A Short History of the Apostolic Missionary Movement - 1922 to 2012
The passion born in the leaders of the Apostolic Church for missionary work stems, from their belief in the last command of Jesus: Mark 16 v 15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”. This passion inspired them to embark on a missionary programme that has resulted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ touching the lives of people all over the world.
The Council of Apostles convened in 1922 was entitled ‘A Missionary Council’ which established the principle that the purpose for its existence, was to be a ‘Sending Church’ - and its objective: to preach the gospel to as many as unreached peoples of the world as possible. The phrase that encapsulated their vision was called ‘Belting the Globe’.
The first missionaries approved by the apostles and sent to Argentina, were Pastor & Mrs J Hollis and Evangelist D Morris. They sailed from Liverpool on 13th July 1922. The most memorable of their coverts was a member of the Louis Palo family, a family that is still being used by God to spread the gospel all around the world. On 30th August 1922 Pastor DP Williams and three other apostles sailed from Liverpool bound for New York and went on to visit Philadelphia.
Pastor Hugh Mitchell the Missionary Secretary from 1942 to 1947 wrote in the ‘Vision Glorious’ (a special issue to celebrate 25 years of Missionary endeavour) the following: “The Apostolic Missionary Movement was entrusted with the task of taking the Apostolic message to all countries overseas, there is no land civilised or uncivilised, which is not a legitimate Mission Field”.
Missionaries have been sent to the continents of Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa and North & South America and Canada. Nigeria is one of the most successful mission fields and now has approximately 5 million members. The Apostolic Church is established in Ghana, Burkina Faso, The DRC, Cameroon, Toga, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Since 1985 new doors of opportunity opened in Africa and mission fields were established in Malawi and Mozambique. In the 1990’s new fields were opened in Chile and Latvia. In 1987 Pastor Granville Johnson gave a prophetic word that the Hammer and Sickle on the communist flag would be replaced by the Cross - this came to pass in 1989 as Communism collapsed in Russia. In 1990 Pastor Ken Rees and Ernest Williams visited the Latvia and doors were opened to the gospel.
The Mission Fields pioneered by the UK Apostolic Church are now autonomous and organise their own affairs. The UK maintains a link with these countries, sending representatives, which has helped to ensure there is a close contact kept between each country. The trail of the Apostolic Church Missionary Movement which began in 1922 progressed in the following way: 1924 Denmark was visited and a link made - also in 1924 a lady from Denmark
went to China. 1925 a prophetic word at the Penygroes International Convention called for volunteers to go to France. 1927 a delegation visited Italy and later Pastor W. Thomas was sent there and established a church in Grosseto, a church that is still thriving to this present day.
Missionaries went to Canada in 1927 and given autonomy in 1946. In 1930 Australia became the latest country to receive the Apostolic vision. 1932 Pastor G Perfect and Pastor Idris Vaughn were the first missionaries to Nigeria and also in 1932 Pastor J Hewitt and Pastor W Cathcart visited New Zealand, and Pastor A L Greenaway became the first president of this new mission field. 1934 Pastor DP Williams visited India, and a missionary delegation visited Estonia. 1937 Pastor W J McKeown became the first missionary to Ghana, and sailing in the same ship was Pastor S G. Elton on his way to Nigeria. 1939 Pastors J Hewitt and W Cathcart arrived for a visit to South Africa.
1945 a family left Australia for the New Hebrides. 1946 Pastor H Dawson visited Germany and Norway; and Greenland opened up. In 1947 Switzerland was added. 1951 Pastor A Armstrong commenced the missionary work in Zimbabwe. By 1949 13 mission fields were linked to the
Apostolic Missionary Movement.
Permanent Missionaries were located in Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and India until the 1980’s. Resident Missionaries were in Mozambique, Chile, South Africa, and Latvia until 2010. Present Missionaries are located in Malawi are Pastor Alan and Sandra Skene.
Eric and Dianne Horley served the Lord in Zimbabwe on two separate occasion, they were there for 5 years and then another 4 years prior Independence, Eric writes.
“To be involved in Missionary Work is both a privilege and responsibility in the sense that it is a joy to be involved in the purposes of God in reaching the Nations. Is a responsibility in being obedient to the call, and command of the Lord.
However in regards to the ministry of the Church to the Nations it is twofold, 1. Missionary (Evangelical) 2. Ministerial (Establishing) and presented in the power of the Holy Spirit in order to reach the lost, then teaching must be given in order to establish those converts in the things most surely believed, this is clearly seen in the opening verse of the Book of Acts (Missionary Book of the New Testament) doing evangelical, teaching establishing, this twofold ministry is clearly seen in the operation in Pauls three missionary journeys, and confirmed in the epistles.
As an Apostolic Fellowship we also have a twofold responsibility in the fulfilling of our ministry, we must go with the gospel in order that men and women will be converted, then we must establish the churches according to the New Testament pattern”
Pastor Ernest and Sylvia Williams served the Lord in Nigeria the Cameroon and Ghana, writes
“I left there in 1982, and throbs with vibrant life. The Church likewise, with numerous large churches some needing two services on a Sunday in spite of seating some 500 people. Accra city can boast of 270 'assemblies whereas Kumasi has about 200. In all, there are some 2,300 assemblies in Ghana. The great final celebration Rally highlighting their theme "Great is thy faithfulness" (Lam 3:23) saw some 60/80,000 gathered mainly from the local area of Accra.
