the Karleens, Sam and Mary Lou Hardman, and Dan and Sue Matlack. Sam Hardman, John Avery, and Paul Karleen have been the leaders of Believers’ Fellowship.

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In November 1922, a young Christian, Chester Myers, became burdened about people living in Plumsteadville and surrounding villages north of Philadelphia. Having tried various means of spreading the Gospel, he invited Mr. Harold Harper, then preaching in the Germantown Gospel Hall in Philadelphia, to come to the Plumsteadville schoolhouse for Gospel meetings. The school was packed to capacity and the meetings were continued beyond the original closing date.

Following that, and for the next several months, Mr. Harper held Gospel meetings in many chapels and schools. This faithful preaching of the gospel of God’s grace resulted in 75 to 100 souls trusting Christ as Savior. After the evangelist left, Chester Myers undertook the unfolding of the Word of God to these newborn souls. Bible classes were held in Danboro Chapel and in the homes of Mr. Harvey Huber and Mrs. Benjamin Snape. Ten automobiles were used to carry interested believers to the annual Thanksgiving Day conference at Collingdale Gospel Hall in Philadelphia. As many of them had learned the truth of Christian baptism from the scriptures, 19 took the opportunity to be buried with Christ in baptism. Among this number were Harvey Huber, Mrs. Benjamin Snape, Hilda Snape, Mr. and Mrs. Arlington Myers, Howard Tyson, Carrie Leatherman, Helen Lear, Lloyd Tyson; and Monroe, Wilmer, Mabel, and H. Welcome Det¬weiler.

A meeting was arranged for the benefit of a number who had expressed desire for teaching about New Testament church truths. As a result, 22 believers met to Remember the Lord at Fountainville Chapel in December 1923. Much persecution followed. So intense was it for some believers that they were forced to leave their homes. The Lord sent many of His servants to help the new testimony.

The first Bible Conference at Fountainville Chapel used Harold Harper’s tent for the dining room. During the summer months open-air meetings were conducted in Doylestown, Stockton, New Hope, Lonsdale, Quakertown, Souderton, Telford, Perkasie, and Point Pleasant. In the winter months a class for young people was held on the first and third Saturday evenings of each month. These proved to be a source of growth. Fellowship funds from these meetings were sent to workers around the world.

In Fountainville Chapel and nearby places Frank Detweiler, Harold Jones, David Blackburn, August Hasse, and others preached the Gospel and souls were saved and added to the Lord and to the assembly. In May 1928, the Christians decided to build a chapel on the Easton Highway to house the assembly. Grace Gospel Chapel in the Curly Hill, PA area was opened formally in January 1929. The assembly held for many years a Memorial Day conference. Open-air baptisms were held in the summer months in Pine Run Creek on the John B. Detweiler farm, and in the creek under the bridge near the William Tyson farm.

In 1953, about 100 were in fellowship at Grace Gospel Chapel. The assembly has commended to the work of the Lord in other parts Frank M. Detweiler, H. Welcome and Helen Detweiler; and John and Eleanor Schultz.

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In 1975, an assembly was formed and met in the basement of Steve Hulshizer’s house in the village of Line Lexington, midway between Philadelphia and Allentown. Steve, Bill, and Dave Hulshizer, and Dave Dove, all from Enfield Gospel Chapel in Philadelphia, were the principals in the starting of the assembly. In 1979, the Christians moved to their present location, and formed the North-Ridge Bible Chapel in Sellersville. Elders in the assembly have been Steve Hulshizer, Wes Reif, Bill Hulshizer, and Don McCaughey. The assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s field in Ecuador, Honduras, and the Bahamas.

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The first assembly in the Pittsburgh area was in McKeesport, a southern suburb of Pittsburgh, in 1876. No other details are available for this time period, but it is known that from 1908 to 1913, an assembly was meeting in an upper room in downtown McKeesport, to which William Pinches came to preach.

When several of the saints had moved away or passed away, the remaining believers in 1913 joined with the Homestead Assembly some few miles away. Those in fellowship at the Homestead Assembly at that time included Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Clark and Mr. and Mrs. William McAra.

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From 1913 to 1933, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Clark held a Sunday School in their home and carried on Bible studies in various homes. Gospel tent meetings were held. Many were saved in these years. After Alexander Wilson started a Sunday School in his home in McKeesport in 1933, the believers involved in that work decided for form an assembly in the area, in fellowship with the Homestead Assembly. An empty storeroom was located and rented at 1301 Soles Street. The saints, twenty in all, met for the first time there in March 11, 1934 to Remember the Lord. The Joseph Clark, William Moore, and Alexander Wilson families were among those.

This first McKeesport Gospel Hall was heated with a pot bellied stove in the middle of its only room. There were no other amenities. But the assembly was vibrant, with 100 children in its Sunday School. Sam Rea and Tom Ferguson were among the early preachers coming to the Hall.

In 1938, the building was purchased, then enlarged. The addition was opened with a prayer meeting in February of that year, with about 130 in attendance. The assemblies represented at the prayer meeting were Homestead Assembly, Friendship Avenue Assembly, East Pittsburgh Assembly, the North Side Assembly, Pittsburgh, the Indiana Gospel Hall, and the Mansfield Assembly.

The McKeesport Gospel Hall assembly purchased a lot at Prescott and Broadway Street in White Oak Borough in 1974. The brethren designed and built the new Hall, and the first service there was in March 1975. The assembly has held Conferences each year since 1949, usually with a few hundred people attending. The assembly has commended a worker to Chile, and others to ministries within the U.S. About 60 are in the assembly now.

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Bible Truth Chapel in Murrysville, in the Pittsburgh area, began meeting in December 1956, with nine in fellowship. Four of the families came from Beechwood assembly in Pittsburgh. The work grew and in 1958 the brethren started construction of a building to house the growing testimony. The chapel was designed to seat 110 in the auditorium. By the late 1990s, the name was changed to Murrysville Bible Chapel, still at the same location at 4779 Christy Road.

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After the four families left to form Bible Truth Chapel, the remaining families at the Beechwood assembly built the Beechwood Bible Chapel in Pittsburgh, which was dedicated in November 1958. In the mid 1980s, the name was changed to Browns Hill Bible Chapel and the assembly remains at the same location at 3349 Beechwood Boulevard.

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The assembly meeting at the Gospel Barn, near Harmony on Route 19 north of Pittsburgh, had its start in 1952. Ed and Dorothy Bohl, who were acquainted with some brethren from Pittsburgh, fixed up their barn for a meeting place and invited the Pittsburgh brethren to come preach. The Bohls invited their neighbors, Peter and Lillian Frankenstein, who were Presbyterians, to come hear the preaching. They liked what they heard and began fellowshipping at the Gospel Barn. For a time, about 30 people came to the assembly meetings. When Mr. Bohl died, the assembly declined; Helen Theis and Lillian Frankenstein are the only remaining members at this writing.

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Donora Gospel Hall in the town of Donora south of Pittsburgh came into existence in 1920 in the home of William Kiddy on Kenric Avenue. Mr. Kiddy was formerly in fellowship at the Lonaconing Gospel Hall in Maryland. Through the years, the assembly met in three other locations in the town, and now is at 201 Thompson Avenue. Robert Grant Sr. and Louis Olsen were also involved in the start-up of the Donora Gospel Hall. Others in leadership over the years include Andrew Craig, Stanley Bell, Lester Wolfe, and Henry Todd.

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The assembly now known as Elk Run Avenue Chapel in Punxsutawney, northeast of Pittsburgh, began sometime before 1900, and probably met in homes initially. The deed to the assembly for the land is dated 1899. A building was constructed soon after that, and a basement added later. Those involved in its start included W.F. Wineberg, Joseph Dennison Jr., George Murray, William Dennis, and Henry Strachan. Known for many years as the Punxsutawney Gospel Hall, the name was changed to its current one in 1970. The assembly has always occupied the same location on Elk Run Avenue. The leading brother for many years was Clifton R. Wineberg. Other elders have been Clifton M. Wineberg and Tony Sushereba, in addition to those above. David L. Roy traveled from Cleveland many times to give help and encouragement, as did Lloyd Wineberg. David Madgwick was co-commended to Africa by the assembly. The assembly has always been small, but has an active work among young people in the area.

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The Indiana Gospel Hall in the town of Indiana east of Pittsburgh was formed in 1912, or perhaps a little before, as a result of the work of David L. Roy, who worked also in Punxsutawney. The Christians met first in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lott Frederick, and in April 1912 moved into a building at 526 Philadelphia Street in the town. Mr. Frederick was a true and loving shepherd of the Lord’s people.

Later in 1912, the Christians secured a lot on West Church Street for tent meetings by W.B. Johnston and David Roy. Similar meetings were held in 1913. Sometime between 1913 and 1916, the Christians rented a room in what they called the “Cement Block Building” near the Frederick home, for their meetings. In 1919, they held their first Annual Conference. Over the next two decades, the assembly moved through several rented spaces, and then in 1938, bought the lot at the corner of 5th and Locust streets at which the present Indiana Gospel Hall was constructed.

Located in a college town, the assembly has seen a number of students saved and brought into fellowship. Paul Plubell was commended to the Lord’s work in the 1940s and saw many souls saved before going to be with the Lord at an early age. William A. Seale, Jr. was commended to full time work as an evangelist in the early 1990s. Others involved in leadership over the years have been Jack Byers, Glenn Moose, James Walker, Cammie Plubell, William Craig, Robert Baird, and William Parks.

