Apart With Him
Fifty Years of the Mount Hermon Conference
© 1956 Harry R. Smith
Western Book & Tract Company : Oakland, California
1. Mount Hermon Association
Library of Congress: 56036225 || BV3799.M6 S56 || OCLC #1171620 || 137p.
Apart With Him is presently held by 21 libraries including the Santa Cruz Public Library and Westmont College.
Table of Contents
1. The Seed ....... 3
2. The Sprout ....... 20
3. Deepening the Roots ....... 34
4. Storm Clouds Over Europe ....... 39
5. Tested By Fire ....... 44
6. Reconstruction ....... 51
7. Forward Under Difficulties ....... 62
8. World War II ....... 83
9. Post War Readjustments ....... 93
10. A Still "Greater Mount Hermon" ....... 106
11. The Future ....... 120
Appendices (not included online) ....... 124
From the Back Cover
As we read this fine presentation of the history of Mount Hermon we are all most deeply impressed by the splendid service our historian, Harry R. Smith has rendered.
What an amount of research is indicated and what a fine arrangement of the material he has given us. We are thrilled as we read how the founders were led, step by step, by our Lord.
We are most deeply impressed by the wonderful though not surprising marvels of our Lord's providences, grace and guidance. We are thrilled by the faith, prayers, vision, sacrifice and testimony of the men who, under God, founded Mount Hermon. They walked by faith, they left us a great heritage and a clarion call to be worthy sons of such spiritual fathers.
How clearly our historian has brought this before us and has so wonderfully made us conscious of our 50th Anniversary theme, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."
FRANCIS W. RUSSELL
* * *
"Mount Hermon, the conference center of the west, is a vine of God's planting. For fifty years, it has lovingly stood as a bulwark of evangelical Christianity on the Pacific Coast. On its dedicated grounds multitudes have found Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. So many young people have heard his call to vocational Christian service that Mount Hermon's influence has become world wide in scope.
"From an acquaintance of nearly fifty years as a frequent visitor, ofttimes Director of the Board, a Trustee and occasional President, I heartily congratulate the author of this book. It records a very interesting, clear and truly factual history of what God has done through the Association during its first fifty years of witnessing for Him. The book deserves a careful and widespread reading. It should encourage Christians to evaluate its contents, and to uphold the Association by their prayers."
ROBERT T. SUTHERLAND, M.D.
In the fall of 1952 when Mr. Oscar I. Schmaelzle became President of Mount Hermon Association, he brought to the chair, among his many other fine qualities, a remarkable capacity for thoroughness. At one of the early meetings of the Board under his administration, he outlined a plan which not only embraced virtually all of the things which he hoped to see accomplished during that year, but also certain projects for the future. Looking ahead to 1956, the year when Mount Hermon would celebrate its 50th birthday, he appointed me to the task of gathering and preparing material for a history so that people and events of yesteryear would not be forgotten.
The task was undertaken with relish and enthusiasm since I have a great love for Mount Hermon dating back to 1926 when I moved into the San Francisco Bay area, and first attended a conference on these grounds. It has carried on through later years when it was my privilege to serve as a member of the board and as an officer.
Unfortunately, much of the material which would have made this task an easier one, was destroyed in the tragic fire that levelled Zayante Inn in 1921. Although this proved to be a serious handicap, the task was not hopeless due to the foresight of several who also shared a desire that the former days not be forgotten. Mr. and Mrs. Warren B. Hackett had collected a great many of the programs, pictures and letters of the early years, many of them contributed by Mrs. Hugh W. Gilchrist, and had mounted them in a scrap book which they presented to Mount Hermon Association in 1938. Also Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hamlin in 1945 prepared a very comprehensive and valuable historical sketch. Both of these, plus a quantity of old programs, pictures, postcards and newspaper clippings have been sent in by members of the Mount Hermon family. It is from a careful study of these early records, plus some further research, that it has been possible to piece together a little more complete picture of the early years, and I wish to express my sincere thanks to all those mentioned thus far, and to Mrs. Sadie G. Allison of Corvallis, Oregon, the daughter of Rev. Hugh W. Gilchrist, to Mrs. Dorothy Kahl, of Merced, California, the daughter of Rev. Henry Sanborne, to Dr. Clifford M. Drury of the Department of Church History, San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, California, to Miss Mabel Jean Barnhouse, Historian of the Mount Hermon Women's Auxiliary, and to many others.
Expressions of appreciation are also due to Dr. Francis Russell and to Dr. Robert Sutherland who have reviewed the manuscript and have made many helpful corrections. Last of all I wish to express my sincere thanks to my good wife, Marjory, who with rare patience sat quietly by during many a long evening while I poured over the mass of basic material, and then she typed the entire manuscript.
Despite our best efforts, there are still gaps in the story. It is our hope that as this history is read (as we trust it will be) by those who have had some part in the building of Mount Hermon or who have watched its growth through the years, they may be able to discover in their memories or in their attics, some of the facts which have thus far escaped our search. While we have a great deal of material covering the very early years, we have very little covering the years 1917 to 1920 (the years just preceding the fire of 1921). We hope that some of the printed programs, bulletins, letters, etc., covering those years may yet be found before they disappear forever, and can be added to the collection of historical material which is being preserved at Mount Hermon.
And now, one last word about the book: may this story of God's alternate testing and blessing give us all fresh assurance of His love, and renewed determination to make of Mount Hermon an ever greater instrument for His use, until that blessed day when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to receive all of His own unto Himself.
HARRY R. SMITH
Menlo Park, California
"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Psalm 126:6.
It is but a step away from the automobile traffic along that smooth ribbon of pavement known as the Scott Valley Road, to the calm and peaceful surroundings of a forest glade. The Santa Cruz mountains of California cannot compare in elevation with the Rockies or the Alps. But they are unique in that they are part of the Coastal Range which, alone in all the world, is the home of the Sequoia Sempervirens, the Coastal Redwood tree. These trees are remarkable for their prodigious height for they are the tallest living things in all the world. And they share with their cousins of the Sierras, the Sequoia Gigantea, the honor of being the largest in girth and the oldest living things.
Mount Hermon is set in a delightful grove of towering Redwood trees. This alone would tend to endear the place to those who come each year. But the beauty and the grandeur of the Redwoods is but one reason why Mount Hermon occupies so large a place in the hearts of the visitors from California and from around the world.
The sudden and welcome change from the rush of highway
traffic to the quiet hush of a trail winding through the Redwoods here finds its counterpart in another and deeper sense. Here one can leave the rush and the pressure of business, of the school, of the community activities, and find one's self in an atmosphere of spiritual peace and quiet and refreshment. For Mount Hermon is a place set apart, sanctified, dedicated to the great triune God and to the study, contemplation, and exposition of His revealed Word.
Beginning with the conference in 1906, down to the present day and we trust until He shall come again, the testimony of Mount Hermon has been and will be one of wholehearted unswerving loyalty to the whole Word of God. God always keeps His promises. He has honored His Word and has blessed in the lives of countless thousands, who in the past fifty years have come under the influence of Mount Hermon. Human leaders have come and gone, but the testimony is unbroken.
But let us return to the Redwood trees for a moment. As one pauses along the wooded trails of Mount Hermon and considers the size and the age of these majestic sentinels, one cannot help but let his mind go back in thought to the day when these lofty giants were but sprouting seeds. By the simple process of counting the annual rings in trees of similar size cut in other groves nearby, it is known that some of these trees were standing when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ walked on the shores of Galilee. Small wonder then that we contemplate these trees in hushed silence, as we think back upon the historical events which took place during the lifetime of these mighty monarchs of the forest. Nor can one help but think of the mighty power of God who could put within one tiny seed the life which has endured down through these twenty centuries. It is almost inconceivable that such giant trees could have come from such a tiny seed. And yet this is the plan of God which in these trees
is unfolded before our eyes. This also was His plan for the beginning and the growth of Mount Hermon which covers roughly the first half of the twentieth century. Mount Hermon, too, began with a seed; the seed of an idea. Just as the Redwood and its seed came from God, so the idea which eventually brought Mount Hermon into being came from His loving hand.
In the summer of 1900 Dr. Hugh W. Gilchrist, a young pastor in Seattle, was invited to take part in an "Assembly for Bible Study" to be held on Vashon Island situated in Puget Sound. Old timers on Vashon Island recall it as having been connected with the Chatauqua Camp Meeting held from 1888 to about 1906 at what was then Chatauqua, but is now called Ellisport. Boats from both Seattle and Tacoma used to make special trips throughout the summer and at times there were as many as five hundred in attendance. It is evident that Dr. Gilchrist made a valuable contribution to the program, for he was invited to return during the following summer of 1901. Here, away from the hustle and bustle of city life many found fresh inspiration in the unhampered promptings of the Holy Spirit, and the speakers found fresh joy in the way in which the hearers received the Word. Surely this summer conference idea was one worthy of further cultivation.
In the early fall of 1901, there came to Dr. Gilchrist a call to join the faculty of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, California, as instructor in Greek and to supply as pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church of San Francisco located in the center of what was then a thriving residential area. This was an opportunity to enlarge the scope of his ministry and it must have proved attractive. But there was one sad note: if he were to move to San Francisco, he would have to leave the newly discovered delights of the Summer Bible Conference work on Vashon Island.
In a circumstance like that, there is only one thing for the man of God to do, and that is to pray. We may be sure that Dr. Gilchrist laid this whole matter before the Lord including the question of the Bible Conference work, for surely it was from God that he received an idea. Dr. Gilchrist wrote back to San Francisco saying that he would join the faculty of the San Francisco Theological Seminary provided the Seminary would agree to hold Bible Conferences for the benefit of home missionaries and other Christian workers. The governing body of the Seminary agreed to this suggestion and so Dr. Gilchrist came to San Francisco, bringing with him this seed germ of an idea which had already showed signs of sprouting.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF HUGH GILCHRIST
What was the background of this rather remarkable young man to whom God had entrusted the seed of inspiration out of which was to sprout Mount Hermon? Hugh Watts Gilchrist was born on December 7th, 1858 at Boggstown, Indiana. His father was an itinerant preacher who travelled a circuit which included many communities. Transportation in that day was quite primitive. On one occasion as the result of fording a stream on horseback, the circuit rider was stricken with pneumonia and died when Hugh was only four years old. The family moved to Greenfield, Indiana, where as young Hugh grew up, he helped in the support of the family by working in a sawmill and doing carpentry. Later, probably about 1878, the family moved to Hanover, Indiana, so that the boys might have an opportunity to attend Hanover College, a Presbyterian School.
Although he had been denied the advantages of a formal high school education, evidently he and his two elder brothers had been well enough schooled in the family circle to enable them to matriculate. The two older brothers, Frank and Joseph, graduated from Hanover and became missionaries to the Spanish speaking peoples of New Mexico and Colorado. Their appreciation of the advantages of training is well exemplified in the fact that they founded a school for the training of Spanish speaking preachers.
Hugh W. Gilchrist graduated from Hanover College in 1885 and went on to Lane Seminary (Presbyterian) in Cincinnati, graduating in 1888. However, during the time he was still in Seminary, his interest in pioneering work was evidenced by the fact that in 1886, he became the "pastor's assistant" to the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati whose origin goes back to 1790. As the "pastor's assistant" young Hugh Gilchrist's prime responsibility was to take charge of Pilgrim Chapel which had been established by the church as a mission project in what was then a new residential section on a hill just south of what is now the downtown business section of Cincinnati. Two years later, on November 14th, 1888, he was ordained by the Presbytery of Cincinnati and installed as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. At that time the church was located on Fourth Street between Main and Walnut on a site which is now in the heart of the downtown financial section of the city. In later years the church became less active because of its location, and joined with the "Presbyterian Church of the Covenant" moving into the latter's church building at Eighth and Elm Streets where it is now the "Covenant-First Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati" a stronghold of fundamental evangelism in downtown Cincinnati.
Two years after his installation as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, he married Margaret E. Garritt, the daughter of his Greek professor in Hanover College. That same year, his name appears as the chairman of the Committee of Presbytery which called together a meeting to celebrate "100 years of Presbyterianism in the Ohio Valley" held in the First Presbyterian Church October 14-16, 1890. It is evident from the printed proceedings of this celebration that the last ten years of the centenary had been noted for great missionary vision. Since Dr. Gilchrist had always displayed a keen interest in the outreach of the Gospel, it is safe to assume that he had a large part in this forward movement.
The Pilgrim Chapel previously referred to, became a separate church in 1890 and still occupies the buildings erected in 1886 at 1222 Ida Street, Cincinnati, in the section which is referred to locally as "Mount Adams." During a business visit to Cincinnati, the writer took the opportunity to engage in some research on the early activities of Hugh Gilchrist. This brought about the privilege of taking part in divine services at the Covenant-First Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati and also of speaking from what is undoubtedly
the very pulpit in the Pilgrim Chapel from which some of Dr. Gilchrist's earliest messages as a Seminary student were delivered.
After serving the First Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati for five years, Dr. Gilchrist was called to a pastorate in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he served until 1896, at which time he accepted a call to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Seattle where he served until 1902. It was during this pastorate that he took part in the Bible conferences on Vashon Island in Washington.
* * * * *
And so it was that a Bible Conference was held at San Anselmo in October of 1902 followed by another in 1903 and still another in 1904. They were well attended, and the blessing of the Lord was evident to all, in the same way as had been the case on Vashon Island. By the end of the second conference, however, it became increasingly apparent that a greater number could be reached if the conference could be held in the mid-summer and if it could be held at some spot suitable for a summer vacation, similar to the conference grounds started by D. L. Moody at Northfield, Massachusetts, and to the popular conference grounds at Winona Lake, Indiana. The matter was discussed with a number of pastors and laymen, both in San Francisco and San Jose and so after a period of prayer, discussion and deliberation, it became evident that the Lord was leading definitely in this direction.
In the summer of 1905 a conference was held for a period of ten days at Glenwood, California, about seven miles north of Mount Hermon and near one entrance of the tunnel along the Southern Pacific Railway. The conference was held in a large pavilion, and was attended by two hundred and fifty six persons most of whom were accommodated in canvas tents. A program of that conference is not available, but from a photograph taken at the same time, we feel confident that the speakers included Dr. Hugh W. Gilchrist of San Francisco, Rev. Thornton A. Mills of San Jose, Rev. Franklin Rhoda of Dimond (Oakland), Rev. A.B. Pritchard of Los Angeles, Rev. J.H. Laughlin of Oakland, and Raymond M. Alden, Professor of English Literature at Stanford University.
From Dr. Gilchrist himself we learned that during seven days of the conference, an hour each morning was devoted to consideration of the question "Does the Pacific Coast Need a Western Winona?" During these considerations, it became apparent that what was more nearly our need was for a place like Northfield, Massachusetts. During the latter part of that week, people spoke frequently of a "Western Northfield." Rev. W.E. Crouser, D.D., who later became President and a Trustee of Mount Hermon, attended that Glenwood conference. In a letter which he wrote July 17, 1951 he said, "I was present at the first meeting in Glenwood and heard Dr. (W.C.) Sherman preach a sermon that is still fresh in my memory. His text was "Where the Word of a King is, There is Power" (Eccl. 8:4). He said, "Jesus is a King; we have His Word; therefore we have authority to go ahead; the power is ours, what are we waiting for?"
On the final day, there was a special retreat for prayer. At the conclusion of this time of prayer, and without any debate, a vote was taken. The ballots were unanimously "yes, we need a Western Northfield." This decision marked a forward step, the full significance of which did not appear until later. But, a Christian conference grounds of the scope of Northfield, is not started merely by a popular vote. Much work remained to be done. In order to get it started, a committee of seven was appointed to enquire further into the attitude of a broader circle of Christian leaders, to make estimates of the cost and gather such other information as would be useful to the enterprise. As is so often the case,
the burden of the work of the committee fell upon the shoulders of three faithful men Dr. Hugh Gilchrist, Dr. Henry K. Sanborne and Dr. Thornton A. Mills.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF DR. HENRY SANBORNE
What of the second of this remarkable trio whose work meant so much in the founding of Mount Hermon? Dr. Henry Kendall Sanborne was born in West Bloomfield, New Jersey, on July 28th, 1860. He came from a family which had long possessed a missionary vision, that heart response to the Great Commission of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.
After graduating from Hamilton College in 1884, Henry Sanborne journeyed to Auburn, New York, where he attended the Auburn Seminary, graduating in 1891. Then, in response to the challenge for work overseas, he went to Constantinople (now Istanbul) where for four years he taught in Roberts College. In addition to his teaching in the classrooms, his counseling with the students, and his public ministry in the area, he found time for other pursuits. His great love for nature, and particularly as displayed in botany, showed itself prominently, even as he made occasional travels to visit some of the many places in the Near East which had been made famous in classical literature and in that greatest classic of all, the Bible. Dr. Sanborne collected interesting specimens of wild flowers, grasses and herbs as he visited each of these places. These he carefully mounted in an album where they were labelled not only with their botanical names and common names, but also with some indication of the area from which they came. This album is still in the possession of Dr. Sanborne's daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Kahl of Merced, and it was a delight to have the privilege of leafing through some of its pages and seeing here a flower picked by the side of Hadrian's tomb, here an herb picked from the Mount of Olives and so on with specimens from Syria, Lebanon, Athens, Switzerland, etc.
After his return from Constantinople Dr. Sanborne occupied pastorates at North Tonawanda, New York; Alton, Illinois; and then on March 19th, 1905, he came to the Brooklyn Presbyterian Church of Oakland where he remained until 1915. It must have been shortly after his arrival in Oakland that he made the acquaintance of Dr. Hugh Gilchrist and shared the latter's enthusiasm
for the possibilities of a Christian conference grounds to serve the west. With Dr. Sanborne's interest in botany, one can well imagine the delight with which he undertook the task of inspecting some of the many beautiful sites which were considered.
After Dr. Sanborne's pastorate in Oakland, he moved to Richmond, California, where he served for eight or ten years, followed by another missionary trip to Santiago, Chile. Upon his return he undertook the pastorate of the Presbyterian Church at Stege where he remained for four years until his retirement in 1928.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF DR. THORNTON A. MILLS
Concerning the third man of this founding trio, and the one who became the first President of Mount Hermon, we know the least. Dr. Thornton Allen Mills became the pastor of the Second (now Westminster) Presbyterian Church of San Jose on January 29, 1903 and left on October 27, 1907. While there are a few in the Westminster Church who remember him, the details are very sketchy. From various sources we have been able to learn that he was born September 19, 1855 which means that he was 51 years of age when he became Mount Hermon's first president. Of his early life, his conversion and his undergraduate work we know nothing. We do know, however, that he was a member of the Class of 1881 of the (McCormick) Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois. Although he did not graduate from that seminary, he was ordained in 1877 and went on to obtain his Ph.D. at Wooster College, Wooster, Ohio, in 1878.
After brief pastorates of one to three years each in a number of cities in New Jersey and Rhode Island he went to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania where he spent ten years, from 1892 to 1902. It was from this pastorate that he moved west to San Jose. He must have been a man of warm personality and leadership judging by the way he encouraged the Christian Endeavor movement, and he is still remembered with genuine affection by several of the older members of Westminster.
It was during this pastorate that he took such an active part in the conduct of the 1905 conference at Glenwood Springs, and in the organization of Mount Hermon. That of the three leading personalities, he should have been chosen the first President, is a tribute to his qualities of leadership.
After just one year of activity in Mount Hermon, he accepted a
call to be pastor of the Union Presbyterian Church in Schenectady, New York, where he stayed from 1907 until 1913. This was followed by work for the Lord in Korea, at Taiku. Returning from Korea he occupied several pastorates, and acted as Stated Supply in several points in the eastern U.S. where he passed away in 1922.
* * * * *
After a great deal of preparatory work, this group of three Godly men met in September 1905 in the old Occidental Hotel, San Francisco. A long time was spent in prayer seeking the guidance of the Lord concerning this important undertaking. Then all of the material which had been gathered was carefully reviewed and the evidence weighed. That the Pacific Coast needed a Bible Conference Grounds of the proper sort was evident to all, and on the basis of the information gathered it became clear that such a project was well within the realm of possibility. These three then, acting as a special committee, drew up a recommendation to proceed with the establishment of a conference organization at once. These recommendations were presented to the larger committee which, meantime, had been enlarged by the addition of a number of other pastors and laymen. This enlarged committee later formed the first Board of Directors of the Mount Hermon Association. The original committee consisted of David C. Bell of Saratoga; Hugh W. Gilchrist who by this time had moved to San Jose; Thornton A. Mills of San Jose; Henry K. Sanborne of Oakland; Joseph D. Radford of San Jose; and William H. Stacy of San Jose. To this number had been added nine others as follows: Charles Adams, San Francisco; J. Wilmer Gresham, San Jose; A.S. Johnson, San Francisco; W.G. Alexander, San Jose; C.K. Fleming, San Jose; James Gilchrist, San Francisco; S.D. Hutsinpiller, San Jose, Donald MacKenzie, San Francisco and A.L. Taylor of Oakland. To assist in the organization of Mount Hermon a committee was appointed by the Presbyterian Church in California with representatives from the various Presbyteries as follows:
The committee readily obtained the helpful assistance of the Southern Pacific Railroad in making a thorough search for a suitable location. The committee examined every likely place for a distance of two hundred miles up and down the coast from San Francisco and as far inland as Yosemite Valley. One spot considered was Point Lobos just south of Carmel, and which years later became a State Park. The Glenwood area where the conference of 1905 had been held, was considered too small an area for the purpose and to have an inadequate water supply. Another spot much favored by some of the committee members was the beautiful Elim Grove of Redwood trees on the Russian River two or three miles south of Cazadero.
