Skull Valley Bible Church

1877: Ida Mc llrath’s mother took them in the buggy to Church in Prescott. It was one day each way on the Copper Basin road.

Early settlers in the 1880’s organized a Sunday school program with the assistance and encouragement of Methodist Circuit Riding ministers that made infrequent visits to this area. Mrs. Nellie Shupp was one of the primary local leaders trying to keep a program going. Her husband was Alfred Shupp who received a homestead certificate from President Rutherford B. Hayes in November 1880 on the W2.NE4 S17 T13N R4W. It was applied for May 20 1862. She would often times provide housing for any ministers that happen to be traveling through the Valley. She served as Sunday School Superintendent over some 50 years in Skull Valley.

Ida Mc llrath, Mrs. Ada Roberts, Mrs. Walter Raber, and Mrs. Edna Acrey were also active in the early Sunday programs. Meetings had moved out of individual homes and started using the local school Building for their meetings. In 1912, Mrs. Ada Roberts, was the Sunday School Organist at the Old School North of Cooper’s Place near the Hole in the Bush.

Leadership transitioned to the Church of God from the American Sunday School Union.

1920: Bro. De Vault of the Church of God came in and held evangelistic meetings. Later A Bro. Johnson was a good man & a wonderful speaker & several conversions were made, including Mrs. Nellie Shupp, on 1 Sept. 1920. Mrs. Shupp was the S.S. Superintendent for several years, starting in 1895 thru 1943.

Times of trials and change: Leadership returned to the American Sunday School Union

In the early 1940’s Mrs. Nellie Shuup and Mrs. De Armond were struggling with holding the Church & Sunday school together. Frank Sine was SS Superintendent for a few years in the mid1940’s He worked with Raymond Shook and they got things going toward getting a Chapel here in Skull Valley.

September 1947: Funds from the Sunday School Union were used to buy an unused Army Barracks building in the Phoenix area. Raymond Shook was hired as head carpenter and with the help of volunteers he set about the disassembly, transport , and redesigned it, on land donated by Mr. & Mrs. Raney, into the first Church building in Skull Valley, AZ. On February 27 1949, Frank Sine, Superintendent, conducted the First Service in the New Chapel with Missionary speaker C Hansen.

Funds ran out, so after several months the women put on a Bazaar and raised $271.65 on 10/10/1948; and an additional $700 was borrowed from MR & MRS Raney to complete the project. Much of the furnishings were donated by various individuals in the Community. The Skull Valley Union Chapel was dedicated: May 29, 1949 at 2:30 PM with 140 present.

Merle Heatwole, formerly of Glendale, AZ. Moved to Skull Valley and was appointed as Sunday School Superintendent. He was a jovial outgoing salesman. He served in this position for several years. On Feb 5, 1955, Merle Heatwole was ordained by Brethren Church of Glendale, AZ, and began serving as unpaid pastor of this Church.

He supported his family by being the distributor for Frito Lays for all of Northern Arizona. Merle’s family was musically talented and lead many inspirational Hymn Sing services in many parts of Arizona. They organized exchanges with Concordia College and with other Churches.

He also served this community by coaching the Skull Valley Skunks Baseball team to several winning years of both Regional and State championships. The Church was expanded by building the new Sanctuary and converting the original Chapel into a kitchen and fellowship hall. Merle retired as pastor in 1977.

In the fall of 1977, James M. Beasley was appointed to lead this church. Jim had a Master’s Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He also had a Navy career background; and had been selling Real Estate in the Prescott area for many years. Jim and his wife served this Church for 17 years. Jim retired due to his wife’s poor health, in July 1994.

Pastor Dennis G. Fraser was hired in October, 1977, to continue teaching us about our Savior Jesus Christ, and about God’s Plan for our lives. Pastor Dennis had been serving in the Baptist Church in Prescott, AZ. He continued his studies through the Bethany Theological Seminary and has earned both his Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Theology.         You are invited to join us.

Skull Valley has had Sunday school services since 1894. The Southern Methodists were first and sent circuit ministers. Services were held in the school house. In 1915, the American Sunday School Union helped in getting a regular Sunday school started.

Before this time, church history tells of Mrs. Ida Mcllrath taking her children to church in a buggy to Prescott many weekends, a two ­day journey. The church has its own building, dedicated in 1959 as the Skull Valley Community Church. Today it is the Skull Valley Bible Church, and services are held on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings.

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