Tag Archives: Women in Ministry

Alice Belle Garrigus and Pentecostalism in Newfoundland

Garrigus_1400bThis Week in AG History — June 24, 1950

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 25 June 2020

Alice Belle Garrigus (1858-1949) was only five feet tall, unmarried, and 52 years of age when she sensed God call her in 1910 to help pioneer the Pentecostal movement in Newfoundland.

Born into an Episcopalian family in Rockville, Connecticut, Garrigus spent the first half of her life in various locations in New England.

At 15 she began teaching in rural schools. Desiring further schooling she returned to Normal School and then spent three years (1878-1881) at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College). Leaving the seminary a year before graduation, she resumed teaching. Through the influence of a colleague, Gertrude Wheeler, Garrigus accepted Christ as her Savior in 1888. Both women left on a 10-month excursion to Europe.

Returning to the United State, Garrigus again taught school, but she was spiritually restless. She wanted a deeper walk with God and began reading Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. “This I read,” Alice wrote, “often on my knees — praying fervently: ‘Oh God, if there be such an experience, won’t you bring me into it?’”

Garrigus and Wheeler then joined the Congregational Church. Her friend Gertrude later went to Africa as a missionary and died there. About 1891, Garrigus gave up her teaching profession to work in a home for destitute children and women. Next she moved to Rumney, New Hampshire, where she came in contact with the First Fruit Harvesters Association, a small evangelical denomination focused on the evangelization of New England. Garrigus served as an itinerant preacher with the First Fruit Harvesters between 1897 and 1903.

During 1906, Garrigus reread the Bible and earnestly sought to understand what made Jesus’ disciples different following the Day of Pentecost. Around this same time, she heard about the revival taking place at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles.

In 1907, at a Christian and Missionary Alliance camp meeting at Old Orchard, Maine, she met Frank Bartleman, a veteran of the Azusa Street revival and an unofficial chronicler of the Pentecostal movement. Bartleman “stood for hours,” wrote Garrigus, “telling us of the deeper things of God.” After he left the camp meeting, Garrigus, Minnie Draper, and others met in an old barn to pray, and there Alice Belle Garrigus received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. She continued preaching at Rumney and Grafton, Massachusetts, and other places, but began feeling impressed to found a mission in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

One of her protégés at Bridgeport, Connecticut, was Charles Personeus, superintendent of the John Street Mission. Personeus wrote, “When Miss Garrigus was with me in the John Street Mission, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that changed the mission to First Pentecostal Mission.” In 1917, Charles Personeus and his wife, Florence, went to Juneau, Alaska, as missionaries for the Assemblies of God.

Together with the W. D. Fowlers, a missionary couple she had known since 1889, Alice Belle Garrigus traveled to Newfoundland, arriving in the capital city of St. John’s in December 1910. The three established Bethesda Mission in a rented building in the downtown area on New Gower Street, which opened on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1911. Garrigus’ preaching at Bethesda emphasized conversion, adult water baptism, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the imminent return of Christ. Numerous lives were changed because of the ministry at Bethesda. After little more than a year, the building was purchased, and by the next year the building was enlarged to accommodate the increasing number of people attending the services. In 1912, the Fowlers had to leave Newfoundland for health reasons, and that left Garrigus in charge.

The Pentecostal movement in Newfoundland grew slowly during the next decade, since Garrigus’ ministry remained centered in the St. John’s area.

After a crusade in 1919 by evangelist Victoria Booth-Clibborn Demarest, interest in Pentecostalism grew. New converts started new missions, and one of these, Robert C. English, eventually became co-pastor with Garrigus at Bethesda Mission.

Alice Belle Garrigus’ work with Bethesda Mission eventually led to the founding of a Pentecostal organization in Newfoundland. On Dec. 8, 1925, the “Bethesda Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland” was chartered. The word “Bethesda” was dropped in 1930.

