Captain Nolan E. Allen, U.S. Army, returned to civilian life in March 1946. He purchased a restaurant from his father-in-law, W. O. Wheeler, known as Wheeler’s Family Restaurant, 6801 East 38th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.
He, along with his wife Maxine and children Bonnie and Nolan W, joined West 31st Street Baptist Church and became active in its ministry. As a part of his ministry, he placed a gospel tract, “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation” by Ford Porter, and gospel records on the Nickelodeon in the restaurant.
Arthur J. Koehler, a florist, and nurseryman lived in the neighborhood and was a frequent customer during the day and an antagonist in the evening, especially after a night of drinking. During his daily visits over coffee, there were many discussions on spiritual subjects. One day, sometime later, he came into the restaurant and proudly stated he had found Christ as his Savior and went forward in a small church on East 38th Street. Afterward, daily coffee visits were always centered on discussions of the Scriptures, as he was eager to learn. On one occasion he said, “Al, there is a great need for a mission down on the levee!” We soon learned the levee was an area which included South Illinois Street and Union Station where many homeless men congregated. After a great deal of prayer and heart-searching, the Lord led us to an empty storeroom at 223 South Illinois Street. We found it was available and the rent would be $75.00 monthly and city steam was available for heat.
Word soon spread that a mission was opening at that location and many volunteers and supplies soon arrived on the scene. Mr. Koehler’s mother, who had been praying for her son for many years, donated a large neon lighted “Jesus Saves” cross for the outside of the building; Mr. Reynolds, the owner of a chair factory in Cambridge City, Indiana, provided 75 new chairs at a special price. Two ex-convict cousins, Bill and Don Price, built a platform and pulpit, painted the walls, built a small wooden cross for the front window, and installed partitions. A piano arrived on the scene and the Mission opened in 1949 and incorporated in 1950.
Meetings were held every evening and volunteers, many from Berean Gospel Church gave out tracts on the street and invited people to the services. At times during the service, the Nickelodeon in the tavern next door would blare forth tunes of that era.
B. R. Lakin, Pastor of Cadle Tabernacle, and Leonard Hunt, Superintendent of Wheeler Mission, were the speakers at the dedication and Ford Porter gave the dedicatory message entitled “Diamonds in the Rough.” Many were present and the 75 chairs were soon filled. Mr. Ray Mattison, a member of Ford Porter’s church, became the first Superintendent. He was a glazier by trade and a part of his testimony was that he was “shot down by a railroad detective in Alton Illinois, wanted in five states, and a deserter from the army, I praise God I found Christ as my Savior.”
There were no facilities for sleeping or feeding the men at this time but meal tickets were given for redemption at Blackers Chili Parlor, just across the street, for those attending the service.
Special speakers appeared on the program each evening and one from the Pocket Testament League for one week. Word soon spread among the homeless that a new mission was open and they appeared at the services and many soon became known for their testimonies. Souls were saved and many men rescued and rehabilitated.
Mrs. Mary Wilshere, wife of Seward, who was one of the first directors and teacher and athletic director at Park School, now Park Tudor, suggested the name “Good News” for the mission. Mr. John Carter, a layman at Berean, was also an original director and a very active worker at the Mission, appearing almost nightly passing out tracts and witnessing to the men. Mrs. Maxine Allen, the wife of co-founder Nolan E., played the piano on many occasions along with her husband who played his trombone and led the singing. Mrs. Mattison, the wife of the Superintendent, was a featured soloist on many occasions. She had a beautiful singing voice.
Mr. Charles LaFara became the second superintendent and the services continued under his able direction. The board operated by faith for support and the Lord supplied all the needs. As our Pastor Bob McCarthy (31st Street Baptist) always said: “God’s work always has God’s supply of every need!” Funds were never solicited but were always there when needed.
Many evenings there were women off the street attending the meetings and a weekly service was held at the county jail on Sunday morning.
The original directors for the Good News Mission were as follows:
Respectfully submitted on December 4, 1992
By Nolan E. Allen
Our vision is to end homelessness in the Indianapolis area through addiction recovery, counseling, job readiness training, education, health care and a relationship with Jesus Christ. As our campus environment grows, we are able to create more of an oasis of hope in the middle of a dark and plagued east-side area. We believe that ending homelessness for anyone is a long-term process that requires immense love and structure.
Our hope ministries and caring staff work with men, women and children every day to make the dream of sobriety and stability a reality.