It was difficult to make a decision among so many beautiful spots in California but finally the committee settled on the area now known as Mount Hermon. At that time it consisted of two parcels. The first was known as the Tuxedo property and it was owned by Thomas L. Bell. That portion of the property included a two story resort hotel named Hotel Tuxedo and a number of small cabins. Before Thomas Bell acquired this property, it was known as Arcadia, and what is now Bean Creek was, on the early maps, called Arcadia Creek. Mr. Bell's property consisted of two hundred acres.
Adjoining this to the north was the second parcel consisting of two hundred acres owned by the Arcadia Development Company. The recommendation of the committee was to obtain both pieces so as to make a total of four hundred acres.
It is not quite clear on exactly what date the decision was reached to buy the Tuxedo and Arcadia properties. A clipping from the San Jose Mercury on November 2nd, 1905, contains an interesting report of a dinner meeting held on the preceding Monday evening at the Hotel St. James. In attendance were twenty-seven men, including clergymen, attorneys, and businessmen, representing six denominations. The necessity for such a conference grounds, and the purpose to which it would be dedicated were discussed, but there is no indication in the article that a site had been selected at that time.
It must have been shortly after the San Jose meeting that a decision was reached, for on December 26, 1905, Mount Hermon Association was incorporated with thirty-one incorporators. Not by any stretch of the imagination was it intended to be a profit making venture. Nevertheless, it was necessary for the new organization to have funds wherewith to acquire the property and to begin the long, and what now seems endless process of providing and improving the physical facilities necessary to the accomplishment of its purposes. Accordingly provision was made for the issuance of $200,000 of capital stock. Officers of the new corporation were elected as follows: President, Rev. Thornton A. Mills, San Jose; first Vice-President, Mr. A.S. Johnson, San Francisco; second Vice-President, David C. Bell, Saratoga; Treasurer, Joseph D. Radford, San Jose; and Secretary, W.A. Stacy of San Jose; General Manager, Rev. Hugh W. Gilchrist. These plus the other members of the organizing committee
formed the first Board of Directors of Mount Hermon Association.
Once the site had been selected, but before the date of incorporation, there arose the question of selecting a suitable name. Neither Tuxedo nor Arcadia appeared to be in keeping with the aims and purposes of the group and so it was thought desirable to select a new name. Years later Dr. Gilchrist in reminiscing about the matter of selecting a name recalled that he had taken down his old Oxford Bible and studied the four hundred and sixty names in Bible lands. Then he obtained a postal directory and went through all of the names in the states of New York and Washington. To these were added several names which were pure inventions. A committee of five Christian ladies was selected and the problem was placed in their hands. Suggestions were invited and the ladies soon had a long list which by the gradual process of elimination was reduced to sixteen. Each lady was asked to select her first, second and third choice. When each lady had reviewed the entire list and make her selection, the name of Mount Hermon had been selected as first choice by four of the ladies and as second choice by the other. The name Glen Alpine had one first choice and four second choices. None of the ladies even bothered to make a third choice. While the name Glen Alpine came off second best, it has been preserved in Mount Hermon as the name of one of the principal roads.
How did the ladies come to select Mount Hermon as their almost unanimous choice? When these ladies were asked the question, they replied "Mount Hermon is the reputed place in Palestine where Jesus went apart with His disciples and was transfigured before them. Hence this name for our place 'apart with Him'." How wisely these ladies chose, for surely that was purely the thing uppermost in the minds of those who planned Mount Hermon, was that it should be a
place where Christians could draw "apart with Him." How well it has accomplished this objective may be judged in some measure by the unrolling of the fifty years which have passed between the founding of Mount Hermon and the writing of this historical sketch.
The sale of Mount Hermon stock began early in 1906. By Wednesday, February 28th, 1906, the response had been sufficiently encouraging so that the officers signed the agreement to buy both pieces of property and made the first payment. On Saturday, March 10th, 1906, a special excursion train was operated to Mount Hermon carrying about fifty interested evangelicals from the San Francisco Bay area who were anxious to inspect the property and determine whether or not they wished to subscribe for the stock. At this time, no lots were ready for sale, but it was understood the early subscribers to the stock would have some credit toward the purchase of a lot and the right to draw for their choice of lots at some future date. An account of this excursion appeared in an issue of the "Pacific Presbyterian" and included some expressions of opinion concerning what they had seen. Following are some of these expressions of opinion:
"A delightful place for rest and the promotion of the Master's Kingdom." James Gilchrist
"The most sanguine of us can hardly realize what the success of the Mount Hermon Association means for the bringing of the Kingdom of God into many hearts." J.M. Forsyth
"A rare place of rare natural advantages for a summer resort, charmingly adapted to the purposes for which it is designed; a Summer Assembly for Christian workers." Mrs. H.B. Pinney
"I am greatly pleased with the charming spot chosen for the Mount Hermon Association. It far surpassed my expectations. I have no doubt of its success under the care and supervision of men wisely chosen to administer its affairs." J.L. Barker
"Here are three cheers and a tiger for the Mount Hermon enterprise. The music of the two brooks is worth the whole price. The hills and trees, the views and the fine air fill one with vigor. But the underlying idea is best of all; a place where we may come together and plan and pray for the Master's cause inspires me." Lapsley A. McAfee
By April 2nd, 1906, two hundred and eighty individuals had subscribed for $30,000.00 in stock. Of this amount approximately $13,000.00 had been paid in and the rest was to be payable at the call of the officers. On April 14th, 1906, the officers paid out $8,250.00 representing the full purchase price for the two hundred acres from Thomas L. Bell known as the Tuxedo property or the south half of the present Mount Hermon property. They had also made a second payment on the two hundred acres owned by the Arcadia Development Company which included Zayante Inn and its score of cottages. As part of this latter arrangement, a third payment was due late in April and the fourth and final payment was presumably due shortly thereafter. The total purchase price of the two pieces of property was $44,000.00 of which $31,000.00 remained to be paid. It was confidently expected that this would be paid from the proceeds of the balance of the stock subscriptions, plus the sale of some of the lots. Little did the officers, directors, or stock subscribers realize what lay in store for them, and for all of the San Francisco Bay area in four short days.
At about five o'clock on Wednesday morning, April 18th, 1906, the historic earthquake struck San Francisco and much of the surrounding area. The most severe shocks followed the old San Andreas Fault which ran from San Francisco southeastward through the Peninsula, the Stanford University
and on down near San Jose. The newly acquired Mount Hermon property suffered no physical damage that was discernible, but the tremor did reach the area, for there was severe damage to the railroad tunnels along the Southern Pacific lines between Mount Hermon and Los Gatos. The real threat to Mount Hermon lay in the fact that the earthquake had caused incalculable loss to most of the families upon whom the immediate financial future of the Association seemed to depend. Those who had paid in full for their stock, asked if there were not some way in which all or a part of their money could be refunded to them, so that they might support and protect their destitute families. Others who had subscribed to the stock but who had paid nothing, or who had paid only a part, asked to be relieved of further obligation, at least for the time being.
These were serious problems for the officers and directors of the new venture and we can be sure that many sleepless nights were spent in prayer, waiting upon God for His leading. We are told that refunds were made to many of the stock subscribers, and the small bank balance for the Association was quickly depleted. Fortunately the Bell property had been paid for in full and the management of the Arcadia Development Company took a very sympathetic viewpoint under the circumstances. Some time during the latter part of April or the early part of May, they agreed to a rewriting of the contract so as to allow Mount Hermon Association three years in which to make the balance of its payments.
Dr. Thornton A. Mills, the president of the Association, made a special trip to the east to visit with J. Wilbur Chapman, one time moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., to solicit his aid in lifting Mount Hermon out of its sore troubles. However, for reasons which are perfectly obvious to us now, we can see that neither Dr. Chapman nor anyone else in the east could see
why a newly organized "summer resort" in the wild hills of California should be asking for aid when so many families were homeless and destitute and suffering. Perhaps it is just as well that aid did not come from that quarter, for it forced the officers and directors of Mount Hermon to their knees and to depend upon God. We know that late in May the officers and directors met in the old Y.M.C.A. building in San Jose to decide whether or not they should go ahead with the new venture. After much earnest prayer, the decision was "God was in this before the earthquake, and He will be in it after the earthquake. We will go on. The need for the true teaching of the Word is as great now as before the disaster. We will go on in the dark trusting God." Such a decision in the face of seeming unsurmountable difficulties is a testimony to the character and spiritual stamina of the men who founded Mount Hermon, and we should thank God for each one of them. The events which followed that year and down through the succeeding years have proved that this same spirit has always motivated the men entrusted with the administration of Mount Hermon affairs, and we trust that it shall always be so.
"... First the blade, then the ear" ... St. Mark 4:28
Long before the earthquake, announcement had been made that Mount Hermon would celebrate its "opening day" on May 30th, 1906. After the prayer meeting in the Y.M.C.A., we can be sure that the officers, directors and all the Mount Hermon family approached Mount Hermon on the morning of May 30th with a firm step and a bright eye and the conviction that God was still on His throne and would lead His people through this trial to build here a strong and lasting testimony to Himself.
What did they find, these men and women and young folks who journeyed to Mount Hermon for that opening day on May 30, 1906? They found first of all that since the railroad tunnels were down, the only access to Mount Hermon was from San Francisco and Oakland through San Jose, Gilroy, Watsonville Junction and Santa Cruz and thence to Mount Hermon.
For accommodations, they found Zayante Inn which had undergone a thorough house cleaning made necessary in order to remove the accumulation of empty bottles left by the former occupants. Surrounding the Inn were some twenty cottages, a bowling alley, tennis court, croquet grounds
and a few boats for use on Zayante Creek. Electric power was provided by a small generating plant which had the unhappy faculty of breaking down at critical times. All of this centered around what is now known as "Redwood Camp," down by the railroad tracks, where the old railroad station may still be seen. On up the hill from Zayante Inn, toward what is now the "center" there were the centuries old redwoods, the sweeping madrones and tan oaks and a beautiful undergrowth of woodwardia ferns and wild flowers and, it must be admitted, a bit of poison oak.
But more important, those who journeyed to Mount Hermon that day found a group of men, determined under God to build a testimony for Him in this setting of sylvan beauty.
Not much is known about the program of that opening day except that the announcements indicated that "there would be popular assemblies and appropriate exercises." We may well imagine that it was a day of genuine thanksgiving for deliverance from the perils of the earthquake and fire, a day of memorial for those who had passed on, and a day of inspiration as the leaders discussed their vision of what Mount Hermon was yet to be.
The regular conference program for 1906 began with a great week June 24th to July 1st which was described in the prospectus as being "in the interest of world-wide evangelism; a missionary week, rich in fellowship and experience, great in outlook on the world's work. This week is designed to be a true inauguration of the great ministry for which the Mount Hermon Association stands. The preparations now being made extend to the missionary forces of all the denominations."
The special announcement for this week, designated as "Mount Hermon Missionary Assembly" lists its purposes as being
FELLOWSHIP of believers in the missionary conquest of the world.
SYMPATHY for sin-cursed men the whole wide world through.
FAITH in the blood of the cross and the gift of life through Jesus Christ as the sure means of salvation.
ZEAL to spread the Gospel news to every creature.
VISION of the Kingdom which now cometh with power.
HOPE, full orbed, for the toiling church everywhere."
The invitation goes on to say "the Missionary Assembly is designed to bring together, year by year, for conference and inspiration, representatives of all the denominations; a truly catholic body, gathered to promote the Missionary Conquest of the World. The Mount Hermon Association with the concurrence of the representative men and women whose names are given hereafter issues the call for this assembly and extends the invitation to its sessions to all Christian people." This included such well-known names as:
Rev. W.M. Bell, D.D., Bishop of the Pacific District United Brethren Church, Berkeley
Miss Donaldina Cameron, Supt., Presbyterian Chinese Mission Home, San Francisco
Rev. Lapsley A. MacAfee, D.D., First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley
The next conference known as the Mount Hermon Bible and Missionary Institute ran for three weeks from July 1st to the 22nd. The program each day included an hour of Bible study, an hour on the subject of missions and an hour of general studies which included lectures on literature, training in music, nature studies, etcetera. The afternoons were left free for recreation and the evenings were given over to concerts, entertainments, lectures and each Thursday night a prayer service.
Sunday July 22nd, 1906 had been set aside long before as
the Dedication Day and was referred to frequently at that time and thereafter as "The Great Day." The special speaker at the dedication exercises which were held at 2:00 p.m. was to be Dr. Reuben A. Torrey who at that time was President of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. He had just landed at New York following a great evangelistic tour through Australia, and came all the way across the continent to spend the six days at Mount Hermon.
In writing about it afterward, Dr. Hugh Gilchrist said that there were about fourteen hundred people in attendance at the dedication exercises. The evening meetings during the remainder of the week "were held in the Grove near our Social Center. A platform was erected and electric lights strung among the trees." One of the Mount Hermon pioneers recalls that Dr. Torrey stood on the stream side of the road with his back to the present Redwood Camp. The listeners sat on the ground on the road bank opposite to Dr. Torrey. It is reported that the Lord spoke in mighty power through Dr. Torrey and that there were a number of conversions, including one elderly gentleman of 84 years who approached Dr. Torrey after the meeting and asked many searching questions until 4:00 o'clock in the morning, at which time he made a decision to receive Jesus Christ as his Saviour.
A distant view of Dr. Torrey's participation in Mount Hermon's "Great Day" is recorded in an article which appeared in the September 1906 issue of "The Institute Tie" which at that time was the student publication of the Moody Bible Institute: "Dr. Torrey taught at the Mount Hermon Bible Conference, California, July 22-26. Several former students were there to welcome him to the Golden State. One writes that his lectures (to the people, not the students) were greatly appreciated by the westerners and are sure to bear much fruit."
The third conference in 1906 was the "Mount Hermon Conference of Christian Leaders" which
was held from August 20-24, 1906. The purposes of the conference were set forth in ringing tones; a challenge to the ministers and consecrated laymen of Central California to provide dynamic Christian leadership in rebuilding Central California, and particularly San Francisco, from the ruins of the earthquake and fire. Presiding officers of the conference were, Rev. J.K. McLean, D.D., President, Pacific Theological Seminary, Berkeley and Rev. Frank S. Brush, D.D., First Presbyterian Church, Alameda. Speakers included Rev. S.D. Hutsinpiller, D.D., San Jose; Rt. Rev. William Ford Nichols, D.D. Oakland; Rev. Hugh H. Bell, D.D., First United Presbyterian Church, San Francisco; Rt. Rev. W.M. Bell, D.D., Oakland; Rev. Lewis J. Sawyer, Hamilton Square Baptist Church, San Francisco, and others.
No records have been found which give any of the details of any programs during the remainder of the 1906 summer season. However, there are indications that as the summer season advanced, visitors to Mount Hermon found it not only a very delightful summer resort for Christian people, but also one where the program was not only both evangelical and Evangelistic, but where it was characterized by faithfulness to the Scripture and with a definite sense of responsibility for the evangelization of the world.
By 1907 it is apparent that the good people who made up the growing Mount Hermon family had become knit together in bonds of real Christian friendship. One evidence of this fact is that there have come down to us at least two copies of a very attractive album "Echoes from Mount Hermon 1907" in which there are a number of interesting photographs of personalities at the time and views of the grounds, but also very artistically hand lettered expressions of sentiment from
members of the administration and the faculty. One expression, credited to Dr. Hugh W. Gilchrist is this, "We dedicate ourselves, our gifts, this place for an outflow to the man for whom nobody prays." Another comes from Dr. Thornton A. Mills the first President of Mount Hermon who said, "No story can stir the hearts of the people as the story of Jesus. That is the power of the old Gospel." Dr. F.E. Wishard said of Mount Hermon, "This is to be a tabernacle where God shall reign by His truth and His Holy Spirit. God bless this place and make it a place of light and life and power." With a group of leaders holding true to such principles, it is small wonder that Mount Hermon continued to grow in size and in effectiveness during its second year.
The program of summer assemblies for 1907 was divided into two periods: the first running from June 23rd to July 31st and the second running from August 6th to the 18th. The first period opened with a neighborhood day on Sunday, June 23rd. This was followed by a short conference called the Missionary Assembly of which the theme was "The Oriental in America; Our Problem and Our Task." The speakers included Dr. Samuel A. Moffett of Korea, Dr. Andrew Beattie of Canton, China and a number of California pastors of the area, Mr. Ng Poon Chew of Oakland and Yamato Ishahashi of Palo Alto.
This was followed by the second annual Bible Institute which, like the first, extended over three weeks from July 1st through July 21st, 1907. This evidently was to be the backbone of the Mount Hermon Conference program if one can judge by the extent of the program and the number and quality of the speakers. As in the first year, Dr. Warren H. Landon of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, was the superintendent of instruction and this year Dr. Joseph N. Boyd was the assistant. Not only were there
studies of individual books of the Bible such as Leviticus, Acts and Hebrews, but also studies in Bible doctrine particularly an hour each morning for two weeks on "the progress of Revelation" by Rev. A. B. Pritchard of Los Angeles. There were also studies and conference hours on missionary subjects and studies in literature conducted by Professor R.M. Alden of Stanford University. Special features during the three-week period included patriotic exercises on the 4th of July, studies in the music of the church, a sacred concert, nature studies and special messages from visiting speakers.
Running concurrently with the last portion of the program on July 18th, 19th and 20th there was a conference held in the interests of the evangelization of the 17,000 Indians living in the State of California. The conference was attended by twenty Indians representing nine different tribes. While it was evident that the Indians needed the regenerating power of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, they also felt that they had certain social needs. A formal plea was addressed to the President of the United States and to the Governor and the people of the State of California asking for more equitable treatment in the way of land for their homes and sustenance, for better education, for medical service, and for protection from the liquor traffic.
The summer season of 1907 also included a conference called "The Great Week" from July 23rd to 28th commemorating the dedication day of July 22nd, 1906. Other conferences during the first period of the season included a meeting of the women's Synodical Society of Home Missions and a day devoted to an assembly of mission leaders of denominational boards and societies under the chairmanship of the president of the Occidental Board of Foreign Missions of San Francisco.
The second period of the 1907 summer season included a temperance convention, a conference of Christian leaders,
and closed August 12-18th with a Sunday School institute. Meantime the officers and directors were endeavoring to interest other Christian people of the Central California area in purchasing stock of the Association and in buying logs and building cabins. It was quite evident that there was a real need for some sort of an auditorium to accommodate the large crowds who desired to attend the meetings and hear the speakers. There was also a need for additional assembly rooms of smaller size, buildings for a store and the extension of water, sanitation, lighting and other utilities. It is evident, also, that they were not helped in this program by the serious currency panic which gripped the Eastern seaboard and the Middle West. While its effect upon California was not quite so drastic as in other parts of the country, nevertheless it caused a great deal of uncertainty and thus made many people hesitate to commit themselves for the purchase of stock or of building lots, whereas otherwise they might have been more readily inclined to do so.
By 1908, the Bible Institute program had been shortened to two weeks, and the third week was taken up with a festival of sacred songs headed by Professor D.B. Towner, principal of the Department of Music of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, and composer of many popular Gospel songs and hymns. The program for 1908 also included a young people's assembly which is probably the forerunner of the popular young people's conferences which have characterized Mount Hermon for so many years.
From the meagre records which are available, it seems likely that the week of special missionary emphasis in 1907 resulted in the formation of the "Mount Hermon Federate School of Missions of the Pacific Coast" which announced its "Second" annual session July 27th-August 2nd, 1908, with Mrs. H.B. Pinney as president. Another conference for Indians was held, and from the folders announcing the
conference, it is apparent that some progress was being made toward helping to redress some of the wrongs perpetrated on the Indians by the white men. It is impossible for us to know the extent of any influence which the Zayante conference at Mount Hermon may have had upon the decisions of the Government, but the progress must have been encouraging both to the Indians and to the officers and directors of Mount Hermon.
It was during 1908 that the Association constructed an auditorium with a canvas roof up along the Scott Valley Road near Ferndell Spring, at a site very close to the location of the present auditorium. Nearby was built a cafeteria, thus establishing a new "center" for Mount Hermon; a center which was to prove later to be the real center of things. It was during 1908 also that the Southern Pacific succeeded in repairing the tunnels which had been shaken down during the earthquake of 1906. This permitted the restoration of passenger train service, and as a result the number of visitors to Mount Hermon greatly increased, as compared with the preceding two years.
The programs for the next three or four years showed some enlargement year by year with additions and changes as dictated by the enlarging interest of the Mount Hermon family. One thing which is noticeable, however, was a tendency to introduce into the program more and more subjects of a secular nature. Not only were the programs of literature, music and nature studies continued, but by 1910 there was also a summer Institute of Mechanic and Household arts which included metal working, basket weaving, ceramics, etcetera. The Interdenominational Conference on Missions, begun by the ladies in 1906, and organized into the "Mount Hermon Federate School of Mission of the Pacific Coast"
by 1908 had developed into an all-year-around program. Meetings were held during the winter in San Francisco, Oakland and other cities of the Bay area. By 1910, this group undertook to raise $4,000.00 and with it built "Mission Inn" on land provided by Mount Hermon Association. The building was constructed for the annual and occasional meetings of the "Federate School of Missions" and was to be used as a meeting place for denominational missionary societies and organizations. Living rooms were also provided so that missionaries home on furlough might have a place to stay, while they enjoyed the restful atmosphere and the spiritual fellowship for which Mount Hermon was by this time becoming well known. While the "Federate School of Missions" no longer exists as a separate entity, the impetus which they gave to the missionary interest among the Mount Hermon people continues to this day. The building which they erected, and title to which was later transferred to Mount Hermon Association, has now been used for over forty years with great blessing. The sums of money spent in later years on upkeep and modernization, far exceed the original cost of the building, but have so improved its usefulness that it should continue to serve for many years to come.
