The Fires of Topeka First Church may be the oldest story on the Kansas City District. Rev. J.K. Mayberry, Minister in the church of the Nazarene had been conducting cottage prayer meetings and wanting to start a “Center of Fire in Topeka. He invited Phineas F. Bresee & Clarence McKee to Topeka to hold tent meetings. Bresee arrived in Topeka for the second time on Tuesday, August 14, 1906. Tent meetings were held at 11th and Buchanan and Bresee stayed for 7 days.
This fledgling group continued to fan the flame and on the last Sunday in September, 1906, a Church was formed. Rev. J.K. Mayberry had his name transferred from L. A. California to the Church in Topeka, KS. Officers of this Church in Topeka were elected and Herbert Buffum was called as its first pastor. Those present were J.K. Mayberry, Mrs. Lillie Buffum, sister Hattie Martindale of Molene, KS, Bro Mitchell. 36 Charter members in all. One member has already been removed, Sister Kulp relocating to Ashland, Oregon. E.W. Dunham was appointed the Sunday School Superintendent. In January, 1907, a Rev. Frank McCluney is reporting as pastor. While this group had some organization, they never officially organized with the Church of the Nazarene.
Keeping the flame ignited was challenging for this early group because they didn’t have a permanent place to meet. But Rev. J.K. Mayberry continued to carry the torch for a Church of the Nazarene in Topeka. Again in 1909, Rev. Mayberry stoked more revival fires, along with Dr. H.F. Reynolds and Rev. Cochran. Tent meetings were once again held but these efforts were still spasmodic until 1912, when the organizational tent was erected at 10th and Clay.