The first general superintendent of this organization was Robert C. English, followed by Eugene Vaters, A. Stanley Bursey (all three who worked closely with Garrigus), and others. In 1949 the people of Newfoundland voted to become Canada’s newest province, and this organization and the number of churches has continued to grow. The current name is The Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador (PAONL). It is a member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship and has strong ties with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the Assemblies of God, and other denominations within the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA).

Alice Garrigus’ nearly 40 years in Newfoundland were very busy. She remained there for the rest of her life and continued to be a principal figure in the Pentecostal church, serving as an evangelist in charge of Bethesda Mission and also holding a number of executive positions in the PAONL. She passed away in August 1949 at Clarke’s Beach, Newfoundland, at the age of 91. Soon after her passing, a Pentecostal campground was established and called Camp Emmanuel. The Garrigus Memorial Tabernacle at the camp was named in her honor and dedicated in 1955.

A. Stanley Bursey, a former PAONL general superintendent, wrote: “We, who have had the opportunity to appraise her work and the result of same, can only conclude that when God calls, He makes no mistakes.”

Alice Belle Garrigus was a prolific writer. In 1950, the Pentecostal Evangel published an article by her, titled “Eating on the Heap,” which discusses Jacob and his father-in-law, Laban, making a covenant that was solidified with a mound of stones called “a heap.” Afterwards they ate together on the heap to show that past wrongs and hurts would be forgotten and that love would prevail.

Read “Eating on the Heap,” on page 3 of the June 24, 1950, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “I Sat Where They Sat,” by J. Narver Gortner

• “The Passing and the Permanent,” by Robert C. Cunningham

• “Missions — New and Old,” by H. C. Ball

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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Canyon Day, Arizona: The Role of Native American Women in Assemblies of God Churches

Apache

WMC members at Canyon Day Assembly of God form a choir for an outdoor service, 1960.

This Week in AG History — April 24, 1960

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 19 March 2020

Native American women have played important roles in the development of Assemblies of God churches on reservations across America. The April 24, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel shared how women helped to establish a congregation on the Apache Reservation at Canyon Day, Arizona.

Mary and Leo Gilman were called to be missionaries to the Apaches at Canyon Day. When the Gilmans arrived, Mary reported that these women worked side by side with the men. First, they helped set up poles and build a shaded area for a brush arbor until a permanent structure could be built. Once the church was being built, they helped with the construction work and also hauled rocks and mixed cement for the parsonage, sidewalk, and church steps.

After the church opened for services, the Women’s Missionary Council (WMC) was officially organized. One of the Apache ladies became the WMC president. The group held weekly meetings, where the ladies spent time in Bible study and prayer as well as cleaning and caring for their church building. Each of the ladies sewed a quilt, and these colorful creations were hung on the church walls. Some people later visited the church just to see the beautiful quilts.

The ladies did weekly visitation from house to house and down back roads and trails to show care and concern for their neighbors and family members. They also visited the older ladies of the community and took them small tokens of friendship. They gave out quilts to some of the older people who were in need.

One time these ladies won 40 ribbons at the Apache Indian Tribal fair for their sewing, cooked foods, etc. The Assemblies of God booth even won first prize! Participating in this event gave them an opportunity to witness and pass out over 4,000 tracts in two days, with the assistance of the Christ’s Ambassadors (young people) of the church.

These Apache women definitely made an impact on their surroundings as they shared the love of Christ through their many activities.

Read “Apache Women at Work,” by Mary Gilman, on pages 16-17 of the April 24, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “New Awakening in Germany,” by Nicholas Nikoloff

• “Navajo Artist Builds a Church For His People,” by Ruth Lyon

• “Busy Mother Ministers to the Blind,” by Maxine Strobridge

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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Carrie Judd Montgomery: A Passion for Healing and Fullness of the Spirit

Montgomery

This Week in AG History — February 12, 1938

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 13 February 2020

Carrie Judd Montgomery (1858-1946) experienced a physical healing in 1879 that led her on a journey to ever-deepening fullness of life in the Holy Spirit. A prolific author and sought-after speaker, she also established healing homes and was involved in humanitarian work. Montgomery became an important voice for spreading the message of faith in God’s power in both the Holiness and Pentecostal movements.