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The assembly known as East Freedom Chapel, in the town of East Freedom, 100 miles east of Pittsburgh, began in 1951 when Obie and Mary Ann Snider met together with Mary C. Walter in the Snider home at Singing Brook Farm. The were joined in fellowship over the next couple of years by Mrs. Walter’s son John, Hugh Caulfield, Cloyd Shaffer, and Sam Hagen. The fledgling assembly was faithfully taught and encouraged with regular visits by T.B. Gilbert, A.P. Gibbs, Joe Neibor, Herman Luhm, David Pollock, and John Milton Mills.

In 1960, the assembly moved into East Freedom Chapel at 16637 Mount Pleasant Street, its present location. The opening was marked by a month’s special meetings by Bill Paterson. Harold Blattenburger, David Harper, and Dan Snaddon, have also been active in ministering the Word. David Harper and his wife have been commended for work in the assembly. About 50 were in fellowship in 1996. In 1997, a wing was added to the building to accommodate increased attendance.

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Jefferson Road Bible Chapel in Brookville, a small town about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, began in the home of Terry and Amy McCall in December 1990, and was called at the beginning Believer’s Fellowship. In June 1992, the Christians moved into an old Presbyterian church building on the property of one of the members. Numbers never topped 50 despite many evangelistic efforts. When all but one of the families moved away due to employment, the assembly disbanded in 1997. Two workers were commended by the assembly to the Lord’s work in Kenya. Eldership included Tony E. Sushereba and his sons James D. and Timothy T. Sushereba, and Terry McCall.

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The assembly in Reading had its beginning in about 1905, meeting on the second floor of a building at 8th and Penn Streets, which was the downtown area of the city. As the assembly grew, it developed into a group of about 125 believers. Later they moved to a second floor room at 6th and Franklin Street in a building called Stauffer’s Hall. Around 1928, they bought their own building, a former shirt factory at 5th and Franklin Streets in the borough of West Reading, and converted it into a very fine hall for the assembly. Mr. John Bloore from Plainfield, NJ drew the plans for the renovation. It was called Bible Truth Hall in Reading until the 1950s, when its name was changed to Bible Truth Chapel.

Many brethren from Plainfield, NJ helped in the growth and development of the assembly. In addition to John Bloore, there were other regular visitors, such as Samuel Ridout, George McCandless, Fred Mackenzie, Richard Hill, and R.J. Reid. P. Daniel Loizeaux would visit every month and read missionary letters at the monthly missionary meeting. Harry Ironside frequently conducted evangelistic meetings at the Odd Fellows Hall in Reading. Thus the assembly was associated with the ‘Grant exclusive’ brethren in its early days.

Much of the assembly growth came about through the evangelistic efforts of some of the local brethren. George Starke, who was the correspondent for many years, and George Kreidler were very active in children’s work throughout the city. They would rent store fronts and conduct children’s meetings in them. Also many children were reached through an outreach in federal housing areas. Paul Bitler, who later became a worker among the Spanish in New York City, was very active in the housing project work. Alfred P. Gibbs was brought in each year to conduct a week of children’s meetings.

During the years of the assembly’s existence, there were three commended workers. Paul Bitler was commended to work among the Spanish in New York City in 1944. He worked there for almost fifty years and saw Spanish assemblies established in Manhattan and the Bronx. Bill Oglesby was commended also in the 1940s and he first worked in the assembly itself for a number of years. Then he moved to the south, where he labored in Victoria and Richmond, VA, and also Raleigh, NC. Jim Yorgey was commended to the work in France and later worked for many years in Quebec.

In 1988, the assembly closed its doors at the building in West Reading. Its size had decreased considerably and it was felt the building was too large. They then met in a room in the Day’s Inn in Shillington, a suburb of Reading. A small group met there until 1996 when the assembly was disbanded after more than ninety years of existence.

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An itinerant preacher from Reading, Gorge Holmes, became very active in seeking to establish a testimony in Allentown, near the eastern edge of Pennsylvania, in the 1920s. Eventually the group met together in a rented storeroom at 5th and Turner Streets in downtown Allentown. Most of the believers lived in the small city and the majority walked to the storeroom, which was heated with a pot belly stove in the center of the room. They called this place the Allentown Gospel Hall, and they met in the storeroom for over twenty five years. The Bethlehem Assembly, meeting in nearby Bethlehem, later merged with the group in Allentown.

Gilbert Renninger was one of the most active of the local brethren in establishing this testimony. His brother, Frank, later became the correspondent and carried on the work into the 1980s. During this time period, many brethren such as Inglis Fleming, David Kirk, and George McCandless taught the Word in the assembly. Lewis Chambers was a regular visitor who brought with him a model of the Old Testament tabernacle. P. Daniel Loizeaux came once a month to read missionary letters at the missionary meetings.

Welcome Detweiler, who later labored in North Carolina, conducted tent meetings in south Allentown. His brother, Walton Detweiler, who was self-employed, was a consistent worker in Allentown. On the third Sunday of each month, he would travel to Allentown from his home in Plumsteadville, near Philadelphia. He would conduct a meeting in the local jail and at the rescue mission, in addition to speaking at the meeting hall. He visited every month with very few exceptions for over forty five years.

In 1956, the assembly built their own chapel. Now known as Grace Gospel Chapel in east Allentown, on Irving Street, they remained at this location until 1995. Then they bought a larger building at 1642 Ehrets Lane in south Allentown, which is its present location. Grace Gospel Chapel and its antecedents have commended workers to the Lord’s field at Immanuel Mission in Arizona and Colombia; others have been commended to ministries within the U.S.

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An assembly started in Lancaster, west of Philadelphia, in the early 1930s. Samuel Hocking had a machine shop in that city at Grant and Prince Streets. His and two other families started the Lancaster Assembly in the room above the shop. In the late 1930s, the group met in St. Mark’s Church on Pershing Avenue. When the Hocking family moved away, this assembly ceased and for a period of time there was no meeting in the Lancaster area.

In the early 1940s, many Spanish-American and Mexican residents lived and worked in the east end of Lancaster. Luis Montalvo started an assembly there in its own hall on Grofftown Road; the assembly had services in both Spanish and English. In the mid 1940s, many of the Spanish-American families moved away to the Steelton-Highspire area to work in the steel mills. Samuel S. Sheaffer, an elder in the meeting, kept the assembly going at Grofftown Road. At about that time, the assembly changed the name to East End Chapel.

About six to eight families met in the small chapel until the early 1970s, when the state made a decision to build Route 23 into Lancaster, and purchased the land the chapel occupied. The Christians then met in the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company for about a year. In 1975, they purchased the Monterey Mennonite Church on West Eby Road, about five miles east of Lancaster, where they presently reside as Monterey Chapel in Leola. Robert Crawford, Bruce Yorgey, Paul D. Sheaffer, and Robert A. Spender have been elders at Monterey. Several men of the assembly are active in teaching and counseling at the Lancaster County Prison. Monterey Chapel supports the Water Street Rescue Mission as well as many missionaries. About 85 people attend Monterey Chapel.

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The Greenwood Hills Assembly in Fayetteville in south-central Pennsylvania, was established in 1928 by K.B. Moomaw, J. Bishop Nicklas, Bigler Plasterer, Eddie Plasterer, Frank Blair, and Richard McIntire. First meeting in the home of J.B. Nicklas, the assembly moved into the Mt. Union U.B. Church building, and then into the dining room of The Inn of the Greenwood Hills Bible Conference Association. The Christians now occupy a chapel built in 1946, to which a multipurpose annex was added in 1993. Besides the men indicated above, leaders in the assembly have included George Landis, Howard Lankford, Robert Kirkpatrick Sr., Zane C. Hodges, and Bruce Kramer. In 1996 the number in fellowship was about 100, with 20 youngsters. The assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s vineyard in Zambia, Aletia Springs, the Philippines, Senegal, and Indonesia with Wycliffe.

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One of the more recent assemblies in Pennsylvania is the Boiling Springs Bible Chapel in the small town of Boiling Springs, near Carlisle southwest of Harrisburg. Early in 1992, five families that had met at the Greenwood Hills Bible Conference began to meet informally for fellowship in the home of William J. Wirl, Jr. in Carlisle. The other families were those of Robert Boelter, Douglas Bates, Rodney Booth, and William Howard. The Bates, Boelter, and Wirl families had assembly backgrounds. After a short time, the group decided to rent a room at a motel for Sunday meetings, and placed an ad in the Carlisle newspaper announcing the start-up of the meeting. This attracted the attention of the Charles Hocking family, who then met with the group. The name Carlisle Bible Chapel was chosen at that time.

They met at the motel until mid 1994, then relocated for a few months to an office building pending the purchase of an old Methodist building at 119 Fourth Street in Boiling Springs. They took possession in January 1995 and changed their name to the current one. The current elders are Douglas Bates, Charles Hocking, Charles Masland 3rd, Paul A. Myers, and William Wirl, Jr. The assembly has joined with the Chambersburg Gospel Chapel in commending Steve Witter to the work of the Lord at Emmaus Bible College.

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The Waynesburg Bible Chapel in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania began in 1981 as a Bible study. Two couples, Jan and Penny Buckhalter, and John and Robin Harding, began meeting in their homes with a desire for a deeper understanding of the Scriptures. None of them had prior knowledge or experience with the brethren. After about a year, William Skelton, who had knowledge of New Testament principles of meeting as a church, joined with them and confirmed what they had been learning in their studies. Numbers increased quickly and in 1983 a building at 859 North Bonar Avenue in Waynesburg was purchased, where the assembly meets today. Others active in leadership have been Paul Parsons and John Schmidt. The assembly has commended workers to serve in Burundi, Africa and with Friends of Turkey and CBM Ministries.

