FOURSQUARE GOSPEL CHURCH HISTORY:
Our Founder: Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944)
The early 20th century evangelist was a pioneer of women in religion. Having experienced a profound religious conversion at age 17, Aimee began preaching across the United States and later, the world. In 1918, she established her base in Los Angeles, California, where in 1923, the 5,300 seat Angelus temple was dedicated and became the center of her revival, healing and benevolent ministries. She was the first woman to own and operate a Christian radio station. Her sermons were the first to incorporate the contemporary communications of that day into her preaching of the Gospel. From Angelus Temple she performed and extensive social ministry, providing hot meals for more than 1.5 million people during the Great Depression. She summarized her message into four major points known as “The Foursquare Gospel,” and founded a denomination called The Foursquare Church.
Aimee’s charismatic personality was a God-given gift used to draw people to hear her message. Her sermons were not the usual “fire and brimstone” messages given by contemporary evangelists, but ones which showed the face of a loving God, with continual outstretched arms. It was a message about heaven as a place you wanted to be, and serving Jesus as the only life that offered true fulfillment. With God, all are called and all are welcomed. With God, there are no colour, ethnic, or status separation lines. God is no respecter of persons and neither was Aimee.
Aimee was a woman in a man’s world, and single at a time when women her age were supposed to be married. But she was willing to go, when God called, and was not limited by what she saw, but believed in the God who called her to fulfill the greatest call of all – the winning of souls. Aimee once wrote: “You don’t need to be an orator. What God wants is plain people with the Good News in their hearts who are willing to go and tell it to others. The love of winning souls for Jesus Christ sets a fire burning in one’s bones. Soul winning is the most important thing in the world. All I have is on the altar for the Lord, and while I have my life and strength, I will put my whole being into the carrying out of this Great Commission.”
From its beginning at Angelus Temple, The Foursquare Church has now grown to include more than 50,000 churches worldwide. There are currently more than 5 million members in 147 countries around the globe. It presently ranks as one of the three or four most distinguished branches of Pentecostalism.
Foursquare Gospel Church of Canada
A graduate of L.I.F.E. Bible College in Los Angeles, Anna D. Britton moved to Vancouver, B.C. in 1927, established L.I.F.E. Bible College of Canada in 1928 and grew a small group of believers into a congregation (Kingsway Foursquare Church) of nearly 1,000. Her vision prompted her to extend the Foursquare Gospel to the three western provinces of Canada over which she served as Supervisor for many years. The first graduating class in 1930 numbered five aspiring preachers, all of whom entered active pioneering ministry.
Other Supervisors of the Western Canada District have been, B.A. McKeown, Clarence Hall, Warren Johnson, Guy Duffield, Charles Baldwin, Harold Wood, Roy Hicks Sr., and John Holland. Victor Gardner became Supervisor of the Western Canada District in 1974. Eventually, in order to comply with Canadian law, The Western Canada District needed to register all properties in the name of a Canadian Corporation and gain total control of all finances as well. Victor Gardner led the development of the Constitution and Bylaws, the Administrative Manual and oversaw the transfer of all the legal documents so on March 5, 1981, the Foursquare Gospel Church of Canada (FGCC) came into being. Vic and Dorothy Gardner retired in 1992. Since then, Tim Peterson was President from 1992 – 2007. His wife, Laurene, also worked in the National Office of FGCC and together, they oversaw the establishment of a healthy corporate structure and developed National Teams. Barry Buzza, who planted the largest Foursquare Church in Canada, Northside Church in the Tri-Cities of B.C. was elected as President on July 1, 2007. Steve Falkiner, former missionary and President of Foursquare New Zealand, became President on July 1, 2012.