In the Feb. 12, 1938, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Montgomery wrote an article on the steps of faith taken by the Jewish patriarch, Abraham. The following quote from that article encapsulates much of her teaching on the life of faith: “When you really hear God speak through His Word it is as easy to believe as it is to take your next breath. If you have ever had an experience of this kind, the memory of it will always encourage you to trust Him yet again.”

As a youth, Montgomery attended an Episcopal church in New York. She was encouraged by her bishop to “swiftly obey the voice of the Spirit.” As a teenager, she started a Sunday School for neighborhood children and sought to be used of God. However, the idea of surrendering herself to God’s will frightened her. She knew she must abandon sin, but she was afraid that surrendering herself to God would require her to abandon her gifts and talents, as well. She feared that in doing so God would not allow her to fulfill her life dream — to be a writer.

In 1876, when she was 17 years old, she fell in an awkward position on the icy ground. She was confined to bed with “hyperesthesia of the spine, hips, knees, and ankles.” For almost three years her outlook was grim, as her weight dwindled down to 85 pounds. In 1879, her father read about an African-American woman, Sarah Ann Freeman Mix, who had experienced a healing of tuberculosis and had a ministry of praying for the sick. Montgomery asked her sister to send a letter to Mix requesting prayer.

The family received a quick reply asking them to trust wholly to the care of Almighty God and to believe the promise of James 5:15, “and the prayer of faith shall save the sick.” Mix asked them to pray at a certain time on Feb. 26, 1879, and she and her prayer group would also prayer and believe God for healing.

On that day, the Judd family prayed in faith. Carrie struggled to overcome the doubts in her mind but, finally, turned over in her bed and raised herself up alone for the first time in over two years. By April, she was able to walk outside and in July she returned to lead her Sunday School class.

Montgomery received so many inquiries about her experience that she published her story, The Prayer of Faith, in 1880. This book became one of the first theological writings on divine healing as provided in the atonement of Jesus Christ. In 1881, she began the publication of a periodical, Triumphs of Faith, which she continued to publish for the next 65 years. God fulfilled her desire to be a writer.

Believing that the life of faith was essential for the spiritual life that God intended for His people, she began teaching on the subject in conferences. She was soon known for her national ministry on the faith-filled life of holiness. In 1890, she moved with her new husband, George Montgomery, to Oakland, California. There, she opened Home of Peace, a healing home where she taught guests how to pray for and receive healing.

When a revival began in Los Angeles at the Azusa Street Mission, Montgomery began to publish reports of its services in her paper. Pentecostal services began to be held in Oakland, and Carrie attended a meeting. She later wrote, “I had myself received marvelous anointings of the Holy Spirit in the past, but I felt if there were more for me I surely wanted it.” She received her own personal Pentecostal experience in 1908.

In 1914, Montgomery became a charter member of the Assemblies of God. She was able to remain a part of the Assemblies of God without cutting her ties to her broader network of evangelical and Holiness believers. Upon her death, her ministry was carried on by her daughter and son-in-law, Faith and Merrill Berry.

The list of early Pentecostal ministers influenced by Montgomery’s ministry read like a “Who’s Who” of the Holiness/Pentecostal movement — A.B. Simpson, William Booth, Pandita Ramabai, Maria Woodworth-Etter, William Seymour, John. G. Lake, A.J. Tomlinson, Alexander Boddy, Smith Wigglesworth, Elizabeth Sisson, Aimee Semple McPherson, A.H. Argue, Juan Lugo, Chonita Morgan Howard, and many others.

Montgomery’s hunger for the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the life of faith was an earmark of her ministry. While she traveled in international missionary work and established camp meetings, orphanages, training schools, and a home for elderly minorities, she never strayed from the core message of her ministry — God calls his people to holiness and to healing.

Read Carrie Judd Montgomery’s article, “The Faith of Abraham,” on page 2 of the Feb. 12, 1938, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Challenge of the Opening and Closing Doors” by Noel Perkin

• “Depravity” by E.S. Williams

• “Ye Shall Be Witnesses Unto Me”

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

See also: “Carrie Judd Montgomery: A Passion for Healing and the Fullness of the Spirit,” by Jennifer A. Miskov, published in the 2012 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage.

