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James L. Tyson Deposits Important African-American Oneness Pentecostal Collection at FPHC

James Tyson

Bishop James L. Tyson (left) with Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Director Darrin Rodgers, showcasing his collection

The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), organized in 1907 in Los Angeles in the midst of the Azusa Street revival, emerged to become the largest African-American Oneness Pentecostal denomination in the United States. The influence of the PAW stretched far, and its intentional interracial character continued long after the fires of the Azusa Street revival dimmed. Its most prominent presiding bishop, G. T. Haywood, was so esteemed by early Assemblies of God leaders that, when the Oneness movement became a point of contention in 1915, Haywood was asked to represent the Oneness position on the Assemblies of God’s General Council floor.

Despite the significance of the PAW, its history has been neglected by most standard histories of the Pentecostal movement. Over thirty years ago, James Laverne Tyson, the son of PAW Bishop James E. Tyson, felt the call to document and publish the history of his ancestral church. He interviewed the founding fathers and mothers of the PAW and collected rare publications and photographs. He authored eight books and numerous pamphlets, mostly about PAW history. His first book, Before I Sleep (1976), is a biography of Haywood, and his seminal work, The Early Pentecostal Revival (1992), is the benchmark history of the PAW from its inception to 1930.

Tyson recently retired from the pastorate and, in November 2015, he deposited his collection of PAW historical materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, which is the largest Pentecostal archives and research center in the world. Tyson noted, “Decades ago when I started my historical research, one of the first places I went was the Assemblies of God Archives.” The former director, Wayne Warner, provided Tyson with access to information about the earliest years of the Pentecostal movement. The Assemblies of God Archives was renamed the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in 1999. Tyson continued, “Now, at the end of my career, it is fitting that my life’s work should reside at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center for future generations of scholars who can pick up where I left off.”

Researchers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center are now able to view the James L. Tyson Collection, which includes approximately 550 periodical issues, 150 books, 540 original photographs, and 4 linear feet of his files and research notes. The bulk of the publications date from the early 1920s through the late 1970s and include numerous histories of significant congregations, souvenir journals from PAW events, funeral programs, and assorted minute books and directories. Importantly, the collection includes the original 1918/1919 and 1919/1920 PAW minute books. The photographs, many of which have never been published, mostly date from the 1910s through the 1960s and include large rolled prints of early conventions. The collection includes many publications from the PAW’s historic headquarters church, Christ Temple (Indianapolis, Indiana), which Tyson’s father pastored. While the collection includes chiefly PAW materials, it also includes rare items from groups that broke away from the PAW, including the Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World Wide (founded by Smallwood E. Williams) and the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith (founded by S. N. Hancock). Tyson previously owned additional artifacts and publications, which he had already given to several PAW bishops.

Christian Outlook

This original May 1931 issue of The Christian Outlook, the official periodical of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, is among the approximately 540 periodical issues in the James L. Tyson Collection.

The James L. Tyson Collection fills in a significant gap in the collections of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. In recent years, the FPHC has acquired several major African-American Pentecostal collections, including:

Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Collection (Patterson served as Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, 1968-1989)
Mother Lizzie Robinson/Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection (Robinson was the founder of the Church of God in Christ Women’s Department)
• Robert James McGoings, Jr. Collection (McGoings was a prominent African-American Oneness Pentecostal from Baltimore, Maryland)
• Alexander Stewart Collection (Stewart was raised in the United Pentecostal Council of the Assemblies of God and is the historian for the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, which is the second largest African-American Oneness Pentecostal denomination)

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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 archives and research center 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: http://www.iFPHC.org

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Brazilian Pentecostal Denomination (Igreja de Cristo Pentecostal no Brasil) Triples in Size, Deposits Publications at Heritage Center

A small portion of the collection of Igreja de Cristo Pentecostal no Brasil publications deposited at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

A small portion of the collection of Igreja de Cristo Pentecostal no Brasil publications deposited at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

The International Pentecostal Church of Christ (IPCC) has its roots in America, but its membership outside the US far exceeds its American counterpart. Dr. Clyde Hughes, Missions Director of the IPCC, recently traveled to Brazil, where he spoke at the church’s national convention. The Igreja de Cristo Pentecostal no Brasil has tripled in membership since 1993 and, last year, had 31,111 members. Hughes brought back a large collection of the church’s Brazilian publications and deposited them at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, which is the largest Pentecostal archives in the world. It is important that voices of Pentecostals around the world be accessible to church leaders, students, and researchers!

