BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING: The History of Chapel Missions. By: Bob Schneider, Pastor Emeritus The Chapel in Akron

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1 BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING: The History of Chapel Missions By: Bob Schneider, Pastor Emeritus The Chapel in Akron

2 Table of Contents 1: In the beginning : Branching out : To the uttermost parts of the earth : Growing and Going! : Stepping out in faith : Gaining perspective : A sharper focus : Reaching the unreached : Open doors : Into the 21st century : Good stewardship : Eternal impact : Building partnerships : Conclusion: Completing the Great Commission Epilogue Apendix A History of The Chapel Apendix B Overseas Chapel Missions Building Projects Apendix C Chapel-sponsored Missionaries

3 1: In the beginning It all began on a cold February Sunday in Carl Burnham s heart had been touched at an evangelistic service at Calvary Baptist Church, and he knew he had to settle this once and for all. He spent the afternoon at Gorge Park reading the Gospel of John from a simple New Testament he had recently purchased. That afternoon, he gave his life to Christ and thus began a remarkable journey toward establishing a ministry that has touched millions of lives around the world for more than 80 years. Carl was born in Dukedom, Tennessee in 1909 and raised in Fulton, Kentucky. Like thousands of others, the Burnhams moved to the boomtown of Akron, Ohio, in 1921 to find work at one of the rapidly growing rubber companies. After attending Grace Elementary and West High Schools, Carl was working at the B.F. Goodrich Company. There he met Bill Denton, a relatively new convert himself, who came to Christ in Akron in Denton had a passion for evangelism and was already volunteering at the old City Mission on Main Street across from the Goodrich plant. It was he who invited Burnham to come and hear the evangelist Bascom Ray (B.R.) Lakin, who was preaching at revival services at Calvary Baptist Church that February. (Lakin was an itinerant preacher, known for riding a mule from church to church through the hills of West Virginia and Kentucky.) After coming to faith in Christ, Burnham began attending Sunday School, growing in faith as he studied the Scriptures and contemplated his future. About that same time, Denton started a new ministry, The Furnace Street Mission. Burnham began assisting him, and was then licensed to preach later in Sensing a call to the ministry, Burnham moved to Chicago and enrolled in Moody Bible Institute. His heart for missions was challenged when exposed to 1

4 Moody s great vision of taking the Gospel to the world. He often walked miles to hear the famous evangelist Paul Rader preach at the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. Constructed in 1922, this 5,000-seat auditorium drew thousands of people coming to hear the Gospel. Formerly the pastor of Moody Church and President of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, Rader was America s first nationwide radio preacher. Burnham had very little money in those days, so he would walk to hear Rader preach and ride the bus home. Burnham once told his son, David, that Rader was the greatest preacher he had ever heard. Burnham was only able to afford a couple of semesters of classes at Moody, so he returned to Akron in late His mentor, Bill Denton, was having trouble managing the rapidly growing ministries of the Furnace Street Mission. He invited Burnham to be his assistant. That experience provided Burnham a crash course in ministry as he and Denton sought to reach out to the poor, homeless, and hurting who had flooded Akron during those years and who were now facing the Great Depression. From the very beginning, what Burnham learned about ministry was always focused on reaching out, not turning inward. If he had returned to a traditional church, he might have adopted the typical come and hear mentality of many churches. He was an outstanding preacher, and no doubt many would have come to the church to hear him preach. But he and Denton were taking the Gospel to the streets, preaching on corners and using a Gospel Bus to play music and attract crowds in poor neighborhoods throughout the city. Rather than seeking to convert those who were already part of churches or a religious tradition, Denton and Burnham reached out to those who were the outcasts of society alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, and those in trouble with the law. In addition to the regular preaching there was also always the element of faith in action a practical expression of God s love through food, clothing, and 2

5 other necessities. In the winter, coal was delivered to homes throughout the city that had no heat. In the spring, they acquired free use of several acres of land adjoining Akron Municipal airport, where men being helped by the Mission were allowed to farm their own gardens to provide for their families. And with those many demonstrations of God s love, the Good News of the Gospel was always preached. Response to that preaching was overwhelming. Great crowds came to hear Denton and Burnham preach several times each week at the Mission. Soon they outgrew the Furnace Street facility so they turned to a strategy being used in other cities, The Gospel Tabernacle. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, evangelists in cities across America built large, simple structures called Gospel Tabernacles that could accommodate large crowds for evangelistic services and revival meetings. More durable than tents but not as expensive as structures made of brick, these wooden tabernacles drew hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States to hear gifted evangelists. The Furnace Street Mission built its first tabernacle in 1930 at the corner of E. Market and Prospect Street (a site currently occupied by the Haven of Rest Rescue Mission). It was built using men the Mission was assisting in order to help them earn money. The Akron Gospel Tabernacle seated upwards of 2,000 people and gave Denton and Burnham many opportunities to reach new people with the Good News. Little did Burnham know when he preached there on January 31, 1931, that Oscar Stewart, the future Sunday School superintendent for The Chapel at Brown and Vine, was in the audience and would come forward to receive Christ that night. *** 3

