John and Hilda Falconer

 

John and Hilda Falconer

 

John and Hilda Falconer were married May 5, 1914, and together they would embark on a lifetime of Christian ministry which would result in five churches being established. Both were committed to individual evangelism, and nearly every week, one or both of them would invite someone to accept Christ.

John and Hilda were each raised in immigrant families. John Falconer was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and when he was 18, his father, James Falconer, who was a jeweler, moved the family to San Francisco to establish a jewelry business. John, as a young man, was interested in evangelism, and soon after he and Hilda were married, John enrolled in the newly formed, Bible Institute of Los Angeles. He graduated in BIOLA's first graduating class, and started work with the Rescue Mission of San Francisco.

Hilda Richards, was a gold miner's daughter. Her father, Richard Richards, was driven by stories of gold in the California hills, came from England in about 1890 and started mining in the Placerville area. By then, the good claims were taken and the easy gold was gone. He married, Rachael, and had two children, Vince and Hilda.

However, mining was a series of frustrations and he found solace in alcohol. Hilda remembered the saloon in Placerville, located in a barn, where she and Vince would play in the hayloft while their father would get drunk with friends below. Hilda, then five years old, was a remarkable singer, and her father would put her on the piano to sing and dance for the other miners. This, no doubt, yielded a few extra drinks. But the result was a chaotic situation for the family.

Hilda described how an itinerant preacher rode into Placerville on his horse, and told the saloon owner to clean up his saloon as there would be services there on Sunday. Hilda remembered the smell of fresh straw on the floor when they went to the saloon that Sunday. As she and Vince watched the service from the hayloft, she could not understand what was said, but she remembered her father kneeling on the floor and sobbing. He gave his life to Christ that day and never again touched alcohol.

He moved the family to Sacramento and got a job. Hilda started school there. Soon they moved to San Francisco. When Hilda was eight years old, the 1906 earthquake struck San Francisco. The city caught fire, and from their house near Twin Peaks, they could see the fire moving up the hills. Hilda's father, perhaps due to his miner's instinct, dug a pit in the back yard and put the piano and valuables in it, covered by blankets and earth. They then fled to the tent city being assembled away from the fire. The house was consumed, but they were able to recover their piano.

Hilda used that piano to become an accomplished pianist. As a pastor's wife, she would play the piano and use her strong, vibrato soprano throughout their ministry.

 

John founded and pastored the Santa Rosa Bible Church.

John Falconer pastored five churches, four of which he helped to organize.

 

Letter from Hilda Falconer, 1980.

This is the first page of a letter, to Eduard Moehl's brother and wife, in which Hilda Falconer describes their experience with the Santa Rosa Bible Church.

 

John teaching a Bible study for service men.

John teaching a Bible study for servicemen in National City, California. He lived through both World wars and had a heart for those in service.

 
John in his office seat.

Above, a typical scene of John Falconer counseling from his office chair.

Left, John talking to a serviceman about the Lord, something he loved to do.

 

John and his daughter,Lucile, at the beach.

In proper clerical beach-wear, John plays with his daughter, Lucille. Lucille was active in the Santa Rosa Bible Church during her high school and Junior College years. With her husband, Dick Webster, she would be a missionary to China for the rest of her life.

 

John and Hilda served pastorates in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Alameda, San Leandro and National City, California. They were strongly evangelical, and their churches, though small, supported many missionaries. The fruit of their service is evident today in an ever expanding outreach of ministry.

 

by Don Webster, Grandson