It was during these years that Mount Hermon was selected as the site for annual conferences for State-wide groups representing Epworth League, Christian Endeavor, Baptist Young People's Union and other similar organizations.
While the program and the influence of Mount Hermon continued to expand, the officers and directors were still plagued with the aftermath of the financial problems which were traceable to the earthquake and fire of 1906. It will be recalled that when Mount Hermon opened its first season, the Association still owed $31,000.00 as the final amount due on the purchase price of the property. According to the original estimates, this debt should have been cared for within
a few years by the amounts of money still due on stock subscriptions, but because of the impact of the earthquake on the Mount Hermon family, many subscribers could not pay or pay on time. A study of the finances made at that time, and compared with the careful estimates made beforehand, indicated that as a direct and indirect result of the earthquake, Mount Hermon was put to additional expense amounting to approximately $27,000.00.
Such funds as were coming in currently from the sale of lots had to be used for the building of roads and trails, the extension of the water system, lighting, sanitary facilities, etc. Meantime, additional expenses in the form of interest, taxes and operating deficits, increased the debt from $31,000.00 to $35,000.00. Part of these operating deficits undoubtedly arose through the pursuit of the very ambitious conference program which the Association had been following. Some of the conferences such as that for the Indians was definitely missionary in character, and while it reflected a very commendable desire to evangelize those at our doorstep, it was nevertheless carried on only at a considerable financial drain. Then too, some of the conferences which followed more cultural lines were somewhat expensive to operate. Furthermore, while they did not detract in any way from the spiritual purposes for which Mount Hermon was founded, neither did they make any great contribution toward those objectives.
While the program on the Mount Hermon grounds was itself proving to be a financial strain on the young Association, still another project challenged the attention of the officers and directors. The great vision and driving force which caused Dr. Gilchrist to lead the way in organizing Mount Hermon, would not let him rest until he had tackled another issue. During his interim pastorate at Westminster Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, Dr. Gilchrist
had become increasingly impressed by the steady immigration of foreign born into that city. Possibly it was the census of 1910 which drew his attention even more forcibly to the fact that more and more of these foreigners were coming to our shores with heathen or Roman Catholic backgrounds. Furthermore he had observed another phenomenon which still plagues many California pastors. Many of those who leave their homes in the East and Middle West and move to California, seem to sever their church ties when they cross the mountains. As a result, many who had been active in church, or at least regular in church attendance back home, seemed to lose all interest when they found themselves in entirely new surroundings and cut loose from the traditions and habits which had characterized their life back home. Dr. Gilchrist felt that one way to meet this challenge was to start a Bible College in San Francisco in order to train workers to present the claims of Christ more forcefully and more attractively. Dr. Gilchrist felt that Mount Hermon Association was the logical agency to sponsor such a movement, and accordingly the project was announced as the "San Francisco Bible College (of Mount Hermon Association)" with offices at 760 Post Street, San Francisco.
The question posed by the announcement circular was "Can the Anglo Saxon communicate his Gospel message on California soil to the people of other races coming here?" The purposes of the new Bible College were clearly indicated as follows:
First: To train a large and competent corps of younger California Christians for effective missionary service at home and abroad.
Second: To discover and aid to solve, if possible, the foreign problem of this State.
Third: To locate in a part of San Francisco where the Protestant churches are losing ground by the influx
of foreign people, and aim to retake the lost ground by evangelizing these people.
Fourth: To prepare American and foreign workers to carry the Gospel into the foreign colonies of California and into the homelands of the foreign people congregated here.
The two essentials for admission to the Bible College were to be:
1) A true love for Jesus and
2) A sincere determination to serve Him now and here. The Bible College was described as "the chief expression of Mount Hermon's present evangelistic plans."
As a trial run, the Mount Hermon "School of Christian Service" conference held at Mount Hermon in August of 1911, was continued with classes on Bible study and personal work in San Francisco, meeting on Monday and Thursday evenings of each week, with eighty-eight enrolled in the class. The courses were repeated in a second term extending from September 1st through December 7th, 1911, by which time the total membership in the classes increased to 166. Out of these experiences, the Mount Hermon board of directors voted on March 18th 1912 to establish the San Francisco Bible College as a part of the Mount Hermon program.
The college opened on September 1st, 1912 with four students in the day classes and twelve in the night classes. The enrollment for the academic year 1912-1913 showed forty-five in the day classes, over sixty in the night classes, and over one hundred fifty in the three extension classes. The faculty included Miss May N. Blodgett; Miss M. Alice Austin from Redlands High School; Mr. Paul C. Brown of the State Christian Endeavor Union; Rev. J.E. Hoick, Pastor of the Lutheran Church in San Jose; Rev. J.A. Fraser of the "Prayer Fellowship" and Dr. James R. Pratt.
Undoubtedly the San Francisco Bible College was a commendable start toward the meeting of a great need in the City of San Francisco. However, any such project to be successful, demands a great deal of time and attention and energy for its proper administration, financing, selection of faculty, arrangement of curriculum, etcetera. Evidently this load, plus the responsibility of carrying on the work at Mount Hermon and getting the conference grounds on to a sound financial basis, proved to be more than the officers and board of directors could handle simultaneously. Accordingly, in 1913 it was decided to separate these two organizations, and to permit Dr. Gilchrist to devote his full time and attention to the Bible College.
Deepening the Roots
"Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8
At about the same time (1913) the Board of Directors paused to review and to evaluate the conference work. After much prayer and thought they decided to simplify the conference program by reducing the number and variety of subjects to be treated and "concentrating very largely upon special lines of Christian activity." In a circular commenting upon the change in program, the administration stated "Mount Hermon has a distinctive mission in California. Its first great business is the teaching of the Bible and the promotion of missionary enterprise. The summer days are few at most, only some men and women with positive messages on main lines of service can be heard, and then only when they contribute directly to the main issues of the year. Persons who doubt the Bible or question the Master's missionary commission have no place on the Mount Hermon platform. It is not a rostrum of doubt." Such a statement
is undoubtedly in strict accord with the purposes announced at the formation of Mount Hermon. We do not know just what circumstances made it necessary to reiterate this platform at the time, but we can certainly say "Amen" to it and thank the Lord for men who had the courage of their convictions.
Another matter which certainly commanded a large share of attention on the part of the officers and directors was the financial problem. Several years before, the administration launched a campaign aimed toward paying off the accumulated debt of $35,000.00. This is a large sum of money even today, but in those days, when the purchasing power of the dollar was so much higher than it is now, this must have seemed like a staggering sum. At the close of the 1913 season, Rev. George A. Blair became the General Manager of Mount Hermon. Born in Ontario, educated at McGill University, Yale Divinity School and Auburn Theological Seminary, he occupied several pastorates in Canada and the Pacific Northwest before coming to California. He had held with conspicuous success the position of General Superintendent of the Home Mission work of the San Francisco Presbytery for several years and later on represented the American Bible Society. One of his first acts was to make a fresh attack upon the debt which by November 1st, 1913, stood at $28,650.00.
At the end of the 1913 season, Mr. A.L. Taylor of Oakland who had been president of the Association since the latter part of 1906, felt the necessity of laying down the burdens. Accordingly, he was elected honorary president and Mr. A.S. Johnson of San Francisco succeeded him as president. Thus Mr. Johnson as president and Mr. George A. Blair as General Manager, constituted a new team that was to play an important part in the further development of Mount Hermon.
In the announcement for the 1914 season, which was probably printed early in the year, there was apparent an increasing emphasis upon Bible study and the development of a deeper spiritual life. Prominent among the speakers of the 1914 season were Dr. H.A. Ironside, Dr. H.H. McQuilken, Dr. Lapsley A. McAfee, Dr. W.H. Oxtoby, Miss May Blodgett. Representing the missionary field were Miss Donaldina Cameron and others. The second significant trend was the gradual reduction of the amount of space and time left to more secular matters. Nevertheless, these were not omitted entirely, for we see on the program talks including nature study, travelogues, rural education, hygiene and sanitation, pure foods and drugs.
During that year it was announced that Mr. A.H. Gribben would have charge of the Sunday School for children and during the summer season, Professor Wahlberg of Fresno had charge of the music and Mr. R.N. Rowe had charge of devotional and social work among the young people.
With the 1914 summer season, the Association was entering its ninth year. Unfortunately the detailed information concerning the financial end of Mount Hermon was lost in a fire in 1921, to which reference will be made at the appropriate time. This loss, however, makes it exceedingly difficult for us to appreciate now the tremendous burden and the manifold problems which confronted the officers and directors in these early years. Only an occasional glimpse is permitted us and one of these happens to be in the bulletin for the 1914 season:
"The Mount Hermon Association is capitalized at $200,000 in shares of $10 each. The first issue of stock reached a sale of about $30,000, of which amount about $5,000 lapsed because of earthquake and fire. A further issue of stock is now made in amount sufficient to bring the stock issued up to 7500 shares, or $75,000. This further
issue of stock is based upon the agreement used in the first issue, to convey with the purchase of stock the right and title to an equal value in land. When the purchaser has exercised his right to choose the land as per agreement, he holds both stock and land.
"The Association desires to sell the stock, preferably in blocks of ten shares, (or $100 per block). The purchaser thereby becomes a member in the Stock Company with every right and privilege, and a partner in the great work of the Association.
"As soon after the purchase of stock as the purchaser may desire he may choose his lot or lots. He may then pay the Association the difference between the value of his stock and the price of his lot or lots. The stock applies as a credit on any lot he selects.
"The terms of purchase of stock and land may be in either one of three ways: Cash, or in four equal quarterly payments, or in ten equal monthly payments.
"Special terms may be made with the general manager.
"The bonded indebtedness and association notes of Mount Hermon, November 1st, 1913 (when the present General Manager was elected) was $26,650, with a 'floating indebtedness' of more than $3,000. There was a balance from the sale of real estate and subscriptions to stock to meet the floating debt, which has, in part, been paid. A strenuous effort was begun and is being pushed hard to pay off the entire debt. (1st) by Cash Contributions; (2nd) Sale of Stock (which is commutable into real estate) and (3rd) Conditional Pledge a pledge conditioned on our securing the entire debt as above outlined on or before December 31st, 1915.
"My dear readers, you are earnestly requested to do two things for Mount Hermon: (a) Pray for it daily; (b) Help rid it of this debt, in whatever sum you may be able
to give and in whatever way you may choose (cash, purchase of stock or pledge.)
"The grocery store will be conducted this season by Messrs. Conkling & Wallace; the ice cream and book store by Prof. Dunster, and the transfer of Baggage and livery business by Messrs. Glass & Sinnot. We commend them to the 'Mount Hermon Family' and ask you to give them your support in every way you can; they are paying Mount Hermon liberally for these concessions."
From this statement, it can be seen that those who purchased the capital stock of the Association, received the value of their investment in the form of land; land which has continued to increase substantially in value. This exchange for land probably constituted the "rights and privileges" which went with the purchase of the stock. In addition of course, the stockholder had the satisfaction of knowing that he had become a partner in the great spiritual program of Mount Hermon, and in the accomplishment of its Christian objectives.
This might also be an appropriate time to look at the prevailing prices for accommodations at Mount Hermon and compare them with costs in 1956. For example in 1914, a room at Zayante Inn could be had for $3.00 per day or $12.00 to $18.00 per week. Furnished tents were available at $1.50 per day or $9.00 per week for two people. Dinner in the dining room could be had from 50 cents and a meal ticket for three meals per day for an entire seven-day period could be had for $6.50.
Storm Clouds Over Europe
"For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them." 1st Thessalonians 5:3
The year 1915 was a memorable one in California because of the Panama-Pacific Exposition which was held in San Francisco, and which drew travellers from all over the world. Such an influx of people provided an evangelistic opportunity not to be overlooked. Accordingly the churches of the San Francisco Bay area cooperated in a courageous program. A pavillion was erected on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco where meetings were held regularly with speakers not only from California pulpits but also from far and wide. Among them were The Great Commoner William Jennings Bryan, the famous evangelist Billy Sunday and Paul Rader. One of the speakers was Dr. B. Fay Mills the brother of Mount Hermon's "first president," Dr. Thornton A. Mills.
A search of the meagre information still available concerning the 1915 summer conference program at Mount Hermon fails to show that any of these outstanding visiting dignitaries were used on the Mount Hermon platform that summer. We may be sure, however, that many of the men who were active as officers or directors of Mount Hermon were also active in the handling of the evangelistic meetings
at the Pavillion in San Francisco, constituting as they did, some of the most prominent laymen in the San Francisco Bay Area.
What the 1915 Mount Hermon program did show however, was a commendable continuance of the emphasis on Bible study, Christian living, and a presentation of the missionary challenge. The evangelistic character of Mount Hermon, and its faithful adherence to the Word of God had now been shining brightly for the tenth season. While the program had been enlarged each year, and while the number of people attending the conferences had grown larger each year, it must not be forgotten that all of this was occurring during a time when many of the most noted pulpits of the country were yielding little by little to the onslaughts of skepticism, higher criticism, and the humanistic philosophy which started in Germany and which soon infested the theological seminaries of both Great Britain and the United States. Hence Mount Hermon had been going counter to the popular trend in theological thought, which taught that man had within him a divine spark, which if fanned into flame would enable him to live a better life and build a better society. This kind of reasoning led many to the belief that there was no longer a need for a Saviour from sin, and that Christ upon the cross was no more than a good man with high ideas who had become the unhappy victim of mob psychology. The trumpeters of this kind of new theology, swayed in part by the proponents of the Darwinian Theory, had but to point to the tremendous attainments of man in the field of electricity, medicine, the automobile, the flying machine, etcetera, as proving their point.
What a shock to these "modernists" when the outward appearance of peace in the world was shattered rudely with the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28th, 1914, touching off World War I. The sight of the great
civilizations of Europe at one another's throats in deadly conflict caused many a modernist preacher to re-examine his thinking and either change his message or else not talk so loudly about how quickly man was creating Utopia. By contrast, the Mount Hermon emphasis on the old fashioned Gospel of the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ, shone all the more brightly. Safety in Christ Jesus took on more significance in the minds of the many young men visiting the Mount Hermon grounds who found themselves wondering how soon the United States might be drawn into the conflict and they themselves be called up to participate in a war which had already shown evidences of being the most bloody and cruel that the world had ever known.
The sinking of the Lusitania on May 7th, 1915 had a sobering effect upon all Americans and was the beginning of a sharp deterioration of the relationship between Germany and the United States.
Apparently the 1916 conference season proved to be a very successful one both from the standpoint of attendance and of the type and quality of the conference messages. From a financial standpoint, however, the current bills were met, the payments of the principal and interest due on the Coupon Notes had to be made partly out of current funds, since payments on the "debt clearing pledges" had slowed down perceptibly.
It is apparent that the summer and fall of 1916 presented other serious problems to the faithful group of pastors and laymen who made up the officers and board of directors. Due to the illness of Rev. George A. Blair who had been the general manager for several years, it was necessary to seek a replacement. Two men each had undertaken the task, only to lay it down again so that after having three general managers in an eight month stretch, the spring and summer of 1917 found Mount Hermon with no
general manager at all. Furthermore the president, Mr. A. S. Johnson, was ordered by his doctor to resign his office and in his place Mr. O.P. Bell was elected. As if this were not enough, the board secretary Mr. C.W. Janes of San Jose was taken ill and had to resign. Thus in a short space of months Mount Hermon had three different general managers, a new president, and a new secretary all thrust into office on relatively short notice. That the work was carried on so well is a tribute indeed to the ability of these men who took up the burdens, and also of the faithfulness of the other directors who carried on during this trying period. But more difficulties were in store for the struggling officers and directors.
April 6th, 1917! U.S.A. declares war on Germany!
So just about fifty days before a new conference season was to open, the nation had to shift to a war-time footing and all other considerations had to be given second place. America had to devote herself to calling up, equipping, training the largest army in her history and then transport that army across a submarine infested Atlantic Ocean. All of this had its impact upon Mount Hermon in many ways. As the months went on, the effect of the war was felt in the availability of materials, transportation, personnel, etcetera. Many of the young men and not a few of the young women of the Mount Hermon family were called to their country's service, some of them to lay down their lives in the defense of those principles upon which America was founded and for which she must ever stand ready to defend.
While the war undoubtedly brought many challenges to Mount Hermon, it was also undoubtedly responsible, perhaps indirectly, for one incident which will always be remembered. Almost all of the conferences which were held at Mount Hermon and particularly those in which there was a generous representation of young people, made it a practice
to hold at least one service at a campfire site in a natural amphitheater not far from the auditorium. One of the most regular in its use of this very attractive woodland setting was the Christian Endeavor Conference which had been meeting at Mount Hermon at least since 1910 and perhaps earlier. One of the delegates to the 1917 Conference wrote in a diary "Each evening at 6:50 we gathered in the campfire circle for vesper service led by Paul C. Brown, to give our testimonies and to sing our songs of praise. Heroically victorious decisions were made for Him. Our dear Mother Brown (Mrs. J.B. Brown, mother of Paul and Howard Brown) said 'We ought to call the place Victory Circle' and accordingly in the Christian Endeavor spirit we said 'Yes, let us do it.' So next year we will not meet around an old dead campfire, but in glorious Victory Circle."
So far as we can determine, this was the first time that the name "Victory Circle" had ever been applied to such a campfire site. The name has stuck and has been a challenge and an inspiration to a generation or more of young and old who throughout the years have come to Mount Hermon to spend a little time "apart with Him." The name "Victory Circle" appealed to almost every one who heard it, and has since been applied to similar campfire areas in other conference grounds throughout the country. While we believe that Mount Hermon has the first, the original "Victory Circle," we covet these same victories for all those who attend evangelical conference grounds around the world.
Tested By Fire
"... we went through fire and water : but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place." Psalm 66:12
On November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed and hostilities ceased in Europe to the intense relief of the world, and particularly that of the many families whose sons and daughters were in uniform.
Everyone began to think in terms of getting back to normal as thousands in uniform came streaming back from France. Mount Hermon tightened its belt and determined to have another try at the solution of the problem which had beset the organization from the very first : the unliquidated debt incurred in connection with the acquisition of the property in 1906. By 1920 this debt still amounted to $27,000.00 and during that season a heroic effort was made to eliminate it, or at least underwrite it. At the request of the officers and directors, a number of interested friends made pledges in an amount which was considered sufficient to take care of practically the entire debt.
The directors found, however, that in soliciting these pledges, the friends of Mount Hermon had been conscious of the continually growing wave of modernism or humanism in the church at large. They were anxious to see some safeguard
set up to insure that Mount Hermon would always stand true to the Bible as the Word of God and true to the historic faith of the Christian church. It was planned therefore that in consideration of these pledges, which in the final analysis were tantamount to subscriptions to stock of Mount Hermon, that the corporation should issue additional stock, and transfer a majority of its capital stock to a "voting trust" who would safeguard the doctrinal position of Mount Hermon.
On August 7th, 1920, at the Annual Meeting of the Stockholders, the plan was presented. The five men who were to be the trustees in this "voting trust" were Rev. J.R. Pratt, D.D. of Pasadena who was prominently associated with the Bible Institute of Los Angeles; Mr. Paul Brown, a dominant figure in the California State Christian Endeavor Union; Rev. Lapsley A. McAfee, D.D. pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley; Dr. Edward Newell, M.D. of San Jose; and A.A. Kunert of Pasadena.
Also in this plan of reorganization, Mr. Albert L. Munger of Berkeley was to be the president, and the Rev. J.R. Pratt, D.D. of Pasadena was to be first vice-president and General Manager, having charge of the spiritual side of the program. Mr. Champ S. Price, who had become General Manager in 1917, was to have the title Resident Superintendent.
A brief statement of doctrine was adopted covering the essential elements of the Christian faith.
Before this plan could get under way, tragedy struck at Mount Hermon. Late on the night of April 18th, 1921 a fire mysteriously broke out in the Zayante Inn, burning it to the ground together with all of its furnishings and the early Mount Hermon records. It took with it most of the cottages which surrounded the Inn, and what had been considered the largest madrone tree in Santa Cruz County. On top of that, the Rev. James R. Pratt, Mount Hermon's new
General Manager, was called home to be with the Lord.
This would be enough to dishearten even the most courageous board of directors, but God has a way of foreseeing such difficulties, and of arranging before hand to place in positions of leadership, men of His choosing who either have the capabilities, or who rise to the occasion and provide the leadership needed in times of real crisis. Mount Hermon was to see the hand of God in that fashion, in having placed in the presidency Mr. Albert Munger, a business man of Berkeley. It was unquestionably his vision which devised the plan for underwriting the debt and for safeguarding the sound doctrinal position of Mount Hermon by providing for control in the hands of voting Trustees. It was he upon whose shoulders rested most heavily the problem of rebuilding Mount Hermon from the ashes of the fire. It is a blessing that he and the other officers and directors were men who trusted, not in their own business knowledge and ingenuity, as considerable as that was, but they trusted in Him Who is almighty, and Who overrules all and Who has told us that "all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
It is in times of distress that the true worth of one's friends is demonstrated. With the loss of Zayante Inn and the cottages, and with a summer conference program rapidly drawing near, the directors were faced with the problem of housing and feeding those who were planning to attend the outstanding programs which had been arranged. The ladies of the Federate School of Missions generously offered Mount Hermon the use of the Missions building which they had built just ten years before. Also offered was Occidental Bungalow. Individual property owners in the park offered the use of their cabins to help take care of the conference delegates.