6 Burnham continued to preach at the Furnace Street Mission and leadevangelistic crusades throughout Ohio and the Mid-West in the early 1930s. It was then that the Lord laid on his heart a vision for starting a church in Akron. He married Agnes Williams in July of 1933, just before he began a series of revival services at the Oklahoma City Gospel Tabernacle. On December 1, 1933, while returning home from Oklahoma in a Model-A Ford, Carl and Agnes spoke and prayed about their dream of a new church. Two weeks later they sent a letter to friends asking them to support a new church they were starting. It would simply be called The Chapel. The first service was held on January 15, 1934 in a rented building at the corner of W. Exchange and Maple Street. Both Carl Burnham and his father, B.A. Burnham, spoke that day, preaching the Gospel of salvation. To have Sunday School the children had to climb through a trap door in the floor and down a ladder to the basement! The history of Chapel missions was born out of a strong emphasis on evangelism and a desire to reach the lost with the Gospel. As an independent church, The Chapel had no ties with any denomination and no support from any other church or organization. Beginning as a storefront church, evangelism was at the heart of everything and their motto became, In the heart of the city, for the heart of the city. And although there were no formal programs offered, the church grew. By 1936, the congregation had outgrown its Five Points location and moved to a lot at the corner of Brown and Vine near the University of Akron. They built a simple basement church that year using the men of the church to dig the foundation. They called it digging their own graves and worked hard to keep the costs down for the project. It was only later that ministries such as youth groups, choirs, women s ministries, and other such activities would develop as part of The 4

7 Chapel s outreach program. It took 11 years and a series of additional construction projects to completely finish the church in September When World War II started Carl Burnham tried to enlist in the Army. But a routine physical revealed a heart problem that disqualified him from serving. Not willing to give up, he asked if there wasn t some way he could serve, perhaps as a chaplain. He was told that he could indeed serve as a chaplain, but that first he d have to have a college degree. Rising to the challenge, he entered the Municipal University of Akron as a freshman. Three years later, Burnham graduated Magna Cum Laude, all while pastoring The Chapel. By that time, the war was nearly over, and the challenges of ministry were continuing to grow. Many churches around the country were holding revival meetings, and The Chapel at Brown and Vine was no exception. In June 1945, 30 churches in the greater Akron area came together to sponsor a three-week, city-wide series of revival meetings June 2 through June 24. The featured evangelist that month was a converted Jew by the name of Hyman Appleman. Each evening meeting included a 200-voice combined choir and a message by Mr. Appleman. The first week of meetings was held at the Grace Reformed Church of Akron. The second week of meetings was held at Central High School. Because the crowds were so large, the last week was held at the Akron Armory. Dr. William Troup, pastor of Goss Memorial, was the chairman of the Executive Committee for the revival. Carl Burnham was chairman of the noon services committee. Although it may be hard to believe in our secularized society, all the noon revival meetings were held at the O Neil s department store on Main Street. They were so successful that in the last week of the revival, they averaged 500 in attendance. 5

8 In all, leaders reported 820 people came to Christ and saw many recommitments. In an additional display of unity, on the first Sunday of the revival all the pastors of these churches exchanged pulpits and preached on the subject of revival. These pastors became part of the Akron Ministers Fellowship. In 1947, The Chapel congregation presented Pastor Burnham and his family with a well-deserved gift. They sent them on a vacation to the Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference in Muskegon, Michigan. Carl knew the area well, as he used to bring boys from the Furnace Street Mission to another camp in the area sponsored by evangelist Paul Rader. A strong missionary emphasis was part of this conference each year. After hearing Carl Tanis, a missionary speaker and director of the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), Burnham received a fresh new vision for the importance of missions in the Church. Tanis spoke powerfully on the lostness of the heathen and the need for all men to hear the claims of Christ. It wasn t long, then, before The Chapel at Brown and Vine sent out its first long-term missionary, Dorothy Cedar. Dorothy was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, and came to Christ at 13 through the preaching of Carl Burnham in an evangelistic meeting held at nearby Kingsville Baptist Church in March She came to Akron for nurses training at Akron People s Hospital (now Cleveland Clinic: Akron General) in 1944 and joined The Chapel at Brown and Vine in She soon became a friend of the Burnham family and often babysat their son, David (future senior pastor of The Chapel). Upon her graduation from nursing school in 1947, the Burnhams invited Dorothy to go with them to the Maranatha conference. During that week, she met many SIM missionaries including Carl Tanis, their candidate secretary. It was there that she heard the call of God to missionary service. In 1948, upon Tanis s 6