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: iFPHC.org

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Elva Stump: The Nurse Who Became an Assemblies of God Church Planter in West Virginia

Elva Stump

Elva K. Stump, age 98

This Week in AG History — January 18, 1936

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 2 January 2019

Elva K. Stump (1885-1985) was a trained nurse and a pioneer Assemblies of God minister. Most of her ministry was in Ohio, but she also spent time in the 1930s ministering in rural West Virginia, where she helped pioneer both white and African-American congregations.

Stump had a very full life. A nurse by profession, she graduated from the Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia. At age 29, she married a widower (Thomas), who had one child from his previous marriage. Thomas and Elva had four more children. In about 1926, she began serving as Sunday School superintendent of the Maple Avenue Mission (Church of the Brethren) in Canton, Ohio.

Elva Stump’s life changed dramatically in 1928, when she was 43 years old. She developed a spinal infection, which doctors told her would result in paralysis and death. Her suffering was intense, and the doctors gave her up to die.

However, Stump and her fellow Christians held a round-the-clock prayer vigil at her bedside. Stump came to believe that her illness was God’s way to teach her to submit to His will. The Lord reminded her of John 15:2, “Every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” This realization changed her attitude and gave her peace. She changed the way she prayed, “I am not asking You to heal me for my friends, my family, or the mission, but only for Your glory and honor.” After she prayed in this way, she experienced a supernatural touch and was healed. She wrote about her healing in the June 21, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

She recalled, “I raised my head, took my left hand and ran it down my spine — no pain! I threw back the covers with my left hand and foot, and moved every toe on that foot — something I had not done for months. I got out of bed and walked to the bathroom, walking heavily to see if sensation was really in my feet again.” Her nurse, hearing the commotion, thought that Stump was having a convulsion and dying. But the nurse came into her room and found Stump “walking and shouting and praising the Lord.”

Through this experience, Stump learned to submit to God’s will, whether it be easy or difficult. When she felt God calling her to leave Ohio to go minister to the unchurched of rural West Virginia, she heeded the call.

Stump became a credentialed minister with the Assemblies of God in 1932, at age 47. The Jan. 18, 1936, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel reported on Stump’s evangelistic endeavors. She was a 50-year-old female Pentecostal pastor, before it was acceptable in the broader society to be a female pastor, much less a Pentecostal.

Stump arrived in the community of Mud Lick, West Virginia, where she began holding gospel services in a building worthy of the town’s name — “an old forsaken schoolhouse.” The article recounted her humble accommodations: “Here she lived in a cabin set up on stilts, slept on the floor, and sat very still when she read so the wasps would not sting.” It was uncomfortable, but Stump learned to submit to God’s will. The results? The article reported, “The Lord owned this meeting, and men and women and some children found Him.”

Stump next held six weeks of meetings in the community of Sand Fork, where she was given a parsonage and an abandoned church. She left the believers after she secured a “very spiritual pastor” to shepherd the flock. Next, she helped establish a church and a “faith home” at Bealls Mills and an African-American congregation in Butcher Fork. She then went to the coal fields and held tent meetings in Gilmer, Pittsburg-Franklin, and MacKay. The tireless evangelist proceeded to St. Mary’s, where she held meetings at a community church. The January 1936 article noted that Stump planned to return to St. Mary’s and also start a work in Glenville.

Stump and her energetic ministry colleagues planted or rejuvenated these West Virginia churches, from Mud Lick to Glenville, in the course of one year. Her colleague, Minnie Allensworth, remarked, “This is the result of one year’s absolute surrender to the Lord.”

Pentecostal pioneers such as Elva Stump often did so much with so little. What could happen in one year if Pentecostals learned to surrender all to the Lord, just as Stump did?

