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2002 PE Report stories

Congregations demonstrate weekly prayer yields results (December 30, 2001)

L.A. Dream Center, Angelus Temple make history, reach more with merge (December 16, 2001)

Rain, gang doesn't halt impact of newly formed congregation (December 9, 2001)

Women urged to minister hope at global gathering (November 25, 2001)

Volunteers meet needs at Pentagon cleanup (November 18, 2001)

Fear, uncertainty open window of opportunity for evangelism (November 11, 2001)

'Jump for Jesus' raises $40,000 for STL (October 21, 2001)

Widows, single mothers gain practical blessings (October 14, 2001)

Five new executive presbyters elected (September 30, 2001)

Credit card 'freedoms' tempt college students (September 16, 2001)

Fellowship, nation show ethnic makeup changes (August 26, 2001)

Congregations extend a hand, spread gospel after tropical storm (August 19, 2001)

Single-parent families find hope at camp (August 12, 2001) caught in middle of culture war (July 22, 2001)

Pentecostal World Conference looks toward future cooperation (July 13, 2001)

Crossover Community Church ministers to hip-hop culture (July 8, 2001)

Prison chaplain hooked on ministry (June 24, 2001)

National Singles team convenes, plans regional conferences (June 17, 2001)

Children's ministries take center stage (June 10, 2001)

U.S. Christians trek to Israel despite news reports of danger (May 27, 2001)

A/G ministries combat eating disorders (May 20, 2001)

Mobilizing laity leads to church growth (May 13, 2001)

Fellowship convenes conference for women (April 29, 2001)

14,547 'honored guests' attend Convoy of Hope outreach in Dallas (April 22, 2001)

Hollywood sends wrong signals on teen smoking (April 15, 2001)

Iowa community faces unique challenges (April 8, 2001)

Churches support ministries to lead youth out of lifestyle (March 25, 2001)

English lessons reach Chinese with gospel (March 18, 2001)

A/G church, police, schools partner for strong community (March 11, 2001)

Church uses 'human hunt' as evangelism tool for teens (February 25, 2001)

Ministering in the fast lane (February 18, 2001)

Abstinence education saves lives, futures (February 11, 2001)

Donated food helps Convoy of Hope extend hand around the world (January 21, 2001)

American Indian College students impact boarding school (January 14, 2001)

2000 News Digest stories

L.A. Dream Center, Angelus Temple make history, reach more with merge

(December 16, 2001)

The Assemblies of God and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel have united in a ministry that is making a clear-cut statement to the church and the world: Denominational walls must not be a barrier to building the kingdom of God. When the body of Christ functions as one, far more can be accomplished for God.

Storied history: Angelus Temple has been a landmark in Los Angeles since Aimee Semple McPherson founded it in 1923.


History was made November 1 when Matthew Barnett, 27, Los Angeles Dream Center (A/G) pastor, was appointed pastor of nearby Angelus Temple by Paul Risser, president of the ICFG. Angelus Temple is a legendary landmark of Pentecostalism and the Foursquare’s best-known church. The church is now known as Angelus Temple, Home of the Dream Center.

But the unprecedented arrangement is not entirely a surprise to Tommy Barnett, pastor of First Assembly of God in Phoenix, Ariz., long one of America’s leading churches. "When I was about 19 years of age," Tommy remembers, "I drove by Angelus Temple on my way to Bethel Temple to hold a revival. The Lord spoke to my heart that someday I would have a church in that area and, literally, that Angelus Temple would be a part of it. But I thought that could never take place."

The barriers seemed too great. Barnett was A/G and Angelus Temple was Foursquare.

Years later, Tommy’s son, Matthew, felt impressed by God that he would pastor in Los Angeles.

Both messages were fulfilled when Tommy and Matthew became co-pastors in what had become one of the most needy areas in L.A. Tommy remained at Phoenix First and commuted between the two while Matthew moved to L.A.

The day he arrived in L.A., Matthew saw a gang member shot and killed and took up a collection for the family. After that, he asked his father to send 2,000 frozen turkeys for distribution during Thanksgiving. The Dream Center developed from there, and has continued to reach people on a massive scale using practical means.

Since it opened in 1994, the Dream Center has become home to 200 compassion ministries operating 24 hours a day in the renovated Queen of Angels hospital building. It also has ministered to thousands of worshipers each Sunday. "People come from across America to catch the feeling of a different kind of church," Matthew says. "A church without walls, a church that goes through the entire city and reaches people."

A larger building was needed to expand the thriving ministry. A building program would have taken years, as well as drained funds and diluted ministries. "I was amazed that Foursquare leaders so easily opened their hearts to A/G ministers to use the most sacred building in the Foursquare church," Matthew says. "I never expected to see that level of cooperation." Angelus Temple seats 3,500 and negates the need to expand the Dream Center’s current undersized sanctuary.

The compassion ministries will continue at the current Dream Center site, a short distance from Angelus Temple. Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, herself once an A/G minister, founded Angelus in 1923 and led it to become one of the best-known churches in the United States. It was a center of Christian social action unparalleled at meeting needs during the Great Depression. McPherson’s ministry — illustrated sermons, running buses, reaching the poor — has been an inspiration to both Barnetts. The First A/G building in Phoenix is even modeled after the stunning architecture of Angelus Temple. And today, the Dream Center is portrayed as a prime example of the effectiveness of faith-based social action — by none less than President George W. Bush, who has visited the center.

"The spirit of the Dream Center was birthed in the Assemblies of God, and will continue to grow within the Assemblies of God," says Matthew. "The larger Angelus Temple building will facilitate the revival that has already broken out at the Dream Center."

"We are believing that in two years," Tommy says, "we will see that church running 100,000 people a week. We are reaching 30,000 now. We are about to kill ourselves with 44 services a week. I used to cry when I would leave the Dream Center. We were turning people away. We couldn’t run all the buses because we didn’t have a big enough auditorium. And now we are going to do it."

Foursquare leadership not only opened the way for the merge, the denomination also is investing $4 million in renovations to revitalize the structure, which has been designated a national historic landmark.

Paul Risser told the Evangel, "I feel like this is a divine appointment. [Matthew Barnett] is so full of hope. Everything is an opportunity to him."

"In welcoming Matthew Barnett into our Foursquare family," Risser says, "we are taking immense steps toward fulfilling the destiny which God has appointed for Angelus Temple and for the kingdom of God. The Dream Center is more than a location; it is a spiritual movement providing a reproducible model of ministry to the city. We look forward to a dynamic future together."

Thomas E. Trask, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, echoes Risser’s words, praising the cooperative spirit of Foursquare leadership. "In this new partnership between the Dream Center and Angelus Temple," he says, "the strengths of both ministries will combine to effectively reach many thousands with the gospel."

The Barnetts intend to maintain the historic integrity of Angelus Temple. "We’re going to honor history by doing something great," Matthew Barnett says, "by merging to further the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Currently, Matthew conducts an early Sunday service at Angelus Temple, followed by two more services at the Dream Center. After renovations are complete, the two congregations will combine.

The first combined service to be held at the new Angelus Temple, Home of the Dream Center, will be on Easter in March 2002.

— Ken Horn and John Cockroft

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