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Alton Garrison
Assemblies of God Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison will be one of the prayer leaders at Encounter 2015.

On January 5 and 6, 2015, the Church of God-Cleveland, the Assemblies of God, and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church will sponsor Encounter 2015, an unprecedented, historic gathering of Pentecostal pastors and prayer leaders at Northwood Temple, Fayetteville, North Carolina (John Hedgepeth, senior pastor). The essential purpose of Encounter 2015 is to acknowledge absolute dependence upon God, to affirm commitment to concerted prayer, and to intercede for a spiritual awakening in the United States.

In addition to the sponsoring fellowships, leaders from the following denominations are also participating: Church of God of Prophecy, Congregational Holiness, The Foursquare Church, Pentecostal Church of God, and the Pentecostal Freewill Baptist Church. Mark Williams, general overseer of the Church of God-Cleveland; Alton Garrison, assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God; and Doug Beacham, general superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, and others will lead various prayer segments.

Doug Small notes the purpose of the meeting as follows: "In light of our distinctive Pentecostal roots and our deep dependence on God, we will gather across denominational lines to renew our commitment to prayer as standing at the heart of pastoral ministry, and as indispensable to the mission of the Church. We are urging pastors to see themselves first and foremost as holy men and women of God who must spend regular time in communion with Him. We must seek God's face. We must ask that He renew us. We must pray for our nation."

John Maempa
Maempa

John Maempa, director of the Office of Prayer and Spiritual Care for the AG, states, "This will be a historic occasion when pastors and other leaders from the various streams of the Pentecostal movement will come together to strengthen and encourage one another in the vital discipline of prayer and to seek God for a powerful move of the Holy Spirit across the Church and our nation. We are praying that this will be a catalyst for a spiritual awakening that is so desperately needed in this day."

Historically, the Assemblies of God has set aside the first full week of January as the Week of Prayer. This event will provide a unique opportunity to begin the Week of Prayer and the New Year in united prayer with our sister Pentecostal fellowships.

AG Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison encourages pastors across the Assemblies of God to make plans to be part of this historic gathering. "As people of the Spirit across the Pentecostal church, may we commit to pray as never before, partner in prayer and service as never before, and be influencers for good and righteousness as never before. May this ignite a powerful spiritual awakening in our churches and in our nation, resulting in a great harvest of souls for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Though there is no registration fee for the conference, all attendees are encouraged to register at encounter2015.com. Additional information about the event, location, housing, promotional resources, and more can be found on the conference website.


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Groundbreaking black minister, Bob Harrison, dies

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 - 1:41 PM CST

Bob Harrison
Harrison (1962)

Robert Emmanuel "Bob" Harrison passed away March 4, 2012. He was 84.

Born January 23, 1928, in San Francisco, California, Harrison was a pioneer in the Assemblies of God, known for paving the way for blacks to become credentialed ministers.

Throughout his ministry, Harrison continually challenged blacks to carry the cross of Christ.

Harrison enlisted in the U.S. Army and served from 1946-1947. As part of the Army band, he became a very talented musician — a skill he would later use in ministry.

Following his service, he enrolled in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, earning a bachelor's degree in Music.

Harrison then attended Bethany Bible College (now Bethany University), receiving a certificate of theology in 1951. He was the first African-American to graduate from the school.

While attending college he met and later married Marilyn Betty Miller in 1952. Together they have five children - Keith, Carol, Adrienne, David and Stephen.

Harrison served as pastor of an Emmanuel Church in San Francisco, an independent church, since he was originally denied credentials to serve in the AG. However, through the efforts of Northern California-Nevada District Superintendent Leonard Palmer, Harrison was licensed in 1957.

Bob Harrison with Billy Graham
Bob Harrison (left) with evangelist Billy Graham in 1962.

In 1960, Harrison became a part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and then worked in special evangelistic crusades in Africa. He also conducted gospel crusades and musical concerts in Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, Asia and the United States.

Harrison was finally granted ordination with the Assemblies of God in 1962 and approved for service under missionary appointment by the AG Foreign Missions Department (now AG World Missions) in 1964.

In Harrison's overseas work with the AG, he held crusades in Japan, Formosa, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, British Honduras (now Belize), Jamaica and Barbados. He also ministered to thousands of American troops in Vietnam.

In 1967, Harrison spoke at the General Council in Long Beach, California.

In the following years, Harrison and others, working with the Division of Home Missions (now AG U.S. Missions), reached out to the African-American community through inner-city evangelism.

Harrison then became pastor of Maranatha Evangelistic Center in Portland, Oregon, in 1973.

In 1990, the National Black Fellowship was formed in the Assemblies of God, and Harrison was appointed national representative of Black Ministries.

Harrison's memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. March 15, 2012, at the San Francisco Christian Center in San Francisco.

Authors: Becca Dickson

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