Read the entire article, “New Work in West Virginia,” by Minnie Allensworth, on page 12 of the Jan. 18, 1936, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Some Things a Pastor Cannot Do” by Ernest S. Williams

• “Our Daily Bread” by Lilian Yeomans

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Elva Stump’s testimony of her healing, published on page 9 of the June 21, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, is accessible by clicking here.

Pentecostal Evangel
archived editions courtesy of 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: iFPHC.org

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“Mother” Alice Reynolds Flower: An Example of Consecrated Ministry and Motherhood

FlowersThis Week in AG History — May 11, 1952

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 9 May 2019

Alice Reynolds Flower (1890-1991), the wife of AG pioneer J. Roswell Flower, is a shining example of motherhood. Affectionately known as “Mother Flower,” she preached, taught Sunday School, led prayer meetings, wrote articles, penned poetry, authored books, and lived a godly example in front of her six children and everyone she came in contact with.

As Mother’s Day approaches, it is good to consider an article that Mother Flower wrote for the Pentecostal Evangel in May 1952. It was also made available in tract form through the Gospel Publishing House and was widely distributed.

In “The Business of Coat-Making,” Mother Flower talked about Hannah, the mother of Samuel in the Old Testament. Samuel’s mother prayed diligently to have a son, and when her first-born son arrived, she dedicated him to God’s service. As a young boy, he went to live with Eli the high priest. The Bible record says, “Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice” (1 Samuel 2:19).

This verse held deep significance for Mother Flower. She liked to ponder how Samuel’s mother found a way to minister to her son, even though he was consecrated to service in the house of God. She imagined the joy Hannah had in every stitch of the garment she made each year. Mother Flower said, “To Hannah, making that coat was no ordinary bit of sewing; it was her one chance to express yearly in practical manner the love of her heart.” She continued, “And she did it faithfully, delivering each tiny garment personally to her Samuel there in the house of God.”

Mother Flower suggested that God never intended the business of coat-making to end with Hannah. She gave an example of her own mother, who provided spiritual “coats” for each of her daughters. First, she gave each of them a “coat of prayer.” Mother Flower shared her own testimony of her mother praying for her during her teen years, when she was struggling with a number of conflicts. Partly due to her mother’s prayers she surrendered her life to Christ and later was baptized in the Holy Spirit on Easter Sunday of 1907 at the age of 16.

Her mother also fashioned “coats of consistent living” for each of her children. She testified, “Her every walk before us stirred our hearts to follow God similarly.” Mother Flower said that fervor in the church is good, and laboring for others is commendable, but “making the coat of consistent living” is the most important task of a mother.

Another aspect of coat-making is the Word of God. Mother Flower gave a testimony that after her mother was miraculously raised from a deathbed experience and filled with the Holy Spirit, she started the family altar. Each morning the family gathered together to read God’s Word and pray, and her mother also helped the children to memorize Scripture. She compared her mother’s influence through the Word of God to Timothy in the New Testament whose faith was molded by his mother and grandmother.

The “coat of discipline” is also essential. She shared that, “No home is beautiful or happy without obedience, respect, honesty and cooperation.” “The standard of righteous living as taught by the Word of God must be faithfully, constantly, consistently raised as a part of the family existence,” said Flower, “not a passing suggestion, but an essential detail of the family living, as is the eating, drinking and sleeping.” Training up obedient, honest, respectful, and God-fearing children is vitally important.

One more coat that is essential is “Understanding Love.” She felt it imperative that a mother have occasional “heart-charts” and “seasons together before God” with each of her children. She said, a “mother must keep ever wisely stitching on this ‘coat of understanding’ if she would successfully fulfill her highest ministry in the home.”

Mother Flower’s admonition is for more mothers to pray diligently for their children on a daily basis, live a consistent Christian life, study the Word of God, offer guidance and training, and hem all of this in love and understanding.

Read more in “The Business of Coat-Making” on pages 3-4, 22 of the May 11, 1952, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Visions in the Night,” by Frank M. Boyd

• “Healed Through Mother’s Prayers,” by Allen Bowman

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: http://www.iFPHC.org

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Panel Discussion: Women Assemblies of God Ministers in Greene County, 1907-1980

The Greene County Historical Society and the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center are co-sponsoring a panel discussion, “Women Assemblies of God Ministers in Greene County, 1907-1980.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be of interest to people of various backgrounds.

