Go Tell it on the Mountain

Tucson Daily Citizen, Arizona

March 7, 1969, North America

Scores of hippies are flocking to Tucson, and with them has come a small band of reformed hippies carrying Bibles, whose mission, they say, is the conversion of their bearded brothers to that “old-time religion.”

Most of the new arrivals are here to escape the “great earthquake,” which they contend will cause most or all of California to slide into the ocean by the middle of April.

Dozens are here now and they say that as many as 500 are expected here within two months.

Befriended by an artist-missionary on Tucson’s South Side, the small, but energetic little band began collecting its flock of would-be converts just last week. Invited to Tucson from Phoenix by the Rev. Edward “Ted” Ware, pastor of the “Fellowship Church,” at 2570 Menor Strav., the six-member team moved into the pretty little white church—and things haven’t been quite the same there since.

First, they removed the pews. Then they removed all images, except the wooden cross at the front of the church. In came the pillows—they prefer sitting on the floor—and the bongo drums and guitar. They were ready for services.

The Rev. Mr. Ware, a globe-hopping missionary with an abundance of faith, shrugged his shoulders, called it the will of God, and prepared to aid his new flock of former drug users.

In late afternoon the searchers go out. They go to East Sixth Street, the closest thing to a hippie colony in Tucson, an area which police formerly termed a “real problem area for drugs.”

The group passes out pamphlets, quoting scripture, and invites its hippie friends to a “feed in,” It’s free chow, for those willing to sit through a sermon.

Back at the church, by 7:30 p.m. a spontaneous and impromptu worship session consists of songs and a few words from the Bible.