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AGTS News: A House No Longer Divided

Unity celebration, April 13-15, to mark the unlikely dual anniversary of the Springfield Lynching and the Azusa Street Revival.

Did you know that the night of the infamous Springfield lynching – April 14, 1906 – was also the date on which an interracial revival began on Azusa Street in Los Angeles?
 
On April 14, 1906, three African-American men were lynched by a mob on the Springfield town square. The lynching of Horace Duncan, Fred Coker and Will Allen led to the flight of possibly hundreds of blacks to less hostile areas. The very ethnic makeup of the community, to this day, reflects that horrific event. The African-American community in Springfield remembers the event much like Jews remember the Holocaust.
 
That same day, on April 14, 1906, William J. Seymour began holding services at the run-down mission at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles. The interracial Azusa Street revival, which emerged from meetings in a home on Bonnie Brae Street, became a focal point for the emerging Pentecostal movement. Azusa participant Frank Bartleman famously exulted that “the color line was washed away in the blood.” A little more than one year later, Rachel Sizelove, a Free Methodist-turned-Pentecostal evangelist, brought the movement to Springfield from Azusa Street and started what became Central Assembly of God.
 
The dual anniversary of these events from Easter weekend in 1906 offers a remarkable opportunity to reflect on the history of division and unity within Springfield and within the Christian church.
 
The public is invited to participate in a demonstration of unity – a series of three events, under the name “A House No Longer Divided,” to be held nightly, 7 to 9 pm, Monday, April 13 through Wednesday, April 15. The events will be held in two locations: April 13-14 at Timmons Temple Church of God in Christ, 934 E. Webster St., and April 15 at the William J. Seymour Chapel at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, 1435 N. Glenstone Ave. (visitors should enter through the front entrance).
 
The meetings will feature special speakers, preaching, and music. Speakers include T. J. Appleby (Timmons Temple), Gwen Marshall (Deliverance Temple), Winston Larry and Scott Temple (Assemblies of God US Missions), and Darrin Rodgers (Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center). Six local college students are also scheduled to speak. Student organizers are John F. Wheeler (Central Bible College), Dan Morrison (Assemblies of God Theological Seminary), and Michael Ryswyk (Evangel University).
 
This event was birthed out of John F. Wheeler's desire to build bridges across racial and denominational divides. Wheeler, a Central Bible College student, is the great-grandson of Church of God in Christ founder Bishop Charles H. Mason. The Church of God in Christ and the Assemblies of God, respectively, are the largest black and white Pentecostal denominations in the U.S.
 
“A House No Longer Divided” is sponsored by Timmons Temple Church of God in Christ, Kingdom Movement Ministries, the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.
 
According to Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center director Darrin Rodgers, “April 14, 1906 was witness to both the darkness of humanity and the light of God. It is important that we not only remember, but also overcome, our painful history of racial disunity. ‘A House No Longer Divided’ offers an opportunity to tell the world that, just like at Azusa Street, ‘the color line has been washed away in the blood.’”
 
For more information, call the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (417-862-2781, ext. 4400).

Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 11:38 AM

 
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