“One day at Rumney, the Spirit pointed out a bush piece behind an old stump fence… and very definitely talked to me about that being the place He wanted for His campground. He said, ‘In this place, Jesus will be the center of attraction, and those who come here will have to make an extra effort and for no other purpose than to worship Me in spirit and in truth.’”— Joel Wright
Founded in the late 1890s and dedicated in 1903 as the First Fruit Harvesters, NEF and its founders were never afraid to try something new, as long as it directed people to Jesus and gave God the glory – this same spirit continues to this day. Early accomplishments included:
- 1902 – The Sheaf of the First Fruits (a newspaper)
- 1908 – A home for unwed mothers founded
- 1909 – A home for abandoned children founded
- 1922 – Bethany Home for the Aged founded
- 1931 – Camp Cathedral Pines (girls’ summer camp) begins
- 1932 – Pine Ridge Camp (boy’ summer camp) begins
- 1946 – Boston Christian School founded (now known as Lexington Christian Academy)
- 1946 – Establishment of the New England Association of Christian Schools – the earliest US Christian school association
In the 1930s, Dr. Wright and Park Street Church in Boston together started a series of meetings called “Youth for Christ”, which continued until 1944 when another ministry was born – the Youth for Christ that still ministers today. Meanwhile, back at Rumney, two little-known speakers were ministering to youth during the summers of 1943 and 1944: Jack Wyrtzen and Billy Graham. Also in the late 30s and early 40s, a need for a national evangelical organization was growing in America. As Dr. Wright traveled to promote the NEF, his insight and vision were called upon once again; from NEF and other ministries across the nation, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) was born. A few years later, these same men wanted this presence felt across the world, and the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF) was established.
Over the past 100+ years, many men and women of God have come to Rumney Bible Conference, both as speakers and guests, including Jack Wyrtzen, Billy Graham, Bob Jones, Charles Stanley, Tal McNutt, J. Oliver Buswell, Harry A. Ironside, Vance Havner, Merrill C. Tenney, John MacArthur, Harold Ockenga, Edith Schaeffer, Francis Schaeffer, Will Houghton, Charles E. Fuller, Cliff Barrows and many more. Today, our diverse ministries continue to grow. Each summer a conference is held at the Rumney Bible Conference grounds, with its tradition of inspirational and challenging speakers, prayer meetings, Bible study, Saturday evening concerts, and Christian fellowship. Our White Mountain Camps include White Mountain Ranch and White Mountain Snow Camp (Winter Blast). The White Mountain Retreat Center now facilitates weekend and week-long retreats for adults and young people year-round.
There is indeed a rich spiritual heritage at NEF, and to this day, this truly is a place where Jesus will always be the center of attraction.