Come to Grand Junction, MI with me, site of our early Church of God publishing ministry. Had we been able to publish the second issue of Reformation Witness, it would have contained this in expanded form.
In July-07, Digital Historian Dale Stultz introduced The Book of Noah and led conferees at Warner Camp in discussing the early days of our publishing work. Pastor Don Hendrix chauffeured the 40-passenger Allegan church bus. Dale led illustrated on-site lectures and I joined the group as an area native.
Using enlarged digital photos to illustrate, Stultz took conferees to several village sites at the West end of village center, Grand Junction. He gave page references from The Book of Noah and gave his audiences time to mark their books and ask questions with each lecture.
Sites included the Trumpet Office, the Trumpet Family residence, the E. E. Byrum home, and the Hooley House. Stultz identified each site for his audience, inspiring heightened appreciation for those hearty pioneer workers. What it did for participants could not be purchased at any price.
The village offers little, but it served as the site of Gospel Trumpet Company for twelve years--1884-1896. Those years cradled the publishing ministry into a tiny religious movement with a viable publishing ministry. Those years allowed those reformers to coalesce into what people now know as the Church of God, with general agencies in Anderson, IN.
Joining Stultz’s was my 40-year friend, Camp Evangelist Luz Gonzales. Luz found it “an incredible experience.” He later wrote: “I bought 'The Book of Noah" and enrolled as a member of the Historical Society. When I returned home, I shared with Carol the wonderful blessing that I had received,. . .She . . . read it and she wouldn't put it down until she finished it. She was very touched, too, seeing what a great legacy these pioneers left us. . .”
The lesson I get is this: very simply, they did a whole lot more then with what they had than we do today with what we have today. Tiny Grand Junction formed the hub from which our “Quest for Holiness and Unity” became a global ministry. It went global with people like G. T. Clayton and party, evangelizing up and down the Ohio River from his “Floating Bethel“ barge. Men like W. T. Carter of Saint James, MO came to Grand Junction, then founded ministry centers in places like Dodge, KY--a rail junction adjacent to Winchester (close to Lexington).
The daughter of Sebastian Michels’, one of the Grand Junction leaders, solicited my father to help her start the Sunday School that now serves in nearby South Haven, MI. She later returned with her husband to assist the newer children‘s home at Spokane, WA. She and her husband ministered in the Northwest, but that little Sunday School nurtured me for my first eighteen years. They will celebrate 85 years of service July 20.
When Gospel Trumpet Company left in 1898 (Warner died 12-1895), they went from “no modern conveniences whatsoever” to coal-powered electricity and modern facilities. From there, they moved to Anderson, IN and in the thirties era they were one of the America’s largest religious publishers.
When Stultz returned home to Anderson, IN, he found ”Noah” preceding him. The Historical Society sold more than six cases of books at Park Place Church where former classmate, Dr; Donald Johnson-- retired Missionary Board Executive--prepared a teaching guide on Church of God beginnings. He used “Noah“ as a text book for his Sunday School class.
A sampling of photo’s (if I get this right) show Gonzales clowning on the bus, the GT Co in Grand Junction, and a conference at the Warner House at camp (hope I have this right.....taken by SOT student, Jonathan Cox, prepared by Stultz). At the upper right of this page, you will also find me in the red cap, with Dr. Leslie Ratzlaff, retired founding Dean of WSC (original site of GT Pub. Co. that burned).