9 recommendation, she enrolled at the Moody Bible Institute and worked part-time at Cook County Hospital. After graduation in 1951, she was accepted as a missionary candidate with the Sudan Interior Mission. She began serving as a missionary nurse in Nigeria, West Africa, in April of Dorothy soon learned the Hausa language and served in many medical roles: assisting in surgery, mid-wife, anesthetist, dispensary supervisor, and treating wounds. She also risked her own health caring for patients with leprosy. Her Hausa name was Mia Jinya Dariya the nurse who laughs. For nearly 20 years, Cedar was a highlight of The Chapel s annual missionary conference, delighting generations of children with her famous giant python skin and the story of how she acquired it after she ran over the snake with her car. As she finished her story, she would roll out the 18-foot python skin across the floor to the amazement of the children. Throughout the years, Cedar served in so many roles and places, and her itinerary so extensive, that she was given another Hausa name, Mia Jinya Duniya nurse to the world! *** Many missionaries were part of the great post-wwii missions explosion in which veterans of the war felt led by God to bring the Gospel to the lands in which they served to reach those people who had once been enemies. Others were so affected by their experience that they developed a strong heart for missions and wanted to help promote missions in their churches any way they could. One such person was Leon Wilson. Wilson graduated from Kent State University in 1940 and married Bernice. When WWII began, he was not eligible for the military because of a heart 7

10 condition. He began working as an accountant at The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company the following year. He was working with a man named Henry Clark, a member of The Chapel at Brown and Vine. Clark witnessed to him regularly and invited him to church. Finally, Leon and his wife began attending and heard the Gospel very clearly from Pastor Carl Burnham. In fact, the Wilsons became good friends of the Burnhams that year. Finally, in 1944, because there was a desperate need for more men in the military, Leon was drafted. The night before he was to leave he accepted Christ as his Savior. After basic training with the Army, Wilson was sent to the Philippines and worked a desk job at a base there. As a new Christian, he was hungry for fellowship. He soon began attending a Filipino church led by Pastor Gregorio Tingson. Greg was a pastor and evangelist, often called the Billy Graham of the Philippines. Wilson began going to Tingson s home almost every Sunday after church and was discipled by the pastor. Through that connection, The Chapel began support for Tingson s ministry in the early 1950s. He was both the first national serving on the staff of Youth for Christ and the first national that The Chapel s missions ministry supported. Upon his return to the States, Wilson began attending The Chapel again and served as its treasurer. Harriet Grafmiller and Richard Vellattay both served as missions secretaries, responsible for the missions budget. As attendance and giving increased, the church s missions outreach expanded with new missionaries being added each year. Eventually Wilson began serving as the missions secretary of The Chapel s board of finance. He was fond of saying that if a church would give faithfully to missions, God would bless that church. In 1951, the missions offering was $17,000, supporting 17 missionaries, 2 national missionaries, and 23 organizations 8

11 and projects. From the 1940s to the 1970s, approximately 10% of church s offerings went for missions. The total giving of The Chapel in 1954 was $110,878. As The Chapel grew, the people s heart for evangelism never diminished. In 1952, Burnham invited evangelist B.R. Lakin, to return to Akron and lead a week of evangelistic meetings. Dr. Lakin was at the time pastor of the Cadle Tabernacle Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. The response to the meetings was tremendous each night s service filled the sanctuary. The Cadle Call newsletter reported that 60 to 70 people received Christ as their Savior that week, and many rededicated their lives to Him as well. With this constant emphasis upon evangelism and the regular scheduling of annual revivals at The Chapel, the church grew rapidly. There were nearly 1,400 members when Pastor Burnham and the board decided they could expand no further at Brown and Vine and would need to move. *** In 1949, The Chapel purchased a 2ó acre lot on Fir Hill, just a few blocks away. A large brick home once sat on this lot, the home of Akron pharmacist and business entrepreneur Alexander Commins. Built in 1870, it eventually housed the Akron Art Institute from 1937 until it burned to the ground January 2, The church began its first building fund drive in 1950 and raised $35,000 that year. In 1951, $40,000 had been raised with another $60,000 needed to reach the $100,000 mark, which would enable them to negotiate a loan to finance the total project of $400,000. Wilson s comment that a church that gives faithfully to missions will be blessed by God was literally coming true. During the time of raising funds for the new church, giving to missions never wavered. On June 29, 1953, some men of the church gathered on the Fir Hill lot to pray and to begin clearing brush and debris from the property. The next week, 9

12 Pastor Burnham and the leaders of the church gathered July 5, 1953 for the official groundbreaking for what was to become The Chapel on Fir Hill. Nearly a year later, Burnham led a ceremony for laying the cornerstone, in which a membership roll of the church, a Scofield Bible, a copy of the Akron Beacon Journal, and several other historical items were placed. Much of the construction of the church was done by the men of the congregation in order to keep costs down. The $400,000 project included a sanctuary designed to seat 1,500 with 46 Sunday School classrooms and six small assembly rooms. Beautiful stained-glass windows telling the story of the Bible would surround the sanctuary. Finally, on March 27, 1955, the long-awaited day arrived. On a cold, snowy Sunday morning, nearly 1,000 men, women, and children marched with police escort from The Chapel at Brown and Vine to their new church, The Chapel on Fir Hill. Paul Shepherd, who had recently returned from military service, proudly led the march holding the American flag. That afternoon, a formal dedication service was held with B.R. Lakin giving the dedicatory address. The following day, Lakin began a week of revival services at the new church on Fir Hill. The church with a heart for missions and a passion for evangelism was about to expand its horizons and extend its influence even further. 10