Sources: Questionnaires and Other Correspondence Looking Backward, by Mary A. Harry, January 1946 Waynesburg Bible Chapel, undated History of Indiana Gospel Hall, 1988 Our Heritage: Assembly History in the Philadelphia Area, March 7, 1999; by William J. Oliver and Robert Rea A Brief History of Malvern Bible Chapel, 1996 History of the Germantown Christian Assembly, Philadelphia, Pa., Charles Hart, 1990 History of Monterey Chapel, P. David Sheaffer, undated A History of the McKeesport Gospel Hall, by Harold F. Clark, 1999 Letters of Interest, November 1953, p. 3; January 1954, p. 9; June 1959, p. 11; February 1970, p. 33


Allentown Gospel Hall, PA 38 Ardmore Assembly in Philadelphia 28 Ardsley Bible Chapel in Philadelphia 30 Arunah Chapel, Baltimore, MD 22 Asheville Gospel Chapel, NC 1 Asheville Gospel Hall, NC 1 Beechwood Bible Chapel, Pittsburgh, PA 35 Bel Air Bible Chapel, MD 22 Bel Air Bible Community Church, MD 22 Believers’ Fellowship, Yardley, PA 33 Believer’s Fellowship, Brookville, PA 37 Bethany Bible Fellowship, Canton, OH 16 Bethany Chapel, Augusta, GA 12 Bethany Chapel, Salisbury, NC 12 Bethany Gospel Chapel, Newport News, VA 15, 16 Bethlehem Assembly, PA 38 Bible Truth Chapel, Murrysville, PA 35 Bible Truth Chapel, Reading, PA 37 Bible Truth Hall, Reading, PA 37 Blacksburg Christian Fellowship, VA 17 Boiling Springs Bible Chapel, PA 39 Brooklyn Bible Chapel, Baltimore, MD 22 Brooklyn Gospel Chapel, Baltimore, MD 22 Browns Hill Bible Chapel, Pittsburgh, PA 35 Bryn Mawr Assembly in Philadelphia 28 Bryn Mawr Gospel Hall in Philadelphia 28, 30 Calvary Gospel Chapel in West Philadelphia 31 Carlisle Avenue Gospel Chapel, Richmond, VA 15 Carlisle Bible Chapel, PA 40 Cedar Ridge Community Church, Spencerville, MD 22 Chambersburg Gospel Chapel, PA 40 Cherrydale Bible Chapel, Arlington, VA 16 Cherrydale Bible Church, Arlington, VA 16 Cherrydale Community Chapel, Arlington, VA 16 Clinton Community Chapel, MD 21 Collingdale Assembly in Philadelphia 27 Collingdale Gospel Chapel in Philadelphia 27 Collingdale Gospel Hall in Philadelphia 27, 33 Countryside Fellowship Church, Savage, MD 22 Crescent Hills Chapel, Westover, WV 19 Donora Gospel Hall, PA 36 Dover Bible Chapel, DE 25, 29 Dover Gospel Hall, DE 25 Downtown Meeting in Philadelphia 26, 28, 32 East End Chapel, Lancaster, PA 39 East Freedom Chapel, PA 37 East Pittsburgh Assembly, PA 35 Eastern Gospel Hall, Baltimore, MD 20 Ebenezer Community Chapel in Philadelphia 31 Elk Run Avenue Chapel, Punxsutawney, PA 36 Enfield Gospel Chapel in Philadelphia 29, 30, 34 Erlen Gospel Chapel in Philadelphia 30 Fair Oaks Chapel, Winston-Salem, NC 6 Fair Oaks Gospel Chapel, Winston-Salem, NC 6 Faith Bible Church, Mechanicsville, MD 21 Faith Bible Fellowship, Raleigh, NC 5 Forest Avenue Tabernacle, Greensboro, NC 6, 10 Fountainville Chapel, PA 33 Frankford Gospel Hall in Philadelphia 32 Frostburg Gospel Hall, MD 20 Gaithersburg Christian Fellowship, MD 21 Gayton Assembly, VA 14 Germantown Christian Assembly in Philadelphia 31 Germantown Gospel Hall in Philadelphia 29, 33 Glad Tidings Chapel, Baltimore, MD 20 Glenn Avenue Gospel Chapel, Winston-Salem, NC 6, 11 Goldsboro Gospel Chapel, NC 9 Gospel Barn, Harmony, PA 35 Gospel Center, Durham, NC 8, 10 Gospel Chapel, Winston-Salem, NC 10 Grace Gospel Chapel in Philadelphia 29 Grace Gospel Chapel, Allentown, PA 38 Grace Gospel Chapel, Curly Hill, PA 34 Grace Gospel Chapel, Richmond, VA 15 Graham Bible Fellowship, NC 10 Greenwood Hills Assembly, Fayetteville, PA 39 Grove Park Chapel, Durham, NC 9 Hampton Roads Community Church, Poquoson, VA 16 Harrisburg Assembly, PA 26 Hatboro Gospel Hall, PA 33 Hillcrest Chapel, Terra Alta, WV 19 Hillendale Bible Chapel, Baltimore, MD 20 Homestead Assembly, McKeesport, PA 34, 35 Hopewell Gospel Chapel, VA 16 Huntington Gospel Chapel, WV 18 Immanuel Bible Assembly, Washington, DC 24 Indiana Gospel Hall, PA 35, 36 Ireland Street Chapel, Burlington, NC 7, 10 Jefferson Road Bible Chapel, Brookville, PA 37 Lancaster Assembly, PA 39 Lansdowne Bible Chapel in Philadelphia 28 Lansdowne Gospel Chapel in Philadelphia 27, 30 Lansdowne Gospel Hall in Philadelphia 27 Lauraville Gospel Hall, Baltimore, MD 22 Laurel Chapel, MD 22 Lexington Park Christian Assembly, MD 21 Loch Hill Chapel, Baltimore, MD 22 Lonaconing Gospel Hall, MD 36 Malvern Bible Chapel in Philadelphia 31 Malvern Gospel Chapel in Philadelphia 31 Mansfield Assembly, PA 35 Maranatha Gospel Hall in Washington, DC. 20 Maranatha Hall in Philadelphia 27 Maranatha Tabernacle in Philadelphia 27 Marlborough Gospel Hall, San Diego, CA 18 Mascher Street Gospel Hall in Philadelphia 26 Masonville Gospel Hall, Baltimore, MD 22 Matoaca Gospel Hall, VA 15 Mayfair Gospel Hall in Philadelphia 32 McKeesport Gospel Hall, PA 35 Mebane Gospel Chapel, NC 11 Monterey Chapel, Leola, PA 39 Murrysville Bible Chapel, PA 35 New Hampshire Avenue Gospel Chapel, Silver Spring, MD 23 Newport News Gospel Hall, VA 16 Newton-Conover Gospel Fellowship, NC 12 North Raleigh Chapel, Raleigh, NC 5 North Ridge Bible Chapel, Raleigh, NC 4, 5 North Side Assembly, Pittsburgh, PA 35 North-Ridge Bible Chapel, Sellersville, PA 34 Northgate Chapel, Durham, NC 8 Northside Gospel Chapel, Victoria, VA 17 Old Meeting in Philadelphia 26 Olney Gospel Hall in Philadelphia 25, 29 Otsego Bible Chapel, WV 18 Parkside Gospel Hall, Milford, NY 21 Parkway Chapel, Winston-Salem, NC 6 Parkway Gospel Chapel, Winston-Salem, NC 6, 12 Pembroke Family Fellowship, NC 12 Petersburg Gospel Hall, VA 15 Philadelphia Assembly, PA 26 Pittsboro Bible Assembly, NC 5 Punxsutawney Gospel Hall, PA 36 Raleigh Gospel Chapel, NC 4, 5, 10 Raleigh Gospel Hall, NC 2, 4 Reidsville Bible Chapel, NC 10 Richmond Gospel Hall, VA 14 Riverview Chapel, Hinton, WV 18 Rockville Bible Fellowship, MD 21 Roxborough Bible Chapel in Philadelphia 32 Sanford Chapel, NC 9, 10 SAYSF Bible Chapel, Lexington Park, MD 21 SAYSF Bible Church, Lexington Park, MD 21 Sedge Garden Chapel, Kernersville, NC 11 Shannon Hills Bible Chapel, Greensboro, NC 7, 10 Shurm Heights Gospel Hall, Richmond, VA 15 Siler City Chapel, NC 7, 10 South Potomac Church, Accokeek, MD 21 Sunnybrook Gospel Chapel, Syria, VA 17 The Family Church in Pembroke, NC 12 Union Hope Gospel Chapel, Zebulun, NC 10 Upper Main Line Gospel Hall in Philadelphia 30 Washington Christian Assembly, Washington, DC 24 Waynesburg Bible Chapel, PA 40 Waynesville Christian Fellowship, NC 11 Welton Bible Chapel, Allen Junction, WV 18 West Dover Bible Chapel, DE 25 West End Chapel, Hinton, WV 18 West Philadelphia Assembly, PA 27 West Philadelphia Gospel Hall, PA 28 Willingboro Christian Assembly, NJ 32 Wilmington Bible Chapel, NC 11 Winston-Salem Gospel Chapel, NC 6 Wissahickon Gospel Hall in Philadelphia 32


U.S. Northeast

This section contains New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

New Jersey

Terrill Road Bible Chapel in Fanwood has an illustrious history. By the year 1870, a small group of 15 or 20 believers were gathering together in assembly fellowship in Plainfield. Of the original company, only one name is remembered, that of Louis Rhéaume. Mrs. Elie Loizeaux was a step- daughter of his.

Later in the 1880s, Paul and Timothy Loizeaux with their families moved to Plainfield and met with this small group. They were the founders of the Bible Truth Depot, later known as Loizeaux Brothers Publishers. At about this time F.C. Jennings, a gifted writer and teacher, joined with the group. The assembly grew and the Lord blessed. A little later, J.D. Loizeaux, the Perrins, the Hardinghams, and the Maugers came into fellowship.

