Friday, February 10, 2012

Pacific Garden Mission

The “Old Lighthouse” began in 1877 and has been a refuge for millions who have been weary of struggling through life's storms. The Pacific Garden Mission has provided them with shelter, food, clothing, medical and dental care but above all the compassion and love of Jesus Christ.

The Pacific Garden Mission is the oldest, continuously-operating, rescue mission in the United States. The historical record of the “Old Lighthouse” is linked to illustrious men and women of faith such as Billy Sunday, Mel Trotter, D.L.Moody, Tom Mackey, Roberty Atchison, John R. Rice, Eugenia Price, and William McCarrell.

“It is our desire to remain faithful to God's Word and obedient to His will as were those who have gone before.”

The purpose for which Pacific Garden Mission was established is to win the lost for Christ, edify Christians, provide for the spiritual and physical needs of those persons to whom they minister. These objectives are to be accomplished through one or more of the Gospel missions as the fundamental basis for all of their activities.

For over 125 years, Pacific Garden Mission has been meeting the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of homeless men, women and children.

“Our heart’s desire is that everyone who enters the doors of Pacific Garden Mission will choose to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Through the power of god’s word and the leading of the Holy Spirit, many come to Christ each year at the Old Lighthouse. We strive to help new believers grow into mature Christians and prepare them to lead productive lives, with the love of Christ as their solid foundation.”

President David D. McCarrell of Pacific Garden Mission declared:

“What a glorious testimony to the sustaining Grace of our Lord, enabling us to minister in word and deed through these many years.”

There are those persons seek answers to the struggles of life. Life through faith in Jesus Christ is the answer that is offered to them at the “Old Lighthouse.”

Sarah Dunn prepared an elaborate decoration for her family in Waterloo, Iowa. As she paused to admire her work it seemed as if she heard the audible voice of God asking:

 “What are you doing to decorate your heavenly home?” 

Her mind was flooded with the thoughts of souls perishing as they step into eternity without Jesus Christ. The seed which would germinate and grow to become the Pacific Garden Mission was planted in her heart in the early 1860s.

Eventually, Sarah moved to Chicago and by the guidance of God she opened a mission Sunday School at State and 23rd Streets. While serving God in Chicago, she met and eventually married Colonel George Clarke in 1873.

Colonel Clarke had dealt in real estate until God planted the same seeds in his heart as He planted in his wife. He sought to create a rescue mission in which he could minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A tiny storefront ministry was opened at 386 South Clark Street on September 15, 1877. The refuge was on the front lines of the battlefield in the devil's territory. The Chicago chill was kept away by a potbellied stove while flickering light from kerosene lamps illumined a room which could seat approximately 40 people. The walls of the hall were decorated with heartwarming verses from the Bible which eloquently spoke of God's love.

Larger quarters were found at 67 East Van Buren Street by Colonel Clarke in 1880. After Colonel Clark found a larger building it became known as “Col. Clarkes's Mission.” The building was vacated by the notorious Pacific Beer Garden. It was D. L. Moody who suggested that the Clarkes drop the word Beer and add the word Mission. Hence the the refuge for lost and broken souls would become known as the Pacific Garden Mission.

A professional baseball player on a team named the Chicago White Stockings came to the mission in 1886. Billy Sunday first heard the message of the Gospel from the mission Gospel Wagon situated at the corner of State and Van Buren. That same evening Billy visited the mission and liked the message which he heard. Eventually Billy would publicly accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior one evening. Billy Sunday had a thirst to know Jesus Christ personally; so he eagerly studied the Bible. He often gave his testimony at the “Old Lighthouse.”

It was at the Pacific Garden Mission where Billy Sunday learned his first lessons concerning how to give an invitation and talking man to man with a fellow sinner. Billy became proficient at carefully and clearly explaining the steps to salvation. Turning down lucrative offers to continue to play baseball; Billy Sunday chose to play on God's team and became a world renowned evangelist.

