History of Amy Chapel
The history of Amy Chapel spans three centuries, from the 1880s to the present day. The Dunn County History (1984) indicates Daniel Fuller and his wife gave a parcel of land in 1881 for the building of a Baptist Church (½ mile east of current County Highway H on County Highway E). Church services were held when a preacher was available, with Congregational, Methodist, Salvation Army, and Baptists all holding services.
With the nearest town (Elk Mound) being a number of miles away, it was decided to open a post office in the community. The governor granted permission, and a post office was housed in the general store. Our records say it was at the current intersection of County Highway E and 970th Street, but the map from the Dunn County plat book of 1888 indicates it was a ½ mile north of that intersection. Regardless of the exact location, the post office needed to have a name. It was decided to call it "Amy" in recognition of a noted temperance worker, Amy Kellogg Morse. Records show that the post office served the community from 1886 to 1901. With that, the Amy community was named.
In January of 1887, the Dunn County News recorded this: "Wm. F. Davis, the evangelist who was imprisoned for preaching the gospel on the Boston Commons in the summer of 1885 has held meetings in the Baptist Church in Amy several evenings this week. It is expected he will spend some time soon laboring in other parts of Dunn County under the direction of the Dunn County WCTU. He is a man of rare talent and education and much spiritual good is expected from his work among us."
For some years, the church located on the land donated by Daniel Fuller was closed. In the 1930s, the American Sunday School Union was instrumental in opening the building and holding services again. Later, the First Baptist Church of Eau Claire, under the leadership of Dr. M.R. Siemens, remodeled the church and began holding services. However, this building dating back to the 1880s was destroyed by fire just before Christmas 1944. With the help of First Baptist, land was purchased about a mile east near Elk Creek Lake, and a new building was constructed and dedicated in 1948 with the name "Amy Chapel." In 1952, it was purchased from First Baptist and has since been an independent church.
In the late 1990s, the people at Amy Chapel recognized the need for a larger building without any stairs and began praying and planning for this. God led and funds were raised. In the fall of 2008, a ground breaking ceremony was held on land that was donated by Merril and Myrna Jain. The new location is just west of the 1948 building, on the curve of the rerouted County Road E. In July 2009, the first services were held in the new building.
Several pastors have served at Amy Chapel, with the records going back to 1948.
For several years prior to 1981, the pastors serving came to us from Northwestern University on an interim basis because the congregation was unable to afford a full-time minister. It was then that the people of the church approached Village Missions for assistance in locating and supporting a pastor until the congregation was able to take over the full support. Village Missions is an organization whose goal is to develop spiritually thriving churches throughout rural North America. Currently, Amy Chapel fully supports their pastor and contributes to Village Missions to help other churches who are in need.
History of Village Missions
The story of Village Missions actually began in Ireland with a sermon preached by Thomas DeWitt Talmadge and subsequently printed. A young man read that sermon over 100 years ago, called upon God and found Jesus Christ as his Savior. Walter Duff Sr. was gloriously saved that night. When he announced this to his parents the next morning at breakfast, his father told young Walter, "Walter, all Duffs are Christians. We attend church and give heavily to support it!" Walter looked at his dad and responded, "I know, Father, but last night, God saved my soul!" Walter then proceeded to live out his life motto: "I would sacrifice my all for my Christ, to be a soul winner."
The day came when Walter fell in love with one of the secretaries in his office. They married and had five children: Helen, Evangeline, Walter Jr., Olive, and Haldane. It was 1912 when he decided to take his family to America. The custom of the day was that the father traveled to America first, and then sent for the family after all housing arrangements had been made. The ship the Duff family was to sail on was none other than the Titanic; after all, it was unsinkable and safe. However, Mrs. Duff decided she and the children could not wait that long and booked passage on another ship that would arrive earlier. They did not hear of the Titanic sinking and the loss of 1200 lives until they reached Boston.
The Duff family made their home in International Falls, Minnesota. A year later, the family boarded the train for Portland, Oregon, and a climate wet and warm like Ireland. During his growing up years, Walter Duff Jr. took part in his father's evangelistic ministry. He passed out invitations door to door, took up the offerings, and played trombone solos. Later, as a young man, he was a traveling preacher in the Pacific Northwest for 13 years.
In February 1934, Walther Duff Jr. was invited to preach in the Methodist church in Dallas, Oregon, where he met Miss Edith Dunn. They were married on June 12, 1936, and spent the following summer in Ireland because Walter Jr. said, "You'll never understand me unless you know where I came from." Three children were born to them: Priscilla Ann, Mary Margaret, and Walter David. Reverend Duff served as pastor in several churches in Oregon and even one in Nebraska while attending seminary.
In 1948, Miss Mary Clark joined Mrs. Baugh, Walter Duff Jr.'s sister, in ministry. It was the beginning of a lifelong working partnership that eventually resulted in what is today known as Stonecroft Ministries. It was through this ministry that Village Missions was born as a mission to send pastors to rural areas. It was launched at the American Bank Building, Portland, Oregon, on September 9, 1948. The Rev. Walter Duff Jr. was designated as National Director. Their continued support by prayer and close friendship has been vital to Village Missions in reaching rural America with the Gospel for Jesus Christ.
The news began to spread and Village Missions began to hear from all over the West. They received scores of letters asking for help to secure a pastor for their church. Rev. Walter Duff Sr. challenged his son to "send out 100 missionary pastors to rural North America." Rev. Duff Jr. directed the sending out of over 600 missionaries during his lifetime.
In 1968, interested Canadians asked if Village Missions would consider the spiritual needs of Canada. The very first Village Missions field was opened that same year in Willow River, British Columbia. Now these many years later, Village Missions is providing leadership from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia in many communities and villages. Our Motto: One mission - two nations!
Rev. Walter Duff Jr. officially retired in 1991. In 1993, he was ushered into the presence of God after leading Village Missions for 45 years. In honor of the one who he had served so faithfully all of his adult life, the Tempo magazine May/June 1993 issue headline comprised just two words: "Well Done." Rev. Walter Duff Jr. was a man of conviction and prayer. His supreme goal was taking the Word of God to those in rural areas who did not have access to a gospel preaching church or a compassionate shepherd to help them in the crisis needs in their lives. His conviction was expressed in his simple admonition to "preach the Word and love the people."
Village Missions continued to move forward under the leadership of Dr. Jack Canady, who became the Assistant Director of Village Missions on January 1, 1989, and National Director in March 1991. To move Village Missions from a Founder/Director to a Chief Executive Officer is no small task and it was accomplished by his grace and patience. Dr. Canady was given a sabbatical in July of 1999 and officially retired in June of 2000.
Rev. Donald Still became the Interim Acting Administrator in July 1999 and served in this position until a new Executive Director was hired in November 2000. The National Board of United States and Canada selected Rev. Brian Wechsler as the new Executive Director of Village Missions, and he began his duties in November 2000. Rev. Brian Wechsler served as Executive Director of Village Missions until his retirement in 2020. The National Board of Village Missions appointed Dr. John Adams to serve as Director beginning in 2020. Village Missions continues to be dedicated to our all-sufficient Lord who supplies all our needs.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the word of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." (I Corinthians 15:58 NASB)