Toward the end of the 1880s, F.W. Grant, the well known assembly leader and writer, came to Plainfield with his family and took his place among this group. (F.W. Grant’s sons, Fred and Frank, and some members of the Loizeaux family, were associated with a similar assembly in nearby Berkeley Heights – the Berkeley Heights Gospel Hall – which continued until World War II.) F.W. Grant produced The Numerical Bible while in Plainfield. Miss Emily Farmer, who assisted C.I. Scofield in the preparation of his well known reference Bible, was also in the assembly for many years. During these years, the assembly was known as Bible Truth Hall in Plainfield, but was usually called the Front Street Meeting, denoting its location in downtown Plainfield at 331 E. Front Street.

Soon after the turn of the century, Samuel Ridout, another well known author, came to Plainfield with his family, and came into fellowship. F.W. Grant and Samuel Ridout were successive editors of Help and Food. The Front Street Meeting was quite large at this time. After Mr. Ridout died in 1930, John Bloore assumed the editorship of Help and Food for twelve years. He perhaps more than anyone else was used to break down some of the party lines among brethren. The Front Street Meeting had been in the ‘exclusive’ camp, and with Mr. Bloore’s and others’ efforts, became an ‘open’ meeting.

Others in the meeting in the first half of the 1900s were James Parker; Hughes Fawcett; P. Daniel, Elie, Alfred, and Parker Loizeaux, the sons of Timothy Loizeaux; Fred and Frank Grant, the sons of F.W. Grant; the Armerding family; the Loughs; Carvers; Inglis Fleming; Ferdinand French; Walter Temple; and for a time, John Smart and R.E. Harlow. Those who ministered at the assembly comprise a veritable Who’s Who among the brethren.

Hillside Cemetery, located on the border of Scotch Plains and Plainfield, stands today as a memorial of many saints, including those listed. Their tombstones stand as a great tribute to God’s Word. The entrance of this cemetery is graced by the markers of three of the original Loizeaux family, whose inscriptions are written in French.

The Front Street Meeting built a new chapel in the neighboring town of Fanwood in 1957 and since then has been called the Terrill Road Bible Chapel. Others in leadership over the years include John Reid, Phillip Carter, John French, Ledley Perrin, Douglas Haggan, Robert Hansen, and William Patterson. The assembly has commended several people to the work of the Lord in Puerto Rico, to itinerant ministry, to Emmaus Bible College, and other areas. Terrill Road has about 110 adults and youngsters in attendance at this time.

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The assembly that meets today at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel in South Plainfield has its roots in the Front Street Meeting, discussed above. In late 1898 or early 1900, several men with their families left that ‘exclusive’ assembly and started an open meeting in a storefront – the Liberty Street Assembly. Among these were F.C. Jennings, Sydney Perrin, Walter Hardingham, Joshua D. Loizeaux, Nathan Saunders, and Nicholas and Edward Mauger.

The Baehr family moved from Bronx, NY to Plainfield in 1912. A couple named Platts lived across the street from the Baehrs and sent Mr. Perrin to visit them. He told the Baehrs about the Sunday School at Liberty Street, and the parents realized this was the place they had been looking for. This was in 1918. Conrad Baehr and his wife Myrtle later became missionaries to China.

Mr. Perrin, the son of W. L. Perrin who owned an insurance company in New York, was a Sunday School superintendent; he picked up the children and bought bus or trolley car tickets for others who lived further away. Joshua D. Loizeaux took young people to the local rescue mission to help in the assembly ministries there.

Later, the Christians moved to a larger building and became the Washington Avenue Gospel Hall in Plainfield. For many years, F.C. Jennings had a Tuesday evening Bible class at the Westfield Assembly, which was a hive-off from the Washington Avenue Meeting. He would walk the five to seven miles to Westfield for these classes, and take transportation home.

In the 1930s, the Washington Avenue Meeting moved to the Grove Street Chapel in North Plainfield. They remained there until buying property and building a chapel on Kenyon Avenue in South Plainfield in 1965, calling it Cedarcroft Bible Chapel. Leading brothers over the years at Grove Street/Cedarcroft include Frank Biffen, Rufus Hummel, James Van Duzer, Alfred Guzzetti, and many others. Kingsley Baehr is a resident worker for the assembly.

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When the Front Street Meeting broke from the ‘exclusive’ camp in the 1930s, ties between the two Plainfield meetings became strong, and there was much interaction between them. They formed monthly missionary meetings in Plainfield, alternating responsibility for the meetings. They fellowshipped regularly together for a number of years until the Front Street Meeting moved to Fanwood. The William Deans family, who had ties with both the Front Street and Grove Street meetings, left for Africa as missionaries in 1929, with a send-off from both assemblies. In 1940, the Front Street Meeting procured a printing press for the Deans in the Congo, with which to print Christian literature.

Captain Barlow, who had been a sea captain, became the New York dock captain of the Cunard Line and did much to help many missionaries with transportation and in other ways as well. He also helped start a monthly missionary meeting, probably in the early thirties, in a small meeting in Elizabeth. A light supper was served and missionary letters were read, followed by a prayer meeting. The monthly missionary meeting outgrew the chapel in Elizabeth and was moved to the larger Kenilworth Gospel Chapel (see below) with the same format, and attended by a sizable number of people from many different New Jersey assemblies.

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The roots of Woodside Chapel in Fanwood go back to the time of Walter W. Gill, who came to Westfield from Iowa to practice dentistry in the early 1900s. Mr. Gill was converted in 1918 at a Billy Sunday meeting. He longed to share the Gospel with others and began teaching in the church he attended in Westfield. Unfortunately, his message was unwanted and he was denounced for sharing God’s truth. He did, however, find a group meeting in Plainfield who believed as he did – the Washington Avenue Gospel Hall – and he began to fellowship there.

He began a Sunday School in a Norwegian section of Westfield. The group met in various homes, including the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Hansen. Some were brought to the Lord through this effort, which was followed in 1921 by evangelistic tent meetings in that area. Mr. Hugh McEwen of Philadelphia came as the evangelist and God answered prayer in the salvation of several of these Scandinavian people. The new converts formed the nucleus of the Westfield Assembly. They rented an upstairs room on Elm Street in Westfield in 1924 and began meeting together for the preaching of God’s Word, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer.

For the next twenty eight years these believers met in four different locations in Westfield, seeking to serve the Lord in any way they could. Evangelistic meetings were frequent. A.P. Gibbs used his slides to present the Gospel to children. Many were saved. A small rented store on Cacciola Place provided a spot for gathering children on Friday nights to hear and learn the Scriptures.

In the late 1940s, the YMCA in Westfield was used as a meeting place, but as it did not provide good facilities for Sunday School or Gospel meetings, the group began looking in earnest for their own quarters. God finally provided property in 1951 on Morse Avenue in Fanwood. Woodside Chapel opened its doors in January 1952. Following the passing of Walter Gill, his son John (Jack) Gill faithfully led and shepherded this assembly until his home call in the early 1990s.

In 1954, the adjacent corner lot was made available and purchased. A year later the chapel was extended to twice its length and the basement and two classrooms were finished. In 1959 and 1960, the nursery, foyer, and side classrooms were added. A new auditorium was built a decade later under the able supervision of James Perrin.

Many godly men and women shared in this outreach to the neighborhood over the years, such as Albert and Arthur Mayer. Many well known servants of the Lord have been commended from Woodside, including Len Brooks, Ed Christensen, Jack Fish, Fred Kosin, and James Stahr. Present elders are David Brooks, Beorge Dick, Eugene Graber, John Jeffers, and Alan Schetelich.

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Henry W. Redfield had been active in a denominational church in Tarrytown, New York. By the late 1870s, he had become concerned over what he felt was an unbiblical system in the church he attended. After reading the Scriptures for many months, he became convinced that he would have to take an independent position where scriptural methods and principles could be applied. A series of letters dating from 1877 set out his convictions, essentially the same as those held by the brethren, though he knew nothing of the assembly movement.

By 1882, the Redfields had moved across the Hudson River to Closter, a community in the northeastern corner of New Jersey. Mr. Redfield and his wife invited a few friends to join them in a simple observance of the Lord’s Supper, and thus an assembly was born, probably the second oldest in the state, Bible Truth Hall in Plainfield being the oldest. Harvey Wadham was also involved in establishing the assembly.

Just before the turn of the century, when several key families in the assembly were about to move a few miles south to Tenafly, it was decided to relocate the assembly to that village. The Remembrance Meeting was held in a rented library room. The Christians called their meeting place Tenafly Hall. The Sunday School met in the railroad station. The assembly was incorporated under New Jersey law in 1908. The assembly later moved to its own building – Washington Hall.

The Christians were energetic and evangelistic. Tent meetings brought many in. Others were reached through an unusual form of evangelism – some of the men conducted daily Bible classes on the commuter trains during the long ride to New York City.

Through the years there has been a steady outreach in evangelism, missions, and humanitarian service. Alfred A. Kunz, one of the elders, founded and directed the Pocket Testament League. Missionaries were sent to Angola and Italy. In 1972, Henry Redfield, Jr. became one of the founding directors of El Nathan Home, then in Buffalo and now in Missouri.

The assembly now meets at Grace Chapel at West Clinton Avenue and Tenafly Road. Elders have included Alfred Kunz, Robert Watson, and Charles Steinhofer, among many others.

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A few miles north of Newark is Kearny. The original thoughts about an assembly in Kearny began in 1892, at a time when there was a very small meeting in Newark. Some of the brethren in fellowship in the Newark Assembly decided to hold tent meetings in the town of Kearny. When people responded, the brothers not only desired to establish an assembly there, but to develop a children’s work. The assembly moved through several rented buildings in the next several years and was subjected to persecution from ‘rowdies,’ as they called their antagonists. In March 1898, a small Sunday School work began in a home.

