Category Archives: History

Alice Belle Garrigus and Pentecostalism in Newfoundland

Garrigus_1400bThis Week in AG History — June 24, 1950

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 25 June 2020

Alice Belle Garrigus (1858-1949) was only five feet tall, unmarried, and 52 years of age when she sensed God call her in 1910 to help pioneer the Pentecostal movement in Newfoundland.

Born into an Episcopalian family in Rockville, Connecticut, Garrigus spent the first half of her life in various locations in New England.

At 15 she began teaching in rural schools. Desiring further schooling she returned to Normal School and then spent three years (1878-1881) at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College). Leaving the seminary a year before graduation, she resumed teaching. Through the influence of a colleague, Gertrude Wheeler, Garrigus accepted Christ as her Savior in 1888. Both women left on a 10-month excursion to Europe.

Returning to the United State, Garrigus again taught school, but she was spiritually restless. She wanted a deeper walk with God and began reading Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. “This I read,” Alice wrote, “often on my knees — praying fervently: ‘Oh God, if there be such an experience, won’t you bring me into it?’”

Garrigus and Wheeler then joined the Congregational Church. Her friend Gertrude later went to Africa as a missionary and died there. About 1891, Garrigus gave up her teaching profession to work in a home for destitute children and women. Next she moved to Rumney, New Hampshire, where she came in contact with the First Fruit Harvesters Association, a small evangelical denomination focused on the evangelization of New England. Garrigus served as an itinerant preacher with the First Fruit Harvesters between 1897 and 1903.

During 1906, Garrigus reread the Bible and earnestly sought to understand what made Jesus’ disciples different following the Day of Pentecost. Around this same time, she heard about the revival taking place at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles.

In 1907, at a Christian and Missionary Alliance camp meeting at Old Orchard, Maine, she met Frank Bartleman, a veteran of the Azusa Street revival and an unofficial chronicler of the Pentecostal movement. Bartleman “stood for hours,” wrote Garrigus, “telling us of the deeper things of God.” After he left the camp meeting, Garrigus, Minnie Draper, and others met in an old barn to pray, and there Alice Belle Garrigus received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. She continued preaching at Rumney and Grafton, Massachusetts, and other places, but began feeling impressed to found a mission in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

One of her protégés at Bridgeport, Connecticut, was Charles Personeus, superintendent of the John Street Mission. Personeus wrote, “When Miss Garrigus was with me in the John Street Mission, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that changed the mission to First Pentecostal Mission.” In 1917, Charles Personeus and his wife, Florence, went to Juneau, Alaska, as missionaries for the Assemblies of God.

Together with the W. D. Fowlers, a missionary couple she had known since 1889, Alice Belle Garrigus traveled to Newfoundland, arriving in the capital city of St. John’s in December 1910. The three established Bethesda Mission in a rented building in the downtown area on New Gower Street, which opened on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1911. Garrigus’ preaching at Bethesda emphasized conversion, adult water baptism, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the imminent return of Christ. Numerous lives were changed because of the ministry at Bethesda. After little more than a year, the building was purchased, and by the next year the building was enlarged to accommodate the increasing number of people attending the services. In 1912, the Fowlers had to leave Newfoundland for health reasons, and that left Garrigus in charge.

The Pentecostal movement in Newfoundland grew slowly during the next decade, since Garrigus’ ministry remained centered in the St. John’s area.

After a crusade in 1919 by evangelist Victoria Booth-Clibborn Demarest, interest in Pentecostalism grew. New converts started new missions, and one of these, Robert C. English, eventually became co-pastor with Garrigus at Bethesda Mission.

Alice Belle Garrigus’ work with Bethesda Mission eventually led to the founding of a Pentecostal organization in Newfoundland. On Dec. 8, 1925, the “Bethesda Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland” was chartered. The word “Bethesda” was dropped in 1930.

The first general superintendent of this organization was Robert C. English, followed by Eugene Vaters, A. Stanley Bursey (all three who worked closely with Garrigus), and others. In 1949 the people of Newfoundland voted to become Canada’s newest province, and this organization and the number of churches has continued to grow. The current name is The Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador (PAONL). It is a member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship and has strong ties with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the Assemblies of God, and other denominations within the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA).

