Chapter 25 Conferences (1917-1921)

The tent meetings were growing in attendance and interest in Sydney, and a number of precious souls were saved. Christians from Sydney Mines and Leitches Creek made every effort to be present at the tent; however, Mr. McClure had arranged to attend the New Bedford Conference on Labor Day. When Mr. Goodwin came along he bade us farewell and said, “I am real sorry at leaving.” He had much enjoyed the work in the tent, the open air, and also in ministry, teaching the few saints in those parts. He was missed after he left and often I was asked “Is the General coming back?” His ministry laid a good foundation in that city, and later an assembly was formed in Sydney.

The Conference in New Bedford was larger than usual and the ministry was helpful, the key note being —“Now, therefore, why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back.” 2 Sam. 19:10, and the coming of the Lord was the principal theme.

During the next few years Mr. McClure spent most of his time in the United States and Canada. It could be truly said of him, “In journeyings oft,” but even when traveling by train from one center to another or by boat on the Pacific or Atlantic, his time was fully occupied in the Lord’s service. He procured a portable typewriter and used it on the way not only to catch up on his large correspondence, but in writing articles that were published in several magazines, which proved bread for the saints in many other parts, while his ministry was also much appreciated in the places he visited.

After the Conference in Detroit, September, 1919, our brother had helpful meetings in Addison Road Gospel Hall, Cleveland, Ohio. A brother, writing at that time said, “We had Mr. McClure for meetings and we most thoroughly enjoyed him. He spoke on some pictures in the Book of Numbers and the meetings were very solemn and searching. There was a large attendance and blessing with the word spoken.”

In Richmond Hill, Long Island, a suburb of New York City, there was a hearty little assembly of believers and at that time they held a yearly Conference on Election Day in November. Brother McClure having concluded his meetings in Cleveland, was present and helped in the ministry.

At New Year’s, 1920, Mr. McClure attended the Conference at Philadelphia. One morning he read from Numbers 19, and began to speak on the “red heifer.” He only spoke about fifteen minutes—then he closed his Bible, and said, “I am not getting help and there are other brethren present who can stir you more than I can and I shall leave room for them,” and he sat down. However, in the afternoon he arose again, and in his usual way of beginning an address said, “Turn to the Book of Numbers, chapter nineteen.” He read the same portion that he had in the morning, but what a difference! The unction of the Holy Spirit was very evident as he opened up that wonderful type, unfolding the great provision of God to meet His people’s need for the wilderness journey. It was very striking to those of us who were younger and were privileged to hear this message. Although so long accustomed to speaking on such subjects, yet he felt natural ability was not enough; mere words do not feed and edify the saints of God. No doubt, in between the meetings he had spent much time in prayer, with the result that he came forth from the presence of God with a message that reached many hearts, and has been remembered by some of us ever since.

From Philadelphia he went to New York City, putting up his chart in 125th Street Gospel Hall. He ministered nightly in the metropolis with growing interest. A brother who had not been favorable to charts wrote, saying, “Mr. McClure is here and has a chart, ministering from it, but he is like no other man I ever heard speaking from a chart. He uses it occasionally in reference to his subject, but he opens up the Word of God in a wonderful way, making it easy for old and young to see the precious truth before him.” The meetings grew and the Lord gave a season of blessing at that time. Believers from all over the city attended and were edified through the spoken word.

When the meetings concluded, he paid very helpful and profitable visits to the Bronx, New York, Waterbury and Bridgeport, Connecticut, and everywhere he visited the saints felt enriched, helped, and encouraged.

Traveling west again our brother was at the Des Moines and Waterloo, Iowa, conferences where his ministry was much appreciated. He then returned East and he and Mr. Hunter pitched a tent in New Bedford, Mass. They had good meetings for a few weeks and he remained for the conference on Labor Day. In each meeting that he took part he opened up the Book of Ezra and gave very helpful ministry which was a great blessing to young believers.

Mr. McClure then left for the conference in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, which was held at the Canadian Thanksgiving time. During the three days, he gave helpful words on different subjects; but one address which we remember to this day, was given on Revelation 21:10. He referred especially to the foundation of the wall of “that great city” — garnished with all manner of precious stones. From verse 19, the stones and pearls are described and the preacher spoke with great power that day, lifting the hearts of God’s people far above the din of earth, to behold the splendor and glory that is the portion of the saints in the coming day.

Benjamin Bradford (a well-known Gospel preacher throughout the United States and Canada) and Mr. McClure left Hamilton with the object of traveling to the Pacific Coast. They took in the conference at Houston, Texas, then went on to San Antonio where they had meetings for a few weeks. They also visited Phoenix, Arizona. This modern city, with its semi-tropical trees, roses and other flowers in abundance, was but a few years ago a barren desert. The miracle was accomplished by irrigation. The rivers running through the mountains were dammed to conserve water for the now fertile land. It reminds us of the words, “The desert shall blossom as the rose.” The dry climate has made Phoenix a popular health resort.

A little company of saints had begun to gather in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ in Phoenix, and as they were far away from any other assemblies, our brethren were anxious to see them. It gave great joy to these few believers when the brethren paid them visit, and their ministry was a great help and cheer to all.

Arriving in California, they visited Fresno for a week of meetings and then attended the Oakland Conference at Thanksgiving time. Going south again our brethren were at the conference, in Los Angeles a Christmas time and in Monrovia at New Year’s 1921. A brother who was present at these conference meetings wrote, “The Lord gave help to our brethren W. J, McClure, B. Bradford, and John Blair to minister the old time truths of separation from the world and the individual responsibility to be out and out for God. These precious truths were emphasized, stirring up our minds by way of remembrance. Halls were crowded and the Word was given with power.”

During 1921 Mr. McClure was busy in different parts of British Columbia and at Christmas was back in time for the conferences in Los Angeles and Monrovia at the New Year. The Lord gave a season of blessing in both places. A brother wrote of the special help that was given to the brethren who ministered the word at the meetings, “They were helped of the Lord; the ministry was edifying, sanctifying and separating, and should produce holiness in our lives. We had to go fifteen miles out of our way because of a broken bridge, but it was well worth it.”