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Former Evangel editor
Robert C. Cunningham with Christ

Robert C. Cunningham, 85, former editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, died in Springfield, Mo., on January 7, 2000.

Cunningham, a graduate of Central Bible College and Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, both in Springfield, joined Gospel Publishing House in 1937. He held various editorial positions, wrote Sunday school curriculum and was editor of the Fellowship’s youth magazine, Christ’s Ambassadors Herald, before becoming editor of the Pentecostal Evangel in 1950.

"He has been a guiding light to the editorial policy of this Fellowship," says Thomas E. Trask, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, recalling former general superintendent Thomas F. Zimmerman’s appraisal of Cunningham: "His works will follow him until Jesus Christ returns."

During his 35-year tenure at the Evangel, the publication reached a circulation of 300,000. He guided the magazine through many changes — from 16 pages weekly to 32; from black and white to color — before retiring in 1984.

"For many years God used him to touch millions of lives around the world," says Hal Donaldson, editor of the Evangel. "God spoke through his pen and life."

Cunningham was born in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, on December 23, 1914. He moved to Springfield in 1935 to prepare for ministry and stayed. Besides his editorial duties he also pastored the Assemblies of God church in Ozark, Mo., for several years.

After retiring, Cunningham traveled overseas, assisting missionaries in developing gospel literature. In 1994, the National Association of Evangelicals honored him with its James DeForest Murch Award for "distinguished service as a Christian journalist."

"His trust in God was so strong because it was anchored in the rock Jesus Christ," says Juleen Turnage, director of Public Relations for the Assemblies of God, who was Evangel news editor for several years when Cunningham was editor. "His commitment to the Lord and his desire to follow Him was the guiding force in his life."

Cunningham was preceded in death by his wife, Marian, his partner for over 51 years. He is survived by his wife, Frances; sons, Stephen, Philip and Andrew; and daughter, Beth.

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