Dr. David G. Roebuck
This week the staff of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center met together and reflected on the blessings of this past year and our wishes and prayers for the New Year. It has certainly been a busy and blessed time, but there is much work yet to be done.
Several of our activities this year were the result of the calendar. The year 2006 was the centennial anniversary of the first Church of God General Assembly, the famous Azusa Street Revival, and the North Cleveland Church of God. It was also the twentieth anniversary of Dr. Paul Conn’s service as president of Lee University. Each of these anniversaries gave us opportunities to communicate how much God has blessed the ministries of the Church of God and the Pentecostal movement. The Research Center created exhibits related to our first Assembly, the centennial of North Cleveland, and the last twenty years of excellence at Lee University. Our exhibit at the 71st General Assembly in Indianapolis told the story of 100 years of General Assemblies, and was a focal point of the denomination’s celebration of those early pioneers. Our exhibit about Lee University is now on display at the local Museum Center at Five Points and is a unique opportunity for us to share with the broader public.
In addition to exhibits, I was privileged to participate in two major celebrations of the Azusa Street Revival. A great team of people helped me to present a track of classes on “Preserving Pentecostal History and Heritage” in what was an amazing week of activities in Los Angeles last April. It was a great blessing to see so many Pentecostal/Charismatic people come together to celebrate what God has done and is doing. Then in September I traveled with Billy Wilson’s team to minister at a similar celebration in Jakarta, Indonesia. God is clearly at work in this island nation, which has more Moslems of any country in the world.
The year 2006 included an abundance of other activities. Besides the day-to-day service we give to researchers, we have had several publications such as Church of God History and Heritage, the “Chronicles” articles in the Evangel, and two book chapters. We sponsored the Azusa Lectures in February and introduced a fundraising project called “Voice of a Legacy.” Through it we hope to purchase important dissertations and interview men and women who have added so much to our history. One of the exciting projects we began is the digitizing of our collection of Southern Gospel music. Finally, thanks to WinWorld, we were able to debut a new website this year as well.
Much more could be told about these and other activities, but it was our staff that made 2006 so successful. Janie Hand has been secretary at the Research Center for ten years, and is indispensable in the Center’s communication with the various departments and agencies of the Church of God. Kim Roebuck, our database manager, has been with us for over five years and brings terrific computer skills to everything we do. This past April, Susan Fletcher joined us as the first trained archivist in the history of the Research Center. She has already moved us forward in processing collections, and has worked especially well with our student assistants and interns.
We have so much to be thankful for, but we also face challenges in the coming year. Several important donations of papers and other archival materials that remain unprocessed. Noted collections include the papers of the J. Herbert Walker Sr. and J. Herbert Walker Jr. families, the papers of former General Overseer Ray H. Hughes Sr., and those of former Missionary Vergil Wolf. Processing these and other materials require resources such as labor, space and computer equipment. Regrettably financial constraints have left us with fewer staff and outdated computers. And the materials we have received now fill our shelves to overflowing.
So as we give thanks for this past year, we also pray that God will give us wisdom and resources to meet the challenges we will face in 2007. We ask for your prayers and support as we fulfill our calling to preserve our Pentecostal history and heritage.
David G. Roebuck
Yesterday my son, William, and I attended Heritage Day at the Kinser Church of God just outside Cleveland, Tennessee. The church was founded in 1912 and has a rich history of community ministry and distinguished pastors such as F.J. Lee, E.J. Boehmer, and T.L. McClain. Today the church is doing well under the leadership of Pastor Guinn Green. Among other blessings the congregation has just purchased a beautiful baby grand piano.
The highlight of the day was a video telling the history of the congregation in narration and photographs. The video was the culmination of a great deal of research and labor by Marilyn Kinser Kinney, whose family donated the property today’s church buildings occupy. Known originally as the Dunn Tabernacle, the congregation has faced challenges and trials but has a bright future.
I especially enjoyed attending the service with William who is celebrating his 13th birthday today. Now that he is a teenager, his mother and I expect we are facing new challenges and trials just as surely as the parents of all teens do. But William has a great heritage in the Church of God. He has been taught well and has many people who love him. No congregation, family or individual has any guarantee for tomorrow. But we have a godly heritage upon which we can build today as we plan for tomorrow. That heritage, today’s opportunities, and God’s promises are worth celebrating.
If your congregation has recently celebrated an important anniversary write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about it. If you have one coming up, write to us here at the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center, and we can help you celebrate it.