Alice Garrigus’ nearly 40 years in Newfoundland were very busy. She remained there for the rest of her life and continued to be a principal figure in the Pentecostal church, serving as an evangelist in charge of Bethesda Mission and also holding a number of executive positions in the PAONL. She passed away in August 1949 at Clarke’s Beach, Newfoundland, at the age of 91. Soon after her passing, a Pentecostal campground was established and called Camp Emmanuel. The Garrigus Memorial Tabernacle at the camp was named in her honor and dedicated in 1955.

A. Stanley Bursey, a former PAONL general superintendent, wrote: “We, who have had the opportunity to appraise her work and the result of same, can only conclude that when God calls, He makes no mistakes.”

Alice Belle Garrigus was a prolific writer. In 1950, the Pentecostal Evangel published an article by her, titled “Eating on the Heap,” which discusses Jacob and his father-in-law, Laban, making a covenant that was solidified with a mound of stones called “a heap.” Afterwards they ate together on the heap to show that past wrongs and hurts would be forgotten and that love would prevail.

Read “Eating on the Heap,” on page 3 of the June 24, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “I Sat Where They Sat,” by J. Narver Gortner

• “The Passing and the Permanent,” by Robert C. Cunningham

• “Missions — New and Old,” by H. C. Ball

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel
archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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P.C. Nelson’s 1934 Plea for Liberal Arts Education in the Assemblies of God

PCNelson1This Week in AG History — June 16, 1934

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 18 June 2020

Peter C. (P. C.) Nelson, an Assemblies of God educator and theologian, made an eloquent plea for Pentecostal schools to develop curriculum in the liberal arts and to train students for non-ministry vocations in a 1934 Pentecostal Evangel article. Up to that point, all Assemblies of God colleges focused on the training of people for ministry. Nelson noted that increasing numbers of Assemblies of God young people have an “anointing of the Spirit for doing a worthy work in other fields besides that of the ministry.”

Nelson warned readers that the “moral and spiritual conditions in most schools and colleges” cause many Pentecostal young people to abandon the faith. “If we want our young people to remain loyal to our Movement,” Nelson wrote, “our Fellowship must provide instruction for them along all branches of study.” He envisioned new courses that would train teachers, musicians, businesspeople, stenographers, accountants, engineers, architects, carpenters, masons, auto mechanics, and printers.

Where would this new liberal arts school be located? Nelson suggested that Central Bible College, the national ministerial training school of the Assemblies of God, located in Springfield, Missouri, would be an ideal location. He recommended that its facilities be enlarged so that it could train even more ministers and also add a liberal arts curriculum.

Nelson was not alone in his support for the development of Pentecostal liberal arts education. His article received the unanimous support of the Executive Presbytery. There was a growing recognition that the Assemblies of God should develop educational programs for training young people in fields other than vocational ministry. Nelson began his article by pointing out that the Assemblies of God constitution, adopted in 1927, included the following paragraph: “The General Council shall be in sympathy with the establishment and maintenance of academic schools for the children of our constituency.”

Although Nelson did not mention it in his article, this vision for a Pentecostal liberal arts curriculum dated back to the founding of the Assemblies of God. The “Call to Hot Springs” — the open invitation to all Pentecostal “elders, pastors, ministers, evangelists, and missionaries” to attend the first General Council of the Assemblies of God — enumerated five purposes for the meeting. The fifth purpose was “to lay before the body for a General Bible Training School with a literary department for our people.” The phrase “literary department” was a 19th– and early-20th-century term that roughly corresponds to “liberal arts” today.

Nelson’s call for Central Bible College to train ministers alongside laypersons was not realized during his lifetime. However, other Assemblies of God Bible schools began expanding their curriculum. North Central Bible Institute (now North Central University, Minneapolis, Minnesota) added a two-year business college in 1938. Southwestern Bible College (now Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Waxahachie, Texas), the school founded by Nelson, opened a junior college in 1944. Northwest Bible Institute (now Northwest University, Kirkland, Washington) also added a junior college in 1955. That same year, the Assemblies of God established its new national liberal arts school, Evangel College (now Evangel University), in Springfield, Missouri.

