In the mid-1940s, a man named Reg Heidt gave his heart to the Lord at the altar in a United Mennonite Church in Aylmer, Ontario.
Clare Davis, who prayed with Reg said, “There is more!” Reg excitedly asked, “There is?” They planned to meet again and when they met— Clare led Reg and his wife, Versa, into the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.
The Heidts and Davises began a prayer meeting in the Heidt home, which grew into a church. People started coming to the Lord, and they hosted outreaches and tent meetings. Growing in number they moved above the local hardware store until that too, became too small.
This group of excited believers purchased a house on the main street in Aylmer, and built an auditorium at the back, with seating for over 150 people. The first service was Easter Sunday, 1949. At times, the church was so packed that the back wall was removed to provide seating in the foyer with attendance of up to 200 souls. The Church was named The Peoples Full Gospel Tabernacle.
Rev. Glenn Francis, cousin to (Rev.) Clare Davis was called to pastor the congregation. The church connected with a congregation in Detroit MI pastored by M. D. (‘Mom’) Beall, which had been impacted by the Latter Rain movement in North Battleford SK.
Rev. Francis preached the message of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Services were marked by powerful worship, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit were common. Many, many, people were healed! Apostolic and prophetic ministries were raised up. People drove to Aylmer from various cities and towns in the area.
In those early days, a plane was purchased, and Pastor Francis flew around the country preaching the Full Gospel. Unfortunately, while on one of those trips, the plane crashed. Thankfully no one was hurt. The early days of the Latter Rain were powerful days of the move of God.
Peoples Full Gospel Tabernacle was part of Elim Fellowship in Lima NY. Considerable numbers of young people went to Elim Bible Institute, including ACOP pastor, Rev. LeRoy Davis (son of Clare), and his wife, Shirley. Many of these students went on to be pastors, missionaries, etc. in many countries and in many denominations.
Rev. Paul Heidt, son of Reg and Versa, felt called to go to Zion Bible College in Rhode Island. Other young people followed him. Paul came home to pastor People’s and at this time, the church affiliated with the Independent Assemblies of God in Canada. During Pastor Paul’s tenure, the church received a revelation of baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Paul was called to another church, Peoples struggled to find an available pastor. Rev. Noel McNeil, an ACOP member who lived in nearby London ON, was asked to be the interim pastor. This began our connection with ACOP. Two years later, Rev. Maurice and Teen Fuller were called to pastor, they were followed by Rev. Bob and Janet Tauber.
In 1981 Rev. Peter and Helene Barbour received the call. They had been pastoring a church plant in Simcoe ON, birthed out of the Aylmer assembly. The Barbours remain lead pastors and will celebrate 40 years at the church in September of this year.
The church officially affiliated with ACOP (around 1997), and the name of the church was changed to Aylmer Full Gospel Church.
God had good plans for Aylmer Full Gospel! In January 2001, the Barbours attended a Pastors’ conference at The Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. The first Sunday back, a powerful move of God sovereignly occurred which changed the Barbour’s ministry, revived, and refreshed the church, and set it on a positive, Spirit-filled path. God has done some amazing miracles, lives continue to be impacted, saved, and healed.
On Easter Sunday 2010, after purchasing surrounding properties, a new facility was opened, and in 2015 a children’s ministry wing was added.
We continue to press into healing and the Gifts of the Spirit and believe our Latter Rain DNA will remain an integral part of our future in this community and beyond!
—Written by & pictures supplied by Rev. Peter Barbour