Healing and Revival
"Healing and the Gifts"
James Richard Dunn was born in Princeton, WV January 30, 1920 to a coal miner and part time Pentecostal Holiness preacher. The family had eight children. They were poor and moved frequently in hopes of a better life. The family moved to Huntington, WV and in 1929, at the age of 14, Dunn started working as a taxi driver to help make ends meet. When Dunn was 17 the town of Huntington was flooded and he joined the Navy auxiliary to help deliver supplies and provide support. It was a natural transition for Dunn to join the Navy in 1940. He was assigned to a submarine and for the next three years was assigned to Pacific duty. In 1943 his submarine was hit and he was one of only 5 men to survive the attack. God had His hand on Dunn's life!
Dunn, although growing up in a Christian household, was not living a Christian life. After his release from the Navy he headed to Hollywood to try and break into the movies. While he was there he had an experience where God warned him about his lifestyle. He returned east and moved in with his family in Charleston, WV. Dunn continued his party living, but fell in love with his landlord's daughter Ann Youle. He pursued her and talked her into eloping in 1945. Anne was involved in the Pentecostal holiness church and prayed for her husband. He accepted Christ in 1948 and in 1950 he was baptized in the Holy Spirit in a tent revival meeting.
Dunn felt the call of God on his life to preach. He worked for the Naval Ordinance plant in Charleston, WV by day and studied for his ordination in the evening. Once ordained he was sent to a small church in the mining community of Eccles, WV. It grew and he moved on to a larger church in Princeton, WV. It is important to understand the dynamics of the church as a whole and the Pentecostal Holiness churches in particular in this time frame. The 50s healing revival was in full swing, receiving extensive media coverage (both positive and negative), in newspapers across the country. Oral Roberts, who was a leader in the movement, was also an ordained Holiness Pentecostal preacher. Within the churches the divine healing movement and ministry were quite controversial and there was talk of breaking with Roberts and his ministry. (see The Pentecostal Holiness Church by Dr. Vincent Synon) In the midst of this controversy Dunn threw himself on the side of the healing movement and began to hold revival meetings and pray for the sick.
His meetings were a breakthrough for his community in several ways. He saw miracles and people saved. He also held the first inter-racial meetings in the area. His passion for the lost grew and he felt the call to become an evangelist. Dunn moved his family and established his ministry headquarters in Albans, WV. He began to travel throughout West Virginia holding revival and healing services. In the town of English, WV he prayed for a woman who was raised from the dead. Dunn came to the attention of the Voice of Healing organization and was invited to become an associate minister around 1957. He agreed and held meetings with other ministers in the late 1950s. Dunn was never a prominent face in the organization and kept his individual identity and ministry separate from it. In many ways the movement was beginning to wind down, and those seeing continued success were those who moved to international evangelistic ministries.
Dunn felt called to go to Africa and in 1960 formed the organization "World Missions For Christ." He made his first crusade trip in 1962. He returned many times and supported local churches by holding conferences, building schools, digging wells, providing medical help, and giving scholarships for ministers. He eventually held meetings across the US and across the world seeing miracles, healings, and salvations. Dunn worked with another Voice of Healing minister W. V. Grant on three books "Sign Gift Ministry in the Twenetieth Century", "Gifts of the Spirit in the Home", and "The Power to Discern Disease." Dunn worked as an evangelist for the next twenty years bringing in the lost and establishing churches.
James Dunn never sought the spotlight. His ministry was solid and his family life untainted by scandal or controversy. He was a man who believed in prayer and fasting for breakthrough for the lost and the dying. He died September 12, 2009 as a faithful servant of the Lord. He and Anne had three sons, two who followed in his footsteps as pastors, James Dunn II and Philip Dunn.
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