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Wayne Warner, Long-Time AG Archivist, Passes

A recorder and collector of AG history, Wayne Warner, the Assemblies of God's first full-time archivist, died Saturday.

Wayne E. Warner, the director of the Assemblies of God Archives for a quarter-century, joined the heavenly host on Jan. 13. He was 90 years old.

Warner was born to Harry and Ethel Warner in Wendling, Oregon, June 4, 1933, and was one of nine children. As a youth, he trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. His education included Eugene Vocational School, Eugene Bible College (now New Hope Christian College), and later finished his education at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. While at Eugene Bible College, he served as student body president from 1960-61 and was employed as a deputy sheriff for Lane County, Oregon.

Warner served in the army for two years during the Korean War, reaching the rank of S/Sgt. His parents had the distinction of seeing all seven sons serve in the military. He entered the ministry in 1962 and pastored for six years in the Open Bible Standard Churches in Yacolt, Washington; Perryton, Texas; and Hopedale, Illinois. While in Hopedale, he also served as the editor of a weekly newspaper in Minier, Illinois, which led to a 12-year editorial position with the Assemblies of God national office in Springfield, Missouri, in 1968.

As the first full-time director of Assemblies of God Archives — now known as the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC) — Warner served in that position for 25 years. During that time, he founded and edited the FPHC’s Heritage magazine, interviewed hundreds of ministers and retired missionaries for the oral history program, supervised the creation of the visitors center museum and archives facility, and directed the digital scanning of early Christian publications. The FPHC website is now open to researchers around the world.

“Wayne Warner is widely revered as a pioneer among Pentecostal archivists,” says Darrin Rodgers, current director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. “He recognized the need to preserve and promote the heritage and testimony of Pentecostals, and he oversaw the development of a world-class archives and museum. Wayne’s ministry of remembrance – often behind-the-scenes – challenges us to be faithful and reminds us of how God works. His pioneering work – collecting historical treasures, recording oral history interviews, and writing articles and books – has deepened our understanding of our history and identity.”

As a freelance writer, Warner wrote or compiled 10 books, including two biographies for women evangelists: Maria Woodworth-Etter, For Such a Time as This, and Kathryn Kuhlman, The Woman Behind the Miracles. Other books included Good Morning Lord – Devotions for Servicemen; 1000 Stories and Quotations of Famous People; Letters to Tony; Faith, Hope and Love three-volume set; and Touched By the Fire. He also compiled three Smith Wigglesworth books: Only Believe, The Anointing of His Spirit, and The Essential Smith Wigglesworth. He wrote hundreds of history columns for the Pentecostal Evangel magazine and other publications. Several of his books are in foreign languages.

He was a past president of the Springfield Writers’ Guild and the Missouri Writers’ Guild. He was an active member of the Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks, American Legion, Post 639, The Korean War Veterans of the Ozarks, and leader of the Central Assembly Veterans Connection group. He also served as a committee member of the Open Bible Churches archives and museum, Eugene, Oregon, and contributed to the A.E. Mitchell archives project at Biola University. In 2010 he was invited to serve as a founding board member of The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. He was a long-time member of Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri.

Warner is survived by his wife of 30 years, Patsy Arnold Warner; three daughters: Lori Warner, Eagle, Idaho; Lolisa and her husband, Thomas Collins, Jr., Nixa, Missouri; Avonna and her husband, Tim Schirman, Springfield, Missouri; two step-children, Jeff Creek, Mattoon, Illinois, and Gena and her husband, Damian Ferguson, England; and five grandchildren, Harper and Taylor Collins, Ethan Mentze, and Ella Mae and Daisy Mae Ferguson. Surviving also are siblings Helen Warner Johnson, Lester Warner, and George Warner of Eugene, Oregon; sister-in-law Avonna Lee Mitchell Anderson of Lake Forest, Illinois; and brother-in-law and wife, Ronnie and Barbara Arnold, Washington, Illinois. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death were his first wife, Joy Mitchell Warner, and her parents R. Bryant and Lola Lee Mitchell; his parents, Harry and Ethel Warner; four brothers: Lawrence and his wife, Sylvia; Ernest and his wife, Leora; Leonard and his wife, Shirley; and Ellis Warner as well as a sister, Josephine Warner Bray, and three brothers-in-law, Clifford Baird, Walter Johnson, and Bud Bray.

Funeral services will be conducted at the Central Assembly of God sanctuary, 1301 N. Boonville, Springfield, Missouri, at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18. Burial will be at Veterans Cemetery in Springfield (5201 S. Southwood).

In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his name to: Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. Gifts can also be made to the Memorial Scholarship Fund at Evangel University by sending a check to Evangel University, 1111 N Glenstone, Springfield, MO 65802 or by giving online.