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Church celebrates centennial

By E. Alan Long in Eureka Springs, Ark.

The three-day 100th anniversary celebration of Eureka Springs Assembly of God that wrapped up April 1 drew nearly 300 people to the small Arkansas resort community from various states and denominations.

A Saturday afternoon free barbecue was prepared and served by members of Lost Valley (Okla.) Methodist Church. Among the visitors were grandchildren of area Pentecostal pioneer Lee Hall, including Jeff Hall and Janna Hall Knowles and their mother, Mariana Hall-Langwell.

Jeremy and Heidi Turner led praise and worship. Heidi grew up in the Eureka Springs church. The Turners currently pastor Kirklin (Ind.) Assembly of God. Special music included a Saturday evening concert by Louisiana-based New Liberty Quartet.

The earliest records of Eureka Springs AG indicate consistent contributions to the mission field. In commemoration of the event, visitors joined with congregants in raising more than $4,000 for missionary Kerry Mauldin to construct a church in Asia.

The weekend was a time of remembrance. Former pastors recalled many events of the church’s history, which produced a call to evangelism. Former pastors taking the pulpit included Bob Whilhite, Eugene Rose, and Glenn Beaver.

Area native George Clay, now an associate pastor of the church, and former pastors Don Davis and Oliver Stilwell led a joint Sunday School class on the theme “The Church and its Mission.”

Following the Sunday morning service, church members and visitors gathered outside for dedication of a time capsule. Enclosed were a history of the church, a George Washington dollar coin, and other items, including a cell phone from Pastor Gene Gilmore, who said he would call the phone after the capsule was interred "to see if anyone answers."

With a theme of “Celebrating 100 Years of Pentecost and More,” the beginnings of the church can be traced to a visit by an evangelist in 1905. Young Lee Hall attended the meeting with the intent of harassing the speaker, but instead became saved and Spirit-filled.

The church organized in 1907 as an Apostolic Faith church. Eureka Springs was a tourist destination even then, and drew many Pentecostal camp meetings. It was at a Eureka Springs camp meeting that plans were made for the Assemblies of God organizational meeting in Hot Springs, Ark.

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