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC is located in the Assemblies of God national offices. 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

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State Historical Marker to be Dedicated October 16, 2015, in Lexington, MS, Honoring COGIC Birthplace

Holmes_County_CourthouseThe Church of God in Christ Board of Bishops, chaired by Bishop John H. Sheard, has sponsored the placement of a state historical marker in Lexington, Mississippi, the city where Charles H. Mason founded the Church of God in Christ in 1897.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History approved the marker, which will be unveiled and dedicated on Friday, October 16, 2015, at 1 pm at the south end of the Holmes County Courthouse, 200 Court Square, Lexington, Mississippi. A dedication program includes several speakers of national importance, and state and local government officials will be present. The public is invited to the dedication.

The Church of God in Christ, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States, is now headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. However, the church’s roots in Lexington, 150 miles south of Memphis, have often been overlooked. The Pentecostal Heritage Connection, led by Mary P. Patterson, assembled the dedication program. “If Memphis is the Church of God in Christ’s Jerusalem,” states Patterson, “then Lexington is its Nazareth.” Patterson, the widow of former Presiding Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr., is particularly interested in helping young people to learn more about their heritage. She has organized tours of Church of God in Christ historic sites in Lexington since 2006.

Lexington has played a prominent role in Church of God in Christ history. Bishop Charles H. Mason (1864-1961) began his ministry in 1893 in Preston, Arkansas. Shunned by the African-American Baptist community in Jackson during the 1890s due to his teachings on holiness, Mason brought his revival to Lexington in 1897. He began preaching on the steps of the Holmes County Courthouse and later moved to private homes and an abandoned gin house. During his time in Lexington, Mason established St. Paul Church of God in Christ, which became known as the “mother church” of the Church of God in Christ denomination.

Mason faced opposition in Lexington, coming from those who disapproved of his holiness preaching and his pacifism and interracialism. He was incarcerated in the Holmes County Courthouse in 1918 for allegedly preaching against World War I, despite having sold bonds to help the war effort. The jail cell which housed Mason has been preserved and is open to the public. Hundreds of people each year visit the jail cell, which is decorated with colorful murals depicting Mason’s incarceration.

Lexington was also home to Saints Industrial and Literary School, established to train African American children by Sister Pinkie Duncan and Professor James Courts in 1918. Under Dr. Arenia Mallory, president of the school from 1926 to 1983, the school became known as Saint’s Academy and was a prominent K-12 school in the community. Dr. Mallory was a leading advocate for civil rights and the poor in Holmes County. The school closed in 2006.

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1931 Prophecy Chart by Finis Jennings Dake Deposited at Heritage Center

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A prophecy chart created by Pentecostal Bible teacher Finis Jennings Dake (1902-1987) has been deposited at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. Dr. Don L. and Lavern Love of Tulsa, Oklahoma, brought the chart, titled “The Plan of the Ages,” to the Heritage Center on August 19, 2015.  The chart was copyrighted in 1927 when Dake was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  This particular chart, dated January 31, 1931, was drawn by Carl D. Holleman (1911-2001) when he was 20 years old. Holleman went on to serve as an Assemblies of God missionary to India.

According to oral history, Dake at some point gave this chart to John G. Hall, who had been one of his Bible students for three years at Shiloh Bible Institute in Zion City, Illinois, during the 1930s.  John G. Hall used the chart for a while until he decided to paint his own chart. Then probably in the early 1980s, John G. Hall decided to give this chart to Dr. Hershel A. Brummett, a former president of Southwestern Assemblies of God University, who retained the chart until he passed away in 2014.  The Brummett family gave the chart to Dr. Don and Lavern Love, who in turn now have donated the chart to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.  Dr. Love, a chemical engineer, used the chart to teach eschatology in his Sunday school class at The Assembly in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The colorful hand-painted chart measures 41 inches by 17 feet and is in remarkably good condition.

