Impressions of the Southern Union Council

Presentation from Southern Union Conference, Chattanooga, January 7-14, 1943

By JOHN K. JONES, President of the Southern Union Conference

The workers in the Southern Union had set their hearts upon the proposed Eastern evangelistic council, which was to include the Atlantic, Columbia, and Southern Unions. When it was learned at the Autumn Council that this large meeting was called off, some of us felt real disappointment, for we had looked forward to it with keen anticipation. We knew there was great need for such a meeting of pastors, Bible instructors, and evangelists.

Following the Autumn Council, special study was given to the plan of holding a council for the evangelists, pastors, district superintendents, and Bible instructors in the Southern Union. It was voted that such a meeting be held in the Chattanooga Civic Auditorium, January 7-14.

We have nearly twenty-one million people in the Southern Union, with many unworked large cities and towns. Although there has been a marked increase in the tithe received in the Southern Union in recent years, yet the tithe in this large field is not so large as that in some of the other unions with a much smaller popula­tion. Our lack of tithe has made it impossible for us to carry as large a force of workers as we should. It was apparent to those of us who are laboring in this field that something out of the ordinary must take place soon if the work in this field is to be finished. We cannot depend on man power, but must look to God for divine help. We sensed the hopelessness of the task, based on the way we were going. We were holding our own with other unions when it came to baptisms and net gains in membership, but we longed for greater power from on high. In our helplessness we cried to God, and we be­lieve the blessings of the Chattanooga meeting came in answer to our prayers.

It seems to me that the General Conference could not have sent us better helpers than the persons assigned to this meeting. These work­ers were : Elders W. H. Branson, W. G. Turner, R. A. Anderson, and Miss Louise Kleuser. We greatly regret that owing to illness, Elder G. E. Peters could not be with us.

The meetings began each morning with a Bible study, followed by prayer and testimony. Round-table topics and discussion occupied the remaining time until noon. In the afternoon the workers met in various prayer band groups. These meetings were very helpful. Round-table discussion also had its place during each afternoon session. Usually in the evening there was a preaching service. I can say truly that this Chattanooga meeting was different. It was pri­marily a revival meeting. We discussed plans, to be sure, but the great burden on our hearts was for an infilling of the Spirit. I well re­member the meeting in which, after a Spirit-filled appeal by Elder Branson, all pressed to the altar. Hearts were melted, and truly in the quietness of the hour, it did seem that a second Pentecost had come.

In addition to the help he rendered in the general meetings, Elder Anderson held a num­ber of services with the ministers to deal with some of our peculiar problems. This help was much appreciated. The daily meetings which Miss Kleuser held with the Bible instructors were likewise of great help.

On the last day, January 14, a one-day pro­gram was conducted for the colored workers. This was presided over by H. D. Singleton, the union colored secretary. We believe this meeting will mean a strong advance in the work of this department in 1943.

The Chattanooga meeting was a real baptism of the Spirit. We trust its showers of refresh­ing from the presence of the Lord will spread all through the field, not only to prepare our own hearts for greater blessings to come, but to make us, as ministers, greater soul winners for God.

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By JOHN K. JONES, President of the Southern Union Conference

June 1943

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