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.
The Sparkling Fountain, by Fred T. Corum and Hazel E. Bakewell. Windsor, OH: Corum & Associates, Inc., 1989, c1983.
The Sparkling Fountain is a 278-page book with eyewitness accounts of the beginning of Pentecostalism in the Ozarks. The book was started by Fred T. Corum and his sister Hazel E. Bakewell. Then James and Kenneth Corum, sons of Fred Corum, helped to preserve this slice of history and see it through to production. First marketed in 1983, it is offered again on the 100th anniversary of Central Assembly in Springfield, Missouri.
The Azusa Street Mission story is recapped in beginning chapters, but for our purpose here the story begins in 1905 when Fred and Hazel moved to the Ozarks from Oklahoma with their parents, James and Lillie Harper Corum.
James and Lillie were never credentialed ministers but are considered the pioneers of Pentecost in Springfield — holding together a nucleus for several years until a church was set in order. I have an idea many other lay people throughout our history deserve special recognition for beginning and/or keeping local congregations together (including unfortunate splits) until a pastor assumed the leadership.
The Corums soon became active in a Baptist church where Mr. Corum served as Sunday school superintendent. But in the fall of 1906 they heard about the Pentecostal outpouring and became interested. Then in May 1907 they were introduced to this new experience which would dramatically put their lives on a new course. Continue reading