Where : Maranatha Village Community Center,
304 W. Bethany Dr., Springfield, MO 65803

When : Saturday, April 27
12:00-1:00 pm / GCHS annual meeting and lunch (optional)

1:00-3:00 pm / Panel discussion

For more information or to RSVP email: grcomohs@yahoo.com

Alice Flower

Women ministers have played important roles in Pentecostal churches in Greene County since 1907, when Central Assembly of God was founded by Lillie Corum. When the Assemblies of God located its national office and publishing house in Springfield in 1918, the town became an international hub for the denomination. Women have served as Assemblies of God pastors, educators, evangelists, and missionaries. However, many had to overcome bias against female clergy in both the church and the broader society in order to fulfill their calling.

Panel Participants:
Thelma Cook – Missionary to India
Joyce Wells Booze – Author
David Ringer – Professor of History
Ruthie Oberg – Moderator

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Pandita Ramabai: Prominent Female Social Reformer and Pentecostal Pioneer in India

TWApril1_2016_1400This Week in AG History — April 1, 1916

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 4 April 2019

Pandita Ramabai (1858-1922), widely regarded as one of India’s most prominent female social reformers and educators, played a significant role in pioneering the Pentecostal movement in India. Ramabai came from a privileged family, and she used her education and resources to help the underprivileged of her society.

Despite a cultural proscription on educating girls, Ramabai’s father, an educator and social reformer, taught her to read and write Sanskrit. By the age of 12, she memorized 18,000 verses of the Puranas, which were important Hindu religious texts. She became a noted Hindu scholar and was fluent in seven languages.

At a young age, Ramabai devoted her life to helping widows and orphans, who were often despised and mistreated in her society. Ramabai attended college in England, where she joined the Church of England. While traveling in the slums of London, she learned to distinguish between the institutional church and what she termed the “religion of Jesus Christ.” She returned to India and established homes for dispossessed widows and children. She also fought for social reform, including provision for quality healthcare and education.

Despite being marginalized by other social reformers who argued that her agenda was too radical, Ramabai continued to promote her social vision for India, which was consistent with her Christian testimony. She weathered criticism and even became bolder in her efforts, founding additional orphanages and a home for prostitutes. Importantly, Ramabai’s social ministries cared for both the body and the soul. They sheltered, educated, and fed women and children, and they also taught Christian doctrine and nurtured a generation of new Christians.

Ramabai realized that some things only change through prayer, and she used her significant influence to encourage women to pray for spiritual and social change in India. In January 1905, she issued a call to prayer, and 550 women began meeting twice daily for intercessory prayer. That summer, Ramabai sent 30 young women out into the villages to preach the gospel. These young female preachers were successful, and they reported an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on June 29, 1905, which included several being “slain in the Spirit” and experiencing a burning sensation. This Indian revival continued for several years. By 1906, participants also began receiving the gift of speaking in tongues.

According to Ramabai, the girls at the orphanage in Mukti prayed each day for more than 29,000 individuals by name. They prayed, among other things, for them to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and to become true and faithful Christian witnesses.

Pandita Ramabai and the revival at the Mukti mission played an important role in the story of the Pentecostal movement’s origin in India. Alfred G. Garr, the first missionary sent by the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, recounted his interactions with Ramabai in a serialized history of the Pentecostal movement published in the April 1, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Read the article, “The Work Spreads to India,” by A. G. Garr on pages 4 and 5 of the April 1, 1916, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Face to Face,” by D. W. Kerr

• “Letter from a Brother Minister,” by W. Jethro Walthall

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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Dr. Florence Murcutt, Early Assemblies of God Missionary and Surgeon

murcutt1

Florence Murcutt (sitting) with Alice Luce at Glad Tidings Bible Institute, San Francisco, California; circa 1920s

This Week in AG History —January 30, 1932

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 31 January 2019

Florence Murcutt (1868-1935) began life in Australia as a Jew, overcame prejudice to become a pioneer female surgeon in the United States, and ended life as an Assemblies of God missionary to Mexicans. She was likely the first medical doctor to serve as an Assemblies of God missionary, yet her name and significant evangelistic work as a Pentecostal has been largely forgotten.

