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Did You Know the Assemblies of God Had a Booth at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City?

AGThis Week in AG History — July 5, 1964

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 3 July 2019 

The year 1964 proved to be a banner year for the Assemblies of God, which included a big celebration of the 50th anniversary convention held April 20-23 in Springfield, Missouri. Other significant gatherings included regional Sunday School conferences and participation in the 7th Pentecostal World Conference in Helsinki, Finland, June 23-28.

Immediately following the 50th anniversary convention, the Assemblies of God sponsored a booth at the World’s Fair in New York City. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony for the exhibit took place April 27 in the Protestant Pavilion at the World’s Fair.

Focusing on service and ministry, the display featured five illuminated panels that included a sequence of lighting and narration and featured Assemblies of God activities both in the U.S. and abroad, with the motto “Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.” “The exhibit stands as a Full Gospel witness to the world,” said Charles W. H. Scott, then-director of Home Missions. “It emphasizes the responsibility of the Church to today’s generation.”

The display was open 12 hours daily from April 22 through Oct. 4, as well as an additional six months in 1965. More than 100 trained counselors took turns overseeing the booth, with two persons present at all times. Counselors were briefed regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the history of the Fellowship, and how to answer inquiries from the general public. Questions included “What does the Assemblies of God believe?” and “Is there a church in our town?” Among the tools the counselors had on hand was a directory of churches in the U.S. to help people to locate a congregation in their hometown. They also provided New Testaments or a Scripture portion, and tracts dealing with specific areas of interest or need.

Counselors also prayed for needs. A number of visitors accepted Christ as Savior in the booth. Others needed prayer for healing. Still others desired the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

One of the counselors reported, “We met hundreds of people and found many to be very hungry for spiritual truth.” John D. Piper, a pastor from White Plains, New York, said, “They visit the booth from every state in the union and from many countries of the world. We present them with literature and witness to them of the need of the power of the Holy Ghost in their lives. We answer their questions and we are thrilled to be able to help so many to a better understanding of the work of the Assemblies of God. It is impossible to reckon the tremendous good that will be accomplished in the presentation of the Assemblies of God at the World’s Fair.”

A World’s Fair souvenir edition of the Pentecostal Evangel was produced to highlight the history, beliefs, and ministries of the AG. The special edition included a testimony of healing, information on the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and inspirational articles by C. M. Ward, Thomas F. Zimmerman, Wesley Hurst, Stanley Horton, and others.

During 1964, the World’s Fair booth of the Assemblies of God recorded 69,008 visitors from all states. Subsequently, registered visitors received a personal letter. Local pastors and district officials followed up with contacts forwarded to them.

Read more in “Thousands Receive Witness at World’s Fair,” by Charles W. H. Scott, on page 29 of the July 5, 1964, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Road to National Revival,” by Jack West

• “Hundreds Attend 1964 Retreat at Berchtesgaden,” by Richard C. Fulmer

• “Melody in Your Heart,” by G. W. Hardcastle Jr.

And many more!

Click here to read the issue.

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
Website: http://www.iFPHC.org

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From Ireland to New York City: Pentecostal Pioneer Robert Brown

BrownThis Week in AG History — March 6, 1948

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 8 March 2018

Robert A. Brown (1872-1948), with his wife Marie, founded Glad Tidings Tabernacle in New York City, which for many years was the largest congregation in the Assemblies of God. However, Brown began his life on the other side of the world and spent his youth far away from God. The March 6, 1948, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel published Robert’s life story.

Brown was born in a small town in Northern Ireland and grew into a tall, athletic, and popular young man. Seeking adventure, he moved to England and became a police officer. Brown went to the pubs, drank alcohol, and participated in the destructive habits of the world. He was an unlikely candidate to become a minister of the gospel.

One of Brown’s cousins in Ireland accepted Christ, became a zealous preacher, and began to pray for him. When Brown traveled back to Ireland to see his family, he decided to go hear his cousin preach. He thought he could make fun of his cousin’s newfound faith. But Brown was deeply impressed by his cousin’s earnest preaching and changed life. At the end of the service, his cousin came over to Brown and pleaded with him to turn his life over to God. Brown refused, but the Holy Spirit grabbed hold of his heart. The young policeman felt conviction for his sins and could not shake the sense that he needed to submit his life to God. For three days he experienced heavy conviction until, at last, Brown surrendered his life to the Lord in his family’s old Irish farm house.

Two of Brown’s close friends were also converted, and together the three young men decided to immigrate to America. They arrived in New York City in 1898. Brown studied for the ministry and was ordained by the Wesleyan Methodist Church. He displayed genuine faith and he lived out the gospel story in his lifestyle. He was a bivocational minister, working as chief engineer at a government building while also engaging in church work.

One day, in 1907, he decided to attend a service held a small Holiness mission in New York City. Two young women ministers, Marie Burgess and Jessie Brown (not related to Robert), led the service and were fearlessly preaching the Pentecostal message. Robert was moved by their preaching, but he refused to accept their contention that biblical spiritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues, were still available for Christians today. Yet he continued to attend their services, perhaps because of the spiritual power he sensed.

The meetings led by Marie Burgess and Jessie Brown grew in attendance. The growing congregation relocated to larger quarters, and the female preachers asked Robert to give the dedication sermon. He did, and two drunken bums accepted Christ that night. Robert still did not fully accept the Pentecostal message. He could not deny that God was present in the meetings. The gospel was being preached with miraculous results. Souls were being saved and bodies were healed.

Robert was asked to preach again, and he decided to preach on Acts 2:4 and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As Robert preached, he grew under great conviction that he needed to experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He received the experience a little while later, on Jan. 11, 1908.

Love blossomed, and Robert’s ministry colleague became his wife. He married Marie Burgess in 1909, and they established what became Glad Tidings Tabernacle. Robert had significant ministry and personality giftings. But, according to the Pentecostal Evangel article, he continually “expressed contempt” for the thought that he should rely on his gifts rather than on the Holy Spirit. He considered his gifts “unworthy substitutes for the power from on High.”

Robert loved the character “Valiant-for-Truth” in John Bunyan’s classic book, The Pilgrim’s Progress . He would often quote Valiant-for-Truth’s famous line, “I am a pilgrim, and am going to the Celestial City.” Similarly, Robert viewed himself as a pilgrim in a strange land, destined for heaven where his true citizenship lay.

Robert Brown became an Assemblies of God executive presbyter in 1915 and served numerous leadership roles, in addition to pastoring one of the most influential churches. But the Pentecostal Evangel article recalled his spiritual influence as his greatest trait. Robert Brown, the article extolled, “always stood for the highest standards of righteousness and holiness.”

Read the article, “Called Home,” on pages 3 and 11 of the March 6, 1948, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel .

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Pentecostal Revival in the Congo,” by Edmund Hodgson

• “The Test of True Discipleship,” by Robert A. Brown

• “A Mighty Revival at C.B.I.,” by Kathleen Belknap

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
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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