13 2: Branching out After moving to a new site on Fir Hill in 1955, the newly named Chapel on Fir Hill recognized the need for a church camp to expand its ministries to children and youth. Burnham understood the importance of camping through his work with the Furnace Street Mission. In the summers, he had helped take boys to camps in northeast Ohio for many years. Unfortunately, he was never able to see that camp become a reality, as he died of heart failure in 1962 during surgery at the University of Minnesota Heart Clinic in Minneapolis. His son, David, took over as senior pastor shortly thereafter. In 1964, Pastor David Burnham learned that the YWCA Camp Yacawa near Ravenna, Ohio, in Portage County was for sale. In an ideal location near West Branch Reservoir, it was less than 45 minutes from The Chapel and had several cabins, a lodge, and a small lake. To get a better view of the camp and evaluate the opportunity, Pastor Burnham took advantage of his pilot s license and flew over the camp with two others. One was Pastor David Fair, who had grown up at The Chapel at Brown and Vine, and who had much experience in working with youth. Fair later became the executive director of Furnace Street Mission s Denton House, a halfway house for ex-convicts named after founder Bill Denton. Pastor Fair later founded Shelter Care, a ministry for children who had come to the attention of the juvenile court system. The second man was Jerry Rose, a missionary from Papua New Guinea who had a wealth of missionary stories of working with stone-age tribal people. Rose had met the Burnham family while working as a lifeguard 11

14 at the Maranatha Bible Conference. Eventually, he and his wife, Darlene, became missionaries with the World Evangelism Foundation. When it came time to make an offer for the camp, Pastor Burnham took David Fair and Jerry Rose with him to meet with the board of the YWCA. Rose shared several of his exciting missionary stories, and the board members were very receptive to them. What Pastor Burnham didn t know at the time was that Kent State University, also interested in the camp, had offered a higher bid. Fortunately, the women of the YWCA board were sympathetic to the purposes that Pastor Burnham outlined for the camp s use, and they accepted The Chapel s offer. On Sunday, May 31, 1964, The Chapel took a special offering toward the $50,000 down payment on purchasing the camp. The congregation responded generously that day and gave exactly $50,281! When the sale was finalized, the congregation named the camp after our founder who had such a heart for camping ministry. Thus, Camp Carl was born. Since that time, Camp Carl has served hundreds of thousands of children through youth retreats, summer camps, and other events, all with a purpose of evangelism and spiritual growth. Many missionaries and missions events have been part of Camp Carl s history as it continues to have both a local and a global impact. *** Another new beginning during this era was the start of the Chinese church of Akron. In 1969, Pastor Andrew Lim began what was then called the Akron Taiwanese Family Church. By definition, the focus of this ministry was Taiwanese immigrants to the United States. In 1972, with the blessing of Pastor Burnham, they began meeting at 12

15 The Chapel. Their focus broadened, however, in 1974, and they changed their name to The Akron Chinese Bible Study Group. Over the next 10 to 15 years, the church attracted immigrants from both Taiwan and mainland China. A final name change was made in 1987 when they registered with the State of Ohio under the name Akron Chinese Church. Although it continued to meet at The Chapel, the church was now registered as an independent one. During those years, leadership of the Chinese church had moved from Pastor Lim to several lay leaders of the congregation. As it grew, the need for a long-term, full-time pastor became apparent. So, in 1996, the Chinese church hired Pastor Ray Sung to become the church s first, true full-time pastor. During the 17 years that Pastor Sung led the church, closer ties were developed with The Chapel. Todd McKenney, the international students pastor, worked actively to get the Chinese church more actively involved in The Chapel s outreach to Chinese international students. Later, Todd Schreiner joined the staff working part-time with international students and part-time as the youth pastor of the Chinese church. Over time, the Chinese church really caught the vision of reaching out to the Chinese international students and became even more involved in the ministry to them. 13

16 3: To the uttermost parts of the earth. In June 1972, The Chapel began a tradition that was to continue in various formats for nearly 40 years, an annual Missions Conference. Beginning on a Sunday with an outstanding missionary leader speaking in all the worship services, The Chapel hosted numerous men s breakfasts, ladies luncheons, home meetings, and special evening sessions all featuring various missionaries from around the world. Special music from the choir and orchestra, and having the children march down the aisle presenting the flags of the world, were highlights of those conferences. The Chapel continued to grow during these years as ministries expanded to every age group and segment of society. New ministries for children and youth were attracting young families from throughout the greater Akron area. Many people from non-evangelical churches began attending The Chapel, attracted by the strong and dynamic Bible teaching of Pastor David Burnham. By 1970, both Sunday services held in the Fir Hill sanctuary were packed to capacity to the point that people were arriving early in hopes of finding a seat. As the board struggled with a decision of whether to move or expand on the current location, several properties became available on Hamilton Street just to the east of our buildings. The board decided this was of the Lord and canvassed several other homeowners on Hamilton seeking to buy their homes to make room for building a new sanctuary on Hamilton. By the end of 1971, the properties were purchased and construction was able to begin. The Chapel completed its new worship center in December 1972 and adopted the new name, The Chapel in University Park. The expanded sanctuary, seating more than 2,000, allowed the congregation to meet all in one service. The preaching of the Word of God was most important to Pastor David Burnham, so 14