Nelson encouraged readers to invest in Assemblies of God young people who possess “real sterling character, native ability, and spirituality.” The value of Pentecostal schools, asserted Nelson, “exceeds the cost…No investment will pay a larger dividend.”

Read the entire article by P. C. Nelson, “Enlarging Our Educational Facilities,” on page 7 of the June 16, 1934, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Finishing Our Course,” by Zelma Argue

• “Are the Gifts of the Spirit for Today?” by Otto J. Klink

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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William Jethro Walthall and the Early Pentecostal Movement in Arkansas

Walthall

W. J. Walthall, the older minister in the center, at Aimee Semple McPherson’s camp meeting in Wesson, Arkansas, ca. 1920.

This Week in AG History — June 13, 1931

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 11 June 2020

William Jethro Walthall (1858-1931) was an early Pentecostal pioneer who later joined the Assemblies of God. Born in Nevada County, Arkansas, Walthall grew up in southwest Arkansas and attended Methodist and Baptist revivals in his youth. He felt called into full-time ministry and was always seeking more of God. He was ordained by the Missionary Baptist Church in 1887, but he was later expelled because of his strong belief in the Holy Spirit baptism, Bible holiness, and divine healing.

Walthall testified that he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1879, which was more than 20 years before the outpouring at Topeka, Kansas. He received the gift of speaking in tongues at about this time, although it is unclear whether it was in 1879 or shortly afterward. Earlier instances of tongues-speaking have been reported among the Shakers, the Holiness movement, the Advent Christian Church in New England (known as the “Gift People”), and others. However, among those who became Assemblies of God pioneers, it is possible that Walthall was the earliest to have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and spoken in tongues.

Walthall continued preaching on his own for a while, and then ended up organizing a group of churches that became known as the Holiness Baptist Churches of Southwestern Arkansas. This group affirmed the contemporary practice of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Soon after the Assemblies of God was organized in 1914 at Hot Springs, Arkansas, Walthall began having dialogue with the Assemblies of God leadership. In 1917 he brought 36 churches from his Baptist group into the Assemblies of God. He also served two stints as superintendent of the Arkansas District of the Assemblies of God (1918-1926 and 1928-1929).

Walthall passed away on May 24, 1931, in Bearden, Arkansas. Afterwards, several tributes to him appeared in the Pentecostal Evangel. Only a few days before his death, Walthall contributed an article giving an account of some of his experiences with divine healing and courageous faith.

He reported that early in his ministry, a man had a cancer on his cheek that had troubled him for seven years. He had taken treatments, but they had not helped. One half of his face became consumed with the cancer. Walthall felt directed to call the family to prayer in a “life-and-death struggle for victory.” A few days later, when the man’s wife changed the dressing on his face, new skin had covered the affected part and it looked almost healed. Walthall said, “In a few days’ time the healing was complete.” The man lived eight more years without any trace of cancer.

Walthall reported other cases of healing that he had witnessed including a woman with a cancer on her mouth that he prayed for, and she was still cancer-free 20 years later. He also reported on a woman who was healed of “acute rheumatism.” He told of a man who had been confined to a bed for six weeks and six physicians had pronounced him incurable, saying that he had a growth on the brain. After Walthall prayed with him, the man got out of bed and went out to work on his farm. After more than 20 years, Walthall had seen no sign of that affliction returning.

Walthall shared other examples when he prayed for days for spiritual oppression to leave. After prayer and fasting, he reported deliverance from an angry mob in one instance as well as further physical healings that he witnessed.

Walthall’s last sermon text, just a week before he died, was 2 Timothy 4:6-8, which emphasized “I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” After his passing, this seemed like a final benediction to his congregation.

Read “A Ministry of the Miraculous,” on page 8 of the June 13, 1931, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Joy of the Lord,” by Donald Gee

• “Letter From the Tibetan Border,” by W. W. Simpson

• “How I Received the Baptism,” by George A. Jeffrey

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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What can Pentecostals learn from John Wesley, the founder of Methodism?

