The Shiloh youth ministry began in 1969 with a group of young people who had recently committed their lives to Christ. They had been attending Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, and living in community-style housing in the Southern California area. Their one goal was to reach as many of their peers as possible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
A group of them, led by John Higgins, decided to purchase a ranch about 20 miles southeast of Eugene, OR nearby a town called Dexter. They rented a house in Eugene on Jefferson St. because the ranch did not have the proper facilities as yet.
A man named Nick Gray came down to Eugene from Portland and turned over his non-profit corporation to the Shiloh group. From that time on, it became known as Shiloh-Youth Revival Centers, Inc. In the ten plus years that Shiloh was active, it has been estimated that over 100,000 people had been reached through the 175 houses that had sprung up all over the United States and its territories.
It was now the fall of 1969. The house our rock band had rented in northwest Portland (1717 NW Hoyt St.) was now an official “Shiloh” house. David Kirby had moved up to our house and began giving nightly Bible Studies.
We would work on our day jobs, come home, go out on the streets of Portland to talk to anyone who would listen about the good news of Jesus Christ. We would even invite them to come for dinner at the house.
On Jan. 1, 1970, my girlfriend (Jeanne Wyatt) and I got married. We lived in a two-bedroom apartment in north Hillsboro for about a month. I worked at a fiberglass factory down the road. We traveled almost four times a week into town at nights to be a part of the house ministry in NW Portland.
At the end of the month, it became clear to me that we as a new family should move back into this house the next month. I happened to tell one of my co-workers at the plant about my decision. She completely disagreed with my ideas, and went and told the boss. He called me into his office, read me the riot-act, and told me that I was to keep my religion to myself. If I couldn’t, then I should leave. I left.
We moved into that same house on Hoyt St. in Feb. of 1970, and then found out that there was a new opportunity for the people in the house to move out west closer to the strawberry farm the Shiloh ministry had just leased. The house was in a community called Aloha, OR.
We were here for the next year or so. Steve Toth was the pastor of the house. Below you can check out some pictures and an article written in the local paper about our ministry there. While living in this house, I wrote several songs to the Lord.
Here are a few of the songs written during the year at the Aloha Shiloh House:
FLYING UP WITH ANGEL WINGS:from Shiloh Folk Festival ‘75
MILLENNIUM SONG:from Shiloh Folk Festival ‘75from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95 (combination of MILLENNIUM/FLYING UP)
THE BRIDE:from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
UNDER THE SUN:from Shiloh Folk Festival ‘75
THE SIX SEALS:from Throne Room Ballads ‘91from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
In March of 1971 the Aloha house closed and we all moved back into Portland, into the same Hoyt St. house that we left a year earlier. Gary Wright and I were co-pastoring the group now. Jeanne and I had a new addition to our family on Jan. 13, 1971--Micah Andrew Claycamp. So now we were living on the second floor in one of the bedrooms with our newborn baby. I’m guessing there were about 25 people that actually were living at the Hoyt St. House. The men bunked in the basement with the oil furnace, and the women bunked in a couple of the bedrooms on the second floor. The third floor (a finished attic) was where we had our prayer room.
During this time at the Hoyt St. Shiloh house there were other songs that I wrote:
HE GUIDES MY WAY:from Shiloh Folk Festival ‘75from Throne Room Ballads ‘91
LET THE CHILDREN COME:from Shiloh Folk Festival ‘75from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
HE’S COMING BACK:from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
O LORD, YOU’RE COMING SOON:from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
THE LORD’S PRECIOUS SAINTS:from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
In the late fall of 1971, I was asked to come to the Shiloh Study Center in Dexter, OR and head up a team of 7 men and women. We would work together on various projects while living at the Study Center, and then we would be sent out to a city in the United States to open up a Shiloh house. We worked at dismantling a church and parsonage in Springfield, OR. The materials from these two buildings were saved as much as possible and carted back to the Study Center. The used building materials were used toward the many buildings that were going up at the Study Center. Here are a few pictures from that time:
Our team was sent to Richmond, VA in March of 1972. Jeanne and I, Micah, and three others (Dan Bero, Volinda Neal, Jackie Miller) were to travel across the country in a station wagon and deliver the vehicle to someone in Charlotte, NC. Four others (Brian Williams, Jim Holman, Bill Canonico, David Lucas) were to hitch-hike across the country to Charlotte. Once we arrived at the Charlotte Shiloh house, the team got prepared to head up to Richmond. David Lucas and I were taken to Richmond and dropped off at a motel with a couple of nights paid. The rest of the team worked at various jobs in and around Charlotte to help get some money for the opening of the house in Richmond.
