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Canyon Day, Arizona: The Role of Native American Women in Assemblies of God Churches

Apache

WMC members at Canyon Day Assembly of God form a choir for an outdoor service, 1960.

This Week in AG History — April 24, 1960

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 19 March 2020

Native American women have played important roles in the development of Assemblies of God churches on reservations across America. The April 24, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel shared how women helped to establish a congregation on the Apache Reservation at Canyon Day, Arizona.

Mary and Leo Gilman were called to be missionaries to the Apaches at Canyon Day. When the Gilmans arrived, Mary reported that these women worked side by side with the men. First, they helped set up poles and build a shaded area for a brush arbor until a permanent structure could be built. Once the church was being built, they helped with the construction work and also hauled rocks and mixed cement for the parsonage, sidewalk, and church steps.

After the church opened for services, the Women’s Missionary Council (WMC) was officially organized. One of the Apache ladies became the WMC president. The group held weekly meetings, where the ladies spent time in Bible study and prayer as well as cleaning and caring for their church building. Each of the ladies sewed a quilt, and these colorful creations were hung on the church walls. Some people later visited the church just to see the beautiful quilts.

The ladies did weekly visitation from house to house and down back roads and trails to show care and concern for their neighbors and family members. They also visited the older ladies of the community and took them small tokens of friendship. They gave out quilts to some of the older people who were in need.

One time these ladies won 40 ribbons at the Apache Indian Tribal fair for their sewing, cooked foods, etc. The Assemblies of God booth even won first prize! Participating in this event gave them an opportunity to witness and pass out over 4,000 tracts in two days, with the assistance of the Christ’s Ambassadors (young people) of the church.

These Apache women definitely made an impact on their surroundings as they shared the love of Christ through their many activities.

Read “Apache Women at Work,” by Mary Gilman, on pages 16-17 of the April 24, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “New Awakening in Germany,” by Nicholas Nikoloff

• “Navajo Artist Builds a Church For His People,” by Ruth Lyon

• “Busy Mother Ministers to the Blind,” by Maxine Strobridge

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Filed under History, Missions, Native Americans