Peace Chapel Assembly of God Church

Our History

Below is a portion of the only Peace Chapel history we have come across.

This was written by Linda Cheek on June 8, 1998.

PRECIOUS they linger...

A Christian lady named Peggy DeHaven prayed for years that God would send the Pentecostal message to the Hickory Barren Community. They had four denominational churches, lacking the Full Gospel message in that area.

Then in the early 1930's, a number of Central Bible Institute students began an out station in the old Hickory Barren School, located a short distance south of U.S. 65 highway. (The building collapsed in 1997 due to time and neglect). Much of the time they were without the leadership of a pastor. In 1934, a C.B.I. student named Harry Bradley took over as Pastor. A young man by the name of Ehrman Gills, a student at C.B.I. became their pastor in the fall of 1938. At this time, it became necessary for this group, with no official name, to find another place to worship. The school board did not like what the "Holy Rollers" (as they were called) were doing in the school. They thought they were too radical of Pentecost to be meeting in the school. The school board was afraid that all the goings on would tear up the school. With great determination they began holding services in a milk house located on a farm. (about on-fourth mile across the street from our present location) Despite the benches with no backs, dirt floors and again without leadership of a Pastor, God met them with the saving of about six in the first or second night of these services. Bro. Gills suggested to them that they should start a building fund. They thought he was nuts. They were still feeling the effects of the depression years and they were poor farmers with families. How could they get enough money to build a church building? Despite their unsureness of the suggestion, Bro. Gills gave the first dollar. The little congregation of about forty set out to build a place to worship. They met great opposition along the way . On December 28, 1938, about one-fourth of an acre was deeded to this group by Dora Bell Stanfield. This was quite a miracle, because this family did not want a church in this area and then ended up giving them the land. Their new church, now commonly known as the tar paper church, was occupied in late 1939. Because of all the trouble they had getting the land, they decided to name the church Peace Chapel. They became affiliated with the General Council of the Assemblies of God on November 22, 1940. Services continued and later stone was added to the outside of the tar paper church. This one room stone building served as a sanctuary to about 100 people until late 1961. The building was dismantled in the summer of 1967.

On August 20, 1949, the second plot of ground, joining the back of the first, was deeded to the church by Mary Harris and Maggie DeHaven. A three room parsonage was built on this land and occupied by Pastor Ralph Kay and his family in the late 1950's. An enclosed back porch was added to this by Pastor David Plymire in 1955. Two additional rooms and a bath were added under the leadership of Pastor Leonard Cranor in 1957. A fireplace was added by Pastor Laverne Maxwell sometime later.

A third plot of ground, joining on the south, was deeded to the church August 23, 1955, by Huston and Della Nelson. Under the leadership of Pastor Leonard Cranor this congregation broke ground for another building in December of 1960. These new facilities provided the present class rooms.

On April 26, 1970, they broke ground for a newer sanctuary, which we now use for children's church services. They had a big dedication service on November 8, 1970.

In 1979 a gym was added to the church grounds. By using sports as a way to build our ministry to the community and build a relationship with the people. Sometime around the mid 1980's, church attendance was growing to around 250. Under the direction of Pastor Jack Blansit, Peace Chapel once again was running out of room, so in 1986 an overflow room was added, along with the kitchen area, bathrooms, and nursery.

Once again, under the direction of Pastor Jack Blansit, Peace Chapel was growing tremedously. We were starting to hit attendance at around 400. In May 1989, we moved into our present sanctuary, which seats 700 people. Also at this time our new offices were built. Before we knew it, attendance in 1993 had reached 595. For a small church in the middle of nowhere, Peace Chapel had become the Third Largest Country Church in the Nation.