Wesley_1400This Week in AG History — June 3, 1944

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 04 June 2020

What can Pentecostals learn from John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of Methodism?

Wesley, an Anglican priest in England, helped to lay the foundation for large segments of the evangelical and Pentecostal movements. Despite living in a nation that identified as Christian, he recognized that most people did not have saving faith. He pioneered new evangelism and discipleship methods, which upset some of the religious leaders of his day. He appointed itinerant, unordained evangelists who traveled and preached the gospel. He also encouraged the formation of small groups of Christians for the purpose of discipleship, accountability, and Bible study.

Wesley encouraged each person to experience God’s love. However, he insisted that if a person was truly saved, an experience with God must yield a transformed life. True Christians, he taught, would live holy lives. When the Holy Spirit transformed a person’s desires, this inner holiness would naturally be manifested in outward holiness.

In many ways, early Pentecostals identified themselves in the tradition of Wesley. The June 6, 1944, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel published an article that shared the “secret” of “Wesley’s power.” Three reasons existed, according to the article, which caused Wesley’s ministry to be so powerful.

First, Wesley believed that the Bible was “the very Word of God.” The Bible was the standard for everything, and he prayerfully consulted it for guidance.

Second, Wesley “preached with a living sense of divine authority.” He believed his sermons were given “by direct communication of the Spirit,” based on the Bible, and “applied logically, earnestly, passionately to the hearts of men.”

Third, Wesley “lived and preached in the presence and power of the Holy Ghost.” His deep spirituality was formed by living daily in the presence of God and by developing daily habits of “prayer and song, fellowship and meditation, study and preaching.”

Wesley taught that changed hearts should ultimately change society. He and his followers (known as Methodists) became leaders in social issues of his day, including the abolition of slavery and prison reform.

In the present era of social and family disintegration, Wesley’s admonitions point Christians back toward holiness and deep spirituality. He understood that humanity’s woes flow from the human heart, and he encouraged people to change society one heart at a time.

Read the entire article by Samuel Chadwick, “Wesley’s Secret of Power,” on page 4 of the June 3, 1944, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Direct Answers to Prayer,” by Frederick M. Bellsmith

• “Following Jesus,” by H. A. Baker

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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The Spiritual Legacy of Camp Meetings: From the Scottish Covenanters to the Assemblies of God

Tent meeting

Tent meeting in Seminole, Oklahoma, circa 1930s.

This Week in AG History — May 29, 1937

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 28 May 2020

If you attended meetings in the years of the early Pentecostal movement, you might remember a summer church event that included sawdust floors, crude benches, tents, and open tabernacles. Those early tents and brush arbors have since given way to air-conditioned auditoriums and indoor plumbing, but the rousing fellowship and memorable spiritual experiences continue to ensure that summer camp meetings have a place in the life of the church.

Although the Assemblies of God has a long tradition with the camp meeting, the phenomenon predates the Pentecostal movement. It was in 17th-century Scotland that a group of Presbyterians, known as Covenanters, refused to recognize the right of the king to mandate religious conformity and were expelled from their churches. They began to hold illegal open-air meetings. Attendance at these meetings was declared a capital offense and many Covenanters were martyred for their stand.

Some fled to Ireland and along with others formed the base of the Scots-Irish immigration of the 1700s. Many eventually settled south into Virginia and the Carolinas, with a large concentration in the Appalachian region. They brought with them their tradition of the extended outdoor meeting.

It was one of these Scottish Presbyterian camp meetings in Cane Ridge, Kentucky, in 1801 that brought thousands of Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists together for an outdoor meeting that featured revivalistic preaching, enthusiastic singing, and extended prayer meetings with a flood of religious enthusiasm. The revival fires of the Cane Ridge Camp meetings set off the Second Great Awakening that sparked a movement of camp meeting revivalism that shaped the course of western American Protestantism.

