Valentine’s Day holds more significance for the Rev. Francis V. Crumley than for most people, for it was on February 14, 1932, that Crumley gave his heart to Christ. Crumley’s conversion is particularly important in the perspective of North American Christianity because he went on to become a leader of the rescue-mission movement during a period of crucial transition.

That transition is in full sway, and Crumley, now 61, wants to see it through. He is the superintendent of the Central Union Mission in Washington, D. C., and president of the International Union of Gospel Missions.

“Primarily because of urban-renewal programs,” Crumley says, “missions everywhere are faced with relocation or adopting new ministries.” Most are taking the latter route, but that isn’t always an easy answer. Crumley notes that when urban-renewal gets rid of one Skid Row it often creates five or six smaller ones elsewhere. And it’s becoming ever more difficult to start large new missions in metropolitan areas.

One thing is certain: Rescue missions are needed in many inner-city areas more than ever before. Christians seeking to exercise their faith can find no better place, for human problems seem to be taking on an ever wider variety in crowded downtown areas. Rescue missions still carry through their historic emphasis as a haven for helpless alcoholics, but the picture is changing.

“Rescue missions have been branching out into other phases of social service with a religious orientation,” Crumley says. “Our ministries now run the gamut from pre-natal care to old folks’ homes.” In between are such efforts as homes for unwed mothers, child-care centers, Bible classes for all, personal counseling, Christian day schools, aid for hippies, and medical and ...

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