Old Orchard, Maine
On August 9, 1886, people gathered in an open-air amphitheater in Old Orchard, Maine for a convention called by Albert B. Simpson. No one suspected the dramatic events that would follow.
The speaker, W. E. Blackstone, a Chicago businessman-turned-preacher, spoke on “The Need of the World and the Work of the Church.” Blackstone related Christ’s second coming to world evangelism in a way that electrified the audience.
Basing his message on Matthew 24:14,
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come, Blackstone cried out,
It is the business of the church to be a witness and to proclaim the gospel. Oh, for a tongue and power to wake up the church to her duty.
The spiritual impact of that sermon lived on. When the second Old Orchard Convention gathered a year later, the missionary enthusiasm generated by Blackstone’s sermon took a concrete form and the Christian Alliance (now The Christian and Missionary Alliance).
Thousands attended the annual Old Orchard Convention of the Christian Alliance to celebrate the fellowship of the Alliance and commit themselves to missions as A. B. Simpson and other great men of God preached the Scriptures and the evangelization of the world. God’s Word was proclaimed “with much power, and many souls were saved.”
Regarding the Old Orchard Convention, the August 14 and 21, 1891 editions of The Christian Alliance and Missionary Weekly state,
It was God’s work, and God’s alone. By one mighty sweep of the Holy Ghost, God led a humble Convention of plain people, few of whom were rich, to pledge, in a single hour, nearly thirty thousand dollars for the evangelization of the world, and to provide for the sending out of nearly sixty additional missionaries…. In less than five weeks, He has provided for the support of over eighty missionaries.
In keeping with the Old Orchard Convention, The Christian and Missionary Alliance is committed to faithful stewardship in money, believing God owns everything. The truth of God’s ownership of all is we are no longer our own, we have been “bought with a price.” If we do not own our own lives, then we truly own no property.
Moved by God’s faithfulness in arousing His people to action at the Old Orchard Convention, the name “The Orchard Foundation” was chosen for the stewardship arm of the Alliance. There is no desire to live in the past, but rather a longing for the fresh wind of God to blow as it did at Old Orchard. The vision of The Christian and Missionary Alliance is for a movement of Great Commission Christians who glorify God by building Christ’s church worldwide.