By the mid-18th century, the Baptists and Presbyterians largely abandoned the camp meeting for indoor protracted meetings. The Methodists, however, began to build permanent meeting sites for the purpose of joining together with other believers for Bible teaching, extended prayer, and exhortational preaching. These camp meetings became a staple for the Holiness Movement of the later 18th century.

When the Pentecostal movement sprang out of the influence of the Holiness churches, it was natural to continue the camp meeting practice. Early Assemblies of God adherents, such as those in Wisconsin who rented Camp Byron in Fond du Lac County from the Methodist church, used these meetings for inspiration, fellowship, consecration, and response to the call of God.

The May 29, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel served as a promotional tool for many of the scheduled camp meetings of that summer. In the article, “Let’s All Go to Camp Meeting,” Evangel readers are made aware of the many district camp schedules for that year, including Wisconsin-Northern Michigan, Kansas, Virginia, Texico, Northern California-Nevada, New England, Potomac, Northwest, West Central, Illinois, Yellowstone, Arkansas, Louisiana, Rocky Mountain, and the North Central districts. Speakers included W. I. Evans, E. S. Williams, Myer Pearlman, Otto Klink, Charles Price, Ralph Riggs, Howard Carter, and many other pastors and lay preachers, both male and female.

These camp meetings were not limited to the members of the host district. The West Central district camp at Storm Lake, Iowa, reminded readers that “last year the crowd was estimated at six to seven thousand people … and we are expecting a larger crowd this year. More than half of the states in the union were represented at last year’s meeting.”

The schedule varied by district, but the one listed by the Appalachian district, held at Pentecostal Park in Bristol, Virginia, was typical: Devotional at 7 a.m., Children’s service at 9 a.m., Bible teaching at 10:30 a.m., preaching at 2:30 p.m., young people’s service at 6 p.m., and an evangelistic service at 8 p.m.

While the meetings had some limited focus on certain demographics, the services were not segregated by age. Adults attended children’s services, and children attended alongside the adults. It was in these services that many children and young people were introduced to the leaders of the Pentecostal movement as they were exposed to anointed teaching in each service.

Many Pentecostal laypeople trace their first exposure to the baptism in the Holy Spirit to these protracted meetings. Ministers and missionaries testify of receiving their call to lifelong service around the altar at camp meeting. Other benefits included the tight bond of fellowship established between those who attended different churches but found lasting relationships at camp, including missionary Melvin Hodges. Not only was he was introduced to a love for Bible teaching by a camp speaker, but camp also provided the opportunity, as it did for many others, to meet a future spouse.

Although much has changed in our camp meeting presentation over the years, it remains an important chapter in our shared heritage. As the Evangel said in 1937, “It is blessed to be able to drop the daily tasks for a while and to go to some place where you can give yourself wholly to the things of God.”

Read the article, “Let’s All Go to Camp Meeting,” on page 9 of the May 29, 1937, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “How Moody Used the Power” by Zelma Argue

• “The Result of One Day’s Travailing Prayer” by Charles G. Finney

• “God’s Condition for Revival” by Beatrice Pannabecker

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Evangelism is not Optional: Christians will either Evangelize or Apostatize

tent revivalThis Week in AG History — May 23, 1954

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 21 May 2020

Could there be a task that is more important or more daunting than the evangelization of the world? James Stewart, in a 1954 Pentecostal Evangel article, challenged readers to creatively and proactively fulfill the Great Commission. He wrote, “The magnitude of the unfinished task forces us to witness in unconventional places, at unconventional times, with an unconventional approach. It is our duty to go to the unsaved with the Gospel and not wait until they come to us.”

Stewart appealed to the testimonies of believers from centuries past to inspire the current generation to reach the lost for Christ. He noted that many heralded evangelists ministered outside the walls of church buildings. John Wesley preached in a cemetery, atop his father’s tombstone. The Apostle Paul preached Christ on Mars Hill among the pagan temples and Greek philosophers. Dwight L. Moody accepted Christ in a shoe shop.

Stewart implored readers to think of the church not as a building, but as a body of believers. Past revivals, he noted, occurred when Christians shared the gospel “in the market squares, circus tents, village greens, prisons, public houses, and everywhere the unsaved frequented.”

