Our Heritage – Arnstein Gospel Hall

The first man to be saved in Arnstein was Marcus Sommacal, a pioneer, who came from Italy and settled in Arnstein in 1887. The preacher of the local German church gave him a Bible which he read through several times as he had been raised as a Roman Catholic, and had never read one before. In 1891, God reached and saved him through John 10:9. His wife, seeing the change in him, was saved the following year. Unable to clearly tell others of his newly found Savior, he prayed that God would send someone to the area with the Gospel.

In 1903, Mr. Ed Steen and Mr. William Clap got off the train in Trout Creek and started walking west, giving out tracts on the way When they reached Arnstein on July 1st, a thunder storm forced them to take shelter in the Bernardo home. When they told them that they were preachers, they asked them to take the service in the local German church as their preacher was away. When Marcus Sommacal heard them preach the gospel from 2 Samuel 14:14, he bowed his head and thanked God for answering his prayers of many years. When the local preacher returned, the preachers were put out of the church but they continued a few nights in the open air. At that time Mr. and Mrs. Julius Bemardo and some members of the Sommacal family were saved.

In 1904, Mr. Clap and Mr. Rowe returned and a few more souls were saved. In the fall of that year, Mr. Clap asked Mr. Fred Watson to visit Amstein. At that time some members of the Sommacal and Vernardo families were baptized.

In 1905, Mr. Watson and Mr. Sylvester pitched a tent in Arnstein and a little handful of believers began meeting as a New Testament church in the Sommacal home. Those at the first Breaking of Bread were Mr. and Mrs. Sommacal, their son Sam, Mr. and Mrs. Bernardo, and the two preachers.

Among those that were saved that summer were Mr. and Mrs. Fred Simms, Amelia Culin, Charlie Culin, and Julius Bernardos’ parents. Later, they met in the Bernardo home, as it was more centrally located, until a little hall was built.

From that humble beginning, God has greatly blessed in the salvation of many souls in the area. Many fruitful series of gospel meetings have been held over the years. One of the most notable was in 1932 when more than seventy souls professed faith in Christ. To God be all the glory.

Over the years, a number of brethren have been commended to the Lord’s work. These include, John Sommacal, Aubrey and Ena Dellandrea, Ernest Dellandrea, and David and Nancy Booth. Stanley Simms and Wallace Cudmore, although commended from other assemblies, were at one time part of the assembly at Arnstein.

Due to lack of employment in the area, most of our young have been forced to move away to find work. Many assemblies throughout Ontario have saints in them whose spiritual birth place was at Arnstein. Please pray that God will give grace and strength to carry on until the Lord returns.