17 the auditorium was designed with no pillars and a unique, fan-shaped auditorium so that no one was seated more than 84 feet from the pulpit. On May 6, 1973, the worship center was officially dedicated with a special service featuring Moody Bible Institute president George Sweeting. The new sanctuary, with an expanded seating capacity, spurred even more growth within the rapidly growing church. As we moved into multiple services, we also continued developing new ministries to reach the city and the world. In the fall of 1972, a new chapter of outreach began. Prior to this time, The Chapel had no formal or programmed outreach to the University of Akron. With God s perfect timing, Ed Tubbs, who had worked with the Navigators group at Kent State University, had moved to Akron to start a new ministry to college students on the campus of the University of Akron. That fall, Ed began meeting with and discipling several men who would become leaders in this ministry. I was part of the core leadership team who began Students for Christ. We chose the name Students For Christ, and almost all of the students and leaders involved in the ministry attended The Chapel. The leaders were in a discipleship study with Ed, and most of them were also leading their own studies and meeting with individual students for one-on-one discipleship. At that time, most of the students and leaders attended the college class at The Chapel taught by Bill Koptis, a local businessman who had a great heart for students. For several years, Bill hosted students in his home in Bath recreation time was in a converted barn, and he led an open Bible study. Every Friday night there was a large gathering there with a basic Bible study for young Christians or seekers. In addition, a smaller group of leaders would meet with Ed for in-depth Bible study and discipleship training. Over the next five years, many young men and women were disciple through this ministry. A number of them went into full-time positions as pastors, 15

18 missionaries, or leaders in para-church ministries. Among them were Dave Belden, Howard Williams, Mike Eddy, Doug Davidson, and myself. It is a testimony to Ed s leadership and the Navigator discipleship principles he modeled and taught that almost every person trained through that ministry in the 1970s still walks with God to this day. *** In June 1973, The Chapel held its second annual missions conference, themed A Living Christ for a Dying World. Pastor David Burnham was the main speaker, along with Ray de la Haye, a missionary of Serving In Mission at their missionary radio station, ELWA, in Monrovia, Liberia. Also speaking was Robert Thompson, representing the Brazil Inland Mission. As was done the previous year, the children were part of the opening ceremony of the conference with what was called The Parade of the Flags. Another highlight of the conference was Dave Schroyer leading The Chapel choir and orchestra in performing the great John Peterson missionary cantata So Send I You. The Chapel family was reminded of the global nature of the Body of Christ when they were able to hear from Filipino evangelist Greg Tingson. He was then leading an evangelistic ministry, Truth on the March. Tingson became the first of many national Christian missionaries that The Chapel would partner with and support over the next 40 years. In June 1974, The Chapel s third annual missions conference was Go Tell the Untold Millions. This conference lasted an entire week with Dick Hillis, president of Overseas Crusades, speaking the first Sunday and Walter Frank, the president of Greater European Missions, speaking the final Sunday. This was a particularly significant conference in the history of The Chapel because it was the first time we introduced the concept of Faith Promise giving. 16

19 The Christian and Missionary Alliance developed the concept, and it was strongly promoted by Oswald J. Smith, pastor of The People Church in Toronto, Canada. Pastor Smith was known for saying, Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice until everyone has heard it once? In brief, Faith Promise is an agreement or commitment that one makes with God, trusting Him to provide a certain amount of funds to be given to missions each year. But it is not a pledge, and no one from church ever reminds you about your commitment it is strictly between you and God. When Faith Promises are received from a congregation each year, that figure becomes the church s missions budget for the coming year. Before this, The Chapel had generally set aside approximately 10% of its annual budget for missions. Putting the missions budget into the hands of the congregation was a real step of faith. The missions budget for 1973 was $114,010, so the board set a goal of a modest increase to $125,000 for The first Sunday of the 1974 conference, Dick Hillis spoke on the challenge of Faith Promise giving. In a Chapel news article about the conference, both missions chairman Paul Tell and missions secretary Leon Wilson said, The Lord will bless The Chapel as we grow in missions. At the final service on Sunday evening, June 30, 1974, Pastor David Burnham spoke on Faith Promise and the commitment cards were collected. It was a genuine faith-builder and joyful experience to hear that the Faith Promise for the upcoming year was $155,552! This was a 35% increase in one year! Although it took different forms and was called by different names, this practice continued for nearly 35 years and saw an increase in giving to missions from $114,000 to more than $1.9 million by Although a missions budget of $155,000 may seem like a modest amount today, it was a significant amount in By God s grace, it allowed the missions committee to disburse funds of over $132,000, including $7,000 to Wycliffe Bible 17

