In 1940, at the age of 21, Victor Toney recognized his life was taking a destructive path and knelt down to ask Christ into his life. He rose a changed man…and began a life of evangelism.
Mary, born the 9th of 11 children, loved her large family and embraced the tough times of farm life. At age 17, she moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to serve as the youth pastor for an Assembly of God church, ministering to more than 40 young people. At 24, she was asked to take on a church in Monnette, Missouri, as pastor — which is where she met Victor.
The couple wed in 1956 and together they evangelized and, eventually, pastored in her Missouri hometown. In 1962, Victor and Mary moved their family to Marion, Ohio, and became pastors of Fairground Street Pentecostal Church of God. A few years later, they purchased an empty church building on the corner of Lee and Evans streets and pastored there for the next 50 years.
Both came from humble beginnings, and neither completed high school, but their circumstances were never a deterrent to their calling and impact on other people. Together, they raised six children, all of whom are as passionate about the Gospel message. Positively impacting lives, sharing hope and love in a world that seemed hopeless and unlovable was their hallmark.
At age 16, James Winders accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He joined the Navy during World War II. Upon his return, he married Norma Haislip and moved to Marion, Ohio.
James worked for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL) until retirement in 1989, serving 45 years with Chessie System, CSX Corporation. Norma was a stay home mom, raising five children.
In the early 1960s, James became the assistant pastor of Marion’s Pentecostal Church of Christ. By the end of that decade, he was pastoring at the Galion Pentecostal Church of Christ for what would become a 26-year tenure. His passion to help and encourage those in need was his priority.
When the Lord called James home in 1994, Norma began a new pastoral life experience at Victory Center, Church of God on Fairground Road. She and a friend began a Young at Heart ministry, a senior-age group open to all. Her tenure came to an end when she was diagnosed with dementia; even in assisted living, Norma continued to read her Bible daily, minister to other dementia patients and sing praises to the Lord.
Even though James and Norma were born in North Carolina, Marion, Ohio, became their home. Marion was a large part of who they are and the legacy they left to eight grandchildren and 21 great children.