LOCAL CHURCH HISTORY . . . . . The Church of God (7th Day) has been at its location for over 60 years. The church
actually began in Inola, a little town south of Claremore. Brother John Henry Hinds came to the area in the 1890s. He
moved from Braggs, Indian Territory to Inola in 1905, having joined the Church of God (7th Day) in about 1901. Elder
Hinds started services in homes with most of the group being family members. Another group of the Church of God was
already meeting in Inola. This group consisted of several families, but Brother Hinds nor the other group knew of each
other. The two groups eventually came together as one.
Brother Hinds received his ministerial license in 1924 and became the Inola Church of God (7th Day)'s pastor. In the early
1940's the group decided they needed a building of their own. The members borrowed $125, one member made a large
donation, the group was given some used lumber and the chapel was built on Elder Hinds' land. The members worked
together and a small sanctuary was constructed.
Not long after the building was constructed and dedicated, most of the church members moved away. The building was no
longer being used. Most of the group had moved to the Claremore area and began having Sabbath Services. A Sabbath
School was established in about 1943. The group met in rented buildings for some time. Elder Kenneth Walker became the
groups first pastor in about 1947 until about 1950. He and his family had moved to Claremore a few years before. After
Elder Walker a member of the church, who was a school teacher, became a lay pastor, Brother Sam Poff and Elder Clyde
Maher from the Tahlequah CoG7 filled the pulpit for the group in Claremroe. In July of 1948 Elder Hinds passed away. In
November of that year, the Oklahoma Conference of the Church of God (7th Day) voted to move the building from Inola to
the lot the Claremore group had purchased. The building was moved on Thanksgiving Day 1948.
In February of 1952 Elder Ross Johnston moved from Arizona to become the pastor of the local group. A building fund was established, the building was moved back some on the lot, a small addition was built on the front. This was in 1953. In about 1966 a dining hall and kitchen were added to the back and some remodeling was done to the building. A few more small additions were made over the years. In 1978 a new sanctuary was constructed. The old chapel became the dining hall. The last major remodeling was started in 2003. The old sanctuary was remodeled to better serve as a dining hall and the kitchen was moved from the back of the old building to the back of the new remodeled dining hall. The restrooms, old class rooms and the old dining hall and kitchen were remodeled into bigger bathrooms and new classrooms.
Elder Johnston continued as pastor of the group in Claremore, although he moved to Inola in 1957. In 1973 he retired to go into evanglism. Elder Robert Norvell became the pastor. Elder Norvell trained under Elder Ross and took over the pastoral duties of the church. (Brother Bob attended the Inola group as a boy.) Over the years we have had several pastors: In Inola Elder John H. Hinds, In Claremore Elder Kenneth Walker, Elder Ross Johnston, Elder Robert Burge, lay-pastor Brother Paul Karr, lay-pastor Brother Sam Poff, Elder Robert Norvell, Elder Hugh Buttrick, Elder Vernon Dickinson, Elder Royce Splawn, Elder Daniel Davila, Elder Roy Johnson (twice), Elder Hubert Weekes, Elder Wesley Walker, Elder Marvin Keim, and lay-pastor Brother Tim Hinds (Tim grew up in the local church and felt he was called into the ministry.). He was hired as pastor and remained as such for about 6 years. Brother Tim left to become the Youth Pastor at Spring Vale Academy, a boarding high school founded by the Michigan Church of God (7th Day). In March of 2009 the local congregation hired Elder Ivan Burrell from Fairview, Oklahoma as pastor. Pastor Ivan passed away in August of 2010. He had been battling cancer for over three years. The group in Claremore was without a pastor once more. The local church board assigned Sister Patricia Johnston the job of getting speakers for the group most Sabbaths. It might be a minister of another congregation, a minister in training or a local board member. Most Sabbath's we did have a speaker for the worship service. This continued on until August of 2013. Pastor Barry Mauldin had been attending LifeSpring School of Ministry and had been the speaker in the Claremore group most second Sabbaths. He felt he was called to serve the Claremore group. He approached the local board and was hired as the Lay-pastor. His first sermon as pastor was September 14, 2013.
