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Dr. Abraham (Abram) Vereide (October 7, 1886 - June 1969) was a Norwegian born, Methodist evangelist and former associate general director of Goodwill Industries. Vereide was the de facto leader of International Christian Leadership (today known as The Family) until his death in 1969. Vereide originated the prayer breakfast movement in tbe United States in 1936 and started the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, which would become known as the National Prayer Breakfast, in 1953.


Vereide was born in Norwaymarker in 1886. After immigrating the United States in 1905, he spent nine years as superintendent of the Goodwill Industries in Seattle, Washingtonmarker. In 1931, Vereide was invited to Boston to be associate general superintendent of the Goodwill Industries of America, as well as pastor of the English Department of the Church of All Nationsmarker, and executive secretary for Goodwill Industries for New Englandmarker, positions he held till 1934.

New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt invited Vereide to a conference concerning a social relief program for that state. “He wanted me to take charge of a state program,” wrote Abram, “and apply this principle of the Goodwill Industries in the expenditure of a fund of eighteen million dollars for the state. This I didn’t do, as the religious phases could not be included; but he also emphasized that what the state needed more than anything else was a spiritual upsurge. Vereide called James Farrell, president of the United States Steel Corporation, and arranged for a few men to discuss the needs of the state.

Carl Vrooman, assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculturemarker under President Woodrow Wilson, gave Vereide a special appointment after Franklin Roosevelt was nominated for President. Vrooman had been tasked by Roosevelt with forming a super-cabinet as the advisory body for his administration in the national policy and program. Vrooman had found that he and Vereide shared a mutual concern to save America from the political and economic breakdown that then existed. He asked Vereide to head the Social Service portfolio. In that capacity, Abram was introduced to the inner workings of the economic and political forces of the nation.



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