With the loss of the dining room facilities at Zayante Inn,
the cafeteria (which was later replaced with the present dining room) had to be expanded to carry the additional load.
As mentioned before, the conference program for 1921 had been planned with care and it included among its speakers, many outstanding ministers and Bible teachers. These included Rev. Warren C. Sherman, D.D. of Sacramento, who had been on the original committee used in the preliminary organization of Mount Hermon Association, and who was an outstanding Bible teacher. It is reported of him that he could quote almost the entire Bible from memory, as well as a great many of Shakespeare's writings. Another well-known name on the program of the 1921 season was Bishop Hamden M. DuBose, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the one after whom Hamden DuBose Academy is named. The program also included Dr. Harry A. Ironside then of Oakland; Rev. John Snape, D.D. of the First Baptist Church, Oakland, later with the Temple Baptist Church in Los Angeles; Rev. Frederick W. Farr, D.D. an outstanding Baptist Bible teacher of Los Angeles; Miss Donaldina Cameron of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, San Francisco. It was also in the 1921 season that there first appeared at Mount Hermon Dr. Francis W. Russell of the St. Johns Presbyterian Church of Berkeley. Little did he realize, or did Mount Hermon realize, how closely he would become identified with the growth and development of Mount Hermon for the succeeding thirty five or more years.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF DR. FRANCIS WAYLAND RUSSELL, D.D.
Dr. Francis W. Russell was born in Fairport, New York on September 21st, 1865, as the son of Rev. Byron T. Russell, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fairport. He was named after Francis Wayland, the president of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island where his father had been a student. After a move to Niles, Michigan, the family settled down in Newton, Indiana, where young
Francis grew up, went through grammar and high school and then on to Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. In 1882 when he was seventeen, the family moved to Nebraska where Francis continued his education in the Baptist Academy of Gibbon which was later absorbed by the Baptist College of Grand Island. Later, he entered the University of Nebraska at Lincoln specializing in Geology which had been a favorite subject of his father's and in Paleontology. He had planned to become a geologist, but his father had long prayed that he would enter the ministry. The death of his father in 1890 caused him to reconsider his life plan and in 1891 he entered the McCormick Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Chicago where he graduated in 1894 and accepted a call to the Presbyterian Church in Fairbury, Nebraska. It was there that he met Miss Lucille Cross whom he married in 1897 shortly after he had been called to the First Presbyterian Church of Marshalltown, Iowa. Following this, he served as pastor of a church in Boulder, Colorado.
In 1904, he was called to the West Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Missouri, where for sixteen years he enjoyed a remarkable ministry and where he made the acquaintance of an outstanding group of laymen who continued their interest in him down through the years. In the summer of 1919, he supplied the pulpit of St. Johns Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, living in a rented cottage at Mount Hermon for six weeks in July and August of that year. He was later called to serve that church as pastor during which time he was invited to take part in the Mount Hermon Conference program of 1921.
* * * *
As is true in virtually every Christian organization, the many fine Christian women who made up the Mount Hermon family had contributed a great deal to the founding, the growth and the development of Mount Hermon in its fifteen years of history. It was the ladies, it will be remembered, who selected the name Mount Hermon thereby helping to establish the character of the grounds as a place apart for meditation and for fellowship with the Lord. Up to this time, however, their contribution to the progress of Mount Hermon had been on an informal albeit constructive basis.
The tremendous loss of physical properties in the burning of Zayante Inn and the surrounding cabins, made it evident that the rebuilding of Mount Hermon called for more united action. On July 9, 1921 a group of ten ladies gathered on the porch of Mrs. Albert Munger's cabin, meeting with Rev. J.A. Sutherland of San Jose. They discussed the problems facing Mount Hermon, and what the ladies could and should do about them. It was suggested that the Women's Auxiliary be organized at once, and that three objectives be set up. These were:
1. To cooperate with Mount Hermon Association in advertising the summer conferences for young people
2. To assist in raising funds for the rehabilitation of Mount Hermon
3. To assist in the spiritual and social life of young people on the grounds.
Ways and means of getting the organization started were discussed. It was agreed to have a second meeting with a larger group. Accordingly another meeting was held four days later on the porch of Mrs. M.M. O'Brien's cabin with twenty present. The ladies were told the purpose of the meeting, the results of the previous meeting and there was a discussion of the objectives which had been suggested. As a result of this second meeting, temporary officers were elected as follows:
President Mrs. S.J. Johnson, Berkeley
1st Vice Pres. Mrs. J.M Davis, Oakland
2nd Vice Pres. Mrs. Charles Truman, Oakland
Treasurer Mrs. Silas Mack, Pacific Grove
Secretary Miss Nita A. Blayney, Fresno.
At the same time, a nominating committee was appointed to nominate a slate of permanent officers to be presented to an
organization meeting, to which a general invitation would be given. This nominating committee consisted of:
Mrs. Edward E. Newell, San Jose
Mrs. A.S. Johnson, San Francisco
Mrs. ____ Lombard, East Oakland
Mrs. Mamie R. Surrhyne, Modesto
Mrs. W.C. Sherman, Berkeley.
On July 18, 1921 the general meeting was held in the auditorium with fifty ladies present, as well as Mr. Champ S. Price, the General Manager of Mount Hermon. Mrs. J.A. Sutherland of San Jose spoke concerning the need for a women's organization and concerning the objectives which were thought suitable. After some discussion it was voted to perfect the organization to be called the Mount Hermon Women's Auxiliary. Mr. Price, the General Manager, speaking for the Board of Directors indicated their hearty approval of the proposed organization and its objectives. Mrs. Edward Newell of San Jose, chairman of the Nominating Committee nominated the temporary officers for election to their respective positions with the addition, at the insistence of the committee, of her own name as Corresponding Secretary, the position of Miss Blayney being designated Recording Secretary. They were all duly elected, and Mrs. Jones of Berkeley was appointed Chairman of the Rehabilitation Committee to cooperate with the Board of Directors of Mount Hermon. Thus was begun an organization, which down through the ensuing years was to perform many valuable services in connection with the growth of Mount Hermon, and which has taken care of much of the interior decorating matters, thus adding the indispensable feminine touch to the many buildings which were to be erected.
" And they said, let us rise up and build ... So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together ... for the people had a mind to work." Nehemiah 2: 18, 4:6.
When the fire of April 18th, 1921 took Zayante Inn and most of the cottages, Mount Hermon owed $26,000.00 on the property and the insurance came to only $15,500.00, since naturally it covered the buildings but not the value of the land. The amount of the insurance collected was applied against the debt but there still remained over $11,500.00 due, and Mount Hermon Association was without these facilities. In spite of the difficult position in which they found themselves, President Albert Munger with his fellow officers and directors continued in their purpose to get Mount Hermon out of debt. Following the pattern which had been outlined the year before, they obtained gifts and pledges totalling $11,650.00 which were placed in a special trust for the liquidation of the balance due on the purchase price of the property.
On July 22nd, 1921, a trust agreement was entered into by seven Trustees as follows:
Paul Brown; Rev. Cortland Myers, D.D.; J.F. Cobb; Rev. A.T. O'Rear, D.D.; Silas Mack; Rev. Lapsley A. McAfee, D.D.; Rev. F.W. Russell, D.D.
Into the hands of these Trustees were placed 10,001 shares of Mount Hermon Association stock issued by the authority of the State Corporation Commissioner in consideration of the cash and pledges mentioned previously. This was stock issued out of the 20,000 shares which had been authorized, and thus constituted slightly over 50%, giving these Trustees voting control of Mount Hermon Association. By the terms of the trust, however, the trustees were required to subscribe to a statement of doctrine, which was much more complete than the one contemplated in the 1920 plan. That statement of doctrine, which was later amended slightly so as to clarify one expression, is reproduced below:
I. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
II. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
III. We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true man.
IV. We believe that man was created in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death but also that spiritual death which is separation from God; and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature and in the case of those who reach moral responsibility, become sinners in thought, word and deed.
V. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures as a representative, substitutionary and complete sacrifice, and that all that believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood.
VI. We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His ascension into Heaven, and in His present life there for us, as High Priest and Advocate.
VII. We believe in the second, visible and personal coming of
our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to establish His world-wide Kingdom on the earth.
VIII. We believe that all who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God.
IX. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the eternal felicity of the saved: the everlasting separation from God of the unsaved.
X. We believe in the great commission which our Lord has given to His Church to evangelize the world, and that this evangelization is the great mission of the church. Furthermore, we exhort the people of God in all denominations to stand by these great truths, and to contend earnestly for the faith which our God has, in His Holy Word, delivered unto the saints.
To this day, each Trustee, Officer, Director and Staff Member is required to sign this statement annually and without any mental reservations. This statement of doctrine is also the yardstick by which is measured the fitness of any speaker who is proposed to appear on the platform of the Mount Hermon conference. By its strict adherence to this statement of belief, Mount Hermon assures the Christian public of the West that it will always stand firmly on the Word of God and that its message for lost men will always be the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified, risen and coming again.
All during the 1921 season, Mount Hermon carried on under difficult conditions, using borrowed and makeshift accommodations. Frequent discussions were held by the Board concerning the feasibility of rebuilding Zayante Inn on a larger scale. The Inn had been pretty much the center of activity, for it stood not far from the railroad station which at that time was the principal means of travel to and from Mount Hermon. There also was located the store, the post office and other facilities. At one time, it was even proposed to form a separate corporation to build a hotel on the site of the former Zayante Inn, but the post-war depression was not encouraging for the raising of capital for such a venture.
The net result was that the center of activity shifted from the former location of the Inn, to the place "up the hill" where was located the canvas covered auditorium, the cafeteria, the missions building and the Ferndell spring.
Lacking the funds to build anything as elaborate as a hotel, the Directors were forced to do the best they could with what they had. The minutes of the period record the granting of permission to tear down an old garage and instructions to use the lumber in the construction of the girls' dormitory on the south side of Scott Valley Road across from the cafeteria, or what is now the dining room. When we stop to realize the strained financial conditions under which the Officers and Directors of these years had to operate, we must refrain from criticizing the primitive construction which for so long typified the girls' dormitory, the boys' dormitories, "Guest Cottage" and some of the other older buildings on the grounds most of which have now been replaced. It was during this period of time that one of the Directors, Mr. E.J. Clinton of the Clinton Cafeterias in San Francisco, built "Bible Hall" and gave it to Mount Hermon. It has been of great usefulness ever since.
In October of 1922 Dr. F.W. Russell was appointed Director of Extension Work. In this capacity he arranged a series of Bible conferences during the fall, winter and spring months throughout the State of California. Outstanding among these was a series of conferences with Dr. G. Campbell Morgan of Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, as speaker in Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, in February of 1923, followed by similar meetings in First Baptist Church, Oakland, and First Presbyterian Church, San Jose. Dr. A.Z. Conrad of Park Street Congregational Church of Boston and many others also came to the coast for Bible conferences under the auspices of Mount Hermon. On June 1st of 1923, Dr. Russell was engaged as the full-time
Religious Work Director, leaving a very fine pastorate to do so. This was really a step of faith on the part of both Mount Hermon and Dr. Russell, for at the time, Mount Hermon's treasury was sadly depleted. Subsequent events have proved that this step was surely of the Lord's doing.
It was during this period of time also that Mount Hermon was beginning to feel the effects of one of the heritages of World War I, namely, the income tax. All of us are now familiar with the fact that the laws governing the income tax permit the taxpayer, before calculating his tax, to deduct from his net income gifts toward such organizations as are clearly charitable or religious in character. In the early days of the income tax, the tax rates were so low that the deductions did not assume great importance. As time went on, however, and the tax kept on increasing, the importance of the deductions increased. Mount Hermon Association had been incorporated for the purpose of operating a Christian vacation resort and conference grounds. While it was never contemplated that the Association would make profits for its stockholders, nevertheless, in the eyes of the law, this was a possibility. Therefore, gifts to Mount Hermon Association were not eligible to be deducted from income in calculating taxes. Friends of Mount Hermon who wished to encourage the Christian conference program, and particularly as it reached young people, were willing to give toward the work, but naturally desired that such gifts could be deducted in calculating their tax. At first the Association sought to meet this problem by dividing its finances into "two departments" or "funds"; one of them called the Conference Fund and the other the Administrative Fund. Other steps taken were to incorporate separately a public utility company to carry on the production and distribution of electric power and water. All of these expediencies helped, but they did not provide a complete solution to the problem. The matter continued to
occupy much of the attention of the officers and directors until a solution was found in 1929, to which reference will be made later.
Mr. Albert Munger continued in the Presidency for at least three terms, being succeeded in the fall of 1923 by Dr. Robert T. Sutherland, M.D. of Oakland and later by Mr. James S. Cobb of San Francisco; Rev. Arthur T. O'Rear D.D. of Oakland; Rev. W.E. Crouser, D.D. of San Jose: and Rev. Henry K. Sanborne, D.D. of Stege; and one of the three original "Founders" of Mount Hermon.
The conferences of the middle 20's carried on the fine traditions which had been established in earlier years. From the platform of the Mount Hermon auditorium were heard the voices of such outstanding men as Rev. W.B. Hinson, D.D. of the Eastside Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon, whose church was later named for him the Hinson Memorial Church; Rev. Melvin Grove Kyle, D.D. the President of Zenia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Kyle was one of the world's outstanding archeologists. His excavations and his writings did much to disprove the theories of the higher critics. At about that time one of the speakers on our program did not wish to use the honorarium for himself, and he donated it to the fund which Dr. Kyle was raising to finance another archeological expedition. In that roundabout way, Mount Hermon has had a part with those scholars who by the spade, have unearthed evidence which so decisively sustains the records of both the Old and New Testaments. Other noted speakers were Rev. John Timothy Stone, D.D. of the Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, who was later Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A. Well remembered by others who attended conferences at this time were the Rev. William Ray Dobyns, D.D. of the South Highland Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama; the Rev. George W. Phillips of the
Tenth Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland; and Mrs. H. Norton Johnson of San Francisco who with her friend, Miss Winifred Rouzee of Los Angeles, were two of the most accomplished Bible teachers on the coast.
Other names which will be recognized by all include Rev. W.I. Carroll, D.D. of the First Presbyterian Church, Marshall, Texas, who for many years was assistant to Dr. C.I. Scofield; Rev. Steward P. McLennan, First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood; Rev. Ezra A. Van Nuys of Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco; Rev. John M. MacInnes, Ph.D., Dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles; and the Rev. J. Whitcomb Brougher of the First Baptist Church of Oakland.
Although from the early years Bibles and Christian books had been offered for sale on the Mount Hermon grounds, it was probably some time in the 20's that a definite "book store" was placed in operation, sometimes under the management of Mount Hermon itself, and sometimes under the part-time management of the Western Book and Tract Company of Oakland.
In 1926, Mount Hermon celebrated its 20th anniversary, having survived earthquakes, fires and other calamities and having gone on to become what its founders visualized for it, the outstanding Christian conference grounds of the west. It was in this year also that Mrs. Orpha Chambers of Los Angeles gave to Mount Hermon the two hundred dollar bronze bell which from that time on has been one of the prominent "voices" of Mount Hermon, awakening the student delegates, calling them to meals, to conferences, and of course, sometimes ringing in the middle of the night as a youthful prank.
By this time the area which had been dominated by Zayante Inn, became known as Redwood Camp and was used as a camp grounds for those who by increasing numbers, were coming to Mount Hermon by automobile. The old bowling alley was remodeled and made into sleeping rooms, and later, cabins were built and a community kitchen added, thus constituting almost a separate conference grounds.
In 1926, Dr. J. Stuart Holden, M.A., D.D., for 29 years Vicar of St. Paul's, Portman Square, London, was the principal speaker at a Bible Conference conducted by the Mount Hermon Association in the San Francisco Bay region.
1927 was marked by the construction of the swimming pool on "the Peninsula between Zayante Creek and Bean Creek." It was also in 1927 that the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church met in San Francisco. While this did not directly affect Mount Hermon, many of the Mount Hermon family were privileged to attend and to take part in some of the sessions of this historical convocation. It was also in May of 1927 that a young airmail pilot called Lucky Lindy flew in a single motored plane non-stop from New York to Paris, covering 3,610 miles in 33 hours 29 minutes and 30 seconds, a feat which captured the imagination of the world and particularly of young America. The air age was arriving. Before many years, a small airport was opened near Camp Evers and some of the more adventuresome began travelling to Mount Hermon by private plane.
By 1928, the current operations of Mount Hermon Association were apparently on a much more satisfactory financial basis. The Association had purchased Grafton Lodge and other properties in the immediate area of the auditorium and was beginning to expand its facilities. The crowds attending the conferences had increased to the point where it was necessary to build a new and much larger auditorium.
After a careful survey of all the Mount Hermon grounds, it was decided that the auditorium should be essentially in the
same place as the former one, i.e., on the North side of Forest Avenue about two hundred feet west of Scott Valley Road, although it was placed in a different position on the lot. Plans were also laid to raise a substantial sum of money for physical improvements, to be completed by the time Mount Hermon celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1931. Mr. Frank R. Buckalew was engaged temporarily to head a campaign to raise $50,000 in three months, on the basis of subscriptions to run three years. A list of the projects to be undertaken with the $50,000 was the construction of the new auditorium, the Administration Building, the remodelling of the Inn and the Rest Cottage, the installation of a fire protection system, improvements to the roads, etc.
It was during the year 1928 that Dr. A.Z. Conrad, pastor of the Park Street Congregational Church in Boston for more than thirty years, was a speaker on the Mount Hermon platform. The church of which he was then pastor is famous and historic. The National Hymn "America" was first sung in that church. The first missionary society in this country was organized in that church, the missionaries being sent to the Sandwich Islands which are now called the Hawaiian Islands.
Dr. Conrad gave fourteen outstanding messages at Mount Hermon. He was the author of many fine volumes of sermons and studies and it was his habit to give copies of all of his books to all of the ministers that attended his conferences.
The 1929 conference season included several prominent men of the time such as Rev. George L. Robinson, D.D., Ph.D., Professor of Old Testament Literature at McCormick Theological Seminary at Chicago; Rev. Bunyan Smith, D.D., Pastor of the White Temple Baptist Church at San Diego; and Rev. Mark Matthews, D.D., Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Seattle.
In July of 1929, a forest fire broke out which for a while
threatened to include Mount Hermon. The fire came so close that ashes were falling on the roofs and porches of the homes in Mount Hermon. Hundreds of people were on the grounds at the time, and a meeting was called to pray that the Lord would intervene and save Mount Hermon with its marvelous groves of trees and with its many summer homes and conference buildings. Meanwhile Dr. Francis Russell telephoned the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, informing them of the grave danger and they promised to have railroad cars on the tracks ready to pull out if it became necessary to evacuate the people. The wind suddenly changed, undoubtedly in answer to the prayers of many faithful believers, and the Mount Hermon property was spared. After the fire died out and it was possible to enter the burned out area, it was found that the fire had come within a few feet of the boundary line of Mount Hermon before the wind changed. For years the blackened stumps of trees and the burned out brush stood as mute evidence of how the Lord had miraculously preserved the place which has been set apart for Him.
After much prayer and thought and discussion, and largely through the efforts of Mr. Dan Hadsell, a prominent attorney of San Francisco who had been on the Board of Directors of Mount Hermon since 1925, a solution was worked out to the problem of enabling those who gave toward the Mount Hermon program, to deduct their gifts when calculating their income tax. On October 19, 1929, there were filed the Articles on Incorporation of "Mount Hermon Association, Incorporated." This corporation was without stock, and was clearly for religious purposes. It did not and has not yet replaced the old "Mount Hermon Association" but in one sense paralleled the old organization. The functions of "Mount Hermon" have been divided between the two organizations, with the new "Mount Hermon Association, Inc."
taking over all of the religious activities and owning such properties as are directly connected with the religious program. The old "Association" retained the title to the unsold lots, the roads, the water system, etc. Since the new "Mount Hermon Association, Inc." conducts all of the conferences and other religious activities, gifts made to it for the support of these activities are clearly eligible for deduction under the income tax laws. Since the Trustees hold the majority of the stock of the "Mount Hermon Association," and are also the only members of the new "Corporation" they have the power to elect the Directors of both. In order to avoid confusion, the Trustees elect the same group of men to be Directors, and the Officers whom the Directors elect, have control of all of the affairs of Mount Hermon whether they fall under one organization or the other. Two separate sets of financial records and two separate sets of minutes are maintained.
Since the affairs of the "Association" are so closely allied to the distinctively religious program of the "Corporation," it is hoped that some day the old "Association" may be dissolved. This would obviate the duplication and the occasional confusion which is inevitable in a dual arrangement.
Forward Under Difficulties
"Wait on the Lord : be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart : wait, I say, on the Lord." Psalm 27:14.