While holding large evangelistic services in public areas has long been important in evangelical and Pentecostal churches, Stewart admonished that evangelism must also be personal. “Mass evangelism,” he wrote, “will never be a substitute for personal evangelism.”

Personal evangelism, according to Stewart, required the involvement of “ordinary, common believers.” The great revivals of the past involved carpenters, farmers, miners, street cleaners, teachers, and men and women from all walks of life who “went forth with flaming fire.” The Bible and church history teach that professional clergy alone cannot bring revival; a true move of God must catch fire at the grassroots.

Evangelism is not optional for Christians. Stewart wrote that Christians will “either evangelize or apostatize.” His concluding remarks encouraged believers to consecrate themselves to God and to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

He wrote, “Let us dedicate our lives, talents, possessions, and time to the sacred task of worldwide witness. We are couriers of the Cross. The task is great but not impossible. The Holy Ghost is here to empower us. Without the baptism of power our ministry is in vain.”

Read the article, “The Church is Challenged!” by James Stewart, on pages 4, 10, and 11 of the May 23, 1954, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Honor the Holy Spirit!” by P. S. Jones

• “How Spurgeon Found Christ”

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: iFPHC.org

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The Ambassador Airplanes: How the Assemblies of God Became Involved in Missionary Aviation

ambassador plane 1400c

Ambassador II, circa 1950

This Week in AG History — May 13, 1950

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 14 May 2020

Did you know that the Assemblies of God owned two passenger planes just after World War II that carried Assemblies of God missionaries overseas?

Following World War II, commercial flights were not readily available, so World Missions Director Noel Perkin located two surplus army planes and converted them to missionary planes. With help from young people and Speed the Light, the Assemblies of God first bought a C-46 cargo plane for only $5,000. Another $15,000 went into the conversion for civilian passenger service. It was called the Ambassador.

It was an exciting day in August 1948 when the big twin-engine Ambassador, loaded with missionaries and with WWII veterans at the controls, lifted off from the Springfield, Missouri, airport and headed toward the East Coast and eventually to Africa. It took 10 days for the Ambassador to reach Africa on its first flight. This was still much faster than traveling by boat.

After a little over a year of missionary flights, and some domestic flights, World Missions sold the Ambassador, and replaced it with a four-engine B-17 bomber, which was also converted to passenger service. Named Ambassador II, it carried fewer passengers, but the four engines — as opposed to only two on the C-46 — made it a safer plane for crossing oceans and mountains.

For two more years the converted bomber Ambassador II transported missionaries to faraway exotic places. By that time, commercial airlines were able to provide satisfactory overseas service, and the plane was sold.

Seventy years ago, the Pentecostal Evangel gave an account of the Ambassador II airplane on a return trip from Africa back to the United States.

Missionary Irene Crane reported that she left her mission station in Nigeria on Dec. 29, 1949, and traveled to the eastern side of the Niger River to join missionaries May Garner and Elsie Weber who also were traveling back to the U.S. from Nigeria.

These lady missionaries took a local flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos, and then after obtaining visas, they flew to Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana), to meet up with the flight crew of the Ambassador II, including flight director Robert T. McGlasson. After some delays, the group left Accra on Jan. 23, but had to return back after a report of heavy evening ground fog in Ouagadougou, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), which was their intended destination. After spending the night in a hotel at the airport, the plane left early the next morning for the three-hour flight to Ouagadougou.

Upon their arrival, the local missionaries happily greeted them. A number of them had traveled quite a distance to welcome them. They soon found out that five ducks had been prepared the night before for a feast, so everyone had been disappointed when the plane did not arrive on schedule and was delayed another day. Two more missionaries, Mabel M. Schaefer and Henry I. Dahlberg, boarded the plane in Ouagadougou, and the next stop was Roberts Field, Liberia. “It took us around four hours to reach the airport there,” said Crane. “The going was rough all the way because of the hot air currents.”

