…was first sown in Kentucky at Stewart, near Perryville, in 1876 by Levi Skeels

Bro. Skeels taught the simple truths contained in God' s word.

…the body did not have a church building to meet in

A frame church building was erected in 1915.

Bro. R. G. Huggins of Cleveland, Ohio preached the first sermon in the church in March 1916.


Seeds In Kentucky

Taken from the May 1980 issue of The Mustard Seed, a former publication of The Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith. The article was written by Elsie Long, wife of Vaughn Long who was the first pastor of the Perryville church.


"Whereunto shall we liken the Kingdom of God? Or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is - less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But where it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs ." (Mark 4:30-32)

         This "Mustard Seed" was first sown in Kentucky at Stewart, near Perryville, in 1876 by Levi Skeels. A minister of The Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith, Bro. Skeels and his family originally came from Columbus, Ohio.

        Bro. Skeels decided to migrate from Indiana to Tennessee and was in transit when a daughter became sick, detaining him at Stewart, KY. While he tarried there he redeemed the time by preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. Large crowds attended his ministrations. Many substantial men in the community, interested in the message of life Bro. Skeels so aptly proclaimed, induced him to abandon migration to Tennessee and settle among them.

        It was in July, 1876 that Bro. Skeels with his family started southward to Tennessee in a house he had constructed on wheels. He tinkered with clocks and mended tin ware to pay his way and support his family .

        He scattered the word of the Kingdom all the way to the Ohio River. On September 3, 1876 they crossed the Ohio River; passing into fields where the "Kingdom" was called "A new and strange doctrine."

        On September 21, 1876 they drove up to a country store (Stewart, KY) where there stood a Union Church. Having gone into the store where quite a few people were gathered, he was told that the Church was open to all denominations. Upon hearing this he announced that he would speak there that night.

        As the meetings went on night after night, crowds increased to hear the new and strange doctrine until the house would not hold the crowds. Some drew back from the light of the gospel, saying it disturbed their sleep. Others were delighted to hear the scriptures explained to them in such simple words as Numbers 14: 21, "As truly as I live all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord."

        Bro. Skeels taught the simple truths contained in God' s word. Following Jesus' example he began at Moses and all the prophets, and expounded unto them the scriptures the things concerning the Kingdom. (Luke 24: 27)

        Many came to Br. Skeels little wagon home to ask questions about the Bible. This is like unto Paul ' s experience. Many came to him, to ask questions. He expounded and testified the Kingdom of God; persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. Some believed the things which were spoken and some believed not.

        Bro. Skeels continued to scatter the "Mustard Seed", here and in neighboring counties, until his death in June 1893. His loving wife had passed away two years before. He said that the greatest tribute that could be paid to his memory would be the words, "Truly said, he died in the Lord."

        Several were obedient in baptism and he lived to see the results of the words he spoke. Some of the seed fell on good ground and brought forth fruit.

        During all these years the body did not have a church building to meet in. Services were held in the church members' homes, in schoolhouses, and sometimes in a grove in front of Bro. Skeels home.

        A frame church building was erected in 1915. The work was done mostly by the members and friends of the church. Bro. R. G. Huggins of Cleveland, Ohio preached the first sermon in the church in March 1916.

        The seed sown by Bro. Skeels was watered and made to grow. God gave the increase through the further efforts of Br. J. F. Wagoner and Bro. J. S. Hatch, both of Indiana. Bro. Wagoner baptized several; the fifth generation now living are active members.

        Other brethren who spoke the Word before we had a church home were the following: Bro. W. H. Wilson (Chicago, Illinois ), J. W. Williams (Michigantown, Indiana ), and D.C. Robinson (Salem, Ohio). Those brethren who came after the church was erected were: J. H. Anderson (evangelist from Virginia and Indiana), Eugene Miller (Cleveland, Ohio), Cantwell Drabenstott (Hartford City , Indiana ), and Vaughn Long (originally from Hartford City, Ind.). Bro. Long has been Pastor of the Church for over 40 years.

        The frame church, being over forty years old, was quite difficult to keep comfortable in cold weather. It was decided by the members to build a new building rather than to try and fix the old one so that it would be pleasant to worship in.

        In May 1963, the old church was removed and a brick building with full basement was erected. Again the church met in the homes of the members in order to worship from May 25, 1963 to October 20, 1963.

        Dedication services were held on June 14, 1964. The following ministers took part in the services: Bro. Cantwell Drabenstott (Pastor Roll, Ind. ), Bro. Walter Weingart , (Pastor Salem, Ohio), Bro . Allan Grief, (Pastor Cleveland, Ohio), with the assistance of the Perryville Pastor, Bro. Vaughn Long.

        Bro. Marvin Carpenter, Bro. James E. Davis (deceased), and Bro. Kenneth Yocum began delivering exhortations in 1966.

        So, you can see that the "Mustard Seed" was sown in Kentucky over a hundred years ago. At that time, some of it fell on good ground and brought forth good fruit . But, as always, some fell among thorns and stony ground. "Such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness or riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. " (Mark 4 :18-19).

        The seed of the gospel has been sown through the efforts of brethren such as Bro. Skeels. They have left to us the true faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Our duty is to hear the exhortation of Paul: "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. " (Heb. 10: 23)

Bro. Levi Skeels was my grandfather.

Elsie Long

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