Assembly of God Church

formerly Pentecostal Gospel Tabernacle
Van Wert, Iowa
Assembly of God
"A Century of Memories" of Van Wert, Iowa
1880 - 1980, Pp. 31 - 34

In September 1916, a large tent meeting was held by Rev. George and Nellie Shepherd on ground where the schoolhouse was later built. Others who held meetings were Rev. and Mrs. Joe Burnett and Rev. and Mrs. William Burchett. Mr. William Branscomb donated land and in the fall of 1916, a small church was built directly north across the street from the present Assembly of God Church. Charter members included:
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Scadden Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Parmer Mr. and Mrs. George Fry
Mr. and Mrs. John Woods Mr. and Mrs. Clair Parmer Mrs. Flossie Ramsey
Dollie Parmer Vern Parmer Mr. and Mrs. Bill Branscomb
Mr. and Mrs. John Pierce Mr. and Mrs. W.E. Fry Mr. and Mrs. Dave Fry
Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Lee Mr. and Mrs. Fred Fry Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Stubbs
Mrs. Etta Fry Fannie Fry Ellen, Iva and Olive Collins
Albert and Clarence (Bud) Fry
A new church was dedicated in June, 1952 on the lot south of the tabernacle. Georgia Cox, a dedicated member, was the primary promoter in getting the church built. Labor and material for the new church were mostly donated.

On September 22, 1958, the name Pentecostal Gospel Tabernacle was legally changed to simply, Assembly of God.

After tremendous growth in Sunday School attendance, the need for more and larger classrooms became evident. After much planning and taking of bids, it was finally decided that Duane Otto of Van Wert and Steve DeVore of Osceola, working together under D & O Builders, would contract the building of a new addition to the church.

Groundbreaking of the new addition was celebrated April 9, 1978 at 12:00 noon, with the Rev. Ulestead as speaker of the day. The new addition was finished the same year with an approximate cost of $32,000. Rev. Steve Eastman was pastor at this time.
As nearly as can be recollected, the pastors of the church are as follows:
Bro. Law Elmer Simbro Ida Scadden
(late 20's or early 30's)
Gus Neigh Con Gumm and Louis Martin   Lawrence Spratt
Luke Brown Roy Elliott Charley Dobson
Bro. Atkinson Bro. Derry Walter Hockmuth
(Brother-in-law of Mildred Hockmuth)
Etta Ray Lloyd Hamilton Vera Riley
(pastored with Mildred Baker a few years)
Mildred Baker Cecil Hancock Keith Striley
(1950-1965) (1965-1971) (1971-1977)
Steve Eastman Grant Wiley
(1977-1979) (Present [1980])
In October 1977, forty-some young people from this church and Van Wert, assisted by Don and Gloria McClure, Terry Hainline and Pastor Steve Eastman, cleaned up litter and debris from the streets and ditches of the town. The Van Wert Lions Club then donated $l00.00 to the Youth for Progress Program for the cleanup campaign. A picnic was also held for the children's enjoyment to show appreciation for their efforts. This was sponsored by the Town of Van Wert.

The Young People, or Christ Ambassadors (C.A.'s) have done several things in the past to raise money for the church and their organization. Among the fund raising events of the past few years are (1) two or three rock-a-thons. Each teen finds sponsors, to pay them so much per hour, to sit in a rocking chair and rock around the clock without ceasing for twenty-four hours. It always produces tired young people as well as a little money for their treasury. (2) Car washes - for the very reasonable price of $2.00, any vehicle that drove up was given a hand wash. Oftentimes, if the vehicle was larger or the owner more generous, they received a little more for their tasks. (3) Sales of various things - once in a great while, the youth went door to door selling various things such as light bulbs. (4) Spaghetti Supper - for a specified amount, you could have all the spaghetti you could eat. Various other things were done, as well, but the preceding lets one realize that this particular group of young people was an energetic one.

The ladies group of the church, Women's Ministry (W.M.'s) has also done a great deal of fund raising projects, especially in the last few years. For a time, as weather permitted, a weekly bakesale was held in the yard of the community hall. About the same time, Dean Houck generously donated a building for use as a rummage hall. Different ladies took turns keeping the rummage hall open until its closing in the fall of 1979.

Several bazaars, chili and oyster suppers, etc. have also been held. One big project was the making of a handsewn quilt. Scraps of material were cut, sewn and quilted into a lovely blanket and raffle tickets sold to the community.

Recently, various demonstrations, such as candy making, cake decorating, and straw and silk flower making and arrangements have been given. The possibility of starting a project for "padding the pews" might be part of the 1980 agenda.

The present officers are: Anne Wiley - president; Phyllis Foland, vice-president; Donna Hatfield - secretary/treasurer. An average of 15 members attend the meetings held twice a month, with more ladies becoming interested as time goes on.

The present weekly schedule for the church is as follows:

10:00 a.m. Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Morning Worship and Children's Church
7:00 p.m. Evening Worship

9:30 a.m. Every 2nd and 4th Thurs. of month - W.M.'s Meeting
7:00 p.m. Every week - Choir Practice

7:00 p.m. Youth Meeting

7:00 p.m. Prayer and Bible Study

Contribution courtesy of Larry McElwee, Dodge City, Kansas,
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