“Cause I’ve got a Mansion Builder Who ain’t through with me yet.”
This post will date me, but I believe Second Chapter of Acts was one of the unique and arguably best Christian singing groups of the last 50 years. The group is composed of two sisters Annie Herring and Nellie Greisen and brother Mathew Ward.
The above song is one of their hits — Mansion Builder — performed live in 1987 in California.
After their last parent (dad) died in 1970, the younger children Nellie (14) and Mathew (12) moved in with Annie and her husband Buck Herring, a music producer and recording engineer.
When Annie sang in their home, Nellie and Mathew joined her around the piano and eventually formed Second Chapter of Acts. Pat Boone noticed the band and helped them record a couple of songs in the mid 70s, which were even popular on secular radio stations in California.
Barry McGuire (New Christy Minstrels), a well-known 1960’s folk singer had just become a Christian. When he started to record Christian music, he asked the siblings to sing back up vocals. The group toured with Barry for several years.
Second Chapter of Acts became one of the popular Christian bands of the time. Annie was the main songwriter and the only one that played an instrument — a piano. She and Mathew were the group’s lead singers.
During performances, God would give Nellie ‘Words of Knowledge’ about healings and issues in people’s lives, which she shared. Years later people would approach the band telling them how God healed them during a concert.
The group was popular in Europe, particularly Holland. After one well attended concert in the Netherlands, a newspaper headline the next day read, “Christian Group Draws More Than Madonna!” Then there was a secular call-in radio request show, that actually imposed a ban on Second Chapter of Acts songs for certain periods during the day, because it received so many requests for their music.
Second Chapter of Acts became embroiled in a bit of a controversy. When other major Gospel groups decided to start charging performance fees, Second Chapter of Acts continued with a love-offering format which caused a back lash from other groups.
The Band broke up in 1988, with Annie and Mathew taking on solo careers. Nellie who had married Steve Greisen helped him in a Christian film production venture — Exploration films — which he had started.
In 1999, Second Chapter of Acts was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.