David and I ended up staying in the attic of a few fellows from Young Life ministry in Richmond. They were gracious enough to let us stay there until we found a house suitable for the team to move up to Richmond. A couple of weeks later we found this run-down house in the college area of Virginia Commonwealth University. We contacted the owner, explained our ministry and purpose, and he agreed to rent us the house. Our rent would be waived for the first few months on the agreement that we renovated the house. We were ecstatic! The rest of the members of the team were sent up and we opened the Richmond house--100 N. Harvie St.
It was during this next year and a half at Richmond when these next songs were written:
O DESIRE:from Throne Room Ballads ‘91from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
MY HOME IN GLORY:from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
SING UNTO THE LAMB:from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
In the fall of 1973, I was asked to come back to Oregon to join the teaching staff at the Study Center in Dexter. Our second son, Jesse, had just been born and we were ready to leave. It was about two weeks later that he came down with bacterial spinal menningitis. He was in ICU at Medical College of Virginia for five weeks. Through the prayers of hundreds of brethren, God touched this little guy and healed him. There have been no side effects at all. He is now married with one daughter, one adopted daughter from China, and is ready to adopt a little boy from Korea. He has been on staff at Calvary Chapel North Phoenix for the past ten years as an assistant pastor and worship leader.
Over the next four and a half years at the Study Center in Dexter, I was one of five teachers that taught several hundred students making their cycle through the foundational Bible School. I met so many wonderful believers during this time. I came to appreciate the sincerity, the zeal, and the commitment of these young men and women. They challenged me, they encouraged me, and they prayed for me...and I for them.
During these years, the Thursday night Bible Study at the Study Center was a highlight for all. We would worship together, and at times I would get up and share a new song I had just written. Then John Higgins would give a study out of the Scriptures. Some of those many songs have been recorded and they are listed below:
ECCLESIASTES 12:from Shiloh Folk Festival ‘75
REFUGEE:from Shiloh Folk Festival ‘75from Labor of Love ‘81
FOOL’S LAST DAY:from Shiloh Folk Festival ‘76from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
RAPTURE:from Shiloh Folk Festival ‘76
ISAIAH 61:from Labor of Love ‘81from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
HEY, REBEL MAN!:from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
NO ONE ELSE:from Labor of Love ‘81
KINGDOM OF MAN:from Throne Room Ballads ‘91from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
MERCY AND TRUTH:from Closer to God ‘85from Throne Room Ballads ‘91
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE ABOUT JESUS?:from Throne Room Ballads ‘91
In the summer of 1978, I left the Shiloh Ministry, and our family moved down to Phoenix, AZ. Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa had asked John Higgins, the former leader of the Shiloh Ministry, to open up a Calvary Chapel in Phoenix. We had been in communication with John through our friends, Sam and Chris McClellan, and Charlie Foster. The more we considered and prayed about making the move to help start and support this new work, the more convinced we were in the Lord that it was time to take this step. We sold our home, packed up our belongings and headed out. Our eight and a half year journey through the Shiloh ministry had come to a close. They were blessed years; they were fruitful years. And they were a season of our lives that laid a solid foundation in our walks with the Lord.