Tag Archives: Documentary

Amanda Benedict remembered after 82 years

Amanda Benedict Memorial Service

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.

Benedict Grave Stone 1

Front of marker

Benedict Grave Stone 2

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.

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“Sister Aimee” documentary airs on PBS

[splashcast JWJV4127TN AMYE1023CD]

SplashCast with Flickr photos
Produced by iFPHC

After months of diligent research, organizing the story line, and working with a film crew, Public Television’s national broadcast of “Sister Aimee” is less than two weeks away. This film, written, produced and directed by Linda Garmon, is part of the American Experience series. It will air on PBS stations nationwide on Monday, April 2 at 9 p.m. in most markets.

A PBS website for the film includes a synopsis of the film, a gallery of photos, interview excerpts, and other features.

About a year and a half ago the FPHC learned of this upcoming documentary on the life of Aimee Semple McPherson. It is based on the book Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America by Matthew Avery Sutton (Harvard University Press, 2007). A review of Matthew Sutton’s book on Aimee can be found at the Harvard University Press website.

Linda Garmon, a producer with WGBH TV (Boston), first contacted us and came to Springfield, Missouri to do research at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in December 2005. For two days she pored over a large number of newspaper clippings, books by and about “Sister Aimee,” issues of the Bridal Call and the Foursquare Crusader, as well as a number of tracts, photographs, and miscellaneous items relating to the popular yet controversial, charismatic Pentecostal evangelist.

During the course of this project, Garmon and her staff interviewed Aimee’s biographers and noted religious scholars to better present the complex and revealing portrait of one of the most significant religious figures of the early twentieth century. These interviews and insights are part of the film. Garmon’s staff also visited Angelus Temple and the archives of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in Los Angeles as well as other repositories.

While at the FPHC, Garmon was especially intrigued by any possible documentation or theories surrounding the disappearance of Aimee in 1926. And to flesh out a broader picture of Pentecostalism, she also studied primary source materials relating to the Azusa Street revival and other early Pentecostal events. According to Garmon, “Aimee was equal parts evangelist, movie star and social activist. She offered a brand of old time religion that people could connect with at a time when Americans were craving something to hold onto.”

A favorable review of the film and comments by Foursquare President Jack Hayford are included in Foursquare News Service #279.

Be sure to watch this first-class documentary!

To view the photoset of Aimee Semple McPherson at Flickr click on the link below:
Flickr Photoset

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Posted by Glenn Gohr

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