Below you will find a brief history of the church organization:
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF GOD (7TH DAY) . . . . . . . The church began through advent believers in Michigan and Iowa. The two distinctive doctrines were the Second Coming of Christ and the Seventh-day Sabbath. In 1863, the Michigan group extended its influence into the eastern and central United States through a publication called The Hope of Israel. The General Conference (headquarters) of the church was organized in 1884 and incorporated in Missouri in 1899. Its offices were located in Stanberry, Missouri until 1950, when they transferred to Denver Colorado.
The general conference of the church established a Publishing House for printing the church literature in Stanberry. Midwest Bible College for the training of ministers of the church, was opened. Later in about 1972 the Publishing House was moved to Denver, Colorado, where the church headquarters had moved in 1970. The Ministerial Training Center followed, but many years later.
The church magazine The Hope of Israel, moved from Michigan to Iowa, then later to Missouri. After several name changes, it is now known as the Bible Advocate. More than a 150 years later, the publication continues to be published. You can also read it online. The Publishing House continues to publish doctrinal tracts, special pamphlets, and Adult Sabbath School Quarterlies.
The church recognizes more than 190 congregations in the United States and Canada. The church has affiliated ministries in more than 26 countries outside of North America. With missions and contacts included, the church is active in over 40 countries. Worldwide fellowship exceeded 200,000 members in August of 2002. Each national church is considered autonomous and is regarded as a sister-conference. Through the agent of God's grace, the church offers warm-hearted fellowship and willing support of people everywhere who trust and obey the same Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. In serving people, the church finds relevance for its Bible-centered message and its God-inspired mission.
As of 2007 the church had 39 International Conferences. Here is a brief list of countries that have conferences: Argentina, South Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, D.R. Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, India, Italy, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Trinada and Tobago, Ugunda, United Kingdom (England), United States, Uruguay, and Zambia.
The General Conference of the church began having camp meetings every other year, open to people from all over the United States to get together and fellowship, plus conduct church business. A Ministerial Council was implemented, where the ministers of the church come together to study and discuss doctrinal changes of the church. What year this began is unknown to me. For many years the General Conference Camp Meeting was conducted either in Stanberry, Missouri or Denver, Colorado. Years later the General Conference meetings began being held in different states. This gave more members the opportunity to attend, that never could before.
The General Conference Camp Meeting of 2007, the church celebrated their 150th year of operation. The actual year was 2008. Since conference meetings are held on odd number years, the conference decided to have the celebration in 2007 before the acutal year of the anniversary. It took place in Overland Park, Kansas. There was a record number of people in attendance, approximately 1,300 on Sabbath. Record number of attendees from various countries. In 2008 the conference set up an anniversary cruise for the members of the church. It was to the Bahamas.
Note of interest: The General Conference Convention 2011 was held in St. Charles, Illinois, Pleasant Run Restort, July 18-23. Registration: 1,372, the highest of any recent convention; Opening reception: 600, highest of Monday evening attendance; Business session: 665, highest attendance ever; Sabbath morning and evening attendance: approximately 1,800; Live-stream viewers online: 230 (US), 20 (foreign countries); Sabbath afternoon awards ceremony/African Children's Choir concert: approximately 1,300; African Children's Choir organization reports outstanding response in sponorships, offerings, and volunteers; Fraternal and foreign delegates to the convention included ..... Seventh Day Baptist US General Conference: Rob Appel (executive director), Kevin Butler (director of communications), and Gordon Lawton (church historian); Peacemaker Ministries, Billings, Montana: Gary Friesen; General Conference Church of God (Seventh Day), Jamaica: Henry Harley (conference chairman); General Conference Church of God (Seventh Day), Trinidad and Tobago: Lewis Guy (president) and Anthony Dalrymple (vice-president); Mt. Zion Church of God (Seventh Day), Brooklyn, New York: Gilford Monrose.
This is just a brief history. For more a more detailed one, you can contact the General Conference offices at firstname.lastname@example.org, snail mail: General Conference of the Church of God (7th Day), P.O. Box 33677, Denver, CO 80233, Fax: 303-452-0657 or call 303-452-7973.