Rare Hispanic historical materials donated by widow of Felix Posos
Readers encouraged to deposit La Luz Apostolica and other Hispanic Pentecostal treasures at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
When Felix Posos, former Superintendent of the Northern Pacific Latin American District of the Assemblies of God passed away in April 2008, his widow, Mary, realized the historical importance of the old Spanish-language magazines and other historical materials that he left behind.
She contacted the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC) and discovered that Felix had corresponded with the director, Darrin Rodgers, several years earlier and had expressed interest in donating those materials to the FPHC! Mary Posos finished the task that her husband had begun and sent a large box of treasures to the FPHC. Historians now have access to these materials, donated in memory of Felix Posos, documenting the story of Hispanic Pentecostalism.
The Posos collection includes many issues of La Luz Apostolica from 1960 through 1973 that were missing from the FPHC’s collection, as well as Spanish-language hymnals, photographs, and funeral booklets honoring deceased ministers.
“This is an exciting donation,” states Rodgers. “The stories of how God has worked through the Hispanic Pentecostal churches have often been left out of the history books, because historians have not had easy access to materials documenting this important part of our Pentecostal heritage.”
The title of Victor De Leon’s 1979 history, The Silent Pentecostals, highlighted this marginalization of Hispanic Pentecostals. He wrote that Hispanics “did not receive the recognition they deserved,” because they were minorities without the educational and cultural advantages of Anglo church members. Existing histories of the Assemblies of God primarily included the stories of Anglos, because historians – who were largely English-speaking – were most familiar with Anglo sources.
While recent histories, such as Gary McGee’s People of the Spirit, intentionally include sacred stories from across the ethnic and linguistic divides within the Assemblies of God, much work remains to be done.
For instance, La Luz Apostolica was published from 1916 to 1973, but very few issues prior to 1960 are known to have survived. The primary magazine for Hispanic Pentecostals in the early decades of the twentieth century, La Luz Apostolica contained a treasure trove of information.
Church of God Theological Seminary professor Paul Elbert, when researching about Hispanic AG missionary Alice Luce for his recently-published book, Pastoral Letter to Theo, discovered that most of her devotional writings from 1917 through 1955 were lost to history. Elbert explained, “Luce and countless other Hispanic pioneers whose inspiring stories need to be told cannot, because publications such as La Luz Apostolica simply are not available to researchers.”
The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, holds one of the largest Pentecostal archival collections in the world. The FPHC has already begun digitization of La Luz Apostolica and plans to place these historic magazines on its website, www.iFPHC.org.
“The donation of the Felix Posos collection honors a well-loved Hispanic church leader in the Assemblies of God,” notes Rodgers. “But it also draws attention to the need to locate and preserve additional Hispanic materials.”
For example, most of the issues from the first 50 years of La Luz Apostolica have not been located. Readers who are aware of the existence of old issues of La Luz Apostolica, as well as other Hispanic Pentecostal historical materials, are encouraged to contact the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free at 877-840-5200.
Posted by Darrin Rodgers