During a business meeting at the 1967 General Conference held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, General Superintendent Arthur T. Morgan, unexpectedly died. At the commencement of the meeting, Bro. Morgan told the General Secretary, Stanley Warren Chambers: “I want you to take notes on everything I have to say.” Bro. Chambers dutifully recorded the date and time just before Bro. Morgan fell back across the head table. Thousands of conference attendees who had converged on Tulsa were devastated by the news of Bro. Morgan’s untimely death. But, the constituency of the United Pentecostal Church shortly elected Stanley W. Chambers, who had served as General Secretary since the merger in 1945, to the office. Though Bro. Chambers could not have fathomed this turn of events when he left his home in St. Louis for the annual convention, God had certainly prepared this faithful servant for his new role as leader of the largest Oneness Pentecostal organization in the world.
Stanley W. Chambers was introduced to the Pentecostal movement as a young boy at Apostolic Gospel Church in Columbus, Ohio, led by W.T. Witherspoon. Stanley repented and was baptized during a five-week revival in 1927, but he did not receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost until three years on 6 February 1930, at the age of fourteen.
After he was saved, Stanley became very involved in the church. He played violin in the church’s orchestra and sang in the choir, directed by Bro. S.G. Norris. He kept busy in the work of the Lord and looked to Bro. Witherspoon as his father in the Gospel.
In January 1938, Stanley Chambers left Ohio to take on a managerial position in New York City. When he arrived in the teeming metropolis, he was met at the station by Bro. Paul Box, who attended Andrew Urshan’s Satisfaction Gospel Tabernacle in Manhattan. Bro. Box had preached on a number of occasions at the church in Columbus, and their acquaintance was destined to become a deep and lasting friendship.
Through fellowship meetings with area churches, Stanley Chambers met Catherine Strepka, and the pair began dating. Bro. Chambers felt the call of God to preach, and the young couple began to share a drawing toward ministry. Stanley Chambers and Catherine Strepka were united in marriage on 7 September 1940.
In 1942, Bro. Chambers accepted the pastorate of a small work in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. Sis. Chambers initially struggled with leaving her native New York City. One night a message in tongues was delivered. After church, Bro. Urshan approached Sis. Chambers and told her that the message was intended for her: “God is confirming your husband’s call to Pennsylvania. You, as his helpmeet, must be willing to go wherever God calls him to work.” Sis. Chambers received the message and dedicated herself to her husband’s calling.
Bro. Chambers developed a radio broadcast in Hazelton, and there were listener invitations to begin Apostolic works in neighboring cities. Bro. Chambers planted a church in Sunbury and eventually resigned the Hazelton work to dedicate himself to the fledgling congregation.
In September 1945, Bro. & Sis. Chambers traveled to St. Louis to attend the annual meeting of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ. This much-anticipated convention solidified the merger of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ with the Pentecostal Church, Incorporated. Bro. Stanley Chambers, who had helped organize the Eastern District of the PAJC, was elected as General Secretary of the newly-formed United Pentecostal Church. At the suggestion of Bro. Fauss, the electorate waived the requirement that the General Secretary be ordained for a minimum of five years. Bro. Stanley Chambers became the youngest member of the General Board of the UPC.
The Chambers family resigned their beloved church in Pennsylvania and moved to St. Louis, making their home in the headquarters building. As General Secretary, Bro. Chambers did a great deal of traveling and corresponding with ministers. He represented the organizational administration at many District Conferences and enjoyed meeting people across the fellowship.
When he became the General Superintendent in 1967, Bro. Chambers felt equipped for the ministry by his close association with his capable predecessors. At the General Conference in Tulsa, Bro. Chambers preached an inaugural message that came to define his administration entitled: “Can the United Pentecostal Church Survive the Onslaught of History?” He challenged the fellowship to retain a vision of unity and revival and led the church through a 10-year period of unprecedented growth. When he retired as General Superintendent in 1977, he remained active in the work of the Lord serving as an interim missionary to Austria, Missouri District Superintendent, and president of Gateway Bible College. Stanley Warren Chambers demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the United Pentecostal Church International, and his ministry was an inspiring chapter in the growth and success of this wonderful Apostolic fellowship!