Harry Monroe had been a convert to Christ at the mission. When Colonel Clarke died in 1892; Harry took the helm of the mission. Sarah Clarke, Colonel Clarke's widow continued as the mother to the mission. Harry Monroe was released in Detroit for a counterfeiting charge. When he came to Chicago, he wandered into the Pacific Garden Mission and Colonel Clarke approached him at the conclusion of a service. Monroe responded to Clarke's invitation and bowed his head and heart in humility to Jesus Christ asking him to become his Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ transformed the life of Harry Monroe. Harry was given the responsibility to help bring the mission hall alive through singing glad Gospel music at song services.

Harry Monroe became a master at winning souls for Christ. He was as Nathaniel of the Bible introducing individuals to the Lamb of God. He was one who called out to people attending the missions Gospel meetings to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. It was Harry who introduced the idea of the Gospel Wagon when Colonel Clarke was at the helm of the “Old Lighthouse”.

Mission workers would preach and give their testimonies from a horse-drawn wagon. Then they would sing Gospel songs to the people on the streets. Mel Trotter came to the mission while Harry Monroe was leading as superintendent.

Mel had given up hope of change and planned to take his life. The helpless drunk was on his way to take his life by plunging into the cold darkness of Lake Michigan. A doorman gave Mel a cheerful friendly invitation to step into Pacific Garden Mission to hear a gospel message. Listening to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the “Good News” which began a transformation in his life. Mel Trotter received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and began a new life. Harry Monroe's own testimony touched Mel's heart; the man who sought to take his own life cried out to Jesus for forgiveness. Mel Trotter's life was changed dramatically and he lost the thirst for alcohol receiving complete victory through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Walter Taylor and his wife Ethelwyn were a precious couple who became known as “Ma and Pa” at the mission in 1918. They served their Lord Jesus Christ faithfully at the Pacific Garden Mission during the roaring twenties.

Ma Taylor wrote the song “Calvary Covers it All” during the years of their leadership. A man's life was as black as midnight before he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. The song which Ma Taylor composed was based on his testimony. The powerful song was included in several hymnals and sung throughout the world.

Far dearer than all that the world can impart
Was the message that came to my heart
How that Jesus alone for sin did atone
And Calvary covers it all. 
Calvary covers it all
My past with its sin and stain;
My gilt and despair Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all. 
The stripes that He bore and the thorns that He wore
Told His mercy and love evermore.
And my heart bowed in shame as I called on His name,
And Calvary covers it all. 
How matchless the grace, when I looked in the face
Of this Jesus, my crucified Lord
My redemption complete I then found at His feet
And Calvary covers it all. 
How blessed the thought, that my soul by Him bought,
Shall be His in the glory on high
Where with gladness and song I'll be one of the throng,
And Calvary covers it all. 

Pa Taylor's 'foghorn' voice stopped many a derelict dead in his tracks. As they tended the mission, Pa Taylor would turn drunks and derelicts through the Mission's doorway to heaven. Pa Taylor, also known affectionately as “Pop” and “Dad” preached the Gospel giving me the directions to find forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ. Ma would earnestly pray for outcasts of society who filled the auditorium frequently. She would play the piano as the invitation to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior was given.

Pacific Garden Mission was moved to 646 South State Street on January 30, 1923. God through his providence brought the mission to a new location to minister to the shifting of the hobo jungle.

The area of Chicago south of the loop was known as “Murderer's Row.” Several people had been killed their in recent years.

Cheap hotels along “Murderer's Row” would provide rooms for some 5,000 men to flop in for a night. The wares of Satan were peddled in the most brazen manner in which one can imagine. Pacific Garden Mission was located in the center of Satan's stronghold. The mission was located in a three-story building which formerly had the notorious name “White House.” It was a den of sex and drink where men could have overnight accommodations and food.

When Pa Taylor retired their service ended in 1936. T. Donald Gately who had been a convert at the Mission took the helm of the “Old Lighthouse” and served as head of the mission for the next four years.

Harry Saulnier had been an employee of Commonwealth Edison and became the new keeper of the Old Lighthouse in 1940. The light of the mission began to shine throughout the dark places of the city as never before. The influence of Pacific Garden Mission began to reach throughout the world.