The assembly eventually located in the Good News Chapel in Kearny, which they apparently owned. A Mr. Spencer is considered the founder of the assembly, along with Mr. John Thomson Sr. Others who helped in the work were Mr. Oliver, Mr. Miller from Portland, OR, Mr. Wilson from Willimantic, CT, and Mr. Lyon from Great Britain, who arrived in 1903.

In about 1910, the meeting place was called the Kearny Gospel Hall. At some point, a separation into two groups occurred. One group took the name Kearny Gospel Chapel and the other reverted to the name Good News Chapel. Both groups were in Kearny.

In 1979, the two works recombined into one, and the building originally housing Kearny Gospel Chapel was sold to a day care center, and the newer building that housed Good News Chapel was renovated and the work became known as Kearny Bible Chapel. The assembly continues with this name and location.

Others who have shared leadership over the years include Messrs. Shearer, John Thomson Jr., Robert Gardner Sr. George Green, George MacLachlin, Robert Turner, William Watson, Robert Gourley, John Henderson, Sal Cristo, Lawson Mitchell, Jay Allen, and Thomas J. Turner. The assembly has commended workers to Africa, Spain, and Russia. About 100 adults and children attend Kearny Bible Chapel.

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Kenilworth Gospel Chapel has an interesting history because of its involvement with the beginning of the borough of Kenilworth.

In the late 1800s, commercial development in the area west of Newark and south of Orange was underway. A clothing company was one of the largest moving into the area, employing several hundred people. But these all lived in New York City, and transportation was a real problem. So the clothing company decided to have a residential area built in what was then called the New Orange Industrial Park, and sought bids for the development and construction of 100 homes. The successful bidder was the construction company owned by James Arthur of Philadelphia.

Mr. Arthur arrived in 1898 with a group of construction men, and these men with their families and a few already living in the area, were the founders of the borough of Kenilworth. But Mr. Arthur was a Christian, associated with the brethren assemblies, and many of those he brought with him were also.

In that same year, 1898, George MacKenzie, a 33-year-old immigrant from Scotland who had been saved in a New York City mission a few years earlier, had begun teaching at a Bible Institute in Philadelphia. Largely self-taught and having no association then with assemblies, he had discovered the New Testament principal of the oneness of the body of Christ, and began teaching this, which led to his early dismissal from the school. But the Lord had led him into the acquaintance of James Arthur, perhaps a year or two earlier, who then was associated with a small Presbyterian church. Recognizing his teaching and preaching gifts, Mr. Arthur invited George MacKenzie to teach them these New Testament truths. The group soon withdrew from the Presbyterian association and formed the West Philadelphia Assembly (later known as the Lansdowne Gospel Hall).

And so it was that James Arthur brought with him to New Orange/Kenilworth a substantial New Testament church testimony. George MacKenzie, who had identified with the ‘Grant’ brethren by then, moved to the area at the request of Mr. Arthur in about 1905 and soon took up his calling as an itinerant preacher, traveling widely, and apparently living for a time in St. Louis.

In the early 1900s, it is known that a group of assembly Christians was meeting in a small building at 17th Street and Monroe Avenue; these were probably the group identified with Mr. Arthur, who are said to have met initially in various homes. In 1908, the meeting place of these Christians was located in the Council Chambers of the present municipal building.

A few years later they moved to a store at 52 South 21st Street (now Orange Avenue). In about 1933, the Christians started a Sunday School work there. Upon growing, they decided they needed their own chapel. The lot at the corner of Newark Avenue and South 23rd Street was donated to the group by Howard Gillings, and ground was broken for construction in July 1936. Kenilworth Gospel Chapel was dedicated in December of 1936.

By consistent door-to-door visitation, series of meetings once or twice a year, and the use of able speakers at the Gospel meetings, the work grew. By the beginning of 1948 they had expanded their quarters, and undertook a five-week Gospel campaign with Lester Wilson, then of Greensboro, NC . The assembly grew rapidly after that. Over the years, many additions have been made to the building, until now it extends from Newark Avenue to Passaic Avenue along 23rd Street.

Besides the MacKenzie, Arthur, and Gillings families, Mrs. Winnie Dyke is also remembered as having a strong influence in the early days of the assembly, and conducted a home Sunday School. Fred MacKenzie, son of George MacKenzie, was a strong leader in the assembly for many years. He was president of The Fields and then Christian Missions in Many Lands (CMML). He became a leader among many assemblies and was influential, with many others, in breaking down the barriers between the ‘Grant’ and ‘open’ assemblies in the area. Kenilworth has for many years been counted among the ‘open’ assemblies. Other leaders over the years have included George Sharp, Frank MacMillian, Ben Hubinger, William Baxter, Alec Carver, William Arthur, and James Arthur, Jr.

Kenilworth Gospel Chapel now numbers about 125 adults and children. The assembly has commended Bob and Joyce Clark (jointly with Maplewood Bible Chapel), who have an extensive preaching and radio ministry. Others have been commended to the Philippines and South Africa.

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The village of Maplewood was blessed with an assembly of believers as early as 1913. At about that time, several families moved to Maplewood not having brethren backgrounds, and in searching for a fellowship where Biblical truths were expounded and practiced, joined in with the new assembly and became mainstays in the work.

For a while the Christians met in rented facilities in the center of Maplewood. Subsequently they rented a store front on Springfield Avenue, the main artery in town. Gospel texts were placed in the windows, and were an effective means of spreading the Gospel. The work grew to the degree that the Maplewood Bible Chapel was built in 1938 on a triangle of land bordered by Lexington and Burnett Avenues. For a number of years following, it was perhaps one of the most progressive assemblies in the metropolitan New Jersey area. It was blessed with a host of young people, many with growing families, and many wise shepherds. The names of Low, Main, Myers, Mauger, Lough, Bellinger, Fortune, Humphries, MacKenzie, Brackenridge, Scheele, and others are part of the history of the assembly.

People still speak glowingly of the blessings derived by attending Charles Bellinger’s Bible study. Mr. Bellinger was the leading brother in establishing The Fields, forerunner of Christian Missions in Many Lands. During the 1940s and 1950s, Jack and Marge Wyrtzen and family lived in Maplewood and made the chapel their church home. Young Don Wyrtzen, who is now well known for his sacred music, started out by playing the piano in the Sunday School.

The work is not as large as it once was, but a faithful number still meet in the name of the Lord Jesus and have an outreach to the neighborhood through youth activities and DVBS. They are encouraged in the work by elders Grosvenor Rust, William Elder, Richard Magee, Lance Ellis, and Vincent D’Addio.

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Grace Chapel in Elizabeth was well underway in 1932 at 357 Morris Avenue, and known then as Bible Truth Hall. In that year, another assembly that had been meeting in a store front merged with Bible Truth Hall. James C. Manahan had built the Hall, with a meeting room on the first floor and an apartment on the second. When he died, he willed the building to the assembly. In leadership have been Messrs. Manahan, H. Carpenter, J. Troutman, Gibson, Avery, and now Bill Kother. Owen Hoffman was commended by Grace Chapel to the Lord’s work in Georgia. The assembly of about 25 people has an outreach to inner city youth, transporting up to 25 each week to the Sunday School.

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The assembly now at Central Bible Chapel in Palisades Park in the New York City metropolitan area, began in 1907 in a store front a few blocks from the present location at 14 W. Central Boulevard. Peter Steenland, Harry Ackerman, and Rollo Steenland were the leaders in forming the assembly, having left the multi-denominational Union Church of Palisades Park, which had become liberal. At the store front, it was known as the Palisades Park Gospel Hall and took its current name after moving. Active in leadership after these first men were L. Stanley Ford, George T. Mortland, Harold Buirkle, Edward Armstrong, David Swaim, and Ned Stephens. The assembly has commended workers to Paraguay, Poland, and the Phillippines. About 45 adults and youngsters attend Central Bible Chapel today.

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Correspondence shows that believers had been meeting as an assembly without a specific name in the city of Hackensack in the New York metropolitan area since about 1905. How the assembly began has been lost from memory. Prior to incorporating in 1940 as Hackensack Gospel Chapel, the believers had met in rented space on State Street and on Main Street in the city, and probably in other locations as well. In 1940, the Christians erected their own building at the corner of Euclid and Terrace Avenues. At that time, there were no recognized elders, but the trustees for the incorporation were William Walsh, Collins Chivers, Florent Feltz, Wesley Schierloh, and Otto Speck, so these men would have been among the leadership.

The assembly was active during this period. It sponsored a 15 minute radio program each Sunday morning; regularly distributed literature in the neighborhood, and had a Sunday School of over 100 students at times. Only a few adult neighbors would come to the meetings. In the late 1950s, desiring an outreach into the neighborhood, the believers invited Ernest Woodhouse to come as a resident evangelist.

Expansion of the building was impractical, so the believers agreed unanimously to relocate. At about the same time, a Family Bible Hour on Sunday mornings decided upon. The elders at that time were Benjamin Boonstra, Ernest Chick, Florent Feltz, Nazar Nazarian, Meno Nershi, William Walsh, and Cecil Whitaker. A site was chosen in a suburban area near Hackensack. The opening of Valley Bible Chapel, in Washington Township Bergen County, was on January 1, 1961.

The assembly has commended workers to the field in India, Bolivia, and Colombia. Local residents have come to know Christ as Savior, and a strong youth program has seen conversions. About 130 attend Valley Bible Chapel. Current elders are John Molnar, J. Leslie Campbell, Kenneth Biswurm, and Robert Hayes.

