Monday, January 8, 2018

Foursquare phenomenon; Founded by a Canadian Salvationist

Aimee Semple McPherson
"Never did I hear such language from a human being. Without one moment's intermission, she would talk from an hour to an hour and a half, holding her audience spellbound."
— a reporter's description.

In 1913 a 23-year-old Salvation Army daughter was rushed to the hospital with appendicitis, her life hanging in the balance. But for months the young woman had felt her spiritual life was also in peril. She'd had a deep, gnawing sense that God expected more of her.

As she later recounted, her condition deteriorated until a hospital attendant came to move her into a room set apart for the dying. She struggled to breathe as she heard a nurse say, "She's going."

Then she heard another voice: "Now will you go?" She understood it to mean she was to choose between going into eternity or going into ministry. She yielded to ministry. Instantly, she said, the pain was gone, her breathing eased, and she soon regained her strength.

Within a decade, the young woman would become an American phenomenon. Though hardly known today, during the 1920s her name appeared on the front page of America's leading newspapers three times a week. Today, as her International Church of the Foursquare Gospel carries on her legacy, historians consider her (along with Billy Sunday) the most significant revivalist in the early twentieth century.

Living in a gospel car
Aimee was born in October 1890, to James and Minnie Kennedy, a Methodist and a Salvation Army devotee respectively, in Ontario, Canada. As a teenager, Aimee was introduced to Pentecostalism through the preaching of Robert Semple, whom she eventually married. When he died two years later, she married young businessman Harold McPherson. For a few years, they shared a hand-to-mouth existence. They lived in a "gospel" car plastered with Bible verses and slogans (like "Where will you spend eternity?") and loaded with religious tracts. Slowly she began attracting crowds and the attention of the press.

Though Aimee and Harold quietly divorced, Aimee's ministry continued to expand. Using Hebrews 13:8 ("Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever") as her theme, she preached that the "full menu" of Bible Christianity was available for listeners' firsthand experience. Around the country, she spoke about the lavish feast Christ offered the faithful and summoned people with the words of a familiar gospel song: "Come and dine, the Master calleth, come and dine!"

From Los Angeles in 1919, McPherson launched a series of meetings that catapulted her to national fame. Within a year, America's largest auditoriums could not hold the crowds. She acquiesced to popular demand that she pray for the sick, and "stretcher days" became hallmarks of her campaigns.
Reporters marveled at her oratorical skills: "Never did I hear such language from a human being. Without one moment's intermission, she would talk from an hour to an hour and a half, holding her audience spellbound." Pastors from many denominations threw their support behind her city-wide campaigns. In 1922 her ministry took her to Australia, the first of a number of trips abroad.

On January 1, 1923, McPherson dedicated Angelus Temple, which held up to 5,300 worshipers. The ceremonies included hundreds of colorfully clad gypsies (who had named her their queen), a roster of prominent Protestant preachers, and thousands of adoring fans. A church-owned radio station was launched in 1924.

Christianity Today Archives

(Aimee Semple McPherson, American evangelist (one who preaches Christianity), symbolized important traits of American popular religion in the 1920s and 1930s. She was one of the first female evangelists, the first divorced evangelist, and the founder of the Foursquare Gospel church.
Aimee Kennedy was born on October 9, 1890, near Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada. Her father, James Morgan Kennedy, was a struggling farmer. Her mother, Mildred "Minnie" Pearce was a member of the Salvation Army (1865; founded by William Booth [1829–1912] as a religious organization with military structure for the purpose of bettering life for the poor and evangelizing the world). Soon after Aimee's birth, her mother took her to the Salvation Army and dedicated her to God's service. Aimee's training was particularly geared toward religious work.
When Aimee was in high school, she began to question her religious beliefs. At the age of seventeen she went to a religious meeting and experienced Pentecostal conversion under the guidance of Scottish evangelist Robert Semple. In 1908 she married Semple and followed him to China as a missionary (one who travels to spread religious teachings). He died soon after arriving in China, leaving her pregnant and penniless. After the birth of Roberta Star, she returned home and continued her Pentecostal work. She also worked with her mother for the Salvation Army.)