Buildings next to the mission were purchased and renovated while the ministry to homeless men was expanded. Under the leadership of Harry Saulnier, new ministries were launched which included a Servicemen’s Center, a Women and Children's ministry, a Medical and Dental clinic were welcome additions. Saulnier was responsible for turning up the wattage of the Old Lighthouse with the world-wide radio drama, “UNSHACKLED!”

Pacific Garden Mission began to grow under the leadership of David Saulnier. Under his leadership, the use of computers was introduced to aid in the operation of the mission. Furthermore, e-mail communication was introduced and expanded. Accounting was automated and literature upgraded. With increased donations of food; the pantry inventory became larger.

The Bible Academy Program was developed under David Saulnier's leadership. Other new ministries were launched including the Old Lighthouse Redemption Choir as well as Hospital Ministries.
David Saulnier retired from the ministry at Pacific Garden Mission in March of 1997. When he retired in 1997 almost six decades of faithful leadership held by the father and son team came to an end.

Radio outlets throughout the world which aired the radio drama “UNSHACKLED” increased to over 1,100 during the era in which David Saulnier was at the helm. Pacific Garden Mission received the Radio Producer of the Year Award from the National Religious Broadcasters in 1996.

The world-wide radio drama, “UNSHACKLED!” has expanded to 1,800 stations which broadcast in English, Spanish, Arabic, Romanian, Russian, and Polish.

“UNSHACKLED!” uses only professional actors who are members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). Pacific Garden Mission has chosen to use professional actors in order to provide the highest quality production possible. Actors portray a wide ranger of dialects, accents, and ages. So it is especially important to employ professional actors in order to present each story accurately.

Pacific Garden Mission has a Radio Station Log in which one can determine whether there is a radio stating airing “UNSHACKLED!” in a listener's area. Pacific Garden Mission encourages listener's to pray for God's direction as to which stations to approach. Persons who desire to hear “UNSHACKLED!” on local stations are encouraged to write letters to station managers explaining why one believes a station should consider broadcasting “UNSHACKLED!” in their schedule.

Please patiently await their response prayerfully. If a station is interested, Pacific Garden Mission requests that one send the station call letter, address, and name of a station manager. Pacific Garden Mission will send a packet of materials including a demo tape or CD.

A number of stations have added “UNSHACKLED!” to their broadcasting schedule through requests of members of the listening audience. Station managers are concerned about the interests of their listening audience.

“Above all else, pray and trust God. He will make possible the broadcast of the program in just the places He wants it. May He be glorified as many come to Christ through "UNSHACKLED!"

“Free Indeed” is a two-minute radio testimony which debuted in 2000 and is currently heard on more than 250 stations.

David McCarrell is at the helm of the "Old Lighthouse" and currently serves and the president of Pacific Garden Mission. McCarrell has been familiar with Pacific Garden Mission for several years. He was influenced through his father William McCarrell. The pastor of Cicero Bible Church of Cicero, Illinois was William McCarrell. Pastor McCarrell was involved with Pacific Garden Mission for over fifty years.

David McCarrell served as chairman for nine of the eighteen years in which he was on the board of Pacific Garden Mission. He assumed leadership of Pacific Garden Mission on an interim basis early in 1997. Eventually he was named a President of the Old Lighthouse in the same year. A career development program and a Polish ministry were added under his direction to menu of ministries of the Pacific Garden Mission.

David McCarrell instituted the “Bread of Life” ministry in 2001; donated bakery goods and gospels were distributed to people in the projects of the inner city. Under his leadership and direction renovations in the Medical/Dental clinic and at Gospel League Home have taken place.

Pacific Garden Mission is funded through the financial gifts of individuals, churches, organizations and legacies. It doesn't receive any funding through state, local or federal government.

The length of time in which a homeless person may stay at Pacific Garden Mission varies according to the each individual's personal situation and need.

"It is our desire to bring each one to salvation and maturity in Christ, therefore we work with each person with that long term goal in mind."

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