Table of Contents

 

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.

 

Texas

 

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 Awing 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 Ryan 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 Anthony 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

 


Oklahoma

 

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 CmCullagh, 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

 


Arkansas

 

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


Louisiana

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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

 

 


Mississippi

 

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

 


Kentucky

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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

 


Tennessee

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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


Alabama

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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


Florida

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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 inter­ested. 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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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 an­other 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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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 in1888.

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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.

* * * * * * *

 

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


Georgia

 

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 prop­erty 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 Tes­tament assemblies among the black popula­tion 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 Savan­nah 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 Wipper 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

 


Index

 

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

 

(20,950)

 

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