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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

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Important COGIC Collection: Nearly 500 Early Photographs Now Online at iFPHC.org

FPHC Director Darrin Rodgers with Rev. Elijah L. Hill, displaying the collection.

FPHC Director Darrin Rodgers with Rev. Elijah L. Hill, displaying the collection.

An important collection of almost 500 historic photographs relating to the Church of God in Christ is now accessible for free on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website. The photographs (circa 1899-1960s), from the Mother Lizzie Robinson / Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection, portray men and women who pioneered the African-American Pentecostal denomination.

The photographs were collected by Mother Lizzie Robinson (1860-1945) and her daughter, Ida F. Baker. Robinson organized the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) Women’s Department in 1911 and was the most prominent female COGIC leader until her death. As head of women’s auxiliaries, she founded the Prayer and Bible Band and the Sewing Circle. She also helped to lay the foundation for the creation of the Missions Department (originally known as the Home and Foreign Missions Band).

Mother Lizzie Robinson

Mother Lizzie Robinson

Elijah L. Hill, the COGIC minister and historian who deposited Robinson’s personal papers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC), described the photographs as “a rare glimpse into the faces of those who suffered and yet overcame the world.” In his biography of Robinson, Women Come Alive, Hill detailed how Robinson encouraged COGIC women to become self-determining, before the broader society recognized women’s suffrage and civil rights for African-Americans.

FPHC director Darrin Rodgers praised Hill for building bridges. According to Rodgers, “Elder Hill rescued these photographs from destruction decades ago. He has joined hands with the Heritage Center, and together we are working to preserve and promote these treasures that bring to life the heritage of African-American Pentecostals.”

The Mother Lizzie Robinson / Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection consists of, in addition to the photographs, approximately 100 publications and Hill’s research files on Robinson. The collection was dedicated in a special service on October 4, 2013, in the William J. Seymour Chapel at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri.

The online collection will be unveiled at the biennial General Council of the Assemblies of God, slated for August 2-8, 2015, in Orlando, Florida. Elijah L. Hill will join Darrin Rodgers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center booth at General Council, where they will interact with expected crowds in excess of 20,000 people.

Click here to view thumbnail images of the photographs. Click on the title next to each thumbnail image to see larger images.

Click here to watch the dedication service of the Mother Lizzie Robinson / Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection.

Click here to watch a panel discussion featuring Elijah Hill, COGIC historian Glenda Goodson, Darrin Rodgers, and Assemblies of God missions historian Barbara Cavaness Parks. Panelists dialogued about Robinson and the legacy of women in the COGIC and the Assemblies of God.

Rev. Elijah L. Hill is assembling biographies of Church of God in Christ leaders pictured in the photographs. To submit biographies, go to Hill’s website: www.cogicmuseum.org.

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, located in the Assemblies of God National Office in Springfield, Missouri, is the largest Pentecostal archive and research center in the world. The FPHC collects historically significant materials from across the denominational, ethnic, linguistic, and national divides within the broader Pentecostal and charismatic movements. For additional information, explore the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website.

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Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. 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

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Pentecostal Evangel Celebrates 102nd Anniversary – First Issue Featured Interracial Content and Called for Unity

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This Week in AG History — July 19, 1913

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 16 Jul 2015

The Pentecostal Evangel, now known as PE News, is 102 years old this week. The magazine, launched as the Christian Evangel in 1913, transitioned from print to a digital platform at the beginning of 2015.

Over the years, PE News witnessed numerous changes. The title changed six times, and the place of publication changed three times. Publishing the weekly magazine was quite an undertaking. To lessen the cost and workload, the magazine was only published every other week from 1918 to 1923.

J. Roswell and Alice Flower established the Christian Evangel to report on revivals and missions activities and published it out of their home in Plainfield, Indiana. The first issue, dated July 19, 1913, featured interracial content. Three articles were by or about G. T. Haywood, the African-American pastor of the largest Pentecostal congregation in Indianapolis. The Flowers selected a masthead that remains relevant 102 years later: “The simplicity of the Gospel, In the bonds of peace, The unity of the Spirit, Till we all come to the unity of the faith.” Their call to unity implicitly recognized that their readers did not yet have “unity of the faith” — that disagreement existed on some matters. In the meantime, they affirmed that believers should aim for “unity of the Spirit.”

