THIS WEEK IN AG HISTORY — JULY 5, 1964
The year 1964 proved to be a banner year for the Assemblies of God, which included a big celebration of the 50th anniversary convention held April 20-23 in Springfield, Missouri. Other significant gatherings included regional Sunday School conferences and participation in the 7th Pentecostal World Conference in Helsinki, Finland, June 23-28.
Immediately following the 50th anniversary convention, the Assemblies of God sponsored a booth at the World’s Fair in New York City. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony for the exhibit took place April 27 in the Protestant Pavilion at the World’s Fair.
Focusing on service and ministry, the display featured five illuminated panels that included a sequence of lighting and narration and featured Assemblies of God activities both in the U.S. and abroad, with the motto “Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.” “The exhibit stands as a Full Gospel witness to the world,” said Charles W. H. Scott, then-director of Home Missions. “It emphasizes the responsibility of the Church to today’s generation.”
The display was open 12 hours daily from April 22 through Oct. 4, as well as an additional six months in 1965. More than 100 trained counselors took turns overseeing the booth, with two persons present at all times. Counselors were briefed regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the history of the Fellowship, and how to answer inquiries from the general public. Questions included “What does the Assemblies of God believe?” and “Is there a church in our town?” Among the tools the counselors had on hand was a directory of churches in the U.S. to help people to locate a congregation in their hometown. They also provided New Testaments or a Scripture portion, and tracts dealing with specific areas of interest or need.
Counselors also prayed for needs. A number of visitors accepted Christ as Savior in the booth. Others needed prayer for healing. Still others desired the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
One of the counselors reported, “We met hundreds of people and found many to be very hungry for spiritual truth.” John D. Piper, a pastor from White Plains, New York, said, “They visit the booth from every state in the union and from many countries of the world. We present them with literature and witness to them of the need of the power of the Holy Ghost in their lives. We answer their questions and we are thrilled to be able to help so many to a better understanding of the work of the Assemblies of God. It is impossible to reckon the tremendous good that will be accomplished in the presentation of the Assemblies of God at the World’s Fair.”
A World’s Fair souvenir edition of the Pentecostal Evangel was produced to highlight the history, beliefs, and ministries of the AG. The special edition included a testimony of healing, information on the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and inspirational articles by C. M. Ward, Thomas F. Zimmerman, Wesley Hurst, Stanley Horton, and others.
During 1964, the World’s Fair booth of the Assemblies of God recorded 69,008 visitors from all states. Subsequently, registered visitors received a personal letter. Local pastors and district officials followed up with contacts forwarded to them.