Women in Ministry featured at Dixon Pentecostal Research Center

“Celebrating Women in the Harvest” is the theme for the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center’s Drop-in and Discover event on Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m.

“Women have always been a significant part of Church of God ministry,” according to Church of God historian David Roebuck. “This event will provide an opportunity for visitors to learn about their lives and see interesting objects related to their ministries.”

During the Drop-in and Discover, visitors can view artifacts, photographs, and documents from the ministries of women who have faithfully served the Church of God around the world.

Several women are included in the “To the Ends of the Earth” exhibit, which details the many ways missions and migration led to global expansion of the movement.

Historical displays at the Research Center include Maria Atkinson, who planted the Church of God in Mexico; Pearl Stark, who took the Pentecostal message to Angola; Margaret Gaines, who ministered in Europe and the Middle East; and Alda B. Harrison, who helped establish the denomination’s national youth program known at the time as Young People’s Endeavor.

Among the artifacts on display are the desk Harrison used to edit a youth periodical called “The Lighted Pathway”; Pearl Stark’s Bible and travel documents; and a celebration dress presented to Gaines from the Aboud community.

Along with historical displays, “Celebrating Women in the Harvest” will feature the ministry papers of several women. One of the major responsibilities of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center is to preserve the papers of individuals and church ministries that have contributed significantly to the global ministries of the denomination.

Among the collections at the center are those of missionaries Margaret Gaines and Dora Myers, evangelists Lourenna Moreland and Katherine McGahee, and frontier woman Clara Peterson.

Gaines experienced a call of God to missions while a student at Lee College and went on to serve in Tunisia, France, and Aboud, Jordan (now Israel), where she established a church and school.

Myers was teaching at Lee College when God renewed her call to missions. She went to India and established three schools.

Moreland is best known for her ministry as an evangelist and pastor in Pennsylvania, and McGahee served in Church of God Black Ministries in Florida. Peterson grew up on the border between North and South Dakota, and her journals record life on the frontier as well as the travels of numerous Church of God ministers throughout the region.

As part of Women’s History Month, the center has made available the ministry papers of Bernice Stout Woodard and Ruth Crawford Lindsey.

Woodard was a pioneer in children’s church, Christian education, and Sunday school curricula. She developed her own Vacation Bible School curriculum, which served as models throughout the denomination. In her early ministry, Woodard served as an evangelist in four states, and as state Sunday school and youth director of New Mexico, where she implemented the state’s first youth camp.

Woodard was also associate editor of the Church of God’s youth program manual, The Pilot.

Following retirement in 1988, she continued ministry though Bible studies, devotions, and speaking engagements. In 1997, at the age of 70, she graduated from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary with a master of arts in Christian ministry.

Following graduation from Lee College in 1960, Ruth Crawford (now Lindsey) boarded an oil freighter with three other single women to do missions work in Goiania, Brazil. There, the women started an elementary school and a Bible school. Crawford developed a curriculum for the Bible school in Portuguese. She also preached, conducted Vacation Bible Schools, led congregations, and held evangelistic meetings.

She returned from Brazil in 1973 after establishing a growing church presence in Brazil. She then obtained her master’s degree in English and taught at Lee College for 27 years.

Founded by Dr. Charles W. Conn on the campus of Lee University, the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center is one of the world’s significant collections of Pentecostal materials as well as the archives of the Church of God.

In addition to students at Lee University and the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, numerous scholars use the center’s holdings related to the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement. The center is located in the Squires Library on the campus of Lee University.

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