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The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel is an evangelical Pentecostal Christian denomination. Commonly referred to as the Foursquare Church, as of 2000, it had a membership of over 5,000,000, with almost 30,000 churches in 123 countries. This included 1,844 churches with 218,981 members in the United Statesmarker, the country where the church was founded. Headquarters are in Los Angeles, Californiamarker.


Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), an evangelist known as "Sister Aimee", founded the Foursquare Church in 1927. Los Angeles was her center of operations, and Angelus Templemarker, seating 5,300 people, was opened in Echo Parkmarker in 1923. McPherson was a celebrity, participating in publicity events, such as weekly Sunday parades through the streets of Los Angeles, along with the mayor and movie stars, directly to Angelus Temple. She built the temple, and L. I. F. E. Bible College next door to it, on the northwest corner of land she owned in the middle of the city.

McPherson's celebrity status continued after her death, with biopics such as the 1976 Hallmark Hall of Fame drama The Disappearance of Aimee and the 2006 independent film Aimee Semple McPherson depicting her life, particularly her month-long disappearance in May-June 1926 and the legal controversy that followed.

After Sister Aimee

Her son, Rolf K. McPherson, became president and leader of the church after Aimee Semple McPherson's death in 1944, a position he held for 44 years. Under his leadership, the denomination grew from around 400 churches to over 10,000. The Foursquare Church formed the "Pentecostal Fellowship of North America" in 1948 in Des Moines, Iowamarker, in an alliance with the Assemblies of God, the Church of God, the Open Bible Standard Churches, the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and others.

On May 31, 1988, Dr. John R. Holland became the Church's third President, a position he helduntil July 1997. In 1994, 46 years after the founding of the Pentecostal Fellowship, it was reorganized as the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America, after combining with African-American organizations, most significantly the Church of God in Christ.

Dr. Harold Helms served as interim president from July 1997 until July 1998; he was followed by Dr. Paul C. Risser, who became the president on April 16, 1998, at the church's 75th annual convention.

In October 2003, under Risser's tenure, the church sold Los Angeles radio station KFSG-FM to Spanish Broadcasting System for $250 million. Risser's leadership led to another high-profile controversy for the church, when without the involvement of the denomination's board of directors and finance council, church funds were invested in firms that targeted the "close-knit evangelical community" but turned out to be Ponzi schemes. Risser resigned his leadership position in March 2004.

Dr Jack W. Hayford has been the president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel since October 1, 2004. Hayford is founder of The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, Californiamarker, and Living Way Ministries. He, along with Pastors Roy Hicks, Jr. in Eugene, Oregonmarker, Jerry Cook in Gresham, Oregonmarker, Ronald D. Mehl of the Beaverton Foursquare Churchmarker in Beaverton, Oregonmarker, and John Holland in Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker, have been credited by the church with setting a plan for the denomination's growth.

Jack Hayford has announced that he will not seek a second term as president. An interim president, Glenn Burris Jr. has been appointed until the next annual convention where it is expected that a new President will be chosen.

The Foursquare denomination, under Hayford's leadership, is in "Missional Conversation" with the emerging church movement, part of a "Church Multiplication" effort. "Church Multiplication" also supports the house church movement through resources that support the expansion of "Foursquare Simple Church Networks."

Church doctrine

The Foursquare Church believes in the following:
  • The Bible as the inspired word of God
  • The Trinity
  • The atoning death of Christ for sinners
  • Salvation through the grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ
  • The necessity of sincere repentance and acceptance of Christ
  • The new birth (Sanctification)
  • The daily growth through power, prayer, love and service
  • Baptism by immersion
  • Communion / Lord's Supper
  • The baptism of the Holy Spirit
  • The gifts and fruits of the Spirit
  • Divine healing
  • The imminent return of Jesus Christ
  • Final judgment
  • Evangelism emphasized in discipleship
  • Tithing and offerings

  • Church relationship—It is a sacred duty to identify oneself with a congregation of believers to worship God, observe the ordinances of Christ, exhort and support others, labor for the salvation of others, and work together to advance the Lord’s Kingdom.

  • Civil government—Civil government is by divine appointment and civil laws should be upheld at all times except in things opposed to the will of God.

  • Heaven—Heaven is the glorious habitation of the living God and the eternal home of born-again believers.

  • Hell—Hell is a place of darkness, deepest sorrow and unquenchable fire, which was not prepared for man but for the devil and his angels; yet it will become the place of eternal separation from God for all who reject Christ as Savior.

  • Foursquare emphasizes a whole-hearted relationship with God, a means of talking to God through prayer, meditation, and fasting, along with social service for and through Christ.

North America

In the United States, the church is divided into districts and then into divisions and finally individual churches. A General Supervisor oversees the national office and district supervisors, and district supervisors oversee divisional superintendents who oversee individual churches within the local region. Glenn C. Burris, Jr., currently (2004) serves as General Supervisor.

A number of educational institutions are affiliated with the Foursquare Church. Among these are Life Pacific College, formerly "L. I. F. E. Bible College", in San Dimas, Californiamarker, and Pacific Life Bible College in Surrey, British Columbiamarker.

The Update in the 2008 Foursquare Church Annual Report:Actual 2007 data as of (April 1, 2008);US ONLY -Salvations 107,727Water Baptisms 15,788Holy Spirit Baptisms 11,221Members and Adherents 257,357Churches 1,874Ministries 6,717Church Plants 78

As well as the news 30+ churches from Louisiana/Mississippi Area are formalizing into the FourSquare Church.
  • Anyone either with a 2009 edition of "The Foursquare Church Anneal Report" and/or when the 2010 report comes out for 2009 please feel free to update this section.

Foursquare Gospel Church of Canada

Anna D. Britton, a graduate of L.I.F.E. Bible College in Los Angeles, 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 of nearly 1,000, known as Kingsway Foursquare Church. 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. 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 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, passing on the pastoral duties of their church, Sunshine Hills Foursquare Church, to their son Tom Gardner and his wife Lottie Gardner.

Tim Peterson was President of the FGCC 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, a three-campus church in the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, and two in Port Coquitlam) in the Vancouver metropolitan area of British Columbia was elected as President on July 1, 2007. His inauguration took place at the FGCC Convention on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at the Chandos Pattison Auditorium in Surrey, British Columbia.

See also


Specific references and footnotes:

General references:

  • Blunt, D.R. (2008). Religion and Mental Health: Perceptions and Referral Attitudes of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel Ministers in California Toward Counseling and Psychology.
  • Foursquare Gospel Publications. The Foursquare Church Annual Report 2006.
  • Glenmary Research Center. Religious Congregations & Membership in the United States (2000).
  • Mead, Frank S., Samuel S. Hill, and Craig D. Atwood. Handbook of Denominations in the United States.
  • Melton, J. Gordon (Ed.). Encyclopedia of American Religions.
  • Van Cleave, Nathaniel M. The Vine and the Branches: A History of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

External links

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