Tag Archives: International Church of the Foursquare Gospel

Methodist and United Brethren Churches Embrace 1919 Pentecostal Revival in Baltimore


This Week in AG History–March 19, 1921
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in PE News, 19 March 2015

Methodist and United Brethren congregations in Baltimore, Maryland, embraced a revival sparked by Pentecostal evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson in 1919. McPherson, the most widely-known Pentecostal evangelist of her era in the United States, was a gifted orator who built bridges between Pentecostals and evangelicals. Her messages, focusing primarily on salvation, healing, and the spiritual life, garnered the cooperation of churches of various denominations. She was a credentialed minister with the Assemblies of God for several years (1919-1922) prior to forming the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

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McPherson’s evangelistic efforts in Baltimore began with three weeks of daily services in the Lyric Theatre, December 4-21, 1919. Numerous healings attracted the attention of the secular press. She was invited to hold services in two Methodist and one United Brethren churches, where large audiences gathered to hear the female evangelist who preached that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

McPherson returned to Baltimore in January 1920, where she held meetings for several weeks at the Franklin Street Memorial United Brethren Church (pastored by Edward Leech). After she left, Leech and another staff pastor at the church continued to hold special prayer meetings and revival services. The Pentecostal Evangel reprinted a 1921 report of the ongoing revival, authored by Leech and originally published in the United Brethren Church’s denominational periodical.

According to Leech, hundreds of people had accepted Christ and “a large number were instantaneously healed” in his church. In an era of religious skepticism, the healings provided proof of God’s power. “Surely no one will be so skeptical,” wrote Leech, “as to doubt the power of God to touch the sick with healing now as in that first century.”

Leech was initially cautious about telling others in his denomination that he had embraced the Pentecostal revival. He remained quiet about it for about a year, he wrote, “to test out my own church and people.” But in his 1921 article he proclaimed, “today I am fully persuaded as to the genuineness of the full gospel program.” He spoke favorably of McPherson’s ministry: “She preaches the whole truth, attracts the crowds, fills the altar with sinners and backsliders, prays down healing for the sick, and seeks to deepen the spiritual life of believers.”

McPherson, like many other early Pentecostals, aimed to build the kingdom of God and not merely a denomination. Leech warmly embraced this aim, writing that he had never before seen such levels of “cooperation” and “Christian love and fellowship.”

Read the article, “Big Revival in Baltimore,” on page 6 of the March 19, 1921, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel .

Also featured in this issue:

• “Is the Holy Spirit in All Believers?” by J. T. Boddy

• “The Modern Church in Effigy,” by W. V. Kneisley

• “The Coming Chinese Church”

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

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Dr. Rolf K. McPherson with the Lord


On Thursday, May 21, 2009, Dr. Rolf K. McPherson, son of the founder and the president emeritus of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, passed away at his home in Los Feliz, California. He was 96 years old.

Rolf Kennedy McPherson was born March 23, 1913 in Providence, Rhode Island to Harold S. and Aimee Semple McPherson. As a small child he traveled to the West Coast with his mother, who evangelized her way across the country to Los Angeles, where she established Angelus Temple in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles.

Upon the death of Aimee Semple McPherson in 1944, Rolf McPherson became president of the four corporate entities she had established: Echo Park Evangelistic Association, The Church of the Foursquare Gospel, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and LIFE Bible College. In addition, he became the pastor of Angelus Temple.

For 44 years, Dr. Rolf K. McPherson led the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, expanding its ministry into 63 countries around the world; the number of churches worldwide grew to more than 19,000 (Currently there are almost 60,000 Foursquare churches and meeting places in 144 countries.). Dr. McPherson retired from the presidency of The Foursquare Church in 1988, but he remained president emeritus. He was also pastor emeritus of Angelus Temple, having retired from actively directing the affairs of the church in 1997.

He is survived by his wife, Evangeline Carmichael McPherson; his daughter, Alicia McPherson Santacroce; three grandchildren; a niece, Victoria Salter; a step-daughter, Carol Parks; and two step-granddaughters. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Lorna De Smith McPherson, and a daughter Marlene McPherson LaRue.

A memorial service will be held at Angelus Temple on Saturday, May 30, at 11 a.m. A viewing will be held at Forest Lawn Glendale on the evening of Friday, May 29.

Obituaries have been posted in the Los Angeles Times, Christian News Wire, and Foursquare News Service. See also the Arrangements for the Memorial Service with addresses to send memorial contributions.

Posted by Glenn Gohr

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Review: Northern Harvest

rPentecostalism in North Dakota

Northern Harvest: Pentecostalism in North Dakota, by Darrin J. Rodgers. Bismarck, North Dakota: North Dakota District Council of the Assemblies of God, 2003.

Northern Harvest documents the rise of Pentecostalism in North Dakota from a few scattered congregations at the turn of the twentieth-century to its present status as the state’s fourth largest religious group. While many historians contend that revivals in Topeka, Kansas (1901) and Los Angeles, California (1906-09) became the focal point of the emerging worldwide Pentecostal movement, Rodgers unearthed evidence that earlier revivals in Minnesota and the Dakotas provided it with precedents and leaders. North Dakotans, Pentecostals, and historians will be intrigued that a network of Scandinavian immigrant churches on the northern Great Plains practiced tongues-speech and healing before the better-known Topeka and Azusa Street revivals. This is the first significant study of Pentecostal origins in Scandinavian pietism in Minnesota and the Dakotas, exploring the movement’s roots outside the American Wesleyan and Holiness traditions. Continue reading

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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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Roberta Semple Salter (1910-2007), Sister Aimee’s daughter, with the Lord


Roberta Star Semple Salter was born in Hong Kong on September 17, 1910, the daughter of Rev. Robert James Semple and Aimee Semple McPherson. Her father passed away with malaria shortly before her birth, and her mother, who later became the founder of Angelus Temple and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, returned to the United States, marrying Harold S. McPherson in 1912 and then David L. Hutton in 1931. At the tender age of 12, Roberta and her younger brother, Rolf McPherson, were preaching in the Children’s Church at Angelus Temple in Los Angeles. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she continued to preach during her teenage years. Roberta married Harry Salter, who became an orchestra conductor for radio and television programs, and they made their home in Manhattan, New York. She passed away January 25, 2007 at the age of 96 and is survived by her brother, Dr. Rolf McPherson of Los Angeles, her daughter, Victoria Salter, two granddaughters, and three great-grandchildren. A private service was held. Donations may be sent to the Goddard Riverside Community Center in New York City.

An obituary appeared in the New York Times, January 28, 2007, Late Edition, p. 23, and in the Los Angeles Times, February 4, 2007, Home Edition, p. B-12.

See also “Roberta Semple Salter–In the presence of the Lord” from Foursquare News Service.

Posted by Glenn Gohr

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