The group stayed in army barracks at Roberts Field on a Tuesday night, and on Wednesday morning they had a nice visit with Henry B. Garlock, the AG field secretary for Africa. Later that day, the Liberian missionaries took them to visit the Firestone Plantations, which everyone enjoyed.

Leaving Roberts Field in the afternoon, they added seven more passengers to the plane. After leaving the airport, they traveled through a storm. “The ship was tossed about and for a moment fear came to my heart,” said Crane. But then she remembered the many safety devices on the plane and remembered that “hundreds of people all over the world were praying for our safety.” It took 10 hours and 40 minutes to cross the Atlantic from Roberts Field to Natal, Brazil.

Crane reported that the longest stretch of the journey went from Natal to Trinidad, which took 12 hours and 40 minutes. They stayed there only long enough to eat and refuel before taking off again for St. Petersburg, Florida. They flew all night — 10 hours. Then it was a thrill to reach American soil again. The missionaries were able to stay about 24 hours at the Pinellas Park Home where they had food and sleeping quarters.

The final leg of the journey went from St. Petersburg to Springfield, Missouri, in 5 hours and 20 minutes. A large crowd was at the Springfield airport to welcome the missionaries and the staff on board the plane. Crane shared that it was a wonderful feeling to be home at last.

This was one of the first trips made by the new Ambassador II airplane, and it gives an indication of the dangers and setbacks that had to be overcome with each flight. It took planning to map out each of these destinations in order to pick up AG missionaries needing to return home, and to make adjustments when the schedule had to be changed. It was a blessing to the missionaries that they had food and sleeping accommodations already arranged for them at each destination. The plane kept a busy schedule. In the first year of operation, the Ambassador II visited 38 countries.

The transoceanic flights of the two Ambassador airplanes lasted about three years. In July 1951, the Executive Presbytery approved the sale of Ambassador II because commercial flights were becoming more common.

Read “Trip Home on Ambassador,” on page 6 of the May 13, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Entire Conformity to Christ,” by Wesley R. Steelberg

• “Jesus and His Mother,” by Alice E. Luce

• “David Anointed King,” by Ernest A. Williams

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: iFPHC.org

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Glad Tidings Tabernacle: A Bright Pentecostal Lighthouse in New York City

BrownsThis Week in AG History — May 5, 1957

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 07 May 2020

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. Burgess 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 Burgess 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. He ultimately became convinced that the Pentecostal experience was both biblical and available to believers today. He finally submitted to the urgings of the Holy Spirit and, on Jan. 11, 1908, went forward to the altar and openly prayed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, following the New Testament example. Brown 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.”

Brown went from being a critic of the small Pentecostal mission to one of its biggest supporters. The following year, Burgess and Brown 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!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: iFPHC.org

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During WWII, Assemblies of God Gave Spanish New Testaments to Military Personnel in Central and South America

Spanish NT_1400

This illustration accompanied the May 1, 1943 Pentecostal Evangel article about Spanish new testaments. The caption read, “Our Good Neighbor Policy.”

This Week in AG History — May 1, 1943

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 30 April 2020

World War II conjures up theaters of battle in Europe, Africa, and Asia, but Latin America also served a strategic role. Following the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, most of Latin America either severed relations with the Axis powers or declared war on them. The Panama Canal, which provided a link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, was vital to both commerce and defense and Spanish-speaking soldiers found themselves fighting alongside English- and French-speaking comrades.

The Assemblies of God sought to reach out to servicemen through the distribution of literature. The May 1, 1943, Pentecostal Evangel, reported that the Home Missions Department, under direction of Fred Vogler, had printed 3,245,000 copies of Reveille, a paper specifically designed for servicemen, at a cost of approximately $24,000.

The article also makes reference to the response of the Assemblies of God young people, known as Christ’s Ambassadors, to a request in the Oct. 17, 1942, Evangel for $7,500 to provide copies of the New Testament to Merchant Mariners, United States civilian mariners who served to deliver military personnel and materials. The Merchant Mariners died at a rate of 1 in 26, the highest rate of casualty of any service in World War II. The response of the Christ’s Ambassadors exceeded the request by $2,500, which was used to place New Testaments in waterproof containers as part of standard equipment in lifeboats and rafts of naval vessels and military airplanes.

