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George to Present Annual Azusa Lecture

Dr. Bill George will present the fifth annual Azusa Lecture, “Stories from the Field: A Century of Great Commission Obedience,” on Tuesday, October 12. The lecture will be at 7:00 p.m. in the North Cleveland Church of God’s Bryant Fellowship Hall. Following George’s presentation, the Spirit of Azusa Award will be presented to Dr. Lovell R. Cary for his life-long contribution to the Pentecostal movement. The lecture and a reception for Dr. Cary are free and open to the public.

Dr. George is a missionary, educator and author for the Church of God. His early missionary experience included serving as superintendent in the Dominican Republic and founding director of the Mexican Bible Seminary. He taught on the faculty of Lee University for thirteen years and was founding director of Lee’s intercultural studies program, which prepares students for international missions and inner-city ministry. Currently serving his denomination’s Department of World Missions in the dual role of Coordinator of Missions Education and Publications, Dr. George recently completed a centennial history of Church of God World Missions entitled Until All Have Heard.

George has earned degrees from Lee College, the University of Alabama, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of six book and served as Editor in Chief of Publications for the Church of God from 1998 until 2006. He served in the U.S. Army, first as an enlisted soldier, stationed in the Far East; later he earned a commission as a chaplain, and was an honor graduate of the U.S. Army Chaplains School.

A long-time resident of Cleveland, George and his wife Nelda are membes of the North Cleveland Church of God, where he is on the Church and Pastor’s Council and Finance Committee. He is a member of the Cleveland Rotary Club, where he has served as president and is presently the club chaplain. He also serves on the boards of directors for United Way, People for Care and Learning, Children of the World Ministries, and the General Board of Education of the Church of God.

Following the lecture, Dr. Lovell R. Cary will be honored with the Spirit of Azusa Award and a reception. After his early ministry as a pastor and evangelist in the United States, Dr. Cary served as a missionary to Asia for thirty years. The Church of God then selected him as Assistant Director and General Director of the Department of World Missions for sixteen years. He continues to minister around the world as a missionary evangelist.

The Azusa Lecture is sponsored by the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center, the International Center for Spiritual Renewal, and the North Cleveland Church of God. This year’s lecture is also being supported by the Church of God Department of World Missions.

Located on the campus of Lee University, the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center is one of the world’s most significant collections of Pentecostal materials as well as the archives of the Church of God. In addition to students at Lee University and the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, numerous scholars visit the center to study about the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement. Dr. David G. Roebuck is Director of the Research Center.

The International Center for Spiritual Renewal works to bring before the Church the primary need for revival and renewal. The Center seeks to accomplish this purpose through the conducting of research, the development of resources, the facilitating of special meetings, and the sponsorship of an academic chair. William (Billy) Wilson is Executive Director of the Center, which was established by the late Robert E. Fisher and works with all denominations, as well as non-affiliated local churches and ministry agencies.

The North Cleveland Church of God was established in 1906. The congregation has served as a “mother church” to the denomination and provides ministries for worship, evangelism, education and service. The congregation’s International Prayer Center is a witness to the importance and power of prayer. Mitchell Maloney serves as Senior Pastor.

The purpose of the Azusa Lecture is to highlight the rich heritage of the Pentecostal movement and to provide the Cleveland community an opportunity to celebrate the legacy of the Pentecostal revival. The Dixon Pentecostal Research Center launched the annual lecture in 2006 on the occasion of the centennial of the revival that began in Los Angeles in 1906. Church of God historian Charles W. Conn noted that the Los Angeles revival, which lasted from 1906 to 1909, “is universally regarded as the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement.” The revival began when the African-American preacher William J. Seymour preached a message of Spirit baptism following salvation. What started as a home prayer meeting attracted throngs of seekers and was moved to an abandoned church building at 312 Azusa Street. Hundreds traveled to the Azusa Street Mission, received a personal baptism of the Holy Spirit, and took that message to their homes, churches and communities. The Pentecostal movement quickly became a great missionary movement, and the twentieth century came to be called the “Century of the Holy Spirit.”

Several people who participated in revival at the Azusa Street Mission later became members of the Church of God. One of most significant local connections involved the visit of G.B. Cashwell in 1908. The North Carolina minister traveled to Los Angeles and brought the Pentecostal message back to the southeastern United States. A.J. Tomlinson, pastor of the newly organized North Cleveland Church of God invited Cashwell to come to town. When Cashwell preached at the Cleveland church on January 12, 1908, Tomlinson received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Today Cleveland, Tennessee, continues to impact the Pentecostal movement through numerous international ministries.

For more information about the Azusa Lecture contact the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center at 614-8576.

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