Outreach in the Midwest

History Book
History Book
History Book

The Apostolic Faith work spread into the midwestern United States through a number of different avenues. Many of the early contacts were results of the literature ministry.

In 1910, tent meetings were held in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, by workers from Portland. A minister and his wife who were affiliated with a holiness church in the State of Washington, James and Edna Damron, attended the services. They had been seeking a people who preached all of the Bible doctrines, and the Spirit of God witnessed to them that the Apostolic Faith people were sound in doctrine.

Workers from the Kansas City mission prepare to hold a street meeting in 1918. The old 1913 Cadillac was rebuilt by the Kansas City members.

The Damrons went to Portland, where they remained for about a year, and then they felt that the Lord was calling them to take the Gospel to the Midwest. Florence Crawford encouraged them with the words, “There is not a tremor in my soul but that you will remain true.” They settled for a time in Batesville, Arkansas, where they opened a Gospel hall. They put up a sign, “The Apostolic Faith Rescue Mission.” However, it seemed there was little interest in the Gospel in that area, so they wrote to Florence Crawford, who directed them to relocate to Kansas City, Missouri. All they knew of Kansas City was what they had observed as they passed through on the train. The depot was in the slum district, and coal soot covered everything. Edna Damron felt she could not take her little children to that dirty city, but her husband said, “Of course we are going.” The first Sunday in Kansas City, his wife prayed until the Lord put such a love in her heart for that place that she loved it for the rest of her life.

Kansas City workers preparing to go out for a street meeting. James Damron is in the driver’s seat; his wife, Edna, is second from the right on the front row.

In 1912, they rented a little hall, holding their first meeting on a Saturday night. That night, a drunkard who had terribly opposed his Christian wife, came to the meeting and was saved. They felt it was a confirmation that the Lord wanted them there. The Lord blessed, and many were saved that first winter.

They bought a secondhand Cadillac, lengthened the chassis, and built a Gospel car to carry twelve workers and a street organ. Street meetings were held in the surrounding towns. In some locations they held brush arbor meetings. The Gospel was taken to various locations in Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. People who received the literature in these and other outreach endeavors in the Midwest were pointed to the Kansas City church. At times, the workers went to other locations to hold meetings, and more souls were saved.  

The tabernacle in Edwardsville, Illinois.

An Apostolic Faith work began in the area of St. Louis, Missouri, through the efforts of a woman who went from the headquarters church to Illinois to distribute literature and to hold tent meetings in Murphysboro. A family was saved, and through their efforts and the support of workers from Kansas City and other places, an Apostolic Faith work was begun. In 1916, most of the families moved to St. Louis and established a church there. During World War I, several families moved from St. Louis to Portland, but a mission-type church was maintained in various rented locations in downtown St. Louis for many years. In 1953, a church building was purchased in a residential area, and the group was happy to have their own facility. In September of 1995, the congregation relocated once again to a new building on Kerth Road.

Loyce Carver and his wife, Mary, in the cafeteria line at a Midwest camp meeting.

In all parts of the Midwest, there were families who loved the doctrines and standards of the Apostolic Faith, and longed for a branch church to be established near them. There were frequent requests for workers to come and hold meetings in various localities. Over the years, some of these small groups became official branch churches of the Apostolic Faith organization.

A number of mission-type churches were maintained in rented locations throughout the Midwest.

In August of 1961, the first Midwest Apostolic Faith camp meeting was held on a rented campground in Edwardsville, Illinois. In the summer of 1969, the yearly gathering was relocated to a campground in Murphysboro, Illinois. Currently, the annual event is held near Fredericktown, Missouri, and is attended by visitors from all parts of the United States.

The children’s choir at a recent Midwest camp meeting.