Much of this effort was led by Harry Jaeger, a 1937 graduate of Glad Tidings Bible Institute (later Bethany University) and Assemblies of God evangelist who had a burden to reach servicemen. Through his affiliation with the American Bible Society, he began a campaign to provide Scriptures to military personnel.

As pleased as Jaeger was with the response of the Assemblies of God to provide military Bibles in English, the Florida-based evangelist saw another need — Spanish Bibles were not available for soldiers serving from Central and South America. In response, the May 1, 1943, Evangel laid out the proposition before the Assemblies of God constituency to provide 250,000 Spanish New Testaments to South and Central American military personnel with an additional 50,000 testaments to be delivered to Guatemalan missionary John L. Franklin, at the cost of $45,000.

The request for financial donations ended with a plea for prayer: “Let us definitely ask the Lord that He will open hearts to receive His Word, and that as a result of this distribution there will be many souls in heaven who otherwise might not be there. And in addition to praying, ‘whatsoever He saith to you, do it.’” Funds were to be sent to the Home Missions Department designated as “Spanish Service Testament Fund.”

As a result of his work and creative vision in distributing literature to servicemen, Jaeger was invited to move his operation from Tampa, Florida, to Springfield just a few months after this article was published. In early 1944, the Servicemen’s Department, under Jaeger’s direction, was established within the Home Missions Division. This was the beginning of what is now a part of the Chaplaincy Department of U.S. Missions of the Assemblies of God. The Assemblies of God continues to be one of the largest evangelical distributors of discipleship literature printed in the Spanish language.

Read the article, “A Great Opportunity,” on page 1 of the May 1, 1943, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “God’s Need of Spiritual Mothers” by Alice Luce

• “Because of Covetousness” by Stanley Frodsham

• “Recollections of a Pioneer Pentecostal Preacher” by Walter J. Higgins

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel
archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Canyon Day, Arizona: The Role of Native American Women in Assemblies of God Churches

Apache

WMC members at Canyon Day Assembly of God form a choir for an outdoor service, 1960.

This Week in AG History — April 24, 1960

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 19 March 2020

Native American women have played important roles in the development of Assemblies of God churches on reservations across America. The April 24, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel shared how women helped to establish a congregation on the Apache Reservation at Canyon Day, Arizona.

Mary and Leo Gilman were called to be missionaries to the Apaches at Canyon Day. When the Gilmans arrived, Mary reported that these women worked side by side with the men. First, they helped set up poles and build a shaded area for a brush arbor until a permanent structure could be built. Once the church was being built, they helped with the construction work and also hauled rocks and mixed cement for the parsonage, sidewalk, and church steps.

After the church opened for services, the Women’s Missionary Council (WMC) was officially organized. One of the Apache ladies became the WMC president. The group held weekly meetings, where the ladies spent time in Bible study and prayer as well as cleaning and caring for their church building. Each of the ladies sewed a quilt, and these colorful creations were hung on the church walls. Some people later visited the church just to see the beautiful quilts.

The ladies did weekly visitation from house to house and down back roads and trails to show care and concern for their neighbors and family members. They also visited the older ladies of the community and took them small tokens of friendship. They gave out quilts to some of the older people who were in need.

One time these ladies won 40 ribbons at the Apache Indian Tribal fair for their sewing, cooked foods, etc. The Assemblies of God booth even won first prize! Participating in this event gave them an opportunity to witness and pass out over 4,000 tracts in two days, with the assistance of the Christ’s Ambassadors (young people) of the church.

These Apache women definitely made an impact on their surroundings as they shared the love of Christ through their many activities.

Read “Apache Women at Work,” by Mary Gilman, on pages 16-17 of the April 24, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “New Awakening in Germany,” by Nicholas Nikoloff

• “Navajo Artist Builds a Church For His People,” by Ruth Lyon

• “Busy Mother Ministers to the Blind,” by Maxine Strobridge

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Missions, Native Americans