Participants at the Amanda Benedict memorial service (l-r): Assistant Archivist Glenn Gohr; Rev. Hubert Morris of Central Assembly; FPHC Director Darrin Rodgers; Dr. James Bradford, pastor of Central Assembly; General Secretary George Wood; Jewell Woodward, adminstrative assistant to George Wood; National Prayer Center Director John Maempa; and Archivist Joyce Lee.
Front of marker
Back of marker
Photographs by Sharon Rasnake
As part of the celebration of 100 years of Pentecost in Springfield, Central Assembly chose to honor one of the early leaders in the church, Miss Amanda Benedict, who is remembered as a fervent prayer warrior.
Educated in New York, her home state, she later conducted a rescue home for girls in Chicago and was connected with a faith home for children in Iowa. She moved to Springfield, Missouri, sometime before 1910 and met Mrs. Lillie Corum while working as a door-to-door salesperson. The two ladies and others began praying together regularly, and soon Amanda Benedict received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She had a burden for lost souls and that God might bless the gospel work in Springfield, Missouri.
Sister Benedict would fast and pray for days on end, until a burden was lifted or victory came. Often, like Napoleon, she would say, “There shall be no Alps!” She had a tremendous burden that God would make Springfield a center from which his blessings would flow to the ends of the earth. At one point she felt led to fast and pray for Springfield for one entire year — living only on bread and water.
In 1915 she moved to Aurora, Missouri to found a Pentecostal church in that community. She passed away in 1925 at the age of 74. A funeral service was held at Central Assembly of God, and church members, Bible school students, and others gave inspiring testimonies of her life.
Many believed in later years that Central Assembly of God, Central Bible College, and the Assemblies of God Headquarters, all located in Springfield, Missouri, were largely a result of her fervent, effectual prayers.
She was buried in Eastlawn Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri. Her grave remained unmarked for 82 years.
After her grave was located in the fall of 2006, plans were set in motion to place a marker at her grave. Central Assembly agreed to raise funds and place a marker for her in the cemetery in conjunction with its 100th anniversary. General Secretary George Wood closed his banquet message with the poignant story of Amanda Benedict and her ongoing prayers. Afterwards the new red granite marker was unveiled and on display for everyone to see this tribute to a woman who had long been forgotten. The marker was placed in the cemetery last week, and a brief memorial service was held on Thursday June 7th.
The front of the upright marker includes an image of praying hands, her name and dates, and an inscription: “She prayed and fasted for the city of Springfield”
The back of the stone includes part of a quote:
“… Pray, fight, hold … that Christ be lifted up.” — Amanda Benedict
There is also a fitting Scripture verse:
“Pray without ceasing.” I Thessalonians 5:17
Additional information on Amanda Benedict can be found in The Sparkling Fountain.
There was a big write-up about Central Assembly’s anniversary in the Springfield News-Leader (June 9), and a short article about Glenn Gohr and his search for Amanda Benedict’s grave as well. These articles can be viewed online.
KY3 TV, with reporter Steve Grant, broadcast a feature on Amanda Benedict and the 100th anniversary of Pentecost in Springfield on the Sunday 10 o’clock news and on Monday morning.
Here are some links to the news coverage and related media:
Honoring its roots, by Linda Leicht, Springfield News-Leader.
Central Assembly of God is celebrating 100 years of history that led to its development
Prayer warrior’s testimony leads man on mission, by Linda Leicht, Springfield News-Leader.
The Holy Spirit in Springfield
George Wood, general secretary of the Assemblies of God, tells the story of the beginning of Pentecostalism in Springfield and what would later become Central Assembly of God.
Church honors woman who prayed for Springfield’s citizens, by Steve Grant, KY3 News.
Posted by Glenn Gohr