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Beginnings: See? I Am Doing a New Thing!—God

Epiphany,  January 6th, 2018

 What is Epiphany? There are two basic definitions. When the word is capitalized, it refers to the annual Feast of Epiphany that is held on January 6th to memorialize the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem to worship Jesus, the newborn King of the Jews. The second description of epiphany encompasses a personal, and often sudden, insight or revelation of the meaning of something.
The Epiphany that many of us are familiar with is the account of the Magi arriving at King Herod’s Palace in Jerusalem to enquire about the newborn King, whose star they had been following for 2 years. We know that cunning Herod was clueless, and he gathered his advisors in secret to shed some light on this threat-to-his-throne. Returning to address the Magi, Herod feigned interest in honouring the King, too. Herod then directed the Magi to return to the palace to advise him where they had located the new King. When the Magi reached their destiny, they acknowledged Jesus’ Sovereignty when they bowed in worship before the toddler and presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Magi’s revelation of Messiah demonstrated that God included Gentiles in the plan of salvation. And then, warned in a dream of Herod’s evil intentions, they chose an alternate route to returned to their homeland and thus protected the new King. Personal epiphanies often occur when we are wrestling with complex problems. For example, in the fall of 1990 I decided to pursue studies in Early Childhood Education (ECE) By the end of the spring semester of ’91, with transfer and prior learning credits, as well as a couple of mandatory course credits, there were only 2 compulsory courses left to complete the program. By April I had arranged for a required fieldwork placement and child care for our 3.5 yr. old son, which fell apart. Frustrated and exhausted by the mental gymnastics of trying to find another solution, I heard a song on the radio, “Things are only as important as I want them to be.” Too tired to think, I decided to take a nap. My epiphany came in my dreams and when I woke up I had my answer: nothing was as important to me as having our 2nd baby. So I cancelled my fieldwork arrangement.
The characters in the Christmas story experienced their own personal epiphanies, too. Each of them experienced God stepping into their lives to show them the New Thing that He was doing. For example, Mary and Joseph’s love story took several unconventional twists and turns, but they trusted God. The shepherds’ mundane lives were changed when God intervened in the drudgery, sent His angels to break through their darkness with news of Messiah’s birth; suddenly, their lives were filled with joy! And the Magi were changed when they invested 4 years of their lives to see God bursting through with His Light: they wouldn’t have missed the amazing gift of seeing and worshiping the Saviour of the world! These individuals were taken out of their comfort zones and endured various hardships and challenges

How are we similar to the characters in the account of experiencing the truth and wonder of Jesus’ birth? For starters, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So God steps into our lives to shake us out of our complacency, too. So, this year we have used the theme: “New Beginnings: I Am Doing a New Thing!—God, to take a fresh look at the Nativity account to discover the new thing God was doing in His people’s lives throughout this amazing historical account. My hope and prayer is that each of us has been asking God to show us the New Thing that He is doing in our lives. May He give you the epiphany that you are seeking.

Blessings & Peace

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

New Beginnings: See? I Am Doing a New Thing!—God

New Year’s 2018

In the 2nd week of Advent we briefly considered the fact that Life Takes Many Preparations, from daily responsibilities to special occasions. But even our best plans can go astray, and sometimes life circumstances can totally obliterate them. For example, a few weeks ago when I turned my attention to writing our 32nd annual newsletter, it dawned on me: I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything  in 2017. Weird, right? Usually I have too much information to share with loved ones. But this year? Nothing! I scoured my memories, but I drew a blank. While having lunch with a good friend, I explained my dilemma. Without hesitation she replied, “You and Steve (my husband) are having a ‘limbo year’! And everyone has one.” It immediately resonated in my spirit.
Have you had a limbo year or perhaps a limbo season in your life? I think that limbo can be summed up with a line that Father Mulcahy used in an episode of M*A*S*H,
“I walk around on the edge of effectiveness.” So, how do we move forward from a state of limbo? How do we tap into the New Beginnings that God desires for us? Traditionally, this is the time of the year that people begin to make their list of New Year’s Resolutions. Perhaps we need to resist making such a list this year. But what would we do instead? As I began to pray about this, I wondered what would fit into our theme, “New Beginnings: See? I Am Doing a New Thing!—God? Two Scriptures came to mind:
1) Enlarge my borders: “9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez, saying, “Because I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me, and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” And God granted his request,” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10Amplified Bible). Whether or not you have read the popular book, “The Prayer of Jabez,” by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, we can learn from this bold prayer that Jabez wanted God to greatly bless him—beyond what he could imagine! And God did!
Where there is no vision, the people perish…,” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). If we don’t have a vision, even a small one, we can easily fritter away our lives while we do ‘busy work’. Busy work--something many of us have assigned to kids to keep them occupied while we are doing other tasks. These two concepts do go together: without a vision, what are we asking God to do in our lives? Would we even begin to be as daring as Jabez was with his prayer? These Scripture verses remind me of Paul’s teaching to the Ephesians: “20 Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20, Living Bible).These two concepts do go together: without a vision, what are we asking God to do in our lives? Would we even begin to be as daring as Jabez was with his prayer? These Scripture verses remind me of Paul’s teaching to the Ephesians: “20 Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20, Living Bible).
May God move us from walking on the edge of effectiveness and out of our state of limbo and give us a vision of what He is calling us to do. May He enlarge our borders, including our realm of ministry, for His glory. Amen.

Happy New Year!


