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Greg Mundis
AG World Missions Executive Director Greg Mundis in Sri Lanka.

The U.S. Assemblies of God is not the only AG celebrating its centennial this year.

More than 22,000 people gathered at a rugby stadium to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Pentecostal missionaries who came to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1914, the same year the U.S. Assemblies of God was founded.

Thousands travelled long distances at great personal sacrifice to attend the event despite extreme persecution by religious extremists. Across the country, more than 200 AG churches have been attacked and vandalized, and some have been burned. A number of pastors have been physically beaten and even martyred.

AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis spoke at the event encouraging pastors to continue to persevere in proclaiming the gospel and establishing more churches. He says, "I was overwhelmed by God's work in Sri Lanka and by the passion believers had to be together to celebrate! They are putting everything - themselves, their families, everything - on the line to spread the gospel. They are modern-day living martyrs. It was humbling."

Dishan Wickramaratne, general superintendent of the Sri Lanka AG and pastor of Peoples Church, a congregation of more than 8,000 in Colombo, the nation's capital, will be speaking at the centennial celebration of the U.S. Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri, on August 9.

Recently Pastor Wickramaratne said, "When persecution has increased, we remember what one of our pastors said, 'If our faith is good enough to live for, it's good enough to die for.'"

To view pictures from the Sri Lanka celebration, see the AG World Missions article.


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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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