If this is the product of foundations laid by Fulltime Missionary endeavour, backed by Homeland prayer and giving; may God rise up many who are willing to serve on foreign soil in coming days. Spasmodic visits will never be an adequate substitute”
Philip and Netta Cawthorne served the Lord in Africa, he writes.
“Netta and I and our two young children were privileged and blessed to serve as a missionary family in Nigeria and Ghana. We soon settled and regarded Ilesha, Nigeria, as home: then Kumasi. Ghana. Of course we had to adjust to a different culture. Africans are not driven by time, but will invariably take as long as they wish to converse with a friend they happen to meet ill the street. We soon realised that people mattered more than business.
But it was the church that impressed us most. They don't just attend church they are Church, and they participate with a fervour and joy that we have not seen elsewhere. And how they pray: on one occasion I was leading for the first time a district convention of about 1,000 people in a large church, and opened a time of prayer. There was no silence and no waiting: instantly the entire congregation stood and prayed aloud. This continued for 10 or 15 minutes, and to silence them J had to hold the microphone in one hand and ring a school bell with the other, gradually the crescendo of prayer subsided. Prayer is more important than praise or preaching: though they value both. They enjoy choral singing and powerful preaching; but it is prayer - especially all-night
prayer that fills the churches.
The fastest growth of the Apostolic Church is in West Africa. When we moved from Nigeria to Ghana in 1971 there were eight Apostolic churches in the town of Ilesha. In the year 2000 Pastor Samuel McKibben and I visited Nigeria, and there were fifty Apostolic churches in Ilesha.
In both Nigeria and Ghana the Apostolic Church is highly regarded. And in both countries the church is establishing a University”
Pastor Granville and Heather Johnson, served the Lord in South Africa and was a Missionary
Apostle, he writes.
“In June 1991 my wife Heather and I travelled from Durban South Africa to Chimoio in Mozambique in a borrowed 1977 Ford Cortina, at the invitation of Pastor Ajape Ussene who had four small bush churches, constructed of mud walls and grass roof. The seventeen year old war was still raging, so we found ourselves being constantly harassed by solders.
After many visits over the next ten years covering an area of central Mozambique the Apostolic mission yielded a harvest of 180 church groups. A Training centre was built in Chimoio to equip the present and future church leaders.
The UK Missions board then sent two capable families to continue the development of the churches in the persons of Pastor and Mrs Mark and Julie Andrews and Pastor and Mrs Stuart and Sandra and their children Katie, Christopher and Stephen.
Where the Action Overseas Board decides to remain in a country, it should aim to make provision for a centre to act as a training facility for the indigenous people.
Action in the past has been taken not to generate a dependency syndrome among the people the missionaries are serving, but greater care should be taken not to depend on the casual visit and proposals by any appointees that go beyond the initiation of the mission field. It is a known fact in the history of missions (David Livingstone being a classic example) that missionaries have to reside with their adopted people to know them and their needs”
Heather Johnson was one of our missionaries who died serving the Lord in Africa.
Stuart and Sandra Wood served as Missionaries in Mozambique, Stuart writes.
“From my early years I was inspired by the stories I heard from missionaries who visited our home or our church. It was, therefore, both a great honour and the most rewarding experience of my life to serve God and the church in Mozambique for seven years. That experience has challenged my children to be the next generation to serve in Mission.”
Ivor and Alice Douglas served the Lord as Missionaries in Cape Town for twentytwo years until their retirement in 2001, Ivor writes.
“We have had the privilege of serving in Missions for the past 22 years in Africa.
Cape Town has been our base and we give thanks to God for His faithfulness in that we have Seen the work grow and young leadership raised in the nations we have been responsible for.
In 1998, we pioneered into Namibia.
In 2000, we took charge of the churches in Angola.
Both of these countries have their own National Council of Pastors.
In 2005, we pioneered into the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In November 2008, the South African church was granted autonomy.
In 2011, Pastor Ricky Masters from Durban was commissioned to take responsibility for the work in Angola and the DRC and Pastor Michael Feder from Cape Town for the work in Namibia. We are confident that the South African church is serious about Mission outside their borders and we ask for your prayers that the work in these nations may continue to grow. Since we have been serving in Africa, we have observed that the face of Missions is
changing. This we fully accept, however there can never be any substitute for the call of God coming to men and women in respect to a particular nation and they being obedient to that call, serving God either as residential or itinerant missionaries.
The mandate of Jesus still remains “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation”
As this is intended as a short history of Apostolic Missionary work, there are a number of Missionaries and their wives who have not been directly referred to by name. However should you wish to see a full list of Missionaries sent by the Apostolic Church to the mission fields of the world, you can view them on the ‘Role of Honour’ attached to this web site. In order to see this please click on the link to: “Download and read the Record of UK Apostolic Missionaries” in our resources tab.
Ps. Phillip Powell