Just ten days after the new "Mount Hermon Association, Inc." was created, the Lord sent fresh testing in the form of the great stock market crash of 1929. It seemed that every time Mount Hermon made a great forward move, some momentous event occurred, which from man's standpoint, seemed to increase vastly the difficulty in carrying out the project. But this was quite evidently God's way of keeping the Officers and Directors ever conscious of their complete dependence on Him. This was first demonstrated in 1906, when, shortly after the Directors incurred the obligation for the purchase of the Mount Hermon property, there was the fire and earthquake. Now after the formation of a new corporation whose purpose is to encourage and stimulate giving toward the religious program, there comes a stock market crash which brought in its wake a prolonged financial depression. It seemed evident that God permitted these difficulties to arise in order to make His children lean more heavily upon Him. Had the Trustees, Officers and Directors of Mount Hermon, again under the leadership of Mr. Albert Munger of Berkeley,
been looking only to the human race, they would have had many occasions in which they would have been justified in giving up the entire project. While they were men in the world (most of them being laymen) they were not men of the world, but rather men of the Word. Therefore, they went confidently ahead, trusting in Him Who had brought Mount Hermon into being, Who had blessed it so richly and Who, they were confident, would carry it on to still greater things. It is not amiss at this time to give a tribute to those many loyal men who down through the years have given unselfishly of themselves in order that the religious program of Mount Hermon might be maintained, and its quality constantly improved. Many of these men spent countless hours of time in earnest heart-searching prayer and thoughtful deliberation and went to considerable personal expense, in order to carry out the tasks which had been assigned to them as Officers, Committee Chairmen and Committee Members.
Instead of taking the stock market crash as a signal to curtail their program, the Officers and Directors of Mount Hermon moved forward with a new proposal looking toward the stimulation of greater interest on the part of Christians in Southern California. Since one of the Directors and Trustees, Mr. H. Norton Johnson of the Standard Oil Company of California had been transferred to Los Angeles, the thought occurred to some, that Mount Hermon should create a Southern California Cooperating Committee. Accordingly, a group of consecrated pastors and laymen was selected as follows:
Chairman, M.B. Wiseman, Los Angeles
Secretary, E.G. Evens, Los Angeles
H. Horton Johnson, Los Angeles
Carl G. Grabe, Los Angeles
William R. Johnson, Los Angeles
Harold Cross, Los Angeles
Rev. Walter E. Edmonds, D.D., Glendale
Rev. Stewart P. MacLennan, D.D., Hollywood
Dr. W.S. Magee, Long Beach
Harry H. Godber, Pasadena
Rev. James Henry Hutchins, D.D., Pasadena
Rev. George E. Raitt, D.D., Los Angeles
Leonard F. Robinson, Los Angeles
Rev. Herbert Booth Smith, D.D. Los Angeles
Rev. John Snape, D.D., Los Angeles
These men continued for many years in an advisory capacity and were responsible for stimulating interest in Mount Hermon among the evangelical churches of Southern California. Until other conference grounds in Southern California became more numerous, groups from many of the outstanding churches in Southern California made invaluable contributions to the spiritual life of the conference programs at Mount Hermon.
A much needed addition to the grounds was built in 1930; the Administration Building. This became the center not only of the business life, but of much of the social life of the Mount Hermon family. As it stands today, it is very little changed from the way it was originally constructed. The interior of the Administration Building is a wonderful example of the natural beauty of redwood, which seems to mellow with each passing year. Some of the furnishings in the building were the gifts of friends and the two display cases contain gifts of native artifacts from mission fields around the globe.
It was in 1930 that Mount Hermon held its first interdenominational young people's conference for those of high school and college age. An outstandingly strong program was prepared with Bible classes in the morning, recreation in the afternoon and special services in the evening with
gatherings at Victory Circle. This same type of conference has been continued down through the years and has been the means of bringing thousands of young people face to face with the necessity of making a decision for Jesus Christ as Saviour and as Lord of their lives. This was the year in which Miss Henrietta Meers, Christian Education Work Director for the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, first appeared on the Mount Hermon conference programs. She was used greatly that year, and increasingly so in succeeding years in challenging the college-age youth of California. As a result of her work, countless hundreds made decisions to receive Jesus Christ not only as their Saviour and Lord, but to also yield their lives to Him in vocational service. Many young men and young women, now veterans in Christian service, look back at one of these young people's conferences as the time and place where they first became conscious that God was speaking to them about investing their lives for Him. Eternity alone can tell their number. Among them, however, we can surely list the following:
Rev. Robert Boyd Munger, D.D., Pastor First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, California. Because of his father's active participation in Mount Hermon affairs for many years, young Bob was a frequent visitor to Mount Hermon. On one occasion, Bob, who is now a Trustee of Mount Hermon, wrote: "Next to my home, Mount Hermon has been the greatest influence in my life. There I confessed Jesus as Saviour while a senior at the University. While on the staff, the challenge came to offer my life for His service. During the years of training, the Mount Hermon conferences make the vision clearer. Truly Mount Hermon is a sacred place!" One interesting anecdote deserves to be mentioned here. While on vacation from Princeton Seminary, Bob Munger was invited to deliver a message on August 12, 1934 at Salinas. He was given a check for $15.00, the first money
he ever earned preaching. Bob gave it to Mount Hermon as a special offering. At the suggestion of Mrs. F.W. Russell, it was used to start the fund for the much needed enlargement of the auditorium. Now, Bob is one of the outstanding evangelical pastors in the West; yea, in the Nation!
Rev. David Cowie, D.D., Pastor of the University Presbyterian Church, Seattle, Washington. It was while Dave was a young fellow attending the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood that he came to Mount Hermon with a conference group and settled the matter of his life's call. He has been used frequently at Mount Hermon in young people's conferences, and at present has a very fruitful ministry among the students of the University of Washington.
Rev. Cyrus N. Nelson, began coming to Mount Hermon as a delegate to the young people's conferences, while he was attending the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood. In writing of it later he said, "It was at Mount Hermon that God spoke to my heart. I answered His call and made my decision for vocational Christian service. I walked down through a crowded Victory Circle and placed my fagot in the fire, saying 'Here am I, Lord, send me,' and the whole course of my life was changed. I thank God for Mount Hermon for there the Lord commanded the blessing." As many know, Cyrus Nelson went on, completed his work at Princeton and later returned to Mount Hermon as full-time Religious Work Director, and is now with Gospel Light Press, publishers of outstanding Sunday School materials.
Timothy Pietsch, missionary to Japan, wrote this about his contact with Mount Hermon. "When I was small, our home was in Felton and it was always my joy to go to nearby Mount Hermon. The gospel preaching I heard there laid a firm foundation. Later I had the joy of being on the staff. But my most precious memory of Mount Hermon is the meeting
with the Lord Himself and the confirmation of His call to go as a missionary."
Keith B. Munro. It was at Mount Hermon that he made his decision to go into the ministry. He was called into the armed forces in World War II and became a Chaplain. Captain Munro was killed in action in the Philippines on August 15, 1943, was awarded the Purple Heart, and is buried in the "Manila American Cemetery." Later on that year, the U.S. Treasury Department dramatized his story over a coast to coast radio network. In addition to mentioning his outstanding record as a soldier, they mentioned his true aim in life and the fact that he had reached the decision at Mount Hermon.
Al Zalout, an outstanding violinist, who has been greatly used throughout the nation in evangelistic campaigns, youth meetings, etc., told Dr. Russell that it was while attending Mount Hermon that he yielded to the call for complete surrender, and dedicated his life and talent to the service of our Lord, giving up a promising and lucrative career on the concert stage.
As Mount Hermon became more and more firmly established, and as the number of cottages increased, the physical concerns also became more numerous. Additional amounts of money had to be spent on the water system, and the capacity of the storage tank was increased to 50,000 gallons. The annual report to the stockholders made on July 11th, 1930 reported that within the control of Mount Hermon Association, there were lodging accommodations for only three hundred and thirty people. Whenever a conference exceeded this in size, it became necessary to make arrangements to house some of the delegates in private cabins which were not being used by the owners at the time. While this served to bridge the gap, it was not altogether a satisfactory arrangement. The cottage owners flocked to the most popular conferences, which, of course, were the very ones for which Mount Hermon most needed the extra space. It was evident therefore that the Association itself
should take steps to increase its own housing facilities. Progress in this direction was slow, but steady, with the demand always being a little ahead of the supply.
It was later in the year 1930 and in the early months of 1931 that Santa Cruz County did a great deal of work widening, straightening and regrading portions of Scott Valley Road. While this made it a little easier to get to Mount Hermon, there were drawbacks. For one thing, the fill at the junction of Scott Valley Road and Forest Avenue was seven feet which required Mount Hermon to regrade and relocate the approaches for some distance on either side of the junction. One other unfortunate result of the road improvement program, was to hasten the pace of the automobiles on their way to and from Felton, thus making it more hazardous to cross the road.
It was during the early months of 1931 that Mount Hermon lost another of her pioneers, Dr. Warren C. Sherman, an outstanding Bible teacher who had been on the Mount Hermon program for many years. Dr. Sherman had been one of the original committee appointed by the Presbyterian Churches of Northern California to guide in the organization of Mount Hermon.
With the enlargement of the auditorium in the summer of 1931, and the provision of more adequate seating facilities at Victory Circle, through the generosity of one of the Directors, Mount Hermon was enabled to handle ever increasing numbers of people. The economy was starting to pick up and by the 25th of July, the Mount Hermon Association was enabled to take a very definite forward step financially. On that date, it is recorded that Mount Hermon paid off the last of the $11,705.00 in notes obtained in 1921 to refund the original debt. Thus the original purchase of the property in 1906 was finally paid for in 1931, just twenty-five years later. This
was an additional cause for rejoicing during the twenty-fifth anniversary year of the founding of Mount Hermon. The payment of the original purchase price had taken far longer than anyone anticipated. Nevertheless, Mount Hermon had firmly established itself as a real factor in the evangelical life of all California and had been used of God to enrich the lives of untold thousands. Many who had come to Mount Hermon originally as children, had by this time grown to maturity and were taking a leading part in the leadership, life and work of home churches in most of the cities, towns and villages of the area. Truly Mount Hermon had proved to be an ideal place in which "to come apart with Him" and had been the scene of many mountain top experiences.
As Mount Hermon entered the second quarter century, the facilities were such as could accommodate a larger number of people than ever before, but they all showed many of the marks of having been built under emergency conditions and with the utmost economy. In fact, they were probably thought of as being temporary in character, but like so many temporary buildings, they have a habit of becoming more or less permanent, since no one has the courage to tear them down. By 1931, the financial position of Mount Hermon had improved to the point where it was possible for the Board of Directors to discontinue the practice of erecting buildings which were temporary or make-shift. While there is no record of formal action, it is apparent that they adopted the policy of requiring that all future construction be sound, comfortable (without being luxurious) and in good architectural taste. This was evidenced by the type of design and materials, and the fine quality of workmanship in the Administration Building and those which were to follow. For example, in the fall of 1931, a sum of money was given by Mrs. E.F. Cunningham of Saratoga with which to build a structure for children and young people as a memorial
to her grandson who had been killed in an unfortunate automobile accident. The Newton Memorial Building was the result of this gift and this fine building has been greatly used ever since in the Mount Hermon program for reaching the children.
In March of 1932, Miss Mary I. Brown of Newark, California, gave Mount Hermon the funds anonymously to build the boat house on Zayante Creek, but this did put Mount Hermon in the position to offer increased recreational facilities to the larger crowds of young people who were coming to Mount Hermon each summer.
The conference program for these years included such outstanding men as Dr. Robert G. Lee of the Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee; Dr. Jack Mitchell, of the Central Bible Church, Portland, Oregon; Dr. Samuel Garvin, professor of Theology at Dubuque University, Dubuque, Iowa; Dr. Norman B. Harrison who was then pastor of the Olivet Presbyterian Church of Minneapolis; Dr. Louis T. Talbot, President of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and pastor of the Church of the Open Door, Los Angeles; Dr. Cortland Myers who was then pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church of Los Angeles; and Dr. John H. Hunter who was then pastor of the Mayflower Congregational Church of Pacific Grove, but who was known lovingly to many former Biola students as "Daddy Hunter."
It was late in 1931 that Mr. Champ S. Price, who had long been General Manager of Mount Hermon, thought his health would no longer permit him to continue in that capacity, and accordingly he turned in his resignation which was accepted with regret. Mr. F.H. Nigh of San Diego was chosen as Business Manager to replace him, but he resigned the following year and was replaced with Mr. O.A. Ross.
Mr. Ross took over as General Manager on February 1st, 1933. It was his ill fortune to discover thirteen days later that the bank holiday in Michigan had begun to spread throughout the rest of the country and led to the general bank holiday on March 6th, 1933 which for a time caused the whole financial machinery of the country to grind to a halt. While California was more fortunate than most of the other States in the Union, in that only two or three banks failed to reopen when the "holiday" was over, the financial shock was soon felt in the pocketbook nerves and was soon noticeable in the finances of Mount Hermon. While the program went ahead, it was evident that people were holding back not only in their spending, but in their giving.
The Directors once more under the leadership of Mr. Albert Munger, began at once to review carefully every single expenditure with a view to economizing at every possible point. Some of those on the staff voluntarily offered to take reductions in their salaries so as to ease the financial burden. At this time, it may be recalled that the Federal Government sought by many means to "make work" for unemployed under the W.P.A. program. Some of these groups were put to work on what appeared to be trivial tasks, such as raking leaves. The Board of Directors of the Mount Hermon Association requested that a crew of these workers might be profitably used to improve the conditions of the roads at Mount Hermon. Unfortunately, there is no record that anything came of this suggestion.
The summer conference season of 1933 is remembered chiefly for the ministry of two outstanding men of God. The first of these was Rev. Charles G. Trumbull, Litt.D., who had been for many years Editor of the Sunday School Times, published in Philadelphia. Dr. Trumbull was a wonderfully deep spiritual Christian, and while not particularly gifted as an orator, his messages were rich and productive of much
spiritual blessing. The other speaker was Bishop A.J. Moore of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Dr. Russell tells a little anecdote about Dr. Moore's ministry which bears repeating. On one of his early appearances on the Mount Hermon platform, he surprised and dismayed Dr. Russell and most of the audience by saying from the platform, "I am not dogmatic about the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, the virgin birth of Christ and the substitutionary death. To repeat, I am not dogmatic about these points. Instead, I am 'bulldog-matic!' " With this last statement, the tension was immediately relieved, and it was apparent that Mr. Moore had succeeded admirably in giving great emphasis to his firm belief in those things for which Mount Hermon has always stood.
By the early summer of 1934, the extreme financial pressure which had been so strongly in evidence the preceding year, was beginning to ease up a bit. However, things on the Mount Hermon board are just one problem after another, and 1934 was no exception. No sooner did the Association begin to see a little daylight financially, when in June of 1934 San Francisco Bay area was struck with an epidemic of infantile paralysis. Because it was thought that this disease spread more rapidly where people were gathered in large groups, the board and the executive committee of Mount Hermon had frequently to consider whether or not they should cancel the young people's conferences which had been scheduled. After much prayer and thought and watching the course of the epidemic, it was decided that it would be safe to go ahead with the conferences to be conducted by the association itself. It is apparent, however, that the epidemic caused some of the denominational groups to cancel their conferences for the season.
As the summer continued, people regained their confidence and the attendance at Mount Hermon reached new high points,
and there were other evidences of still greater things ahead. It was also in 1934 that plans were laid for starting a Mount Hermon School of Sacred Music under the directorship of Dr. H.G. Tovey. Plans were made also for the further enlargement of the Auditorium and of Bible Hall.
In the early fall of 1934, there came to the Presidency of Mount Hermon, Mr. Arnold Grunigen, Jr., a business man of San Francisco, who had served for several years on the Board of Directors and who had distinguished himself as a real leader among young people as he was later among men. He was to serve Mount Hermon for many years in many capacities, and always with distinction.
While Arnold Grunigen never lost sight of the prime importance of the spiritual, it was doubtless because of his keen interest in providing a well-rounded program for young people, that steps were taken at this time to develop the old site of Zayante Inn as a recreational area, with facilities for campfire entertainments, shuffleboard and other games, and a refreshment booth.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF ARNOLD GRUNIGEN, JR.
In later years, one of the men who greatly influenced the development of Mount Hermon was Arnold Grunigen, Jr. Born in San Francisco on July 30, 1901, he was a boy, almost six, when he was shaken out of bed, along with thousands of others, on that morning of April 18, 1906 when the earthquake hit San Francisco and the fire started. Although the Grunigen home on Lombard Street was not destroyed, the family was ordered to evacuate and joined the thousands of homeless refugees camping out in the parks.
Arnold's father, Arnold Grunigen, Sr. and his mother Marguerite Haessler Grunigen, both born in Switzerland, were associated with that sturdy group of Christians called Plymouth Brethren. Arnold must have been led to accept Christ as his Saviour at an early age, for he had often said that he could not remember a time when he was not a Christian. We know that in the days and weeks after the earthquake, Mr. Grunigen Sr. took Arnold with him on many occasions when he would preach on the street corners, in the parks,
and wherever the refugees were gathered. In commenting on these experiences, Arnold said "Having come so recently through such a great tragedy and with the ruins still smoldering, the refugees listened readily to the gospel."
Arnold attended the public schools of San Francisco and early displayed some of the talents which distinguished him in later life. It is reported that when he was only ten years of age he preached his first sermon to his parents and his sister Marguerite who for some good reason could not get to the assembly that Sunday.
He also displayed his talent for salesmanship by selling bluing and other household articles while in school, thus earning the money for his own clothes. He soon found that there was more money in selling newspapers, if one worked with an aggressive distributor. At that time, the distributor with the best earning record was a young man with the genteel name of "Dago Louie" whose headquarters were near the Ferry Building. He was boss of a large and very aggressive bunch of newsboys who fought (and this was often literal) to maintain their sales volume. Dago Louis recognized in Arnold a quality which was not so evident in the rest of the team Honesty. So he put Arnold in charge of handling all the money for the whole team, an experience which taught Arnold many a valuable lesson.
When he was about 11 or so, Arnold entered a contest to see who could obtain the largest number of paid subscriptions to the Saturday Evening Post. His participation in this contest had two notable results: He became acquainted with a large number of men in the banks and other financial institutions on Montgomery Street the Wall Street of the West; Second, he won for himself and for his mother an all expenses paid trip to Philadelphia and Boston to see the World Series!
Several firms on Montgomery Street were so attracted to Arnold that they offered him jobs before he had a chance to finish High School, and being of a very practical turn of mind he took the job which seemed to offer the best future rather than the highest immediate return. So at the age of about 15, he entered the investment firm of E.H. Rollins & Co., to learn the business. He soon won the friendship of everyone in the organization and particularly the men at the top, by his cheerfulness and ingenuity.
Then came World War I, with many men leaving the financial district to answer the call to the colors. Arnold was too young to
go, but he prepared himself by entering a School of Navigation looking toward a possible assignment in the Merchant Marine. The drain on manpower so reduced the sales force at E.H. Rollins & Co., that they finally upgraded Arnold to this work. Thus at the age of 16 he began travelling, largely in the San Joaquin Valley, selling bonds to banks, institutional investors and individuals. In the early twenties he was made Sales Manager of the County district, with 18 men under his direction. On August 5, 1924 he married Susan Weber, a graduate nurse, and at about the same time, they acquired their cabin at Mount Hermon. During this period, Arnold was active in the "One by One Club" and preached regularly on the street corner of Third and Stevenson, often to the taunts of his Montgomery St. associates.
The year 1929 will long be remembered on Montgomery Street as the one in which the stock market crash occurred. Along with many others in the investments business, the old Rollins Company got into difficulties, and closed up shop.
Arnold was not long out of a job however, for he soon joined the firm of Weeden & Co. as a salesman. At about the same time, feeling the need for a more aggressive Young Peoples Program for his growing family of two sons and a daughter, he joined Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, where he soon became an elder and the teacher of a large class of men. He also began to be more active at Mount Hermon, taking a leading part in the development of Young Peoples Conferences. In 1931 he was first elected as a member of the Board of Directors, going on to be president in 1934 and again in 1945 at which time he was also elected a life-time Trustee. On both board and committee meetings, he was always the keen analyst, always alert to see that the doctrinal standards were safeguarded, that young Christians were encouraged, and that laymen did not shirk their responsibilities.
In 1936 at the suggestion of his long-time friend Paul Rood, Arnold gathered around himself a group of Christian men in San Francisco who became one of the first Christian Business Men's Committees. There were just two other committees at that time, the idea of an interdenominational group of Christian Business Men dedicated to witnessing for our Lord among other business men, was catching on in other communities. In 1937, and largely under Arnold's leadership, representatives of these committees met in Chicago and organized Christian Business Men's Committee International,
as a liaison group, under whose guidance the movement has grown to be literally world-wide. After working diligently and effectively in the secondary capacity for many years, Arnold was elected International Chairman 1949-52. He was a dynamic speaker and always in great demand at men's meetings where his testimony presented a ringing challenge.
His business progress kept pace with his progress in Christian service and Arnold soon became a director in Weeden & Co. When World War II came along, the Federal Reserve Board called him to head up the War Bond Sales in the 12th Federal Reserve District. In this capacity he served his country well, travelling all over the seven western states and frequently to Washington with the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Mr. William Day. In conjunction with the bond rallies, where he spoke with great effectiveness, he had frequent opportunity to witness to top flight bankers and business men throughout the west. When the Treasury Department changed its organizational set-up he returned to Weeden & Co. with many attestations to the splendid manner in which he had accomplished the desired results.
