Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Co-sponsors Demonstration of Unity, Marking Unlikely Dual Anniversary of Springfield Lynching and Azusa Street Revival
On April 13-15, 2009, people from various ethnic, social, and denominational backgrounds gathered in Springfield, Missouri, to celebrate their unity in Christ. This demonstration of unity, dubbed “A House No Longer Divided,” was sparked by the unlikely dual anniversary of two events — the horrific Springfield Lynchings and the beginning of the multiethnic Azusa Street Revival, which has become a worldwide symbol for racial reconciliation. The meetings were held each evening from 7-9 pm at Timmons Temple Church of God in Christ (April 13-14) and at the William J. Seymour Chapel at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (April 15).
On April 14, 1906, three African-American men were lynched by a mob on the Springfield town square. The lynching of Horace Duncan, Fred Coker and Will Allen led to the flight of possibly hundreds of blacks to less hostile areas. The ethnic makeup of the community, to this day, reflects that horrific event. The African-American community in Springfield remembers the event much like Jews remember the Holocaust.
That same day, on April 14, 1906, William J. Seymour began holding services at the run-down mission at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles. The interracial Azusa Street revival, which emerged from meetings in a home on Bonnie Brae Street, became a focal point for the emerging Pentecostal movement. Azusa participant Frank Bartleman famously exulted that “the color line was washed away in the blood.” A little more than one year later, Rachel Sizelove, a Free Methodist-turned-Pentecostal evangelist, brought the movement to Springfield from Azusa Street and started what became Central Assembly of God.
“A House No Longer Divided” featured special speakers, preaching, and music. Timmons Temple Pastor T.J. Appleby emceed the services, and speakers included both seasoned and young ministers. Organist Beverly Daniels and the Timmons Temple gospel choir led participants in worship each evening. Half of each evening was devoted to gospel music, which was interspersed between speakers (each was given either 10 or 30 minutes to speak).