Dr. Lovell R. Cary received the Spirit of Azusa Award Tuesday evening, October 12, 2010, as part of the fifth annual Azusa Lecture at the North Cleveland Church of God. The award is given each year to honor a person whose life and ministry reflects the legacy of what is one of the best known revivals in Christian history. A reception in honor of Dr. Cary followed the award presentation. Dr. David Roebuck, director of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center, and the Reverend Billy Wilson, director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal, made the award presentation.
Lovell R. Cary was born in Logan, West Virginia, and his early ministry was as an evangelist and pastor in West Virginia and Florida. He and his wife, Virginia, began their missionary service in 1954 in Hawaii, which was not yet a state. The Church of God appointed him as overseer of the Philippians in 1959, and superintendent of the Far East in 1967. In 1984 Cary was elevated to assistant general director of World Missions and four years later to general director of the department. Tenure limitations led to a change in 1992, but Cary was returned to the office again in 2000, making him the first person to serve as general director on two different occasions. He served for a total of sixteen years as assistant director or general director of the department. Dr. Bill George, in his recently released book, Until All Have Heard: The Centennial History of Church of God World Missions, writes that Cary’s “long tenure on the field and as a missions executive earned him the appellation of ‘Mr. Missions’ in many quarters of the Church.” George stated that Cary brought innovation to the World Missions department that greatly expanded the number of missionaries. And during his time as general director the Church of God entered 25 new fields. Although tenure limitations forced another change in their lives in 2004, Cary and Virginia continue to travel widely as missionary evangelists. A biography entitled Nothing to Win but the World will be released later this month.
According to Roebuck, the Spirit of Azusa Award is given each year to honor a person who represents the ongoing revival that began in Los Angeles in 1906. He noted, “Among the characteristics of the revival at the Azusa Street Mission was an emphasis on Pentecost, a hunger and expectation for revival in the last days, and a sense of global mission. Participants fully expected God to repeat the Acts 2 Pentecostal outpouring in their day. But the revival was not just a feel-good meeting. Lives and destinies changed. Countless numbers of people looked upon the harvest field and responded ‘here am I Lord, send me.’ They went to countries they had only heard about. Believing the Lord would return soon, they often went without expecting to return home. Historian Vinson Synan called them ‘missionaries of the one way ticket.’ Today many scholars believe that the Pentecostal movement has been the greatest missionary movement in the history of Christianity.” In making the presentation Roebuck noted, “Although there are many missionaries worthy of honor, we have chosen Dr. Cary for his missionary zeal, dedication, and sacrificial obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission to ‘go into all the world.’”
The Azusa Lecture and Spirit of Azusa Award were in established in 2006 on the occasion of the centennial of the Los Angeles revival. The Dixon Pentecostal Research Center and the International Center for Spiritual Renewal present the award each year. North Cleveland Church of God hosts the lecture, and the Church of God World Missions Department supported this year’s event, which celebrated the centennial of the denomination’s world missions ministry. Dr. Douglas LeRoy, who is the current general director of the Church of God World Missions Department, presented the annual Azusa Lecture.
Friends of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center gathered Wednesday, September 22, 2010, for the formal opening of the Church of God Heritage Exhibit Into All the World. The new exhibit utilizes photographs, artifacts and video to tell how Church of God men and women have taken the Gospel to the nations. Along with our first international ministry to the Bahamas, the exhibit features the work of missionaries and national workers throughout the world. Their stories include testimonies of persecution and provision, the role of youth in spreading the gospel, the importance of education in making disciples, the explosive growth of the Church of God around the world, and the exciting development of mission fields becoming mission forces. The exhibit continues the year-long centennial celebration of World Missions.
Dr. Douglas LeRoy, General Director of Church of God World Missions, reminded the audience how the Lord led Edmond and Rebecca Barr, along with Robert and Ida Evans, to take the gospel to the Bahamas a century ago. Since that time the Church of God has expanded to 181 countries and territories outside the United States and Canada. Dr. James Beaty, who began his missionary service in 1946, encouraged attendees to help collect and preserve documents and photos that tell the story of Church of God world missions.
Dr. David Roebuck, Director of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center, commented, “Into All the World is intended to honor those who have given their lives fulfilling the Great Commission. We trust that it will remind all of us our responsibility to share the good news of Jesus Christ. I am especially pleased that Into All the World is located in this building where thousands of students are preparing for their futures as they study at Lee University and the Pentecostal Theological Seminary. We pray that God will use the stories of the men and women depicted on these walls and in these display cases to call a new generation willing to respond to the cry ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’”
Visitors may tour the exhibit anytime Squires Library is open. The Dixon Pentecostal Research Center produced the exhibit on behalf of the Church of God Historical Commission and with the support of the International Executive Committee and Department of World Missions. The exhibit will remain open with occasional changes until July 2012. -- David G. Roebuck
Dr. Bill George will present the fifth annual Azusa Lecture, “Stories from the Field: A Century of Great Commission Obedience,” at 7:00 on Tuesday evening, October 12, 2010, in the North Cleveland Church of God’s Bryant Fellowship Hall. After George’s presentation, Dr. Lovell R. Cary will be presented the Spirit of Azusa Award 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.
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.