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My memories of the start of Newcastle Assembly of God Church

by Mina Young, edited by Charles Young

The church really started with a series of evangelistic meetings in perhaps 1928 or 1929. The story spans several years, and is part 2 of my life story. Afterwards I will pick up with the rest of my life's story after high school (part 3).

MEETINGS IN CITY HALL: I think it was before I graduated from high school, a couple of young men came to Newcastle, Wyoming and rented the city hall for evangelistic meetings with the idea of starting an Assemblies of God church. Merril Johnson was 15 and did the preaching. He played the piano and tenor Mandola -- a string instrument that might be called a cross between mandolin and guitar. He also played some other instruments. The other older man, Nygaard, a 30 something Norwegian from Minnesota, played the banjo and guitar and some other things. It was new and exciting, but it finally gelled down to a few people who got saved and started a church. That summer I just knelt down by my bed one day and said, "Lord if I'm not saved I want to be," and that was it.

It seems like the church rented a building on the south side of Main street where it ended at Dow's Garage. I think it was an old firehouse that we were in. It was near the library and courthouse which were on the north side of Main Street.

PASTORS: The next pastor was Brother Hanson. Melvin Hodges held a revival during that time. Things weren't picking up, and Brother Hanson left to get married. We didn't have a church for a while, but a few people kept hanging on. One of the main supporters was Ariel MacIntosh.

Ariel tried to get Melvin Hodges to pastor the church. They were holding a revival at Lance Creek or down by Lusk, Wyoming. They had finished the meeting and were going to go back to Colorado. On the way out they stopped at the mail box and found a letter from Ariel asking them to come pastor the church. They stopped right there and prayed about which way they should go, and they came back to Newcastle. They were young with 2 little girls, Mariam was about 3 and Phyllis was 1. Someone found them a room to rent and they got the church going again. At some point a church building was built maybe 3 or 4 blocks south of Main Street.

This photo of the Hodges family was taken from a missionary prayer card. Sometime after the Hodges' left Newcastle, they became missionaries.

Melvin Hodges family
Melvin Hodges family
  Mr. and Mrs. Melvin L. Hodges
Lois Miriam, and Phyllis Ann

Foreign address:
Mision Evangelica, Apartado 4
Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Central America

Home address;
Fort Collins, Colorado.

SUNDAY SCHOOL: We started having Sunday School during that time. There were 2 classes, adult and children. I was the children's teacher. Meetings moved from City Hall to a store front facing the railroad depot.

CAMP MEETINGS: The Summer of 1933 I was at the Fort Collins, Colorado camp meeting, and the man I was going with, Floyd Hicks, was there too. One day we skipped camp meeting and my cousin Clarence Stenberg and his wife Polly took us up to the mountains to Fall River Pass.

I attended the 1934 Rocky Mountain District (Colorado, Wyoming and Utah) camp meeting in Fort Morgan, Colorado. I received the Holy Spirit baptism along with 119 other people during those meetings which lasted for 10 days.

This is a photo of Sunday School -- about 1935. That is me on the far right.

Vacation Bible School 1935

Just before time for District Council in Denver, the Hodges decided it was time for them to leave Newcastle. They made arrangements for Sis. Hodges sister, Ester Crews, and her co-worker, Helen Byrum (Bynum?), to take over the church. The Hodges left the day after my mother died, so Uncle Fred made arrangements with a 7th Day Adventist preacher for the funeral.

Helen Byrum left to get married, and Martha Kummerfeld came to take her place.

Leonard Lanphere was the next pastor. They had 4 sons. Leonard Jr. became a missionary. During the Lanphere's pastorate a church building was built. Unfortunately after a few years, he left the church and left his wife. The district sent an older man named Mabry to pastor the church for a while.

The next pastors were Jake and Alice "Jane" Schaffer. The summer of 1938 (or close to that year), Sister Schaffer and I wrote the lesson plans for 3 or 4 classes for Vacation Bible School. That was a last minute thing, because we thought that someone else was organizing the VBS.

Jake and Alice Schaffer
Jane and Jake Schaffer
Jacklyn and Joyce
Alice Blythe, Mina Young 1998
Alice and Mina 1998
Jake is now deceased. Jane married Earl Blythe. I have kept in touch with Jane (now goes by Alice) and have visited her a few times. Alice Blythe's testimony and brief life story.
Elmer & Bernice Burry were the next pastors. They left for a while and pastored there again later. They had 2 sons. The Burry's were there when my Dad died.

Elmer Burry and family
Elmer Burry and family
 
Mabel Brown and Helen Cox held revival meetings and may have also pastored for a while.

Mabel Brown and Helen Cox
Mabel Brown, Helen Cox
After I went to Springfield, Howard Cummings pastored a while. Taylor was another pastor.

My memories of

some of the people of the church and Newcastle

Roy and Goldie Stevens were part of the church. They had a girl named Lois May. When she was about 4, someone gave her a dollar. She looked at it in disgust and said "you can buy candy with a penny, but what can you do with an old dollar?"

I visited the church a few times years later. My roommate from Springfield, Flora Sprinkle, and I visited the church in the late 1940's.

In 1967 Charles and I took a trip west and spent a few days in Newcastle. We visited with Muriel Whitney and daughters. (Muriel and I had been the only young people in the church for a time.) Charles played violin duets with Bro. Copley. That was when Charles started playing harmony on the violin. Bro. Copley took us to Perino's where we spent a night. We also stayed with Thelma McCullough.

Other church friends and stories are found in the next part.


Part 3 -- Life after high school | Part 1 | HOME

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