20 Translators, and $10,000 to the SIM radio station ELWA in Liberia. Just as significant was the fact that the Lord moved in powerful ways in many people s lives. At the end of the conference, 36 people dedicated their lives to full-time Christian service. At that time, four members of the board of trustees served on the missions committee: Leon Wilson, Larry Baldwin, Al Barath, and Cliff Kaufman. Paul Tell Sr. was not a trustee at the time but was appointed by the board to serve as chairman of the committee. There were two other at-large members of the committee: Bruce Clounie and Larry Roberson. Sonja Davis was just beginning as the official missions committee secretary. Pastor Burnham s heart and vision for missions was expanded when he attended the First International Congress on World Evangelization, held in Lausanne, Switzerland, in July Convened by Billy Graham and John Stott, this conference was one of the great milestones in modern church history. The conference called the Church to commit itself and its resources to the priority of world evangelization. Similar to the World Congress of Evangelism that Pastor Burnham attended in Berlin in 1966, this congress deepened his own convictions concerning the vital importance of world evangelization and the need to continue making missions a priority at The Chapel. *** As The Chapel had always sought to reach out with the Gospel, they discovered opportunities not only globally but some in our own community in For many years, David Fair had served on the pastoral staff at The Chapel, especially in the area of youth. Fair had a tremendous heart for young people, having worked in the field of juvenile delinquency and social work. Because he 18

21 already had a strong background and passion for youth work, Fair decided to begin a ministry to help these young people before they got into trouble with the law. In the fall of 1975, he put together a proposal to incorporate a new ministry in the State of Ohio Shelter Care Incorporated. The stated objective was to share the hope of Jesus Christ with boys and girls who came from troubled homes or who had come to the attention of the juvenile justice system. The focus of this ministry would be youth from ages 10 to 17, with most of the referrals coming from the Summit County Juvenile Court. The method of intervention in these young lives was to place them in shelter or group homes for one month. In this setting, they would live with Christian house parents in a structured home environment that would provide the stability and care they so desperately needed in their lives. Fair made a formal proposal to The Chapel, and the result was two Chapel properties on Hamilton Avenue were provided to Shelter Care for use as group homes. Both the girls and boys homes would be provided rent-free for the first year. In addition to a $1,000 start-up gift, The Chapel agreed to pay the mortgage, taxes, and maintenance costs. The Shelter Care proposal also included a plan to add two additional longer-term shelter homes and eventually a foster care service. The homes continued operating with very close ties to the church for several years. Eventually the ministry established its own headquarters and offices in the community and branched out to establish relationships with many other social service agencies and churches in Northeast Ohio. It also established a new facility and ministry called Safe Landing, where runaway youths could go and receive shelter and help in a safe environment. Now, the ministry has expanded several times and continues to impact thousands of lives under the leadership of Fair s son, as Wes. Dave Fair went home to be with the Lord in

22 Another milestone event in the history of Chapel missions also occurred in For many years, The Chapel had supported Gordon and Laura Smith, missionaries with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and United World Mission. During their years in the Da Nang region of Vietnam, they had the opportunity to minister with the Dang family, who lived in the region and were studying at the Bible school that the Smiths operated. One of the members of that family had become a Christian and was killed for his faith. Later the Dang s son, Cang Dang, became a pastor and came in contact with the Smiths. In 1975, when the North Vietnamese army was sweeping south, Vietnamese Christians were in great danger. Many thousands of them were fleeing south to escape the onslaught of the communist forces moving toward Saigon. The Dang family left Vietnam by boat and was rescued by the U.S. Navy. They lived initially in several refugee camps. Through the help of Gordon and Laura Smith, Pastor Dang, his wife, and their 11 children were evacuated to the United States, sponsored by The Chapel. The Dang family was able to move to Akron in July and live in one of the houses The Chapel owned on Hamilton Avenue. Before long, Pastor Dang had begun a Vietnamese Church that met at The Chapel it reached out to Vietnamese refugees and immigrants who had moved to Northeast Ohio in the wake of the fall of Vietnam. That ministry has continued to this day and has even expanded as Pastor Dang s oldest son, Minh, has developed a very fruitful ministry to the people of Vietnam by collaborating with several other evangelical organizations. In the fall of 1975, Ray Wolfe became chairman of the missions committee. He had previously served as a missionary with the Africa Inland Mission at Scott Theological College in Kenya. Now the dean of the Moody Evening School in Northeast Ohio, he brought great knowledge and expertise to The Chapel s 20