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The assembly now at Brighton Avenue Bible Chapel began in about 1930 on North Park Street in East Orange and was known in the beginning as The Gospel Chapel. R.H. Muir was the principal person in the start-up, and has been followed in leadership by Alfred Moffit, Don Small, and Michael Pongracz. The assembly has commended John and Eleanor Sims to the work in Zimbabwe, and Bob Young to Zambia. About 55 adults and young people are in Brighton Avenue Bible Chapel today.

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Rutherford Bible Chapel in the New York metropolitan area, began as an assembly in homes in the Rutherford area. In 1901, the Christians rented the basement of the Public Library and were known as Library Hall assembly. In 1915, they moved into a rented store at 37 Park Avenue. In 1926 the Christians moved to 118 Union Avenue, where they were known as the Rutherford Gospel Hall. In 1970, they purchased their own building at 161 West Passaic Avenue, and took the name Rutherford Bible Chapel.

Arthur Mauger, Alwyn Ball, Lyman C. Hershey, and Ernest Hageman were those who began the assembly. In addition to these, Walter C. Nearpass, Walter L. Nearpass, John Barlow, Henri Larrieu, and Gerard DeMatteo have been in leadership. Rutherford Bible Chapel has commended several persons to ministries in the U.S. and Canada. About 125 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

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A few believers in fellowship at Grace Gospel Chapel in Jersey City, desiring to start a work nearer their area a few miles north, began Gospel Tent work in Union City with the help of Thomas Baird. Souls were saved and the group began meeting as an assembly in store fronts in Union City in October 1914. Dirk Janssen, Arthur Bowman, and Samuel Donnelly are among the names remembered as initiating the assembly. Later the believers met in a loft over a machine shop at 522 – 30th Street, Union City. They took the name Bethel Gospel Chapel and incorporated in April 1930. Finally, on October 1934 they erected a chapel at 3124 Summit Avenue, Union City, where they still meet.

Others in leadership have included Harold Brown, Franklin Spangler, Howard Klenk, Fred Holst, Edward Zogheb, Franklin Brown, and Pasquale Garafalo. Several from the assembly have been commended to the Lord’s work abroad. With the influx of Spanish-speaking peoples from Central and South America, the assembly is now bilingual. About 40 to 50 adults are in fellowship, with about 10 to 15 youngsters.

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Mountain Ridge Bible Chapel in Berkeley Heights began in 1962. The initial group of about six families, from assemblies in nearby towns, met at that time at the Mountain Park School for Sunday morning worship, Sunday School, and Bible Hour. All other services were held in the downstairs of the Howard’s home, which had been finished off by the brethren as a large meeting room. A week-long series of children’s meetings conducted by Mel Wistner attracted as many as 80 neighborhood children, giving ample indication of a wide open door for evangelism in the area. In 1966, the congregation, numbering about 60, moved into its own new building at 763 Mountain Avenue, its present location. In 1976, the congregation had increased to about 125. Five families were active in the beginning of the work: Alec and Nancy Collette, Robert and Elizabeth Howard, Edward and Florence Kretzmer, and George and Alice Ingalls – all sent out with the blessing of the Woodside Chapel in Fanwood – and Edward and Christina Whittle sent with the blessing of the Kenilworth Gospel Chapel. Presently, 130 adults and children make up the fellowship. They are led by Scott Allen, Paul Gilkenson, Allen Goetz, Robert Howard, Douglas Tremper, and Paul Trimmer as elders. David and Judy Shoop are resident workers serving not only Mountain Ridge but also the many area assemblies in a teaching ministry. The assembly has co-commended and supported workers to Paraguay and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

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A few miles from Berkeley Heights is Summit, and there the Summit Gospel Hall existed for many years, finally disbanding in about 1957. Its time of origin is not remembered, but it was in existence by 1935, and probably many years before that. Leading brothers were Messrs. McClay, Glasgon, J.S. Hyde, and R. Collette.

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The New Jersey assemblies retain much of their corporate fellowship. Besides the monthly missionary meeting at Kenilworth, there is an annual Memorial Day outing established by Alex Breckenridge of the Maplewood Bible Chapel in the 1920s. At one time this outing pulled in up to 1500 people, and still gets 500 or more. The Women’s semi-annual Missionary Conference is shared by several assemblies. Grace Gospel Chapel in Jersey City has a rally the 2nd Saturday of each month, and the Kearny Bible Chapel has a rally the 4th Saturday of each month.

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The assembly of Christians presently meeting at the Fifth Avenue Chapel in Belmar, a town on the New Jersey shore south of New York City, originated in the mid 1920s by brethren from the metropolitan area of northern New Jersey and New York. These Christians desired to Remember the Lord during their vacations at the shore. A small store was secured for this purpose on South Main Street in Neptune near the old Neptune High School.

In about this time, several families moved to this area and an assembly was formed on an all-year basis. The home of August Handle in Asbury Park served as a meeting place. Mr. and Mrs. Dussman and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hart from Eatontown, Mr. and Mrs. Nunzio Pizzulli from Long Branch, Miss Gertrude Ellliot from Bradley Beach, and Mr. and Mrs. James Wilson, made up the assembly.

About 1925, a room was secured in the American Legion Home on Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, available for Sunday morning meetings. Thursday evening meetings were held in homes. When the Legion moved to Sewell Avenue, the assembly met in a room there. Robert Hazel and Stan Hart were saved and came into fellowship in 1928.

To conduct Gospel meetings, the Christians realized they must have larger quarters, and rented a store front on Ridge Avenue in Neptune. The assembly grew, and many of the well known preachers of the time preached there. In 1935, they secured a larger store on Seventh Avenue, west of the Bradley Beach railroad station. It was at this time that monthly ministry meetings were inaugurated, continuing until about 1970. Annual conferences were held until about 1973.

In 1940, the Christians purchased and refurbished an unused Episcopal Church building on Fifth Avenue in Belmar, where they are still located as the Fifth Avenue Chapel. F.C. Hart, A.T. Thorn, and Robert Hazel were mainstays of the assembly during the war years. Elie Loizeaux and Ed Turner were prominent in leadership later. Enlargement of the building was done in 1958 and again in 1980.

In the mid 1960s, the Christians helped establish Bethany Bible Chapel in the Silverton area of Toms River, 25 miles south of Belmar.

In about 1970, the committee of Christians Missions in Many Lands (CMML) purchased property in nearby Wall Township and moved into it in 1971. The move has been mutually profitable, because the Fifth Avenue Chapel has provided a convenient assembly for missionaries on furlough, and it has given the assembly a world view of missions.

Fifth Avenue Chapel has commended workers to Zimbabwe, France, Peru, South Africa, and Ireland. The assembly has about 140 adults and youngsters in attendance today.

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In 1953, a meeting place was erected by an assembly meeting in Toms River. That unnamed assembly lasted a few years. In 1964, a series of evangelistic meetings were held at the Fifth Avenue Chapel. Some people from the Brick Town and Toms River areas received Christ as savior at these meetings. These new Christians needed to be taught in the things of God, so Robert Hazel was asked to lead a weekly home Bible study, which continued into 1965. Then the Christians asked Boyd Nicholson from Canada to come for an evangelistic campaign.

At about this time, a children’s work had been started in a home and needed more room. The Christians procured space in a store, and a 6-12 Club was begun. Mel Wistner, the chalk artist, took the first series and seven children received the Lord. This encouraged the Christians to begin a new testimony in the Brick Town area. Thirty believers met as an assembly in June 1965 in the Britts Department Store community room, calling themselves the Brick Town Bible Chapel. In December, they moved to a home for the Sunday meetings and used Osbornville Elementary School for the children’s meetings.

Adam Miller and William Wilson were the acknowledged leaders of the assembly at that time. They found a choice piece of land on Church Road, Toms River, and the Christians purchased it. At that time, the name of the assembly was changed to Bethany Bible Chapel. While waiting for construction, the assembly met in a church building in Herbertsville for about a year. In May 1967, Bethany had its first meeting in the new chapel.

James Bechtle, Frank Jelley, Charles Myers, Mark Kolchin, and Dave Collette have been among the elders over the years. Bethany Bible Chapel has commended workers to the Lord’s field in Zambia and the U.S.A.

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Community Bible Fellowship in Beachwood, near Toms River, was formed in 1971 through the efforts of Rod Conover, John Wenteler, Gary Walter, and Bob Carver. Not a hive-off from another assembly, the group met initially in the Conover home in Toms River, then in several schools until the current building on Compass Avenue was purchased. Over 400 adults and youngsters attend Community Bible Fellowship.

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Bethel Bible Chapel in Red Bank a town inland from Long Branch, began in 1965, a hive-off from the Long Branch Gospel Hall. The assembly was started by G. Anderson, Pat Truglia, and R. Tirado. The latter two have been the elders. Bethel Bible Chapel has commended Robert Billings to work in the assembly, and David Dunlap to ministry in Florida. About 70 adults and children are in the assembly.

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There were Italian-speaking assemblies in Orange, Long Branch, Hoboken, Jersey City, and Hackensack in the 1950s. The believers meeting at Long Branch Gospel Hall and Livingston Gospel Hall today are primarily of Italian descent who now conduct their meetings in English. (See Ethnic section for a discussion of the extensive Italian work in the U.S. and Canada.)

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The assembly meeting today at Carter Road Bible Chapel in Princeton began in Trenton in about 1870. Mrs. Esther Hyde, Harry Matlack, Fanny Barlow, Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Jaeger, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Sorter, Samuel Hannah, and Ira Fisher were among those who were involved in the early days of the assembly. Meeting first in a building on North Broad and Perry Streets in Trenton, the Christians moved later to a building on Bank Street, then into the Old Trenton Academy. After that for many years until 1932, the assembly met in the library of the WCTU building on East State Street, taking the name Library Hall. When forced to vacate, the assembly built Woodside Chapel at Huff and Brinton Avenues, Trenton. Evangelist Samuel Stewart was associated with the assembly for a time at Woodside Chapel.

