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.
This past weekend Central Assembly here in Springfield, Missouri (Pastor James Bradford), held an all-church banquet on June 1, 2007 and special services on Sunday, June 3rd. The banquet commemorated to the day, the 100th anniversary of the church. It was during the wee hours of the morning of June 1, 1907 when Lillie Harper Corum was baptized in the Spirit in her living room in Springfield, after praying with her sister, Rachel Sizelove, an evangelist who had come from the famed Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles.
Further details of this testimony and much of the early history of Central Assembly is contained in a book produced by the Corum Family called The Sparkling Fountain. The book is still available for those interested. (See the Seen in Print section of the FPHC website.)
FPHC Director Darrin Rodgers and Assistant Archivist Glenn Gohr sold copies of The Sparkling Fountain, and Central Assembly sold copies of its new history book, Windows Into Central’s 100 Years of Ministry: Ordinary People God Used to Build an Extraordinary Church. This brief history contains vignettes of some of the former pastors and important families in the church as well as a time line of significant events in the church’s history. Central, now located on the block south of the AG Headquarters, became the mother church for several of the 30 AG congregations now in Springfield.
Farmhouse where Lillie Corum was baptized in the Spirit in 1907
June 1, 2007 marks 100 years of Pentecost in Springfield, Missouri.
Just after the Azusa Street revival broke out in Los Angeles in 1906, Evangelist Rachel Harper Sizelove began writing glowing reports to her sister, Lillie Corum, who lived in Springfield, Missouri. Mrs. Corum started reading copies of William Seymour’s Apostolic Faith paper, and she earnestly began seeking and praying to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The next May, Rachel Sizelove traveled from Azusa Street to Springfield to visit her sister and family. And in an all-night prayer meeting, Lillie Corum was baptized in the Spirit at her farmhouse in the wee hours of June 1, 1907. She is credited with being the first person in Springfield to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. And soon afterwards, the Corum family, rejected by their Baptist pastor, began holding prayer meetings in their home. This was the beginning of Central Assembly of God, the mother church in Springfield, Missouri.