23 missions program. During the next year, several policy changes were made to the missions program and budget. Two groups, the Women s Missionary Group and Women for Christ, were incorporated into the missions budget. And, because of an increasing number of national workers being supported by The Chapel, a policy was enacted that limited support for those workers to two years, after which they would need to be supported by resources in their own country or elsewhere. For our own long-term missionaries, a policy was enacted that all missionaries would be supported through their current term unless an urgent need to discontinue support arose. To better evaluate the missions program, it was decided that all commitments to missionaries would be reviewed each August. A new policy that would have a far-reaching impact upon The Chapel for decades to come was also begun in the mid-1970s. An internship program was developed for young men of The Chapel to serve for one year following their graduation from an approved seminary. This program allowed them to receive valuable experience in several different areas of ministry and learn first-hand from older, more experienced pastors who could mentor them. Many of those who were part of this internship program during the next 20 years went on to become members of the pastoral staff. By the end of 1976, 14 men were studying at several seminaries throughout the United States. One of the most significant ministries The Chapel began to support around this time was The India National Inland Mission, founded by Paul Pillai. In the late- 50s Pillai was an attorney and committed Marxist working in the area of Madras, India. After becoming a Christian, he enrolled in the Hindustan Bible Institute (HBI) founded by Rev. Paul Gupta. Whereas many of the students were from rural villages without much previous education, Gupta was from a large urban area and well educated. Rev. Gupta encouraged Pillai to go to seminary and become a missionary to the large urban areas of India. 21

24 Around that time, there was a missionary named Mary Granas who was serving as a short-term missionary teaching at the HBI. Through her home church, Glendale Presbyterian Church in California, she was able to get Pillai a scholarship to go to Talbot Seminary in Pillai accepted the scholarship and attended Talbot along with a fellow student, John McArthur. Mary met another student, Annie, at HBI and discovered that she, too, had traveled to America and was studying nursing in the State of Washington. In typical Indian fashion, Mary contacted both families, arranged for Paul and Annie to meet, and worked out an engagement so they could get married and they were! In 1964, Annie actually did not want to move to India, preferring to stay in the U.S. They moved back to India to the city of Delhi, though, in June 1964 a city where they knew virtually no one. Just outside Delhi they found a piece of land being sold for an unusually low price. The man who originally purchased it had died suddenly, and his son was given the land. After taking possession of the land, the son suddenly died as well. After these tragedies, the wife and the mother of these two men were actually convinced the property was cursed and decided it must be sold no matter what. She was so desperate to sell that Pillai was able to purchase the 60 acres for only the equivalent of $3,000. Pillai came back to the U.S. in 1965 and incorporated his ministry, The India National Inland Mission, in California. One of its first board members was Paul Nelson of the Glendale Church. Paul remained on the board for nearly 50 years until his death at age 99. While in California, Pillai was invited to some Christian Businessmen Committee (CBMC) meetings where he developed several good friendships. Years later, one of his Christian friends invited him to a large CBMC meeting in 22

25 Cleveland, Ohio, and there he met Ralph Fraley, a businessman from The Chapel. Ralph and Paul developed a strong friendship that lasted many years. Shortly after that meeting, Ralph introduced Paul to the missions committee of The Chapel, and the congregation gave a gift to his ministry. The Chapel began regularly supporting Pillai s ministry and The India National Inland Missions and have ever since. We, along with Arcadia Baptist Church, have been their longest supporting churches in America. A little-known fact is that the ministry of Operation Mobilization (OM) in India actually began in Paul Pillai s living room. The early OM India leaders all knew and respected Pillai and even did their final planning and organizing for establishing a formal India ministry while sitting in Pillai s home near Delhi. Also, K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel For Asia, was a member of Paul Pillai s church and had actually served with OM in his younger years. The India National Inland Mission continues today, stronger than ever, and is making an impact through the country of India and beyond. Its ministries included Grace Bible College, a seminary, and, until recently, more than 1,000 children in the Bethesda orphanage. They also support many evangelists, pastors, and church planters throughout India and other Asian countries. Historically, over 90% of the children in their children s home become Christians and nearly half end up going into full-time ministry! (In 2014, due to government pressure to force the teaching of Hinduism to the children, the INIM began moving the children into hundreds of foster homes, living with Christian families that are members of churches connected to INIM. Looking back, the Chapel s partnership with this outstanding ministry has been a long and fruitful one one of the best investments in the history of our missions program.) 23

26 *** The theme chosen for The Chapel s 1976 missions conference was Declare His Glory Unto the Nations, and the main speaker was Peter Deyneka, the president of Slavic Gospel Mission. The Faith Promise goal for that year was $210,000, but congregation s continued generosity resulted in an actual Faith Promise of $258,704! At the end of the fiscal year, the actual income for missions was $283,865, with more than 1,000 families participating. The abundant provision by the congregation allowed the committee to give special gifts to several new missionary endeavors, including a $5,000 gift to provide 100 camperships at Camp Carl. In the fall of 1976, Trudy Smith was hired to work three days a week as the missions secretary. With the ministry and budget expanding, the committee was able to increase support and give additional gifts to many ministries. Support for Shelter Care increased, as did specials gifts to the OM ship, Logos, and Wycliffe aviation. The Chapel also expanded its regular prayer bulletin with a list of more than 40 missionaries and specific prayer requests from them. A shift in our campus ministry also occurred in the Fall of Pastor Burnham wanted to expand the outreach of The Chapel by bringing an additional full-time pastor on staff for college students. That person was Wes Hartzfeld. A graduate of Bethel Seminary, Wes and his wife, Connie, had served with Campus Crusade for Christ for several years at The Ohio State University and Kent State University. Having a married couple ministering to college students opened up many new doors for ministry to the women students on campus. The Hartzfelds brought with them the strong emphasis on evangelism of Campus Crusade at a time when both The Chapel and the University were growing. The size of the campus ministry of The Chapel increased greatly in those early years, as the 24