Born in Australia to English parents, Murcutt was raised in the Jewish faith. Murcutt had an inquiring mind and explored the claims of Christianity. As a young woman she read the Bible for herself, cover to cover, in six weeks. She accepted Christ as the messiah and became active in Christian circles. She and her sister, Ada, immigrated to America in 1900 and became national speakers with the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Murcutt graduated in 1907 from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (now Drexel University College of Medicine) and became a surgeon.

Murcutt’s life was forever altered when she attended a Pentecostal camp meeting in Portland, Oregon. At the meeting, a man who was entirely unfamiliar with the French language began prophesying in French under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Murcutt understood the prophecy, which testified that Jesus was the only way to God. Moved by this miraculous prophecy and by the palpable presence of God at the meeting, she knelt at the altar and committed to yield herself fully to God’s purposes for her life.

Murcutt was later baptized in the Holy Spirit and devoted the rest of her life to missionary work. In 1912, she traveled to Palestine, where she distributed gospel literature in Hebrew and Arabic. She was ordained as a missionary by the Assemblies of God on June 18, 1915. Murcutt served with Alice Luce and Henry C. Ball as a missionary to Mexicans living along the borderlands in Texas, California, and Mexico. In 1926, she helped Luce to establish a Spanish-language department of Berean Bible Institute in San Diego. This department was the foundation for what became Latin American Bible Institute in La Puente, California. Murcutt and Luce taught at the school, planted several Spanish and English congregations, and engaged in missionary work in Fiji and Australia. Murcutt died in December 1935 from injuries resulting from being struck by an automobile.

Florence Murcutt, one of the largely unheralded Pentecostal pioneers, had a testimony that reads like an adventure novel. She had many impressive achievements, but she found the greatest purpose and meaning when she committed herself fully to God.

Read Florence Murcutt’s article, “A Retrospect of the Lord’s Leadings,” on pages 7 and 9 of the Jan. 30, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Secret of Victorious Living,” by Rachel Craig

• “Is Pentecost a New Religion?” by Charles E. Robinson

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: http://www.iFPHC.org

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Bernice Lee: A Missionary to Lepers in India

This Week in AG History — November 23, 1929

By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg
Originally published on AG News, 21 November 2018

Bernice Lee (1879-1958), was one of the many single women who played a vital role in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in the early days of the Assemblies of God. As a missionary, Bernice Lee served the lepers of India for nearly 30 years.

Born in Benson, Illinois, Lee was privileged to graduate from high school and find employment as a schoolteacher. When she heard the Pentecostal message in 1907, she immediately accepted it. In her Nov. 23, 1929, Pentecostal Evangel article, “The Leper Work at Uska Bazar” she wrote, “Many of us had been praying for years ‘Lord Jesus, make Thyself to me a living, bright reality.’ And that prayer was answered to us at the time of the outpouring of the blessed Spirit of God . . . at that time many were led to go forth into the various fields, and many others were led to sacrifice that the gospel might be spread to the uttermost parts of the earth.”

Lee left her school teaching position and became an evangelist after the infilling of the Spirit but she felt a call to broader fields across the ocean. E. N. Bell (later the first general chairman of the Assemblies of God) ordained her in 1910 as a missionary to North India. By 1913, she and another single lady, Edith Baugh, were providing leadership to a leper colony at Uska Bazar, India. In 1915, they founded another leper colony 140 miles away at Chupra.

In 1921, Lee joined the newly formed Assemblies of God as a fully appointed missionary. In her 1929 article she wrote, “I believe no other people have been more faithful in putting ambassadors and funds and prayers on the altar. But can we say that we have done all that God has required? Might it be that we feel sufficient funds have gone forth for the spreading of the gospel? Might it be that we feel that we have prayed sufficiently to convert the whole world? Ah, no, friends, ‘yet there is room.’”