This language recognizing spiritual unity amidst diversity was included in the preamble of the constitution adopted by the first General Council of the Assemblies of God in April 1914. At that same meeting, J. Roswell Flower was elected to serve as the first general secretary of the Assemblies of God. The Flowers gave their magazine to the newly formed Assemblies of God. E. N. Bell, the first chairman, also gave his magazine, Word and Witness, to the new organization. The two periodicals merged in January 1916. The title changed in 1919 to Pentecostal Evangel, and under that name the periodical became one of the most prominent publications in the Pentecostal movement.

Today, PE News is the official news agency for the Assemblies of God and continues to network believers around the world.

Click here to read the first issue of the Christian Evangel.

Click here to read an engaging history of the Pentecostal Evangel, published in the 2013 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage.

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

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Early Church of God of Prophecy Periodical Now Online – White Wing Messenger (1923-1954)

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The early history of the Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP) is now easier to access than ever! The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center recently completed digitization of the COGOP’s flagship periodical, the White Wing Messenger, from 1923 to 1954. These years (consisting of 765 issues) are now accessible on the Consortium of Pentecostal Archives website.

The COGOP is a significant classical Pentecostal denomination with over one million members in over 130 countries worldwide. Established in 1903 and with headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee, the COGOP shares a common history with another classical Pentecostal denomination, the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). In recent years, the COGOP has been forging closer relationships with its sister Pentecostal fellowships.

The digitization of the White Wing Messenger was itself a cooperative effort across the denominational divides. The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (the archives of the Assemblies of God) completed the digitization of the project. The idea for the project originated with Tim Carter, Director of the Arise Shine Pentecostal Historical Center. Carter suggested to Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Director Darrin Rodgers that the White Wing Messenger needed to be digitized. The Arise Shine Pentecostal Historical Center is the archives of the [Ephesus] Church of God, a small denomination which has its roots in the COGOP. Rodgers approached Dr. David Roebuck, Director of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center (the archives of the Church of God [Cleveland, TN]), and asked him if he could make contact with the appropriate person within the COGOP to secure permission. Roebuck contacted Paul Holt, who serves as Executive Director of Finance and Administration for the COGOP, who agreed to allow the magazine to be digitized. Through Roebuck’s encouragement, the COGOP became a member of the Consortium of Pentecostal Archives (CPA), a cooperative effort of Pentecostal archives, denominations, and publishing houses. Other CPA members include the denominational archives of the Assemblies of God, Church of God (Cleveland, TN), the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. The digitized issues of the White Wing Messenger are now accessible and text-searchable on the CPA website.

The years of the White Wing Messenger that have been digitized (1923-1954) are important because of the rarity of those issues and their importance to the formation of the COGOP. During these early years, the White Wing Messenger was published in a large newspaper format and very few copies survived. Starting in 1955, the magazine changed to a magazine format, and the denomination began selling annual bound volumes of the magazine. Bound volumes of these later years are located in various libraries and archives and are accessible to researchers. However, the years 1923 to 1954 were not very accessible to researchers.

Paul Holt expressed gratitude for the assistance in preserving and promoting the COGOP’s heritage. He stated, “we are deeply appreciative to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center for their willingness to digitize this historic material.  We are also pleased to join hands with our friends in the Pentecostal movement to celebrate our rich heritage while also moving forward to touch the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.” Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Digital Archivist William Molenaar supervised the digitization project and was assisted by Archives Specialists Michelle Rahmoeller and Caleb Whitlow.

Announcement of the digitized periodicals in the June 2015 issue of the White White Messenger

Announcement of the digitized periodicals in the June 2015 issue of the White White Messenger

Selected issues of the White Wing Messenger are linked below:

September 15, 1923

March 27, 1926

February 1, 1936

October 16, 1943

September 1, 1951

December 18, 1954

All 765 digitized issues of the White Wing Messenger are accessible on the CPA website: www.pentecostalarchives.org

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