Blessings & Peace


Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk

Former Salvation Army Officer



Monday, December 25, 2017


We've just bought this [Nativity set]....for our grandchildren of course.

At first, when I unpacked it I could not find Jesus. I really had to search amongst the packaging to find him. How sad and tragic it is for someone to never find Jesus, for there is no greater joy in this world than to search and find him like the shepherds, and later the wise men did. If you've yet to discover the reality of Jesus yourself, 'you will seek him and you will find him when you seek him with all your heart.' Jeremiah 29:13.
Yet, there is something even more tragic and sad than that of never finding Jesus, and that is to have once known him and loved him, and then lost him or cast him aside. That can happen as a result of the powerful attractions and enticements of the world. They were what lured Demas away, 2 Timothy 4:10. The love of the world, (as described in 1 John 2:15-16), is probably the biggest danger today within the church. One can lose Jesus, yet still continue functioning in a fellowship with the appearance of one who knows and loves the Lord. One can leave Christ without leaving the church.
We may also lose Jesus as a result of disappointment with one's church, or the hypocrisy and insincerity of others we have met in our church, with the added hurt or injustice we have experienced. These two can so easily cause a seed of bitterness to drop into our hearts and grow and take us over. Paul knew disappointment with his 'church,' leaders and fellow pharisees who had previously been his friends, and who, despite their religiousness, had made themselves his enemies. He experienced hypocrisy, injustice and hate on a scale that few of us have, but he never allowed it to cause him bitterness. He kept his focus on Jesus.

Dear friend, if you have lost Jesus, come kneel at the manger this Christmas, and look again at this wonderful, pure and vulnerable little baby. You are so precious to him that he is going to give his life for you. Why not give your life back to him and regain the joy and blessing you once knew when first you found him?
Major Howard Webber (retired)

 Bournemouth UK

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Memories in a Canadian Coal Mining Town -2-

Christmas Memories in a 

Canadian Coal Mining Town

Part 2

In part one I recounted how meaningful Christmas was growing up in a coal mining town in Cape Breton, Canada, as well as how I had abandoned my once-strong faith when I got hooked on alcohol and drugs, as well as radical left-wing politics and activism in 1968. Somehow I had travelled to Winnipeg, Manitoba, but I couldn’t remember how I had arrived there.

To continue: I decided to contact The Salvation Army Men’s Hostel for shelter and to try and figure out what to do next. On my 2nd day there a Salvation Army Officer (pastor) spoke with me and suggested that I did not belong at the shelter. As we talked I realized that I needed to address my lifestyle of alcohol and drugs. The Officer suggested I enter their rehabilitation treatment program, “The Anchorage”, where I met the program director, Captain Bill Hanson. He mentored me throughout the treatment program, spent time talking to me about faith and God, and on October 31, 1973 I made my commitment to Christ. On Christmas Day 1973 I participated in the Program for the Joint Salvation Army Winnipeg Corps (community churches) and The Salvation Army Institutions (providing community services) Christmas service, where I shared my story.

On New Year’s Sunday 1974 I was enrolled as a Senior Soldier (a church member who pledges to follow God and abide by The Salvation Army’s principles to live a holy lifestyle). My life was already improving: I had finished the Anchorage Program and was hired to temporarily work as their Science Resource Specialist until the end of January at a local high school. Then I started a new position as the Evening Supervisor and Chaplain at The Salvation Army Men’s Social Center, which I retained until the next August. Afterwards, I resigned to take on a new job as the Science Resource Specialist at a different high school for the academic year. During the early months of 1974 I also met Edna Taylor. After dating awhile we got engaged and married in December 1974. We believed we were called to be Salvation Army Officers (pastors), and we entered The Salvation Army William Booth Memorial College for Officers Training, in Toronto, Canada, in September 1975.

Reflecting on the Barra MacNeils’ concert in Winnipeg, I recalled that as the sister in the group sang “O Holy Night” in Gaelic, the haunting melody touched me and reminded me once again of that special birth of Jesus. Adding to the beauty of the evening, I had a moment of serendipity. I saw a guy walking around in a sweat shirt saying East Coast Life with Cape Breton encircling the words. When I asked him if he was from down home (Cape Breton) and he responded that he was from my hometown, New Waterford, I almost fell over! We introduced ourselves as we shared more details. The guy smiled as he told me that my brother had been the best man at his wedding. That’s when I realized that I hadn’t seen this individual since 1967; and, furthermore, I had been classmates with his brother from primary school through to university. And then he shared one of his memories of me—of being addicted to booze and drugs. We talked some more, and we will be getting together for coffee and more sharing. How wonderful to reconnect with a childhood friend so far from home!

Christmas is indeed a time to marvel at the Holy Night and reconnect with our long-lost friends in a community of faith!

John Stephenson,
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)