Also published in AG-News, Mon, 05 May 2014 – 4:31 PM CST.
Glad Tidings Tabernacle, located on West 33rd Street in New York City, was for many decades one of the largest Assemblies of God congregations in the United States. Started in 1907 by Marie Burgess, the flock initially met in a small rented storefront mission on West 42nd Street. Marie hung crisp curtains and set up 96 chairs, praying that the chairs would be filled. Two drunks stumbled into the small mission and accepted Christ on the opening night.
The story of Glad Tidings Tabernacle was published in the May 5, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, in celebration of the church’s 50th anniversary. According to the article, Burgess laid the groundwork for the new congregation by first holding services in homes of people who “hungered and thirsted after righteousness.” The earnest ministry of Marie and her co-workers was met with opposition from both sinners and saints. One of the saintly critics was Robert Brown, a young Wesleyan minister from Ireland. He opposed the Pentecostal movement, but attended the meetings out of curiosity and ultimately became convinced that the Pentecostal experience was both biblical and available to believers today. He finally relented to the urgings of the Holy Spirit and, on January 11, 1908, went forward to the altar and openly prayed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, following the New Testament example. Robert received the experience. He later testified:
“I had a wonderful conversion and many other visitations of God’s blessing and love, but the baptism in the Holy Spirit exceeded them all. Abandoned to God, yielded to His will, it was no longer I but the precious Holy Spirit. He took charge of every part of my body and then spoke through me in languages which I had never learned. Thank God, I received the same Baptism as the apostles did in the beginning.”
Robert went from being a critic of the small Pentecostal mission to one of its biggest supporters. The following year, Marie and Robert were united in marriage and, together, they pastored the congregation until their deaths (Robert in 1948 and Marie in 1971).
Not only did God answer Marie’s prayers for the chairs to be filled in those early years of the mission (the article recounts that they “were filled continually”), but He filled the chairs with specific people, both saints and sinners, who would ultimately play significant roles in establishing a bright gospel lighthouse in New York City.
Read the entire article by Elizabeth Schuster, “Honoring Glad Tidings Tabernacle New York on its 50th Anniversary,” on pages 16, 17 and 20 of the May 5, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
* “A Healthy Church,” by Samuel S. Scull
* “Infilling and Outreach,” by Don Mallough
And many more!
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200