Most people know about "Brother Earl" from the endless stories of the kindness and generosity of his ministries through Hissom Holiness Tabernacle and Hissom Interdenominational Mission. To this day we hear anecdotes from the descendants of those who remember his mission, his church, or his radio ministry. Even more tell us of the family members he married, or for whom he performed funerals.
What many may not know is what he did before 1934 when the Tabernacle was established. Before 1934, Earl G Hissom, Sr had established several Methodist Churches in the Kanawha Valley and served as a Circuit Rider with them, his circuit covering the Northwest portion of Kanawha County, and into Jackson, and Clay Counties. Then, between 1928 – 1934, his prolific tent revivals helped establish 13 Nazarene Churches in the Kanawha Valley. These are just some of their stories:
Story of the Dunbar Church of the Nazarene: The Dunbar Church of the Nazarene started in the time of the Great Depression. That early group had not one foot of ground or one stick of property. They pioneered the work in Dunbar with a spirit of sacrifice and determination.
In the winter of 1929, a desire for a holiness church in Dunbar, West Virginia was about to become a reality. Rev Earl G Hissom began revival services in the old Morton Theater Building on 15th Street. A small group of ten persons organized a Sunday School upon conclusion of the revival, and Sunday afternoon services were held until the spring of 1930.
The Dunbar Church was officially organized by the Kentucky/West Virginia District in May 1930, with Mrs Jonathon Carney, Mrs Florence Walling, Mr and Mrs Charles Steele, and Mrs Joseph D Carney, Charles Meeks, Mrs Laura Cargo, Evelyn Cargo, W. S. Robinson, Miss Goergia Carney and Miss Lima Carney as charter members.
This group worshipped in a tent for a short time before moving to the city building until September 1930. Lots were then purchased on the corner of Lightner Ave and a frame building was erected in which to worship.
Rev Earl Hissom and Luther Cobb served as pastors in 1930 and 1931.
History of the Belle Church of the Nazarene
The Belle Church of the Nazarene is a Bible-believing church that reaches out to our community and world through worship, evangelism, education and fellowship.
In August 1932, Rev Earl G Hissom Sr and Rev S.M. Pittman erected a tent and began a revival in the Belle area. Dr H.G. Wells, superintendent of the then Kentucky/West Virginia District officially organized the church with the following charter members: Mr and Mrs L.B. McAllen, Audrey McAllen, Vona Diedrich, Kate Jarrett, Maude Johnson, Ida Lawson, Mr and Mrs Goege Laury, Mr and Mrs Frank Beasley, Edward Weiher and Mary Cline.
Presently the church has 263 members and 409 enrolled in Sunday School. Average attendance is 159.
Southeast Church of the Nazarene History
Southeast Church of the Nazarene was organized July 22, 1928, in Charleston, WV, with eighteen (18) charter members. The majority of those charter members had previously attended Morris Memorial Methodist Church in Charleston. Our first place of worship in our new church, was a tent service directed by Rev Earl G Hissom, Sr. The tent was located on the corner of 55th Street and MacCorkle Avenue. The name of the new church was Kanawha City Church of the Nazarene. Evangelists CC Burton, Elwood Taylor and Margaret Jackson assisted Rev Hissom in organizing this historic service.
Rev Earl G Hissom was the first pastor and served until 1931. Our first permanent building was erected under his ministry.
A big brown tent was where we first began,
Where people met who shared on lofty dream,
They loved the Lord and sought His holy will
And "prayer and love" made them a powerful team.
Brother Hissom, Earl, that is, Was God's man for that day.
He preached the power of God to all, and led them to the Lord that way.
And God poured out His blessings
And the people rejoiced in His love,
And members were added and the church grew and prospered as power fell from above.
Our first little white church on the corner,
we all called "the little white church",
Brought pride to our hearts for we knew that this start,
Showed God was pleased with our work.
It is very fitting that in 2008, on the Centennial of the Nazarene Church, the Hissom Mission has come full circle to rejoin the roots of its inception. We are pleased to once again be a part of the Nazarene Family.