In 1933, near Thomas Town, Mississippi, a small group of ministers and there wives met
(Bro. & Sis. J.W. Johnson – Bro. & sis. Henry A. Riley – Bro. & Sis. Ernest E. Partridge – Bro. & Sis. L.W. Onstead) for the purpose of discussing the need of forming a Fellowship that would include all the Brethren and Churches who believed the “Bread of Life” message, not excluding any other Brethren or churches which did not understand the message, as long as they desired fellowship with this group of Brethren.
With much discussion, it was agreed that this would not be another Organization, but an Association. The name they adopted was “Associated Ministers of Jesus Christ.” Rev. E.E. Partridge was elected as Chairman – Rev. J.W. Johnson was elected Vice-Chairman, and Rev. Henry A. Riley was elected Secretary/Treasurer. It was also agreed that there would be an Annual conference subject to date, time, and place called by the Officials.
This Association was born, not only of desire, but of necessity. the desire arose from the fact that many were being denied fellowship & credentials in other Organizations, because of the “Bread of Life” message. This made it necessary to form some Legal Body, authorized to issue Credentials, and any other legal protection that such body could afford.
After several years of operation as an “unincorporated” Ministerial Association, in early part of W.W.II, situations arose where Ministers requested military exemptions for the purpose of continuing there duties as ministers of the Gospel. In order to comply with Federal & state regulations, we were compelled to Incorporate in order to be recognized as an “Official Body.”
At the July 1941 General Conference, held at Faith Tabernacle – 408 Magnolia St – N. Little Rock Arkansas – Chairman E.E. Partridge informed the delegates that it had become necessary to change the name of the Association and Incorporate as a religious body in order to include the Ministers, as well as the Laity. Several names were submitted, and the name adopted as the official body was The Associated Brotherhood of Christians, which was submitted by Rev. L.W. Onstead.
The aim & purpose of this Association is to try to effect a Brotherhood among Christians everywhere – That We May Be One – as Jesus Prayed in Jn. 17:20-21. To promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to point the lost to the way of salvation, to urge all believers to seek a Spirit-filled life, to establish new Churches, to Ordain Ministers, to promote Christian fellowship while endeavoring to keep the unity of The Spirit in the bonds of peace.
At the 1960 General Conference, held in Wilmington California at Faith Tabernacle, the elders decided to purchase property for the purpose of building a Campground for the youth. Rev. George Riley , Rev. Ollie Bates, and Rev. Marvin Thomas Sr. were appointed as the Purchasing Committee for this project. In 1961, they discovered a 64 acre site in Hot Springs Arkansas for the Campground, located at 1206 Mill Creek Road.
in 1964, the Tabernacle was completed and the dormitories were built shortly thereafter. Numerous people were instrumental in this undertaking, including, but not limited to: Rev. George Riley and the Cherry St. Church – Rev. Marvin Thomas Sr. and the Jesus Name Church in Jacksonville Arkansas – Rev. Fred Frazier and Rev. James Lowery from Mississippi – and many, many, more.
Our first youth Camp was conducted at Camp Mulberry in 1964. Because the dormitories were not yet completed, the youth bedded down in the Tabernacle; the boys on one side, and the girls on the other.
In 2002-2003; under the leadership & supervision of the Chairman Richard Burgett, a new 40 x 60 structure was erected, complete with a spacious front room, four individual apartment rooms, bathroom facilities, and showers. This Multi- purpose Building, located adjacent to the Kitchen/Dinning room, is utilized during youth Camp and Conference. Also, in june 2002, we were finally connected to city Water, thus replacing the antiquated wells as our water source.