Although Arnold never got to wear the uniform of Uncle Sam, his two sons did, David in the air force and Bob in the army. As many will recall, David paid the last full measure of devotion, after he was downed in a B-29 mission over Japan. The loss of so fine a son as David would be a blow to anyone. The way in which the Lord sustained both Susan and Arnold and the two remaining children, is a tribute to the reality of their faith in the resurrected Lord.
Some time after the war, Arnold received an offer to join another fine investment house in San Francisco, J. Barth & Co. as sales manager. At the risk of endangering a fine financial opportunity, Arnold told these people pointedly that he was very much in earnest about his Christian beliefs, that he was active in telling people, both individually and collectively, about Jesus Christ and what He had done for him, and in short that he was what some people referred to as a "fanatic." Arnold did not want to be stifled as to his testimony, nor did he want this new group to be unadvised as to the kind of a life he would live and the activities in which he would be engaged. No one could ever be around Arnold very long without discovering where he stood. His prospective employers assured Arnold that they knew all about his "Church activities" (as they called them)
and that they were quite willing that he should continue, and further that his positive stand for the nobler things of life was one of the reasons they wanted him in their company. He joined them in December 1949.
After their two children were happily married, Arnold and Susan sold their lovely home in the St. Francis Woods section of San Francisco and in 1953 moved to Atherton, later uniting with Peninsula Bible Church of Palo Alto. Here he was actively engaged as one of the teachers in a large Bible class in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Stokes in Hillsborough. He was also one of the four or five men who taught the large adult class at the Peninsula Bible Church. On January 15, 1956, as he was giving this class the last of a series of three lessons, Arnold evidently felt led to digress from the subject of the series, "Witnessing," and drew his lesson from II Cor. 5:1-10, that wonderful passage which speaks about the frailties of this earthly tabernacle, and the assurance that the Christian has that some day he will be relieved of its aches and pains, and the petty concerns of this life, and be clothed upon with our "house which is from heaven" and that he will be "absent from the body and present with the Lord." Little did his listeners realize that within 54 hours, the Lord would call home his faithful and obedient servant.
* * * *
In almost every organization there comes a time when decisions must be reached as to the direction in which the organization will go. Sometimes these forks in the road are not so noticeable as at others, but often as one looks back, they become quite evident. For many years Mount Hermon has been following a policy which seemed to give expression to as reasonably well rounded a program as might be expected of a Christian organization. Due attention was paid to the need for wholesome recreational activities both in the way of sports and entertainment. While some of the campfire lectures occasionally covered themes which are drawn from literature, natural history, public health, etcetera, the main burden of the platform ministry had always been drawn from the Bible and centered about the Person and Work of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1936 during the
Presidency of Dr. Edward Newell, M.D. of San Jose, a proposal was made that Mount Hermon should evidence its interest openly in the supposed conflict of interests between capital and labor which were given such prominence by the incumbent administration. It was suggested that labor leaders be invited to Mount Hermon to expound their views and that Mount Hermon as an Association take its stand alongside organized labor and against business management which were highlighted by the provisions of the Wagner Labor Act. The board gave careful consideration to this proposal, but after much time and prayer, felt led to reject the idea. It was decided that if Mount Hermon were to become embroiled in this or any other political, social and economic conflict, regardless of the merit of the cause, it would to that same extent neglect its one all important task of pointing men and women, boys and girls, to the Saviour of the world, Who alone provides the answer to all of man's conflicts, both those which take place within oneself, and those which take place between him and his neighbor.
A true forward step in the right direction was taken during the summer of 1936 with the holding of the first Sunday School conference conducted by Clarence H. Benson, Mrs. Ethel Low, Thelma Bailey and Henrietta Mears. Under their capable leadership and instruction, Sunday School teachers from many of the evangelical churches in the San Francisco Bay area received practical and helpful suggestions as to Sunday School materials and methods. Benefits of this and succeeding Sunday School conferences have been felt in hundreds of Sunday Schools and in thousands of homes.
It was in the fall of 1936 under the Presidency of George B. Campbell of San Jose that there was started a campaign to enlarge and improve the kitchen and dining room facilities. The initial impetus to this movement was provided by a
handsome gift of $5,000.00 by Mr. R.G. LeTourneau who conditioned his gift upon Mount Hermon's raising a similar amount. This was undertaken with goodwill and as a result the old cafeteria was replaced by the present kitchen, dining room and two dining porches. One of the porches was subsequently enlarged, in anticipation of its being enclosed later.
On June 7th, 1937, Rev. Hugh W. Gilchrist went home to be with the Lord and was laid to rest at Corvallis, Oregon. It will be recalled that Hugh Gilchrist was the man whom God used to transmit to other Christian leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area, his vision for a Christian conference grounds, which resulted in the organization of Mount Hermon. His was the vision, his was the energy which carried him through the countless thousands of problems, difficulties and disappointments. His was the joy of seeing his dream realized. Great would have been his joy could he have looked down from the ramparts of heaven at the closing session of the 1937 Young People's Conference when there were fourteen hundred persons present, including six hundred young people, to hear Dr. Cortland Myers deliver a challenging message on the subject, "You are the Seed of the Kingdom." Other speakers on the program that year were the Rev. David M. Dawson, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in San Jose and the Rev. and Mrs. William T. Blackstone, Presbyterian missionaries on furlough from China. All three of these were particularly gifted and their ministry has made a lasting impression upon members of the Mount Hermon family.
The early days of 1938 will be remembered for extremely severe wind and rain storms which felled several of the giant redwoods and did a great deal of damage to Zayante bridge, the trails, roads, and buildings. No one can appreciate the hours of backbreaking toil on the part of George Harter, Grounds Superintendent and his small but valiant crew, in
clearing away the debris and repairing the damage in order to prepare for the 1938 season. This proved to be a memorable one in many ways for it marked the first appearance on the Mount Hermon platform of the Rev. William H. Evans, D.D., LL.D., one of America's gifted Bible teachers. It was Dwight L. Moody who directed William Evans into vocational Christian service, and he became the first graduate of Moody Bible Institute. For forty years he was used in a world-wide Bible ministry, and from his pen came some twenty-seven volumes on doctrine and Bible exposition. He was a man of generous physical proportions with a bearing of genuine dignity and a remarkable resonate voice. His platform manner was very engaging and as one listened to him, it was not difficult to imagine him in a heavy Shakespearean role.
Quite different in manner and presentation was another newcomer to the Mount Hermon platform, Tom Olson, a Bible teacher from the so-called Plymouth Brethren who had been greatly used in Assembly and Bible conferences all over the country. 1938 also marked the first "Baptist Bible Encampment" and also the first conference of the Northern California Committees of the Christian Business Men's Committee. At that time, this movement had only four committees in the State of California: Namely, those in San Francisco, San Jose, Stockton and Turlock. Partly as a result of these conferences at Mount Hermon, but to a much greater extent, due to the leadership of Arnold Grunigen, Jr., one of Mount Hermon's Directors, this movement grew mightily and in succeeding years new committees were organized in many California communities until today they number seventy-two in the State of California alone, with somewhere between 350 and 400 throughout the United States, Canada and other countries of the world. It was the Christian Business Men's Committee which maintained a consistent Christian testimony
on Treasure Island during the Golden Gate International Exposition in the building which housed Irwin Moon and his "Sermons from Science."
In 1938, after fifteen years of inspired leadership and service, Dr. Francis W. Russell felt led to retire as Religious Work Director. Because he served in this important capacity during the middle third of Mount Hermon's first fifty years, and as a Trustee and Bible teacher during the final "third," it may safely be said that aside from the founders who brought it into existence, no man has had a greater influence upon the character and growth of Mount Hermon than has Dr. Russell. Since almost the very beginning, Dr. Russell has taught the Sunday morning Bible class at Mount Hermon. For many years this was held in that delightful circle of second-growth redwood trees which was called "Epworth Circle." Many of these trees were removed in 1946 in order to make room for the Memorial Chapel. Dr. Russell was also greatly used in helping to bring to the Mount Hermon platform outstanding evangelical preachers and Bible teachers from all over the United States and the British Isles. His long platform ministry both at Mount Hermon and in Bible Conference work in churches throughout the country has brought blessing to the hearts and lives of countless thousands. Even after his retirement as Religious Work Director, he still continued to be greatly in demand and we praise the Lord for the way He has given Dr. Russell the strength to buy up these opportunities. Most men in their eighties seem content to dwell in the years which have passed, but the Lord has given to Dr. Russell a remarkable mind so that his outlook continues to be fresh and invigorating. It seems quite fitting that the Mount Hermon Association should have begun the celebration of its fiftieth anniversary commemoration with a dinner honoring Dr. Russell on his nintieth birthday. Although his birthday fell on September 21, 1955,
the dinner was held on Tuesday September 20th, 1955 (so as not to conflict with Wednesday night prayer meeting). It was attended by hundreds of members of the Mount Hermon family who gathered to rejoice with him over his fruitful ministry. (See pages 118-119 below). Mount Hermon has grown great, and from a human standpoint, Dr. Russell has done much to make it so.
The search for someone to replace Dr. Francis W. Russell as Religious Work Director, was by no means an easy one. At last the Board of Directors, under the leadership of J.H. Plate, a business man of Richmond, California, then President, felt led to engage the services of the Rev. Cyrus Nelson, one of the young men who, coming to Mount Hermon as a High School senior had here made his decision to enter vocational Christian service. After graduating from the University of California in Los Angeles, he entered Princeton Theological Seminary and then served as Youth Minister in the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. He had a way with young people and from the very first began to give greater and greater emphasis to the development of Mount Hermon conferences, not only for college age young people, but for High School and Junior High as well.
The 1939 summer season brought to the Mount Hermon platform a great many of the old friends and some new ones as well including Dr. Walter Wilson, M.D., Kansas City, Missouri; Rev. Harold G. Ockenga, D.D., Pastor of Park Street Congregational Church of Boston; Rev. Simon E. Forsburg, D.D., President of the Multnomah School of the Bible, Portland, Oregon and Rev. Charles E. Fuller of the Old Fashioned Revival Hour.
World War II
"... He (the king) will take your sons ... for his chariots, and to be his horsemen and he will appoint him captains over thousands and captains over fifties and will set them ... to make his instruments of war ..." 1st Samuel 8:11-12.
The 1939 season ended on an ominous note when on September 1st of that year Germany invaded Poland which caused both Great Britain and France to declare war on Germany two days later. Thus began World War II which had such far reaching effect all over the world.
No doubt it was the uncertainty caused by the war, which caused many to withhold their gifts to the Lord's work, and the Directors of Mount Hermon again faced a sizable operating deficit. At this time Mr. O.A. Ross, the Business Manager, felt led to resign, and in the interests of economy, Cyrus Nelson undertook to act both as Religious Work Director and Business Director; a double load. Difficulties seemed to come in bunches, and the late fall of 1939 saw more severe rain and wind storms causing widespread property damage in Mount Hermon. The generosity of one of the directors prompted him to give $2500.00 toward the repairs, a very timely gift indeed.
The 1940 summer conference season began in an atmosphere of
international gloom and foreboding. The Maginot Line of France had been penetrated and was in a state of collapse. Hitler's armies were overrunning France and Western Europe and with the final collapse of French resistance, the British evacuated their army from the shores of Dunkirk in the period of time between May 26th and June 4th, 1940, leaving much of their equipment behind. Germany seemed to be in undisputed possession of Western Europe, the French and the Belgians were crushed and it was expected that at any moment the Germans would launch an invasion of Great Britain. Six days later, on June 10th, 1940, Italy declared war and immediately began preparations for the invasion of Egypt. The very existence of the British Empire and the British peoples was in grave jeopardy. With so many ties between Great Britain and the United States in matters of race, language, culture, faith and family, it was inevitable that the danger to Great Britain should cast a long shadow over the entire English speaking world. It was at this moment, however, when Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, crystallized the fighting spirit of the British people in words which forever shall remain as a classic expression of courage when he said on June 4th, 1940, "We shall not flag or fail. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
We thank God for this man, a professing Christian, who in Britain's darkest hour kindled a light of hope which spread into the hearts of millions of others. We are more thankful, however, that in dark hours such as this, our hope is not built on heroic words, but on the solid rock Christ Jesus Who
alone is equal, nay superior to any situation in which man may find himself. On July 7, 1940 the President of Mount Hermon, Mr. J.H. Plate, found it necessary to resign and Mr. Albert Munger was elected to fill out his unexpired term. During that summer season the Christians and others who gathered at Mount Hermon, while conscious of the world shaking events which were taking place across the water, nevertheless were drawn close to the Throne of Him Who is almighty, by the ministry of such outstanding men as Rev. John A. Mackay, D.D., President of Princeton Theological Seminary; Rev. Alva J. McClain, D.D., D.D., President of Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana; Rev. William L. Pettingil, D.D., Wilmington, Delaware, a world renowned Bible teacher, and Miss Ruth Paxson, a former missionary in China whose messages and writings on the deeper spiritual life have been a blessing to many thousands. Later that fall, Karl Hazeltine of the faculty of San Jose State College, was elected President.
The closing months of 1940 witnessed the great Battle of Britain in which the mighty air forces of Germany endeavored to beat down the meager air defense of the British, and thus pave the way for an invasion. During this time, the German submarine fleet threatened the life line of Great Britain and arrangements were made whereby the United States sold a number of destroyers to Great Britain in exchange for the privilege of establishing military bases on a number of points in the British West Indies. While this strengthened the hand of Britain for the time being, it also identified the United States unmistakably with the allied cause. Many thinking people could foresee, short of a sudden collapse of the British defense, the time was inevitable that the United States should be drawn into the conflict. This, of course, occurred on Sunday morning December 7th, 1941 when without warning and without provocation an arm of
the Japanese air force attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor of the Hawaiian Islands sinking and damaging much of the United States Pacific Fleet and land installations, plunging the United States into the world conflict.
All aspects of American life were immediately altered, and Mount Hermon was no exception. The Pacific Coast was immediately alerted against the possibility of Japanese attack by land, sea or air. One unforgettable impression of these early war days was that of a meeting of the Board of Directors held on the night of December 12th, 1941 in one of the private dining rooms of the YWCA in San Francisco. Shortly after President George Campbell of San Jose called the meeting to order, there was a general air raid warning with the result that every electric light in San Francisco was extinguished. The meeting stopped for a while, anticipating that the lights would go on again, but when it became apparent that they might not do so for some time, the meeting was continued in absolute darkness. It was not until the meeting was almost finished that the "all clear" signal was given and the lights could be turned on again. The secretary scanned eagerly the notes which he had taken in complete darkness and fortunately found that he was able to decipher them. One of the problems which confronted the Board at this time was the fact that a number of the speakers who had been lined up for the summer season of 1942 sent messages indicating that they thought they should give up any thought of travelling to the West Coast.
It was not long before gasoline was rationed and this made it increasingly difficult for people to get to Mount Hermon. Many groups clubbed together to "share the ride" and by this means, and by other economies and by the use of public transportation, helped to make the 1942 season a good one.
In September of that year, the Board of Directors elected as their President Mr. Jack Douglas of Woodland.
Shortly thereafter, and partly in an effort to maintain close contact with our Mount Hermon family, a radio program was launched with a half hour broadcast each Sunday afternoon over KLS (Oakland). The program was called "Mount Hermon Melodies" and the signature was a sound familiar to all the Mount Hermon family: the ringing of the old Mount Hermon bell. This was followed by some musical numbers and messages which were devotional or inspirational in character. Cyrus Nelson the Religious Work Director arranged the programs and took part in each one, bringing to the microphone Sunday by Sunday, the Mount Hermon speakers living in the San Francisco area, some of the Board members, and some of the young people both in and out of military service whose lives had been touched. Later in the year, the program was switched to KSFO.
In December of 1942 there were some exceptionally severe rain storms, one of which caused one of the Southern Pacific Railway tunnels to cave in. The wonderfully improved highway from Los Gatos and Santa Cruz and the concurrent increase in the use of private automobiles, trucks and busses had made this section of the railroad less and less profitable. It was no surprise therefore to learn that the Southern Pacific Railroad petitioned the Inter-State Commerce Commission for permission to abandon the line and this was granted, thus bringing to an end the direct rail connection between Mount Hermon and the Los Gatos, San Jose and San Francisco areas. While the railroad line from Santa Cruz to and a little beyond Mount Hermon is still operated for freight service, all passenger traffic had to be handled either by private automobile or Greyhound Bus plus its local connections. Some time later, arrangements were made by Mount Hermon Association to purchase for a nominal sum
the Southern Pacific Railroad station at Mount Hermon. This was converted into living quarters for the staff who serve the Redwood Camp area.
The conference program during the summer period just preceding our entry into the war and during the early days of the war, included such outstanding figures as the Rev. Donald Grey Barnhouse, D.D., Pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, Editor of "Eternity" and teacher of a Bible class over a nationwide radio hook up. Dr. Barnhouse's connection with Mount Hermon has been of many years standing, for he was born in Watsonville and from the very first his sister, Mable Jean Barnhouse, has been identified with Mount Hermon, first as a member of the staff and then as a property owner. Another speaker of international renown was Rev. J. Edwin Orr, D.D., whose book "The Second Evangelical Awakening" has been warmly received on both sides of the Atlantic. The platform ministry also included Rev. Vance Havner, D.D.; Rev. Harold Fickett, D.D., from Galveston, Texas; the Rev. Andrew W. Blackwood, D.D., Professor of Homiletics and Practical Theology in Princeton Theological Seminary; Rev. Bernard B. Sutcliffe, D.D., President of the Multnomah School of the Bible at Portland, and the Rev. Renwick McCullough, D.D., Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Tacoma, Washington.
As is inevitable in any war, our nation issued a call for young men, and, in this war, young women in increasing numbers, to don the uniform of their country's service. Many of the young people of the Mount Hermon family and from among the frequent conference delegates, answered these calls and served their country in virtually every theatre of World War II, the war in which the inventive genius of man had devised more lethal weapons than had ever been conceived in the mind of man and had brought us into direct conflict with Japan, a nation which had embraced the West's
technology without embracing the West's Christianity. As a result, the Japanese militarists had seemingly no regard whatever for human life, and their ferocity was unbounded in their treatment of prisoners, whether civilian or military.
Some of our finest young men lost their lives in direct conflict with the enemy or as a result of their mistreatment as prisoners of war. As we mentioned previously, one of the early casualties was Keith Munro who at Mount Hermon had reached the decision to give his life in vocational service for his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He was killed in 1943 and this sobering event was probably responsible for starting the fund to build a "Youth Memorial Building." Gifts poured in from many Mount Hermon friends and interested families, and arrangements were made whereby all of those who contributed $100 or more were permitted to submit the name of a departed one to be included on the memorial plaque which was placed in the building.
Unfortunately, the Government's requirements with respect to all types of building materials was so great that their use was highly restricted. Therefore it was impossible to proceed immediately with the building of "Youth Memorial" or with any of the other improvements and enlargements which were so necessary if Mount Hermon hoped to keep pace with its rapidly expanding constituency. Therefore in the fall of 1943 under the Presidency of Dr. Robert T. Sutherland, a "Greater Mount Hermon" program was conceived. The basic idea at the time was to accumulate funds right then, when employment was full, wages were high, and it was almost impossible to buy automobiles, home appliances and other items which usually attracted extra funds. The plan was to place these funds in U.S. Government bonds, thus helping in the war effort, and to cash the bonds when the war was over and building materials were again available. During this period of time, many people
felt it their patriotic duty to purchase bonds by a salary deduction method, and hence they felt they could not at the same time give extra amounts to Mount Hermon. An appeal was made to these people to go ahead with their bond purchase plan, but to have the bonds made payable to Mount Hermon, thus accomplishing both aims at once. The people responded sacrificially. Cash and bonds accumulated steadily looking toward a "Greater Mount Hermon." The goal was originally set at $150,000.00. While the amount received did not reach this figure by the time the war was over, the same basic idea was carried on so that in subsequent years, the entire objective was met.
In contrast with the gloomy forebodings with which the 1940 summer conference program started, the summer of 1944 started on a courageous note for on June 6th of that year, the great invasion force which had been marshalled in Great Britain by General Dwight D. Eisenhower crossed the English Channel and invaded the coast of France, which the Germans thought they had made impregnable. It was "D Day"!
The conference season that summer saw many old friends back on the platform and in addition, quite an array of men who were new to Mount Hermon, but who were to become long time friends. Outstanding among them was Rev. Lewis Sperry Chafer, D.D. and Litt.D., President of the Dallas Theological Seminary at Dallas, Texas, and author of the great eight-volume "Systematic Theology"; Rev. Frank F. Warren, D.D., President of Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington; Rev. William H. Houghton, D.D., President of Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois; Rev. John Juizenga, D.D., who occupied the Charles Hodge Chair of Systematic Theology at Princeton Seminary; Rev. J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., LL.D., then Pastor of the Lincoln Avenue
Presbyterian Church of Pasadena and later Pastor of the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles.
The early months of 1945 saw the might of Hitler's military machine slowly, but surely crumbling under the mighty force of the allied invasion army. On March 7th, the Rhine was crossed and by May 7th Germany surrendered! Just a few days prior to this, the United Nations was founded in San Francisco amid many high sounding speeches and much hope. This hope, however, was not shared generally by Bible believing Christians, for it was all too evident that any organization which ruled God out of its deliberations and sought by man's power alone to impose an order on the world, could hardly be expected to produce the results which we all devoutly desired.