In 1973, the Christians relocated to 193 Carter Road in Princeton, its present location. Leaders over the years have been W.S. Jaeger, Samuel Sorter, Edward Ristow, T. Bain Jackson, Samuel Hannah, Elwood Matlack, Ron Marchant, and Norman Fiess. Carter Road Bible Chapel has commended workers to Greece, Papua New Guinea, and ministry within the U.S.

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Hamilton Bible Fellowship in the town of Hamilton near Trenton began in 1991 as a hive-off from Carter Road Bible Chapel. Before coming to its current meeting place at Langtree School, Whatley Road, the assembly met at 5 Snowball Lane in Hamilton. Harold Neil, Sr., Harold Neil Jr., and Thomas Freeman were those who started the assembly, and who have shared the leadership. Hamilton Bible Fellowship has about 20 adults and youngsters in attendance.

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Marmora Gospel Chapel in the town of Marmora on the New Jersey coast south of Atlantic City, started in 1963 and has remained since then at its location on Lyndhurst Road. Ed Richmond and Raymond Henry were the principals in getting it started. In addition to those, Ed Smullen and Gilbert Leeds have been in leadership in the small assembly.

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An Atlantic City assembly began in 1920 through the efforts of James Kelly and a Mr. Smith, meeting then on Maryland Avenue as the Atlantic City Gospel Hall. The assembly moved in about 1940 to Ventnor, still in the Atlantic City area, where a Mrs. Thomas purchased a fraternity house at Troy and Monmouth Avenue for the Gospel Hall. The active workers there were Louie Villari, David and Jessie Phillips, Don and June Phillips, Lou and Arlene Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Crawford, Mrs. Thomas and her son Charlie, Edna Williard, and a Mrs. Felsberg.

Sometime after that, the assembly moved to the Margate area of Atlantic City, and was located at Ventnor and Washington Avenues. From there, two assemblies developed. One became the Longport Gospel Hall at 2800 Atlantic Avenue, in which William Moon, Jessie and Arthur Davenport, John Fannan, Walter Brown, Nelson Williard, the Haughks, the Sunderlands, and Angus Weir were early leaders. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the leadership was Gustave Semrau, Roy Morrison, and Edward Niebch. The present overseers are Kenneth McCullough, Albert Amadio, and Todd Cherry. About 60 adults and children are in Longport Gospel Hall now.

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Linwood Gospel Chapel also derived from the Atlantic City Gospel Hall and is on New Road and Pierce Avenue in the town of Linwood in the Atlantic City area. Jim Kelly and Angus Wier were associated with Linwood in its early days. Other leaders over the years include Messrs. Bryson, Sunderland, Davenport, Wagner, Amos, Haugh, Bateman, Cook, and Greer. Linwood Gospel Chapel has commended a worker to Japan and has about 70 adults and youngsters in attendance.

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The Hammonton Assembly in the village of Hammonton, half way between Philadelphia and Atlantic City, is remembered to have existed in the 1930s. Bob Stark and the Brownlees were leading families there.

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The earliest record of an assembly in Camden, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, is in conjunction with a series of Gospel meetings advertised as: ‘Free Lectures on the Future of the Human Race, Illustrated from a Large Chart,’ convened by William Beveridge and Alexander Lamb in September 1909.

This seems to be the root of the assembly which met in a rented room at the intersection of Broadway and Walnut Streets, for records show that on two successive Sundays, their total offering went to the support of the two mentioned servants of the Lord. Two further moves occurred shortly thereafter – the first to 1259 Kaighn Avenue in September 1910 for one year, and the second to 2nd and Pearl Streets for six years. The assembly purchased a former Episcopalian building at 915 North Front Street in North Camden in October 1917, where it remained for the next 44 years. The assembly incorporated as the Gospel Hall Association in 1917, and became known as the Camden Gospel Hall. Also in 1917, Mr. and Mrs. John McKay became the first commended workers from this assembly, serving in the West Indies.

Those signing the Articles of Incorporation in 1917, and thus who were probably among the leaders of the assembly, were James and Hugh Brown, D.H. Oliver, Alex Morton, Herbert Staats, and O.R. Ferguson. Other names appearing in the records of this time include J. Rothwell, Anthony Wilson, B. Brown, J.W. Snyder, and Robert Stark.

Herbert Rue was saved in 1921 through contact with the assembly, and became a respected elder until his death in 1975. His co-worker Elwin DuBell was converted at the same time. In August 1924, William Warke was commended from the Camden assembly for ministry in the Gospel; Robert Surgenor was his understudy for many years. Others saved and becoming stalwarts in the assembly were Jack and May Draper and their son Robert. Such Gospel preachers as John Ferguson, Fred Nugent, Hector Alves, and Archie Stewart were among those who ministered at the assembly in the 1920s and 1930s. Andrew Harley in the 1930s and 1940s, and Charles Strom after 1950, were among the respected elders in the assembly.

Merritt, William, and David Curran and Eugene Higgins are among the many taking active leadership roles at the Camden Gospel Hall. Eugene Higgins was commended by the assembly to Gospel ministry in 1974. Active Gospel efforts in the 1950s and 1960s included weekly Saturday visits to the Philadelphia Home for the Indigent. Outdoor Gospel meetings were held for years at Broadway and Sycamore Streets, often on Sunday evenings just before the assembly Gospel meetings. Herbert Rue would often illustrate the outdoor message with chalk texts on the sidewalk. Ruth Fisher and Eleanor Cunningham witnessed to the women of the Spanish families then moving into north Camden. Sunday School outreaches were made into the areas of Grange and Haddonfield.

The deteriorating condition of both the Gospel Hall and the neighborhood led to the purchase of a lot on Caroline Avenue in the Pennsauken area north of Camden. Building was commenced in 1961, and the new Pennsauken Gospel Hall was completed in 1963. The assembly continues today at the same address.

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Barrington is on the south side of Camden. As early as 1912, several believers, including the Hocking family, lived in Barrington and traveled together via train, ferry and trolley from Barrington to Philadelphia to Remember the Lord with the believers at 20th and Dickinson, the so-called Downtown Meeting. Several of these men traveled to work together as well. They would bring their Bibles and have a Bible reading on the train. Gustav Eisle, a neighbor, traveled with them and became interested. He asked to join the readings and was soon saved.

Later cottage meetings were held in the homes of these believers by William Beveridge. The number of believers in this group grew during the period 1913 to 1915. On June 6, 1915, the group of about 25 believers met as an assembly for the first time in the Barrington Fire Hall at Haines and Second. This was the start of the Barrington Gospel Hall.

In 1919 or 1920, a church building on Kingston Avenue became available for use. It was bought by William Anderson and the assembly met there from 1920 through 1997. Some of the early overseers were William Moon, Samuel Hocking, David McClintock, and Tom McCobb. In 1928, Gospel meetings by John Conway and R.T. Halliday saw a large number saved. In another series in 1933 by Robert Young, William Scott was saved and who had a great influence on the assembly in the future. Shortly after that series, Robert Young moved to Camden for a series and saw others reached, including some who would make up the future of the Barrington assembly.

A strong bond has existed between the two assemblies at Pennsauken and Barrington through the years. Their histories in many ways are interwoven. Much of the recent growth at Barrington is attributable to Gene Higgins in his outreach work each summer. Some of the names of those who were a help to the assembly during its early years and who were instrumental in the preservation of the testimony include William Beveridge, George Duncan, David Oliver, Fred Watson, Robert Telfer, James McCullough, David Calderhead, John Watt, W.P. Douglas, Clay Fite, and the McEwens and Kellers.

The Barrington Assembly sponsored a New Years Conference through the 1930s, at which time responsibility was taken over by the Camden assembly. The Conference was held for many years at the Haddonfield Heights town hall and then the Haddonfield Heights high school. William Scott was a leader in the assembly for many years, and served as Correspondent and Sunday School superintendent; he was a gifted and godly man who steered the assembly through some difficult times as well as times of growth. A.J. Higgins is the Correspondent at present.

The Barrington Gospel Hall on Kingston Avenue was sold in 1997 and a new building was occupied in 1999 at the corner of Barrington and Trenton Avenues. The believers met in the Legion Hall on Lord’s Day in the interim.

Sources: Questionnaire responses and other correspondence A Condensed History of Kenilworth, written on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the town in 1957 Article in The Trentonian, 3 January 1948, p. 10 History of Berkeley Heights, 1977, pp. 251, 252 Fifth Avenue Chapel, Year of Jubilee, 1941-1991 A History of Woodside Chapel (Fanwood), author not identified; written perhaps in 1973 One Hundred Years of Testimony for the Lord (Terrill Road Bible Chapel), by John Reid, Help and Food, Winter 1970-1971 Valley Bible Chapel History, by Meno Nershi, 1998 Looking Backward, by Mary A. Harry, January 1946 Our Heritage: Assembly History in the Philadelphia Area, March 7, 1999; by David Curran and A.J. Higgins Letters of Interest, June 1948, p. 17; June 1950, p.26; November 1953, p. 3; May 1983, p. 16

New York

Buffalo Assembly Hall 1875–>Blasdell (1888), Berkshire (1929), Kensington (1936), Elmwood (1951), Cold Spring (1963), Amherst (1974)

Perhaps the first assembly in the state was started in Buffalo in 1875 by Edward Fairbairn, a Scottish immigrant who worked in secular employment all his life. The group he gathered together for Bible studies and prayer first met to Break Bread in a rented second floor room on Main street in Buffalo. The Joseph Morton family joined the group in 1877, followed by Alexander Tweedley and John Townsend. These Christians were evangelistic and spread the Gospel into the newly formed Village of Blasdell. The first three to preach there were Messrs. Fairbairn, Tweedley, and Townsend.