We believe in the authority and sufficiency of the Holy Bible, consisting of 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, as originally written; that it was verbally and plenarily inspired and is the product of Spirit-controlled men; and therefore is infallible and inerrant in all matters of which it speaks.
We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian unity and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creed and opinions shall be tried (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
We believe there is one and only one living and true God, an infinite Spirit, the Maker and supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (Exodus 20:2-3; I Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11).
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God’s purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment; that He bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony: that He is the Agent in new birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer (John 14:16-17; Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 9:14; Luke 1:35; Genesis 1:1-3; John 16:8-11; Acts 5:30-32; John 3:5-6; Ephesians 1:13-14; Mark 1:8; John 1:33; Acts 11:16; Luke 24:49; Romans 8:14, 16, 26-27).
We believe in the reality and personality of Satan, the Devil; and that he was created by God as an angel but through pride and rebellion became the unholy god of this age and the ruler of all the powers of darkness and is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice in the lake of fire (Matthew 4:1-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:10).
We believe the Biblical account of the creation of the physical universe, angels and man; that this account is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that man was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race (Genesis 1-2; Colossians 1:16-17; John 1:3).
We believe that man was created in innocence (in the image and likeness of God) under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression Adam fell from his sinless and happy state, and all men are totally depraved, are partakers of Adam’s fallen nature, and are sinners by nature and by conduct, and therefore are under just condemnation without defense or excuse (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 1:18,32, 3:10-19; 5:12,19).
We believe that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit in a miraculous manner, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can be born of woman, and that He is both the Son of God and God the Son (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:4).
We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatorial offices of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Who, by the appointment of the Father, voluntarily took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, and honored the divine law by His personal obedience, thus qualifying Himself to be our Savior; that by the shedding of His blood in His death He fully satisfied the just demands of a holy and righteous God regarding sin; that His sacrifice consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the just dying for the unjust. Christ the Lord bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that having risen from the dead He is now enthroned in Heaven, and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection. He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and an all-sufficient Savior.
We believe that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only condition of salvation. Repentance is a change of mind and purpose toward God prompted by the Holy Spirit and is an integral part of saving faith (Jonah 2:9; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24-25; John 3:16; Matthew 18:11; Philippians 2:7-8; Hebrews 2:14-17; Isaiah 53:4-7; 1 John 4:10; I Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).
We believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ and in His ascension into Heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest interceding for us (Matthew 16:6; Luke 24:39; John 20:27; I Corinthians 15:4; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:2-6, 51; Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 3:21; Hebrews 7:25, 8:6, 12:2; I Timothy 2:5; I John 2:1; Hebrews 2:17, 5:9-10).
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about by our sovereign God in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with the divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, faith and newness of life (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 5:1; Acts 16:20-33; 2 Peter 1:4; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:13; John 3:8).
We believe that justification is that judicial act of God whereby He declares the believer righteous upon the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s shed blood (Romans 3:24, 4:5, 5:1-9; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9).
We believe that sanctification is the divine setting apart of the believer unto God accomplished in a threefold manner; first, an eternal act of God, based upon redemption in Christ, establishing the believer in a position of holiness at the moment he trusts the Savior; second, a continuing process in the saint as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the life; third, the final accomplishment of this process at the Lord’s return (Hebrews 3:1, 10:10-14; John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 5:23-24 1 John 3:2; Jude 24-25; Revelation 22:11).
We believe that all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6; John 10:28-29; Romans 8:35-39; Jude 1).
We believe that Christian baptism is the single immersion of a believer in water to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our identification with the crucified, buried and risen Savior, through Whom we died to sin and rose to a new life; that baptism is to be performed under the authority of the local church; and that is it prerequisite to the privileges of church membership.
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes, and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. We believe that the Biblical order of the ordinances is baptism first and then the Lord’s Supper, and that participants in the Lord’s Supper should be immersed believers (Acts 8:36, 38-39; John 3:23; Romans 6:3-5; Matthew 3:16; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:41- 42).
We believe in the premillennial return of Christ, an event which can occur at any moment, and that at that moment the dead in Christ shall be raised in glorified bodies, and the living in Christ shall be given glorified bodies without tasting death, and all shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the seven years of the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-54; Philippians 3:20, 21; Revelation 3:10).
We believe that the Tribulation, which follows the Rapture of the Church, will be culminated by the revelation of Christ in power and great glory to sit upon the throne of David and to establish the millennial kingdom (Daniel 9:25-27; Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 1:30-33; Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-9; Acts 2:29-30; Revelation 20:1-4, 6).
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