At any rate, the undivided attention of the allies was now turned upon Japan who, realizing that they were fighting alone, adopted more desperate policies and practices than ever before. Part of the price we paid for subjugating the war party which controlled Japan, was the loss of some of our finest young men. Among these was David Grunigen, the older son of Arnold Grunigen, Jr., one of the dynamic leaders of Mount Hermon. Young David was an Aircorps Corporal who was reported missing in action in a B29 bomber over Japan on June 23rd, 1945. Shortly thereafter on July 1st, Don Campbell, the son of George Campbell, a former President of Mount Hermon, was reported missing in action in a B29 bomber over Formosa. Doubtless there were many other sons of Mount Hermon families who were wounded or who lost their lives in the great conflict and the hearts of all the Mount Hermon family went out in sympathy to the bereaved.
On August 6th and 9th, 1945 atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with such devastating effect that Japan surrendered six days later. The cessation of hostilities was
observed at Mount Hermon with thanks to Almighty God in prayers and in hymns of thanksgiving. This was in strong contrast, sad to relate, with the unrestrained debaucheries and orgies which took place on the streets of nearby San Francisco, and other cities: fresh evidence of the exceeding sinfulness of the unregenerate human heart. Thus World War II came to an end and America turned her thoughts to peace, only to realize later that another and more subtle and more dangerous enemy had been growing under the guise of an ally, nurtured unfortunately by the generosity of America. But this is another story.
"... and the land rested from war." Joshua 11:23
Once the last of the Axis Powers had surrendered, the Americans wanted to demobilize as quickly as possible, and get back to planting corn, assembling cars and building that dream house in the suburbs.
By September 2, 1945, the rigid control of building materials had been relaxed to the point where Mount Hermon could break ground for the first new building in four years. It was to be the Youth Memorial Building. That day witnessed a memorable ceremony, in which the spade was wielded in turn by several, including Dr. Russell and Mr. Arnold Grunigen, Jr., who had just been elected President of Mount Hermon.
Before the beginning of the 1946 season, in anticipation of the increased activity which seemed certain, the board of directors of Mount Hermon arranged to provide assistance for Cyrus Nelson in the form of a Business Manager who could take over the physical aspects of the Mount Hermon program, leaving Mr. Nelson to handle the spiritual program. The man selected as Business Manager was Mr. Richard D. Curley who was appointed to that position on January 1st, 1946. Mr. Curley was a graduate of the Drexel Institute
of Technology, Philadelphia, had been employed by the Norfolk and Western Railroad and then served as a Captain in the U.S. Army as Administrative Officer and Company Commander in the Ordinance and Transportation Corps, spending thirty-four months overseas. He was brought into rather close contact with Mount Hermon when he married Lois Long the daughter of Dr. Willis W. Long of Stockton, California, a trustee of Mount Hermon.
Early in the 1946 season, the Youth Memorial Building was dedicated in a beautiful service with Dr. Francis W. Russell bringing the message. The conference seasons of 1945 and 1946 included such outstanding figures as Rev. Samuel N. Zwemer, D.D., the great missionary statesman to the Moslem world; Rev. Wilbur M. Smith, D.D., who was then instructor in English Bible at the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago and who was later to occupy a similar chair at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Another speaker was Rev. Carl Armerding, D.D., well known Bible Teacher who at that time was pastor of the Wheaton Bible Church, Wheaton, Illinois. With him was Rev. Merrill C. Tenney, Th.D., D.D., Instructor in Wheaton College. The conference season proved to be a very successful one, and by September of that year it was reported that nearly two-thirds of the $100,000.00 set for the initial portion of the Greater Mount Hermon campaign had either been given or pledged. Also during that fall announcement was made by three Mount Hermon families that they were providing the funds with which to build a chapel on the site formerly occupied by Epworth Circle, as a memorial to David Grunigen and Don Campbell, both of whom had lost their lives in the war, and to Thora Chamberlain, daughter of Frank R. Chamberlain one of the directors who had lost her life in a tragedy at about the same time. The chapel stands today as one of the gems of Mount Hermon, a wonderful memorial
to these three young people, and a means of blessing to many who have found in its beautiful interior, the proper setting for prayer, meditation, Bible study or as the site for a Mount Hermon wedding.
One of the developments of the war and post war years was the perfecting of a process whereby propane gas could be liquefied, stored in steel bottles and transported to remote areas where it was not economically sound to pipe in natural or artificial gas. This new development brought to Mount Hermon all the benefits of gas heat which had hitherto been impossible. As soon as it was possible to obtain the necessary equipment, Mount Hermon installed gas heat of this type, and two of the first buildings so equipped were the Youth Memorial Building and the new Memorial Chapel. Installations were also made in some of the hotel type sleeping accommodations, and later on in the new dormitories. As a result of this development, Mount Hermon became much more attractive as a location for conferences in the late fall, winter and early spring months. Thus the usefulness of Mount Hermon was greatly expanded, and groups from evangelical churches all over northern and central California began scheduling conferences at Mount Hermon on week ends throughout the fall, winter and spring months. Despite the heavy rainfall which is normal for this part of the Santa Cruz Mountains, gas heat made the living, eating and meeting accommodations quite comfortable and attractive, and the big open fireplace in the Youth Memorial Building was aglow with many a log fire and became the scene of many a memorable occasion.
Just before the opening of the summer season in 1947, Mount Hermon stepped forward as the publisher of "Victory Circle Melodies and Meditations." This fine collection of Gospel songs, choruses and brief quotations from outstanding speakers on the Mount Hermon platform, proved
to be a very popular volume not only at Mount Hermon itself, but in youth groups all over the west.
The summer season of 1947 saw many old time Mount Hermon friends back on the platform and in addition some new faces. Among these were Rev. Charles Forbes Taylor, D.D., a great Baptist evangelist, and his brother Laurie Taylor an accomplished pianist. Mount Hermon was also fortunate in hearing Rev. Henry Prince, pastor of the Bethesda Church of Minneapolis, and Rev. L.E. Maxwell, President of the Prairie Bible Institute of Three Hills, Alberta and author of that challenging book "Born Crucified". It was also at about this time that a very interesting development began to be apparent. Mrs. Graeme MacDonald of San Francisco, a remarkably gifted Bible teacher, had for some years been teaching women's Bible classes in San Francisco and at several points on the Peninsula. Being a great admirer of the late Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, President of the Dallas Theological Seminary, Mrs. MacDonald became a regular attendant at the conferences which this Seminary held at Mount Hermon almost every year beginning in 1944. As a help to the members of her classes, Mrs. MacDonald encouraged them to attend the entire conference if possible, but in any event to attend at least one day. This "day" soon developed into a mass rally with several hundred ladies driving to Mount Hermon from San Francisco and Peninsula points to attend the conference sessions and to have a time of fellowship. These gatherings began to take on the aspect of a one-day conference of their own, and the friendships developed between the members of the various classes proved of precious value. These groups have been used greatly of the Lord in bringing unsaved women from every walk of life under the clear exposition of the Word of God.
The cessation of the war soon brought in its wake attempts on the part of the United States Government to dispose of
many of the surplus items which were no longer needed. The officers and directors of Mount Hermon were quick to realize the opportunities thus offered, and made many advantageous purchases of a wide variety of items including beds, bunk beds, bedding, kitchen ware, table ware, wrought iron pipe and a host of other things. Some of the items offered staggered the imagination. One of them, however, was a huge water tank at Camp Shoemaker. The tank was some thirty-two feet high and fifty-five feet in diameter. Unlike most tanks which are welded together, this one was made of individual plates fitted with gaskets and fastened together with removable bolts. Mount Hermon had long sought an opportunity to expand its water supply system and this looked like an opportunity. After a number of investigating trips and consultations with those in the steel business, it was thought feasible to dismantle this tank and move it to Mount Hermon. A bid was made representing an amount substantially less than it would cost to build such a tank, and it was acquired. Through the help of a Christian in the steel business, Ed Soule, arrangements were made to dismantle the tank, load it on trucks and haul it to Mount Hermon. Meantime on the grounds much preparatory work had been done, concrete bases prepared, and the tank was reassembled in two parts, thus making two water tanks each sixteen feet high by fifty-five feet in diameter, each with a capacity of 280,000 gallons giving Mount Hermon a supply system with a capacity of five hundred and sixty thousand gallons. All of this represented a considerable investment, which was increased by the necessity of providing adequate connections with our existing water distribution system and improving the pumping arrangement which lifted the water from Ferndell Spring and Redwood Spring from their positions in the Valley up to the tanks on Pine Plateau. When the work was completed and the
board of directors went in a body to inspect the new installation, the contrast between the new tanks and the 20,000 gallon wooden ones which had preceded them, was so striking as to make all realize how much we had outgrown our former system, indeed, the engineers informed us that on especially warm days, water was drained out of the small tanks just as fast as it was being pumped in, and sometimes a little faster! With improved pumping facilities, and adequate storage capacity, Mount Hermon's water supply was stepped up to the point where it was more than adequate for the present needs, and should meet the needs for years to come although the distribution system is still a mystic maze, being the result of patch-work development over a period of forty years.
The board of directors soon had to turn their attention from the water system to other matters. In January of 1948, Mr. Richard Curley, the business manager, announced that he was resigning his position in order to become business manager for the Fuller Evangelistic Foundation. Shortly after that, Rev. Cyrus Nelson announced that he, too, was leaving to become Executive Vice-President of the Gospel Light Press of Glendale, but the board was able to prevail upon him to delay his departure until the end of the current conference season. In the meantime arrangements were made to employ Franklin Ellis to assist Rev. Nelson during the summer season.
Just at the opening of the 1948 season, the Memorial Chapel was dedicated and three new large type dormitories were completed, named Madrone, Maple and Oak Lodges. At the same time, the capacity of the dining room was greatly increased by enclosing a portion of the porch which overhangs Ferndell Creek, and naming it the Ferndell Dining Room. The program for the 1948 summer season was an excellent one, with many old friends on the platform and
such new ones as Dr. John Walvoord who succeeded Dr. Chafer as President of Dallas Theological Seminary; Rev. William Culbertson, D.D., President of Moody Bible Institute, Chicago; Rev. Samuel H. Sutherland, President Bible Institute of Los Angeles; and Rev. Carl F.H. Henry, Th.D., Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena and a writer of great renown. Included in some of the denominational conferences were Rev. C.W. Koller, D.D., President of the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary of Chicago; and the Rev. M.E. Dodds, D.D., a great Baptist pastor from Shreveport, Louisiana.
Another new voice from the Mount Hermon platform was the Rev. Fulton C. Lytle, Pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, Georgia, and a former track star whose appeal to the young people attracted the attention of the board of directors, with the result that they called him as the Executive Director. Dr. Lytle and his wife and family moved to Mount Hermon on February 1st, 1949 and occupied a manse on the grounds which had been remodelled in anticipation of their coming.
At just about the same time, Mr. George Harter retired after serving faithfully for many years as superintendent of grounds. It was said that he was the only person in the world who knew where all the underground pipes were in Mount Hermon. It is no wonder, for many is the night that he was called from a sound sleep to locate and repair a broken pipe in the water system. He also had intimate acquaintance with the wiring system in Mount Hermon, but breaks in this line were a little easier to locate. Mr. Harter and his wife were familiar figures on the Mount Hermon grounds for many years. His place was taken by Jim Kennedy who had worked closely with Mr. Harter on the grounds for several years.
As another part of the improvements promised under the
"Greater Mount Hermon" program, there was constructed in the early months of 1949 in the area just to the rear of Bible Hall, those buildings known as Manzanita and Sequoia. These included a number of very comfortable sleeping rooms, each with a separate gas heater and a separate bath. Draperies and other decorations were arranged by the ladies of the Women's Auxiliary, in very tasteful fashion. It is doubtful if any conference grounds anywhere includes housing accommodations which are any more comfortable or more attractive.
For many years the officers and directors of Mount Hermon had been conscious of the fact that the recreational facilities for the main conference grounds were entirely inadequate. It is true that an area on Pine Avenue half way up the hill had been set aside as a playground but it was inadequate, inconveniently located, and did not begin to serve the needs of the large conference groups. The problem had frequently been brought before the board, but on a hillside area like Mount Hermon, it is not easy to find a level space large enough to serve this purpose. The only place that seemed as though it might fill the bill was the bed of the old lake which had long ago dried up, except during the heavy rainy seasons. This site was proposed a number of times, but the board seemed divided among those who wanted to take out the peat bog which formed the bed of the lake, and make indeed a lake once more, and those who wanted to fill it in and make a playground of it. Advice of a number of engineers was sought and finally it was determined that by installing proper drainage tiles, the water still flowing underground could be handled even during the rainy season. As a result in 1949, and partly under the stimulus of Dr. Lytle the new Executive Director who was greatly interested in sports and athletics for the young people, the program to improve the old lake area was begun.
This provided at one stroke a large flat area near the center of things which served as an athletic field during the week and as a much needed parking area for automobiles on Sundays. Gone is the old lake, and in all probability, gone is the possibility of ever restoring it to the lake that is still shown on the maps, and gave Lakeside its name. But in its place Mount Hermon now has a facility for which the need had long been felt.
During the 1949 summer season, the conference platform saw several new faces including the Rev. L. Sale-Harrison, D.D., formerly of Sydney, Australia, but now of Seattle, a great student of prophetic subjects; Rev. William Ward Ayer then pastor of the great Calvary Baptist Church of New York City; Rev. Charles L. Feinberg, D.D., then an instructor at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and later Director of Talbot Theological Seminary and an outstanding Hebrew scholar; Dr. W. Robert Smith, Th.D., head of the Department of Philosophy and the Bible at Dubuque University, Dubuque, Iowa; and Mrs. Ethel S. Low for twenty years a writer for the Sunday School Times and author of a number of Sunday School books.
While plans for many physical improvements were under discussion, the greatest single forward step in this direction in 1950 was the complete remodelling of the Todd House into quarters suitable for housing the girls' staff. This was a project long overdue, for up to this time the girls had been occupying quarters which were woefully inadequate and of which nobody in Mount Hermon was proud.
The year 1950 saw another event, however, far removed from any matter of physical improvements, which revealed in a number of remarkable ways the great principles and truths for which Mount Hermon stands. It is not difficult to recall the horror which seized the western world when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. Nor
is it hard to recall the strong feeling which welled up within the hearts of Americans when stories came back of the extreme cruelty of the Japanese to their prisoners. Japanese who had been living in California, many of them for several generations, were sent to concentration camps in the desert and in central states as a security measure. Many Californians were frankly glad to see them go and expressed the hope that they would never see them again, while others questioned the necessity of drastically uprooting the entire group. As the war went on however those in charge of checking security risks, were known to say that they found very few instances among the Americans of Japanese descent, in which there had been anything like the amount of espionage or sabotage which could be traced to the descendants of some of the other enemy nations. Nevertheless, sentiment against the Japanese ran quite strong and it was some time after the war was over before many Japanese felt free to return to their former homes in California. In 1947 a few Japanese Christians attended some of the Young People's conferences at Mount Hermon. In 1948 there was even a larger number, still larger in 1949. By 1950 a separate conference for Japanese young people was arranged at Redwood Camp June 19th to 25th. It was not given a great deal of publicity in the Mount Hermon "Log" but it was attended by one hundred and fifty Japanese young people including many non-Christians. By the time the week was over, thirty of them had made a public profession of Christ as their Saviour. On the closing Sunday, June 25th, 1950, one of these appeared on the platform in the Mount Hermon auditorium where he was interviewed by Dr. Fulton Lytle. The young Japanese was Bob Nishyama whose name and picture had appeared in LIFE magazine and other periodicals because he was in this country attending college on a scholarship provided by the will of a GI who had been killed in the Philippines.
In the interview with Dr. Lytle, he told his story of which the following is an excerpt: "As a Japanese young boy I went to a Japanese school, and by the time I graduated from High School, I believed in war, as it was explained by our leaders. On August 1944, at the same time I was in training, there was an American boy who was drafted: his name was Bob Jones of Philadelphia. He was attending college before he was drafted and before he was sent over, he revealed to his parents his belief that the lack of understanding was the major cause of war. He was sent to the Philippines and there was killed in May of 1945 about three months before the war ended. When the boy's parents received the news of their son, they decided to use his GI insurance for a scholarship for a Japanese, their enemy, to be brought to this country. I got this scholarship. When I wrote the story, I was put to shame. I did not have the vision this young boy had. This is how I came to this country. I am in my second year in Lafayette College in eastern Pennsylvania.
"I was born of a Christian father; in fact, my family has been Christian for three generations. My great grandfather was one of the first Japanese to accept Jesus; he was governor of one of the southern states and he established a church in his city. As a youngster I went to church every Sunday, heard sermons, and studied the Bible, but I got away from the Bible and God. By the time I joined the service, there was a war on and my interest was in other things and I was completely away from God. During the time I was in the navy training, I was in glider training. One day I was coming down in landing practice. I lost speed and went into a wing-tip stall. I saw the ground go round and round and I remember I shouted 'God help me!'. Miraculously, I was thrown out because my belt was not fastened. I turned a complete somersault and landed on my feet. Having my belt unfastened was against regulations and I was punished
for it, but that was better than death. I knew I was miraculously spared, but as time went on I forgot it. I had gone through many other experiences but what I want to bring out is that I was a nominal Christian; I went to church every Sunday and I heard sermons; that kind of a Christian.
"At the same time while I was at school, I met many students and as I talked with them I should have come out and professed Christ, but I did not have enough gumption to do it. They told me it was sissie to be a Christian. I didn't want to say, 'I am a Christian' so I tried a compromise, but of course I could not. The Bible says you are either for God or you are against God. When I came to California this summer, I heard about this conference being held at Mount Hermon. I was really looking forward to the conference because I felt I needed a real challenge and wanted to devote all my time to Bible study.
"One day I was sitting in Redwood Camp under a big redwood tree and as I looked back upon my past I felt small. I talked with leaders, pastors and counselors and I began to realize that I had been a coward to think there might be some kind of compromise but that it took gumption to be a Christian, to cut yourself completely from worldly things.
"On the second day I heard the call of the Holy Spirit and I stood up and confessed Christ for the first time in my life. I had been a nominal Christian all of my life, but this was the first time I really accepted Him. As I go back to Berkeley, I know Satan will try to tempt me, but I know the Holy Spirit will keep me. I want to keep my promise; my promise to God here at Mount Hermon, as I start back to Berkeley and back to Lafayette College in September. Mount Hermon will always have a warm spot in my heart because this is the place where I was born again."
This is indeed a wonderful testimony, but the great wonder of it is that it was being delivered by a Japanese navy glider pilot
who at the time was standing within fifty yards of a chapel built as a memorial to three young people, two of whom had lost their lives at the hands of this same Japanese military machine. Surely it is an evidence of the grace of God to bring together in Christian fellowship those who were former enemies.
It is tragic to think that on the very day when Bob Nishyama was giving this heart-warming testimony, that the Communist forces in North Korea started their unprovoked invasion of South Korea.
Other things happened in 1950 also. The conference platform was enriched by the ministry of several men who were new to Mount Hermon. Among them was Dr. Edward J. Carnell, Th.D., then an instructor and now President of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and the author of several volumes on Christian apologetics; Rev. Vincent Bennett, D.D., later a member of the faculty of Wheaton College; Rev. Phillip R. Newell, D.D., a member of the faculty of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Dawson Trotman, founder and leader of "The Navigators," that remarkable group of young men and women originally drawn from the Navy, but later embracing all branches of the service and civilian life who, by their program of Bible study, Scripture memorization and personal witnessing, have been a tremendous force for evangelism in this generation; Dr. Edwin F. Johnson long time pastor of Mission Covenant Church, Oakland, and the man who was undoubtedly the human instrument used by the Lord to touch off the note of revival early in 1950 in Wheaton College Chapel.
A Still "Greater Mount Hermon"
"Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes." Isaiah 54:2
By the fall of 1950, the word had pretty well gotten around northern and central California that vast improvements had been made in the housing accommodations at Mount Hermon, particularly with respect to heating in the dormitories, lodges and meeting rooms. As a result, more and more groups began scheduling conferences during the winter months, which were formerly considered the "closed season." Reference to the conference schedule now indicates that the facilities at Mount Hermon were in use during every month of the calendar year, thus giving Mount Hermon a year around ministry. The grounds which were originally thought of as only a summer conference grounds, were now the scene of busy activities all throughout the year. Most of the improvements visualized in the "Greater Mount Hermon" campaign had now been realized, but these improvements had served to attract still additional thousands to Mount Hermon. As a result, it was decided by the officers and directors that still further improvements in Mount Hermon were desirable under a continuing Greater Mount Hermon Committee.
There was no longer any need to defer construction because of any shortage in building materials, but it was still necessary to raise funds above the ever growing amount which was required to finance the day to day operations of this great conference grounds. Almost from the very beginning, the directors recognized the great responsibility and opportunity which was theirs to use Mount Hermon and all of its facilities, not only as a means of evangelism, but also as a means of challenging young and old alike to a life of complete consecration to the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with the full knowledge that in many instances this would result in vocational service in the ministry, the mission field or elsewhere. For this reason, the board of directors had always felt that the fees charged for registration, housing and meals for those attending the children's and the young people's conferences, should be kept as low as possible. With increasing costs over the years, some increases in these fees have become necessary, but in general they tended to represent an amount less than the actual cost. It was felt that this subsidy was justified as an investment in a real Christian ministry to thousands upon thousands of young people, many of whom would be called into vocational Gospel ministry or lives of usefulness as consecrated laymen. Thus Mount Hermon had to depend upon the gifts of interested friends to cover this operating deficit year by year. Any expansion or improvement or repairs to the physical facilities at Mount Hermon, required that still additional amounts be given by those upon whose hearts God had laid a burden for this type of ministry.