27 church invested more time, energy, and resources into reaching the nearby college campus. In light of this development, Ed Tubbs was concerned that there were now two campus ministries based at and supported by The Chapel. For the sake of unity, Ed believed the Lord was leading him to begin a similar ministry on the campus of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia in He had a very successful ministry there for several years and later, he served as a missionary in both Russia and Estonia. A final development that marked a very active year in the expansion of The Chapel s outreach ministries was the establishment of its first daughter church. The man chosen to lead this work was Joel Cochran, who had joined The Chapel s pastoral staff following his graduation from Tennessee Temple. Joel had a burden to preach and a heart for evangelism. To pursue this goal, Joel returned to his home community of Marlboro, Ohio, an area several miles east of Hartville, to plant a church. At age 28, he went door-to-door inviting people to the new church. Marlboro Church had its first service in late-1976 and continued to meet in a local public school for three years. By 1980, they had more than 200 members and were able to purchase property and build their first facility. By 1991, they had run out of room and built their current worship center, which seats 1,200 people. Over the years, they have always had a strong vision for missions and have continued to reach out in faithful ministry to the communities in the Marlboro region. *** The use of Camp Carl as a creative outreach to the Northeast Ohio community continued in Ray Wolfe and the missions committee approved providing 100 camperships for children from the children s home, and several 25

28 discussions were held concerning finding ways to provide scholarships for minority children from the area. That same year, the board approved transferring $50,000 from the missions budget to the Camp Carl budget as a subsidy in order to keep the camper fees low and allow for continued expansion. Regular support for other local outreach ministries like the Haven of Rest and the Furnace Street Mission also continued, and increased funding was provided for Shelter Care. Pastor Burnham also challenged the missions committee to do a complete review of The Chapel s Philosophy of Missions and definition of missions, and even to develop a comprehensive support plan for our missionaries. In addition, Bob Provost joined the pastoral staff as executive pastor in June of 1977 and became responsible for the pastoral oversight of missions. Bob had studied Russian in college and was able to utilize his language expertise in Russian during a career in the military. After leaving the service, Bob pursued a career in business in the Pittsburgh area. But after coming to Christ, he felt a call to the ministry and entered seminary at Grace Theological Seminary. Once he graduated, he was invited to join the pastoral staff. After coming to The Chapel, part of his duties was to oversee the missions program as both the chairman of the missions committee and as the pastoral liaison to the missions committee. Also in the late 70s, a retired businessman, Howard Williams, began to assist Bob with the missions program. Howard and his wife, Katie, had been among a group of believers in Cleveland who had admired the ministry of The Chapel and had inquired if Pastor Burnham would be willing to start a similar church in the Cleveland area. He encouraged them to pursue this on their own, and thus was born The Chapel in Cleveland in They called the Rev. Cal Hanson as their pastor. Over the years, this church moved several times, assuming the names of The Chapel in Beachwood, The Chapel in Solon, and, finally, Parkside 26

29 Church. Howard came to The Chapel in Akron in June and began serving on the missions committee on October 5, Bob Provost continued as the pastoral advisor. Howard also served as a volunteer missions coordinator in the office two days a week. Around this time, Pastor Rory Wineka began developing a youth missions program that would progressively involve middle and high school students in various short-term missions trips, culminating in an overseas trip by their senior year. Some of the earliest missions trips were to the island of St. Kitts to assist the ministry of missionary radio station WIVV. Other trips included helping the poor in Appalachia and ministering to Native Americans in Alaska. These trips were initially led by youth pastors Rory Wineka and Vince Didato and chaperoned by various couples such as Al and Marge Parsons and Chuck and Margaret Mealy. At first, the progressive short-term program was simply divided into four levels. Eventually, they were designated as Andrew, Barnabus, Cephus, and Doulos, with Doulos being the overseas trip, usually reserved for high school seniors. *** Because The Chapel is a non-denominational church working with many missions agencies, it began a unique experiment involving creating partnerships with key missions agencies. The Chapel had been supporting nearly 100 missionaries, but few members of our congregation really knew them or were praying for them on a regular basis. A new model of building closer and more effective relationships with our mission agencies and missionaries was developed by Howard Williams and Bob Provost. This model would not only allow The Chapel to focus upon fewer missionaries and missions agencies, but would also enable us to do a much better job of recruiting and training our future missionaries. Committee members also took the initiative to visit the headquarters of Greater 27

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