Rare Kathryn Kuhlman transcripts donated to FPHC

Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman (1907-1976), possibly the world’s most prominent female evangelist and faith healer (although at times she objected to these titles), was a catalyst for the emerging charismatic renewal in the 1950s and 1960s. Her life and ministry — and her impact on the broader Christian church — remain the focus of much popular and scholarly attention.

Three unique and significant notebooks focusing on Kathryn Kuhlman’s ministry during the years 1949 to 1952 have been donated to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC).

A new convert, Gay Luchin, took shorthand notes during Kuhlman’s meetings in Pittsburgh and spent many hours transcribing her eye-witness notes, placing them in three notebooks. The donation also includes correspondence from Kuhlman to Luchin, in which she encouraged Luchin in her work to develop these accounts.

Luchin’s notebooks contain well over 1,000 carefully-recorded pages of typescripts, detailing Kuhlman’s unvarnished thoughts on theology, social issues, politics, ethics, and spirituality. This major donation, unexamined by the scholarly world, promises to throw new light upon an era of Kuhlman’s life that heretofore has been sparsely documented.

The FPHC invites you to visit Springfield to view these items for yourself. They were released , May 9, 2007 the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kathryn Kuhlman. Please call for an appointment.

Posted by Darrin Rodgers


Church of God in Christ tour with Mother Patterson

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mother Mary P. Patterson (widow of Presiding Bishop J.O. Patterson Sr., 1968-1989) has agreed to lead a tour of Church of God in Christ holy sites in Lexington (MS) and Memphis (TN). The tour will occur on Wednesday, March 9, 2011, the day before the beginning of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (SPS) annual meeting.

Guests will see St. Paul Church Of God In Christ (the birthplace of the COGIC), Asia Baptist Church, Saints Industrial and Literary School, the jail cell where Bishop C.H. Mason was imprisoned in 1918 for allegedly preaching against the war, and other sites in Lexington, in addition to Mason Temple in Memphis.

Three scholars will accompany the tour and provide historical commentary: Dr. Elton Weaver (COGIC historian and Assistant Professor of History, Le Moyne-Owen College); Dr. Anjulet Tucker (Assistant Professor of Sociology and Religion, Boston University); and Dr. Percy Washington (pastor of Sweet Canaan COGIC, Lexington, MS).

The March 9, 2011 tour on Luxury Motor Coach will depart from and return to the Marriott Memphis Downtown (the official SPS hotel). Departure: 8:30 am. Return: 4 pm. Cost: $65 (lunch included). SPS members should make reservations through the SPS website prior to Feb. 1. Starting Feb. 1, any remaining seats will be offered to the general public. If insufficient guests register by Feb. 15, the tour may be cancelled and all fees will be refunded. For additional information, contact Darrin Rodgers at drodgers@ag.org or toll free at 877-840-5200.

This is a rare opportunity!

Tickets for the tour may be purchased on the SPS website: http://www.sps-usa.org/meetings/registration.htm. Non-SPS members may purchase tickets on the SPS website starting on February 1.

Pentecostal Origins of Earth Day

The 2010 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine includes an article that will raise eyebrows — the story of John McConnell, Jr., the Pentecostal founder of Earth Day. McConnell’s parents were founding members of the Assemblies of God, and his grandfather identified with the Pentecostal movement at the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in 1906.

Forty years ago, McConnell established the first governmentally-recognized Earth Day on March 21, 1970. The United Nations adopted the holiday the following year and has been celebrating Earth Day on the March equinox since 1971.

This original Earth Day was quickly eclipsed in prominence, however, by a second Earth Day (celebrated on April 22). The founder of the April observance, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, took the name Earth Day for his Environmental Teach-In, scheduled to be held on the 100th anniversary of communist leader Vladimir Lenin’s birthday.

According to McConnell, a representative of Nelson approached him at a United Nations conference and asked McConnell to switch the original Earth Day to April 22. McConnell refused, because he believed the celebration should be on nature’s event. Furthermore, McConnell intended Earth Day to be a non-partisan event that would unite people from various backgrounds and foster peace. In contrast, Nelson’s purpose was a political protest against pollution – he viewed Earth Day as a means to force the environment on the national agenda by mass demonstration.

McConnell states that Nelson “stole” the name Earth Day and used it for his own personal political agenda. McConnell contends that the April 22 observance is too politicized, which alienates many people, including Christians and conservatives.  He maintains that the day should be celebrated on the March equinox. Significantly, he views Earth Day as an opportunity for Christians “to show the power of prayer, the validity of their charity and their practical concern for Earth’s life and people.” McConnell’s call is not for earth worship, but for responsible stewardship (which he prefers to call trusteeship) of the earth.

McConnell also spearheaded two nationally-recognized peace movements: the Star of Hope (1957) and the Minute for Peace (1963-present). He also served as a leader in Meals for Millions (1961-1963), an organization that fed starving people.

McConnell credits his Pentecostal background for his concern for peace, justice and care of earth. He wrote, “If there had been no Christian experience in my life there would be no Earth Day – or at least I would not have initiated it.”

In a 2009 interview, McConnell stated, “I definitely still believe what my father taught and preached.” His father, J. S. McConnell, was an Assemblies of God pastor and evangelist from 1914 to 1928. According to McConnell, his father emphasized the teachings of Jesus above all else.

McConnell’s story offers an intriguing example to Pentecostals from their own history of how one can love Jesus and care for creation; these two attitudes are not mutually exclusive.

To read the entire article about John McConnell in the 2010 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage, click here.

To watch an interview of McConnell discussing his Pentecostal background, click here.

To read the article on McConnell published by Charisma magazine, click here.

Posted by Darrin J. Rodgers