Mulford Evangelical Free Church was started in 1857 as a mission Sunday School from the First Congregational Church in Muscatine. (Link to Oscar Grossheim Photo Collection, Musser Public Library Image Archive, 304 Iowa Avenue, Muscatine, Iowa 52761) It was led by Joseph Bennett, a deacon in the church, for more than 20 years. (Additional Reference : Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive, http://www.umvphotoarchive.org, a collaborative project of cultural heritage organizations in the Iowa-Illinois Mississippi River region.)
Alice Mulford was an early Sunday School teacher in the school. She opened the school after it was closed during a diphtheria epidemic in 1886-87. She was active in leading the Sunday School until her death in 1933. (Reference: History of Muscatine County Iowa, Volume I, 1911, pages 336-337. Iowa Gen Web Project)
In 1957, when American Congregational Churches were combining in an ecumenical merger, the Mulford Church decided not to participate. Instead they withdrew from the denomination. In 1960 the church affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA).
Church Planting Missionaries
Mark and Carol Doss
Mark is the Central District's Regional Associate Superintendent and Church Planting Missionary for Iowa and southeast South Dakota.
Mark graduated from Baptist Bible College of PA with a BRE and from Moody Graduate School with a Master of Arts in Ministry. He has served in the area of church planting since 1995. Prior to that Mark served as a youth pastor in Chicago and then as a solo pastor in Arkansas and Iowa. He has been married to his wife Carol for 32 years, and they have two children and two grandsons.
Mark is available to help churches understand how to take the next steps in planting a new congregation. He is also available to shoMaw churches how to make planting a healthy part of their church's mission. Additionally, Mark is responsible for administrative oversight of the credentialing process in our district.
The mission of "multiplying healthy churches among all people" demands a strong commitment for planting new churches in the Central District. The District’s vision is to plant all kinds of new Evangelical Free Churches in every part of the Central District to reach all kinds of people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Central District has almost tripled in the number of member churches since 1989 when the district conference made a specific commitment to vigorous and intentional church planting.
Another way to look at it is by church population. According to one study, Iowa's churched population is just 24%. That means 76% of the population is unchurched. South Dakota's population is similar with 26% churched and 74% unchurched.
From rural to urban to small towns and large cities, the Central District is looking to plant new Evangelical Free Churches that will reach those who have not yet been introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ. These churches will be next generation churches that are authentic; committed to God's Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ; and focused on making disciples of Jesus Christ.
Some of the newest ventures that Mark is currently involved with is developing a church planting residency in the Des Moines metro area and working on plans for new projects in Grinnell, Peosta and Hawarden, Iowa.