FOR GOD AND COUNTRY. by Marilyn A. Hudson

In June of 1943, Joseph Goebbels gave his famous speech declaring the inevitable victory of Nazism. On the other side of the world, several groups of the IPHC were uniting to provide ministry, support, and a different type of victory to the vast numbers of men going into the war effort.

Prior to the war the denomination had adopted a pacifist stance, but as the dreadful war toll mounted after Dec. 7, 1941- and its force was felt in nearly every home in America - many attitudes changed (Synan, V. Oldtime Power, pg. 210).

The Rev. Samuel J. Todd, whose heart had been moved to do something, had already applied to the War Department for the Chaplaincy Corp (the IPHC's first chaplain was Lt. J. Vinson Ellenberg, quickly followed by Thomas E. Myers, Julius W. Green, Freeman Mashburn, and EL. Shirey, Synan, Oldtime Power, pg. 210). Then Todd was approached to head a "Service Men's Commission." He realized quickly that here was an equally great opportunity to minister to thousands of men in the American armed forces.

The Service Men's Commission requested the youth groups (called societies) join with the Home Missions Department and the Evangelism Department to develop a coordinated effort. The Commission board was comprised of: J.A. Synan, H.T. Spence, T.A. Melton, W.W. Carter, B.R. Dean, G. H. Montgomery, T.L. Aaron, J.W. Butler, Byron A. Jones, Virgil Gaither.Operating under the umbrella of the new Home Missions Department, the new commission was introduced via the pages of the P.H. Advocate: "We believe that this present world situation affords our church one of the greatest opportunities…to be a blessing to many young men in the armed forces… and we must take advantage of this opportunity…" (Advocate, June 17, 1943; pg. 7).

By November of that same year, Samuel Todd was already distributing a 4-page newsletter to service men. The November and December the pages of the Advocate were full of testimonies by men whom the new ministry had been able to connect with, and positively impact, in most perilous times.

by Marilyn Hudson, Author & Historian
Director of Library Services, Southwestern Christian University


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