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This Week in AG History -- May 5, 1957

Marie Burgess followed God's leading to start a church in New York City and, despite opposition, it became one of the largest AG churches in the United States.

Glad Tidings Tabernacle, located on West 33rd Street in New York City, was for many decades one of the largest Assemblies of God congregations in the United States. Started in 1907 by Marie Burgess, the flock initially met in a small rented storefront mission on West 42nd Street. Burgess hung crisp curtains and set up 96 chairs, praying that the chairs would be filled. Two drunks stumbled into the small mission and accepted Christ on the opening night.

The story of Glad Tidings Tabernacle was published in the May 5, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, in celebration of the church’s 50th anniversary. According to the article, Burgess laid the groundwork for the new congregation by first holding services in homes of people who “hungered and thirsted after righteousness.”

The earnest ministry of Burgess and her co-workers was met with opposition from both sinners and saints. One of the saintly critics was Robert Brown, a young Wesleyan minister from Ireland. He opposed the Pentecostal movement, but attended the meetings out of curiosity. He ultimately became convinced that the Pentecostal experience was both biblical and available to believers today. He finally submitted to the urgings of the Holy Spirit and, on Jan. 11, 1908, went forward to the altar and openly prayed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, following the New Testament example. Brown received the experience. He later testified:

“I had a wonderful conversion and many other visitations of God’s blessing and love, but the baptism in the Holy Spirit exceeded them all. Abandoned to God, yielded to His will, it was no longer I but the precious Holy Spirit. He took charge of every part of my body and then spoke through me in languages which I had never learned. Thank God, I received the same Baptism as the apostles did in the beginning.”

Brown went from being a critic of the small Pentecostal mission to one of its biggest supporters. The following year, Burgess and Brown were united in marriage and, together, they pastored the congregation until their deaths (Robert in 1948 and Marie in 1971).

Not only did God answer Marie’s prayers for the chairs to be filled in those early years of the mission (the article recounts that they “were filled continually”), but He filled the chairs with specific people, both saints and sinners, who would ultimately play significant roles in establishing a bright gospel lighthouse in New York City.

Read the entire article by Elizabeth Schuster, “Honoring Glad Tidings Tabernacle New York on its 50th Anniversary,” on pages 16, 17, and 20 of the May 5, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Healthy Church,” by Samuel S. Scull

• “Infilling and Outreach,” by Don Mallough

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Darrin J. Rodgers

Darrin J. Rodgers has served as director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC) since 2005. He earned a master's degree in theological studies from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and a juris doctorate from the University of North Dakota School of Law. He previously served at the David du Plessis Archive and the McAlister Library at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of Northern Harvest , a history of Pentecostalism in North Dakota. His FPHC portfolio includes acquisitions, editing Assemblies of God Heritage magazine, and conducting oral history interviews. His wife, Desiree, is an ordained AG minister.