From the experience with the first "Greater Mount Hermon" campaign, it was evident that there were many advantages in keeping separate those funds which had been given for the purpose of enlarging and improving Mount Hermon and making it "greater." Therefore in this second "Greater Mount Hermon" campaign,
it was decided to continue the same administrative machinery which had been set up before. Thus in the fall of 1950, after much prayer and deliberation, the board launched another campaign to raise $100,000.00 for the further improvement of the facilities at Mount Hermon.
By the time the 1951 summer season opened, a sufficient amount had been raised in the "Greater Mount Hermon" campaign to finance some much needed improvements to the auditorium. Although it is delightfully warm on the Mount Hermon grounds in the late morning and afternoon of the summer months, the early morning hours were frequently quite chilly and most of the Mount Hermon family had become accustomed to attending the early morning sessions in the auditorium fortified with overcoats and blankets. Sometimes, however, our visiting conferees from distant points were not accustomed to the cool California mornings and their discomfort diverted their attention from the messages from the platform. One such visitor, a fine Christian layman from New Orleans, Louisiana, was so unaccustomed to the chilly mornings that he asked his old friend Dr. Fulton Lytle "how much do you suppose it would cost to buy some heaters for this auditorium so we don't freeze to death in the mornings?" Dr. Lytle consulted others and named an amount, which the friend from New Orleans promptly gave. Then it was decided that in order to preserve the heat thus generated, it would be wise to replace the old canvas curtains along the side of the auditorium with glass windows. This cost was calculated and it was decided that it was a proper charge against the "Greater Mount Hermon" fund. The added weight of the windows however required some additional strengthening of the foundations, and so at last this, too, was undertaken. This chain of events is mentioned as an illustration of how an effort to make one improvement
often leads to two or three others, all of which call for greater funds, and the use of good sound business judgment on the part of the officers and directors.
The summer season of 1951 was again a full one and from the platform there was heard the voices of many old friends plus some new Christian leaders such as Rev. Charles Woodbridge, D.D., who for many years was pastor of the Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah, Georgia, but by this time had joined the faculty of the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena; Rev. Ralph Keiper, D.D., professor of Greek and Philosophy of the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania, and later of Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary; Rev. Torrey Johnson, D.D., pastor of the Midwest Bible Church, Chicago, Illinois and the first President of Youth for Christ International; Rev. James Cuthbertson, D.D., Director of the Japan Evangelistic Band; Rev. Ray C. Stedman, Pastor of the Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto.
The fall of 1951 witnessed another historic event in the San Francisco Bay area when on September 4th, 1951, the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference was held in San Francisco, thus bringing formally to a close the period of hostility which had begun almost ten years before. One of the interesting side developments of that conference was the fact that during it, the first cross-continental television program was broadcast when the President of the United States, Mr. Harry S. Truman, addressed the conference.
The 1952 summer season witnessed the resumption of the Mount Hermon Missionary Conference which had not been held for a number of years. This lack had been a burden upon the heart of Dr. Robert Sutherland, M.D., a past president and trustee of Mount Hermon, and it was largely through his efforts that this important conference was restored
to the program. A fine group of speakers was invited including Dr. Harold Lindsell, Professor of Missions at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena; Rev. Arthur Mouw, missionary to Borneo under the Christian and Missionary Alliance ; Dr. Hubert Mitchell, former missionary to Sumatra and later International Director of Youth for Christ stationed in India; Bob Finley, Director of the Fellowship of Overseas College and University Students; Dr. Richard Baird, Field Director of Foreign Missions for the Presbyterian Churches of the U.S.A. for Guatemala, Mexico, Columbia and Venezuela. The conference was a great success.
Other new speakers on the Mount Hermon platform during the 1952 season were Rev. Merrill F. Unger, Th.D., Ph.D., Professor of Old Testament Interpretation in the Dallas Theological Seminary; Rev. David Laurie, D.D., formerly pastor of the Carrubbers Close Mission, Edinburgh, Scotland and now Executive Director of the Chinese Native Evangelistic Crusade; Rev. Herbert Lockyer, D.D., a travelling Bible teacher from England and the Rev. Kenneth Pike, D.D., of the Wycliffe Bible Translators.
From a physical standpoint, one of the most interesting developments of the 1952 season was the heroic decision to tear down the old buildings which had so long served as dormitories for the boys and, out of the "Greater Mount Hermon" funds to replace them on virtually the old site, with two new, well constructed lodges. Each bedroom is equipped with four good new mattresses on double deck beds, with a shower, toilet and wash basin for each room. In fact the new boys' dormitories were such a vast improvement over the old ones, that they were soon in demand for housing the delegates to young married people's and adult conferences. The new lodges, Pine and Fir, would be a credit to any conference grounds.
Some of the funds from the "Greater Mount Hermon" campaign were also used to improve the facilities in Mount Hermon's two kitchens; the one which serves the main dining room and conference porches, and the second which serves the Redwood Camp area. As an evidence of the magnitude of Mount Hermon's operations, it was reported that during 1952 over 95,000 meals were prepared and served from these two kitchens. The kitchens and the dining room and the planning of the meals has for many years been under the capable management of Mrs. Jepson who during the winter months operated the Y.W.C.A. Cafeteria which served the University of California at Berkeley.
The year 1953 was a memorable one for Christians all over the United States for many reasons. One of them was the nation-wide television broadcast of the inauguration of the newly elected President of the United States, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Stories had reached us of the devout Christian faith of his parents, the evidence of his interest in Christian things, and the fact that in at least one of the preliminary meetings of his cabinet, he had requested the new Secretary of Agriculture to open in prayer. Nevertheless, not many of us were prepared for the sight and sound over television of our President in his inaugural ceremony publicly leading the nation in prayer, giving thanks to Almighty God and asking for His direction personally. Only eternity will reveal the extent to which this act on the part of our President would have upon the lives of countless millions of American citizens and particularly young people. Doubtless many of them were thus influenced to think more seriously of the claims of Christ. President Eisenhower's later action in joining a Presbyterian Church in Washington upon confession of faith, has also been of great encouragement to many. It was a great comfort to know that we had a Christian in the White House when on March 5th, 1953, Stalin the
dictator of Russia passed away and the world began to wonder what course Russia would follow under new and unknown and untried leadership.
The second source of great encouragement to Christians in 1953 came with the world-wide television broadcasts of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Few of us in the United States were fully prepared for the fact that the coronation was not only a political affair of State, but that it was also a religious ceremony and contained so many pointed references to the supreme King of Kings and to the fact that all of us are subject to Him. What a thrill also to see the representative of the established church of Scotland present the newly crowned Queen with a Bible, and saying as he did so, "this is the most precious thing which it lies within the power of man to give."
Early in 1953 work was started on another project which had been long overdue: the replacement of the dilapidated dormitory for girls with something more in line with what had been provided for the boys. This was a larger project, however, and not all of it could be undertaken at once. However, the rear half was torn down and replaced with Laurel Lodge which is in every way the equivalent in comfort, safety and convenience with the other fine accommodations in Mount Hermon. The renovation of the remaining portion of the girls' dormitory and of the "Guest Cottage" only awaits the accumulation of the funds necessary to replace them with modern facilities.
The summer conference season of 1953 brought new highs in many areas, but perhaps most notable of all was the Missionary Conference which was again under the direction of Dr. Robert Sutherland which had as one of its principal speakers Dr. J. Oswald Smith, Pastor of the People's Church, Toronto, Canada, and considered one of the outstanding missionary statesmen of the day. Representatives
of ten mission agencies were invited to participate in the program and by the close of the week, gifts and pledges totalling over $15,000.00 were made toward the work of these ten agencies.
During the year, several other new speakers appeared on the Mount Hermon platform including the Rev. Earnest Hastings, Pastor of the Melrose Baptist Church of Oakland; and Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, Jr., formerly in the insurance business and an amateur golf champion, but now a Professor in the Dallas Theological Seminary [and later at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School].
In the late fall of 1953, after much prayer and deliberation, the officers and directors decided to undertake another project long overdue: this was the replacement of the rather primitive sleeping accommodations at Redwood Camp. A new and attractive type of cabin of sturdy construction, was designed. Churches and Christian groups in the Bay area were approached with the suggestion that they might like to contribute the cost of erecting one of those cabins. In several instances the church group bought the necessary lumber and building materials and volunteered the labor to construct the cabin. As a result, the program moved forward rather quickly with many of the older accommodations being replaced with attractive new cabins during this period, thus adding to the comfort and the safety of those who in increasing numbers were using the Redwood Camp facilities.
During the fall of 1953, Mount Hermon was approached by the Evangelical Free Church of the United States with the request that they be permitted to hold their national assembly in Mount Hermon during the summer of 1954. Fortunately by this time a sufficient number of hotel units, lodges and dormitories had been rebuilt both at the Center and at Redwood Camp, to permit Mount Hermon to house such a large group. How to feed them, however, was another matter
since they were anxious to seat at least five hundred at a time. After deliberation, the officers and directors felt that this was the leading of the Lord and that it would provide the impetus toward accomplishing a long cherished desire, namely the enlargement of our dining room facilities. A number of the Evangelical Free Churches of California were visited by Dr. Lytle, the Executive Director, and were challenged to help out with gifts toward the improvement program which this national conference initiated. Funds from the "Greater Mount Hermon" campaign, supplemented by these gifts from the Evangelical Free brethren, made it possible to rebuild and substantially enlarge the conference porch which extends over a portion of Ferndell Creek. It had been hoped that this area could also be enclosed as a guard against the chill of the early mornings and the yellow jackets of the fall afternoons, but this proved to be too much of a burden to undertake at one time.
At this time, another welcome gift came to Mount Hermon in the form of the LL EN ROC Cottage. This was the cottage just in back of the main auditorium which had been built by Mr. Charles E. Cornell who had been secretary of the Association from 1924 until 1934. At the suggestions of the donors and with the ready assent of the officers and directors, this cottage was modernized and set aside for the free use of ministers coming from a distance, who wished to spend some time in the spiritual atmosphere of Mount Hermon.
For many years it has been assumed that the coast redwood, Sequoia Sempervirens, and its cousin, the Sierra Redwood, Sequoia Gigantea, were the only redwoods in the world. In the early 1950's, however, Californians were startled to learn that a scientist exploring in the distant reaches of China had discovered another redwood which evidently survived in that remote area for many thousands of years. This was promptly called the "Dawn Redwood."
This discovery naturally aroused a great deal of interest among the members of the Mount Hermon family and accordingly arrangements were made through the proper scientific societies to obtain a tiny seedling of the Dawn Redwood and in April 1954 this was planted down by the edge of Redwood Camp near the spot where Mount Hermon was originally established. If the Lord should delay His return for another fifty years, we wonder to what height this little tiny seedling will have grown and to what scenes of spiritual enlightenment it will be a silent witness.
The summer conference season of 1954 continued on the same high spiritual plane which is characteristic. The program included several outstanding men who had not hitherto appeared on the Mount Hermon platform. These included Rev. Harold Erickson, D.D., Evangelical Free Church, Rockford, Illinois; Rev. Arnold Olson, D.D., President of the Evangelical Free Church of America, both of whom appeared in connection with the nation-wide meeting of the Evangelical Free Church held at Mount Hermon. So far as our record or memory goes, this was the first time any large denomination has held its national conference on the Mount Hermon grounds. The facilities were taxed to the utmost, but every member of the large Mount Hermon family and staff did his part effectively and well, and a large throng of delegates were unanimous in their praise of Mount Hermon.
At the end of the summer season, Rev. Fulton Lytle, D.D., the Executive Director, announced his decision to leave Mount Hermon in response to a call to become pastor of the South Tacoma United Presbyterian Church of Tacoma, Washington. He left at Mount Hermon a host of friends and admirers who covet the Lord's continued blessings on him in this new work to which he was called.
Confronted with the need to replace Dr. Lytle, the officers and directors of Mount Hermon decided to change
slightly the form of administrative organization, and return to a plan in which there was a definite division of responsibility as between the spiritual and the physical aspects of Mount Hermon. James Kennedy, who had served efficiently for a number of years as Superintendent of Grounds, was made Acting Business Manager. Rev. Arthur F. Sueltz, Assistant Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Concord was made Spiritual Work Director. Mr. Sueltz first came to Mount Hermon in 1937 and served as a member on the staff for five years during part of his high school and college training. He married Mildred Hovaland, a former staff member of Mount Hermon, and thus was very closely identified with Mount Hermon and has an understanding of its many spiritual challenges and opportunities.
In the late fall of 1954 several members of the Mount Hermon board and family were active on the Committee which brought to San Francisco Dr. Billy Graham, the young man who God had raised up in the last few years to refute the statement that "mass evangelism was dead." Dr. Graham spoke on November 27, 1954, to a capacity crowd in the Exposition Auditorium of San Francisco and there were literally thousands outside vainly trying to get in. As a result of that meeting, hundreds pressed forward to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. [Billy Graham would come back to San Francisco and hold crusade meetings at the Cow Palace in 1958. He spoke in the Mount Hermon auditorium and also went by jeep with director Bill Gwinn up to the top of Pine Plateau. Here, Billy prayed that this area would soon belong to Mount Hermon. His prayer was soon answered when Mount Hermon was given the land by the Kaiser Sand and Gravel Company. This paved the way for the new high school camp, Ponderosa Lodge, to be built which opened in 1969.]
As the calendar rolled around to 1955, many members of the large Mount Hermon family took cognizance of the fact that this was Mount Hermon's fiftieth year. Under the leadership of President Frank Chamberlain and with the able assistance of Arnold Grunigen, Jr. as Vice-President, the other Officers, Directors, Trustees, Committee Members and Staff, everyone sought earnestly the face of the Lord, that He might be pleased to make the fiftieth year the best ever. There was justifiably some looking back along the path, beset with many trials and difficulties, and there was much
thanksgiving for the way in which our Lord had brought us through literally fire, earthquake, flood, and economic stress. There was much to be thankful for. There was still much to be done.
Countless hours were spent, as had been the case year by year, in planning the conference programs, providing for the housing, the feeding, the safety, comfort and recreation of the thousands who would come to the grounds, provide for the maintenance of the roads, trails, buildings and try to make some forward steps in the long range program of building a Greater Mount Hermon for the sake of those who would follow after. The Christian public seldom sees or knows anything about the sacrificial giving in countless hours of time, energy and thought on the part of those who undertake the task of running an organization like Mount Hermon. These faithful men and women do it, not to be praised by their fellows, but as a service to Him who is all and in all.
The conference program for the calendar year 1955 gives some idea of the amount of detail involved, and is also a graphic demonstration of the great extent to which the ministry of Mount Hermon has grown. But a mere listing of conferences, as great as that may be, can never give any adequate idea of the type of ministry which keeps going on all through the year. An inkling may be had by a listing of some of the speakers who appeared on the Mount Hermon platform for the first time during 1955. Such a list would include Rev. Thomas W. Manson, D.D; Dr. Clyde Narramore, Ph.D., Educator and Psychologist from Los Angeles. In addition there were many outstanding men who had appeared at Mount Hermon before, some of them repeatedly, such as Rev. Charles Fuller, D.D., of the Old Fashioned Revival Hour; Rev. J. Vernon McGee of Through the Bible Radio;
Rev. Jack Mitchell, D.D., Pastor, Central Bible Church, Portland, Oregon; Rev. Louis Talbot, D.D., Chancellor, Bible Institute of Los Angeles; Rev. J. Edwin Orr, Th.D., Ph.D., world renowned author and conference speaker; and a great many others including our own Dr. Francis W. Russell and Dr. Robert Boyd Munger.
Toward the close of the summer season an event was held which will live long in the memories of the hundreds of the Mount Hermon friends who were privileged to attend and take a part. The Officers and Directors opened the Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration at a dinner held in the First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley on September 20, 1955, just one day before the 90th birthday of beloved Dr. Francis Russell, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The dinner would have been made to coincide with his actual birthday, except that to have done so would have conflicted with the traditional Wednesday evening mid-week service of the host church and most other churches as well. While Mount Hermon was not officially incorporated until December 26, 1905, there had been a memorable prayer meeting in the old Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, some time in the month of September, 1905, at which the Lord brought to the participants the conviction that they should go ahead with the project upon which they had deliberated so long. Hence in a sense, Mount Hermon was born in September, 1905, and thus the double anniversary and birthday celebration was appropriate.
Over 300 were present to join in expressions of thanksgiving for what God had wrought at and through Mount Hermon in the fifty years, and in tribute to Dr. Russell and the way the Lord had used him both before and during his long association with Mount Hermon, extending back for two-thirds of its existence. As has been said before, and without detracting in any way from the work done by the founders and the early pioneers, it should be said again that
under God, no one has had a greater influence on the character, the ministry and the growth of Mount Hermon than has Dr. Russell. As we said on the occasion of the dinner, "Under the leadership of Dr. Russell, Mount Hermon has become of age. He first saw the potential spiritual values of these 400 God-given acres and asked the permission of the board to go forth in Bible Conferences in many of the leading churches of the west. These experiences took him the entire length of the Pacific Coast, from San Diego to Seattle, into the Rocky Mountain region and as far east as Chicago. Through this important ministry Mount Hermon came to be known as the Christian Conference Center of the West. Furthermore it enabled the bringing of the greatest teachers and preachers to this haven of spiritual life. We thank God for this man of God, who through the years, has been divinely guided in his leadership of righteousness and power through Mount Hermon."
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3
Mount Hermon really has two futures. The one, which is common to man, is the ongoing influence for good in what has been done in the past. This is of incalculable value, for we will never know this side of heaven's glory, all that Mount Hermon has done in influencing lives for the King of Kings, and what such lives will yet accomplish for Him. They will be used to lead countless others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and to lead lives of consecrated service. They in turn will be used to lead still others to the Throne, and so on down the corridors of time, until our Lord shall be pleased to return for His own and then with His own to reign in Glory. And so even if Mount Hermon were to go out of existence at this moment, a great deal of its work would continue.
But we have a responsibility to go on with the assumption that God is leading us to continue, yes, to expand the program and the outreach, and toward that end, the facilities of Mount Hermon. God has placed Mount Hermon strategically in a part of the world which has grown remarkable in the past fifty years. It seems destined to continue
to grow in population, and in industrial, commercial and perhaps even agricultural importance, to a degree exceeded by very few. The population of Northern and Central California and particularly that of the area around the southern end of the San Francisco Bay is almost certain to expand tremendously during the next fifty years, should the Lord be pleased to delay His coming. Estimates by those who are supposedly qualified, indicate that before long, another million people will be living within the area served by Mount Hermon. With the constant improvement of highways, automobiles and other means of transportation, Mount Hermon's circle of potential influence grows larger and larger. Truly the possibilities for service stagger the imagination.
The next five decades should thus see the influence of Mount Hermon reaching out into an ever widening circle, in which the number to be reached grows. And not only so, but if we can read the signs of the times aright, the next five decades may well see a continuance of the regrettable drift of individual churches away from the solid rock foundations of the Gospel, on which Mount Hermon stands, and on which may she ever stand. If this be true, then Mount Hermon will remain one of the few faithful voices in a group which may not grow in number as rapidly as does the population, therefore the responsibility, the opportunity will be all the greater.
With control of Mount Hermon vested in a group of Voting Trustees who are unalterably committed to the statement of Doctrine which epitomizes the whole truth, it is certain that the officers and directors will be selected, as in the past, from men who are likewise committed to these same principles. We trust that these men and their successors down through the remaining years until the rapture will build soundly and adequately
upon the base already laid by the men who have built Mount Hermon up to now.
But such a task will require the mind, the heart, the hand, the purse of many more than the relatively small number who will perforce, make up the official boards. This is a task in which God surely has a part for every one who counts himself a part of the great Mount Hermon family, for every one whose life has been enriched by the ministry, for every one in this great West who realizes the necessity of maintaining a clear cut testimony for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and the importance of maintaining a program for challenging Christian young people with the call to an all-out consecration to Him, whether that leads them into secular or professional life, or into a life of vocational Christian service.
At the time of this writing, Mount Hermon has grown from a sprouting seed to a mighty Redwood. Starting from the humble beginning and the few facilities in 1906 on its 400 acres, Mount Hermon now owns and operates 83 buildings of various sorts. The number, and their size are increasing as rapidly as finances permit. In addition, there are now 400 private cottages throughout the grounds with new ones going up every year. Most of these are used principally during the summer months, but more and more they find use during the winter week-ends, now that bottle gas is available in most of them. In addition, some eighty families now live at Mount Hermon all the year round so that it has become quite a colony of Christians who are living together in a place that is so generously endowed by nature, and in which the memories of fifty years of wonderful fellowship with the Lord are permeated with an atmosphere of true worship.
So God has been graciously pleased to take an idea, and a place, and a long succession of consecrated men and women and over fifty years to make of them, more than an idea, more than a place, and more than a group of men and women, but has made of them an atmosphere, an influence, a driving force which we trust will go on in every expanding measure until He returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Photo of the 1953 Mount Hermon Staff
Known persons (from left) First Row ... 2nd: Mrs. Jepson; 3rd: Fulton Lytle; 4th: Jim Kennedy
Second Row ... 3rd: John Schmaelzle; 5th: Jerry Hitchman
Third Row ... Bill & Colette Gwinn
Click here for some early photos at Mount Hermon when the Redwood Camp area was the main conference center
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