Lee stated her dismay at those who said to her, “It must take a great deal of grace to love those lepers.” She wrote, “That hurts me . . . never think it is hard to love a leper. It is not . . . love is a language that is universally understood; and those dear people very quickly respond to it. Although you may be not able to make them understand with your tongue at first, they will understand the touch!”

Writing from the United States where she returned for a short break from her labor due to health concerns she said, “I had to ask God for grace to come back here. I love that land and people. I love to think that, if Jesus tarries, in a few months hence I shall be able to go back again.”

Lee was able to return for a third term at the Indian leper colony in 1930. After her heart was damaged by rheumatic fever in 1935, she returned home for a furlough before serving a final term in India. In February 1940, she returned to the United States in broken health. She continued to write and intercede for missions until her death in Oakland, California, in 1958.

Bernice Lee ended her 1929 Evangel article with this plea, “I look at the suffering of the world, groping in the darkness of hate and sin, and the words come, ‘Yet there is room.’” In 2018, 89 years later, there is still room for workers in the harvest field.

Read Bernice Lee’s article “The Leper Work at Uska Bazar” on page 5 of the Nov. 23, 1929, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Children of God Triumphant,” by Harold H. Moss

• “The City Foursquare,” by Mrs. William Connell

• “Among the Lisu Tribes, China,” by Leonard Bolton

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: http://www.iFPHC.org

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Mildred Whitney: The Housewife Who Started Assemblies of God Ministries for the Blind

WhitneyThis Week in AG History — December 8, 1957

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on PE-News, 07 December 2017

Mildred Whitney (1910-1994) almost single-handedly founded ministries for the blind in the Assemblies of God (AG). Her legacy is seen today in the AG Center for the Blind, under the leadership of Paul Weingartner.

Whitney’s life-long dream was to make Pentecostal literature available to the blind and visually impaired. The beginning of Whitney’s work goes back to a Sunday in October 1949 when she was praying in her morning devotions in East Jordan, Michigan, and felt God speaking to her to start up a braille ministry. That same Sunday she read an article in the Gospel Gleaners, the predecessor of the AG’s weekly Live magazine, which told about Gladys Carrington, a housewife, who had been transcribing Christian literature into braille. Whitney contacted Carrington who sent her a copy of the braille alphabet and other materials to get her started.

Whitney began learning the braille alphabet, and by 1951 she had mastered the art of writing braille and had started transcribing and producing Pentecostal literature for the blind in her home. The official start of her ministry to the blind began in 1952. On Nov. 16, the AG Center for the Blind, located in Springfield, Missouri, held an open house to celebrate 65 years of ministry.

In the beginning years, Mildred Whitney and her husband improvised to make their own type press, assembled their own drying racks, and used other equipment as needed. In 1954 she began using a braille typewriter to better carry out this vital ministry. This led to her taking select articles from the Pentecostal Evangel and other publications to produce the Pentecostal Digest in braille. Soon afterwards she began producing Sunday School quarterlies in braille.

Sixty years ago, in the Dec. 8, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, Elva Hoover wrote an article called “Quarterlies for the Blind.” She described how Whitney worked for a number of years using “makeshift equipment with limited funds” in her own home to provide braille literature for the blind. “Although she does most of the work herself,” said Hoover, “various members of her family are pressed into service from time to time.” Because of the time-consuming process in producing braille literature (one page of quarterly materials requires almost five pages of braille), Whitney printed the Sunday School lessons on a monthly basis rather than quarterly.

The AG Center for the Blind still produces the Adult Student Guide in braille and digital audio files for other age levels of Sunday School materials, as well as God’s Word for Today, Live, PrimeLine, and selected books.

Read “Quarterlies for the Blind,” on pages 24 and 25 of the Dec. 8, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Sure Formula for Revival,” by E. R. Foster

• “Under the Blood,” by Donald Gee

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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December 7, 2017 · 3:08 pm