As numbers increased, the Christians moved to Allen Street in downtown Buffalo, and then to Florida Street. In 1877 the assembly acquired a brick cottage at 111 Elmwood Avenue and called it Assembly Hall. A basement was added, and a second floor with a caretaker’s apartment. The apartment later became a place where visiting missionaries could stay.

The Buffalo Assembly Hall later spawned three other assemblies: Blasdell Gospel Chapel in 1888; Berkshire Avenue Chapel in 1929; and Cold Spring Bible Chapel in 1963.

Elmwood Gospel Chapel 1951

Assembly Hall changed its name to Elmwood Gospel Chapel in 1951. Elmwood Gospel Chapel was one of the original founding and participating assemblies in the origins of Camp Li-Lo-Li in 1952. In 1964, Elmwood closed its doors because the neighborhood had become dangerous and joined with the Berkshire Avenue Chapel pending purchase of property in an area where most of its people lived.

Amherst Bible Chapel 1974

They located a lot in Amherst and erected the Amherst Bible Chapel. In 1974, they parted from Berkshire and moved into their new building.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a severe economic depression in the Buffalo area forced about half the assembly to move because of job transfers. However, the assembly continued, and has slowly grown from its lowest point. About 60 people attend the Family Bible Hour at this time. Over the years, leaders have included Edward Fairbairn, Alexander Tweedley, John Townsend, George Lord, George Gibson, Carlton Clapp, James Virtue, Harry Thompson, Alvin Sauer, Edwin Monroe, David Ednie, Robert Parker, Samuel Brady, George Boggess, Charles Parsons, David McCulloch, Melville Northrop, and Clyde Tyson.

A large number of workers have been commended from Amherst Bible Chapel and its antecedents, to mission fields and full time work, perhaps more than any other North American assembly. One of these workers was Abigail Townsend Luff, the well-known “Sister Abigail,” commended in about 1905 for full-time ministry to El Nathan Home, since moved to Marble Hill, MO. Sister Abigail was a great influence in the assembly in its days at 111 Elmwood Avenue.

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Kensington Gospel Hall 1936

Berkshire Avenue Chapel in Buffalo began in the Kensington area in rented space in the Knights Lodge on Bailey Avenue near Shirley. It consisted in its early days mainly of believers from Assembly Hall and was called Kensington Gospel Meeting at that time. The believers changed the name to Kensington Gospel Hall in approximately 1936 when they purchased a frame church building at the corner of Berkshire and Suffolk Streets. In about 1938, a fire destroyed the building, and the assembly met with the neighboring Calvary Baptist Church while the new semi-basement part of a future chapel was built.

Berkshire Avenue Chapel 1952-1992

Early in 1952, a second floor with additional lower rooms was constructed. The name became Berkshire Avenue Chapel at this time. From 1964 through 1974, the Elmwood Gospel Chapel believers joined with them, a period remembered as very profitable.

Leaders in the earlier history of Berkshire Avenue Chapel include Wallace Logan (when on furlough from Africa), Paul Sacher, Walter Lord, Sam Carson, Sr., George Gibson, John Hynd, and Walter Holler. Since then, elders include William Sacher, Harry Thompson, Phillip Ensmenger, David Bell, G. Stewart Timm, Clarence Bunce, Floyd Crittendon, Otto Kuehliewind, Rolland Walker, Jack Pinkham, Les Paulson, Lee Kiddy, H. James Thompson, Harry Chang, Fred Pohle, Bill Pohle, Ken Pohle, Don Santucci, Michael Johnson, and Paul Ranbler.

Commended and co-commended workers were sent to the Philippines, Nigeria, and Colombia. Otis and Geraldine Tillman were commended to inner-city Buffalo. Berkshire Avenue Chapel discontinued in 1992.

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Grace Chapel, Jamestown, NY 1951-present

South of Buffalo in the western part of New York state is Jamestown. Grace Chapel in Jamestown began in 1951 in a home at 141 Beechview Avenue. Gunnard Lindberg, Donald Allison, Merrill Allison, John Cole, and James Bottomley were those involved in the start-up of that assembly. These and James Loizeaux, Kenneth Cole, and Harold Collette have been its leaders. The Grace Chapel assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s field in Puerto Rico. About 30 adults and youngsters attend Grace Chapel.

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Congress Avenue Gospel Chapel, Rochester, NY 1916-present

An assembly in Rochester began in 1916 as a result of efforts by Harold Harper and John Bramhall. The Christians first met on St. Paul Boulevard, then moved into a building at the corner of Carter and Hearld Streets, where they took the name Carter Street Assembly. After that they moved to 195 Congress Avenue, the current location, where they took the name Congress Avenue Gospel Chapel for a time, before changing to Congress Avenue Bible. Some of the leaders over the years have been Bob Westfall, Ted Larter, Vernon Larter, Jim Boyd, Mel Northrup, and Harvey Rodger. Two assemblies have hived off from Congress: Northgate Bible Chapel and Crossroads Bible Fellowship. Congress Avenue Bible Chapel has about 200 adults and youngsters. The assembly has commended workers to Zambia, Colombia, Zaire, and Papua New Guinea. Randy Amos and Ray Blais and their families were commended for full time work at Northgate and elsewhere.

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Northgate Bible Chapel, Rochester, NY 1965-present

Northgate Bible Chapel in Rochester began in 1965 at 240 McGuire Road, its present location. A hive-off from Congress Avenue Gospel Chapel, it was begun by the families of Robert Westfall, Earl Clark, Andrew Greer, Ted Larter, Orville Musclow, James Boyd, and Gladys Valcore. Leaders have included the six men named above, with James Nieboer, Herm Klingenberger, and Dale Brooks. The active assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s service in Colombia, Zaire, and Zambia, and to serve with International Crusades. Ray and Becky Blais are commended for youth work at Northgate and at Camp Li-Lo-Li. About 160 adults and children attend Northgate Bible Chapel.

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Crossroads Bible Fellowship, Rochester, NY 1996-present

Crossroads Bible Fellowship in Rochester began Breaking Bread in 1996 in the home of Chuck and Mary Gianotti. The meeting moved to the Norman Howard School at 725 Pinnacle Road, Henrietta on Easter Sunday, 1997. The assembly began with the blessing of Congress Avenue Bible Chapel, from which most of the original members came; the Gianottis moved down from Canada. The Gianottis, Rick and Jennifer Myles, Bill and Kelly Wendlandt, Jim Mayer, and Larry Haag were the principals involved in the start-up and are the recognized leaders of the assembly. About 45 adults and youngsters attend Crossroads Bible Fellowship.

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Schenectady Believers Assembly, Schenectady, NY 1913

Prior to World War I, the Schenectady Believers Assembly met on Vischer Avenue in the Bellevue section of Schenectady. From 1923 to 1940, the Christians met in rented quarters at the IOOF Hall at Broadway and Thompson Streets.

Bellevue Gospel Chapel 1940-present

From 1940 to the present, they have been in their own quarters at Bellevue Gospel Chapel in Rotterdam at 2702 Guilderland Avenue. Alex Cooke is considered to be the person starting the Believers Assembly on Vischer Avenue, while Robert Wallace and Arnold Button initiated the move to Broadway and Thompson Streets, with Robert Wallace and Albert Davids instrumental in the move to Guilderland Avenue.

Those active in leadership include Albert Davids, Walter Delap, Harvey Wilson, Fred O’Bryon, Earl Brinkman, Clayton Anderson, Abraham Laurenzo, Burnell Fields, Doug Lewis, Rick Strohm, Bill Crecca, and John Smith. Bellevue Gospel Chapel has commended workers to the field in Zambia. About 100 adults and children attend the assembly.

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Shiloh Gospel Chapel, White Plains, NY 1955-present

Shiloh Gospel Chapel in White Plains has its roots in a Sunday School work begun in that city in the fall of 1955. Sanford Fray and others of Grace Gospel Chapel in New York City developed this outreach. When a good number of children were coming, weekly Bible studies were started, and from that the Lord’s Supper began in August 1958.

The assembly has moved through several locations and now occupies a chapel at 27 Juniper Hill Road. Stanley Fray and others have shared in the leadership after Sanford Fray relocated. The assembly has about 50 adults and six children.

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Community Bible Church, Ossining, NY 1970-present

Community Bible Church of Northern Westchester, at 301 Chadeayne Road in the village of Ossining on the Hudson River, started in 1970 as a hive-off from both Bethany Chapel in Yonkers and the White Plains Gospel Chapel. Ten families, including those of Tom Dunkerton, Nathan E. Dunkerton, Fred Vesperman, and Paul Winter, began the new assembly. Nathan Dunkerton and David Dunkerton have been the active leaders; David Dunkerton serves as the full-time worker. The assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s service with A.I.M. Kenya and to Colombia; to local ministry with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade, and World Concern; and to Men’s Mission in Alabama. Grace Sidebotham has been commended for neighborhood Bible studies. Community Bible Church has about 135 adults and youngsters in regular attendance.

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Bethany Chapel, Yonkers, NY 1904-present

An assembly now meeting at Bethany Chapel in Yonkers began in about 1904 in South Yonkers, meeting in homes on St. Andrews Place. Charles Young and his brother-in-law E. Morgan are considered to be the principal founders. Charles was raised at Marion Hall, in Dublin, Ireland, and married Molly Morgan, from England. Other founders or early elders include Arthur Clarke (different from the author and missionary to Asia), O.E. Dunkerton (born in Dunkerton, IA, saved in Seattle, ministered in Minneapolis and Detroit, died in 1973), David Munro, and David Tully (who owned an insurance compa