HERITAGE & HISTORY
Aimee Semple McPherson did not set out to form a denomination. She was a missionary evangelist who came from a Salvationist background. Alongside her first husband, she was a missionary to China, returning to the USA after her husband's death. At that stage her crusades began, and after travelling across the USA by car, she started regular meetings in Oakland, California. Thousands came to her miracle meetings and as a result a denomination was birthed, which now has representation around the world. Foursquare Gospel Church has had a consistent foundation of faith, based on Biblical interpretation of a balanced Gospel, with application and implications for all areas of life. The name Foursquare came to Sister Aimee Semple McPherson one evening when preaching from Ezekiel 1 and the return of the Lord and the New Jerusalem from the Book of Revelation. Mid-sentence, while speaking about the four faces of the beast in Ezekiel and the size of the new Jerusalem, she exclaimed, “Why it’s the Foursquare Gospel!”
Foursquare began in Australia during a revival in Cessnock on the Central Coast of NSW. The dynamic start involved a South African evangelist, Frederick van Eyk (a former policeman) who had come out of the South African revival meetings held by US evangelist John G Lake. Van Eyk's first meetings were in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne in 1926, where his meetings attracted crowds of people, with powerful preaching and healing of many people. Teaming up in Adelaide with Pastor Albert Banton, the pair set out to Parkes in central NSW, before travelling to Cessnock. On arrival, they found themselves in the midst of a coal-miner’s strike. After being thrown out of a union meeting, the pair were able to persuade the miners to allow them to speak. A Foursquare church was established in a garage on North Avenue, Cessnock. Revival broke out, with newspaper media reporting on the situation, including “75 people being baptised on one day at the town swimming pool.” The Foursquare Church in Cessnock still exists today, alongside many other churches across most states of Australia.
Foursquare Church in West Australia
Foursquare Western Australian was built from initial meetings by visiting evangelists (including Van Eyk), followed by Jean and Elmer Darnell, visiting American Missionaries, who continued the work over six years, including establishing several churches, a Bible College and sending missionaries to Papua New Guinea. Jean then returned to the USA and serving within Foursquare ongoing, including six years as associate pastor of Angelus Temple, Los Angeles, following the death her mentor and pastor Aimee Semple McPherson, who had been her pastor and mentor. Today there are more than twenty churches and outreaches in Western Australia, under the leadership the General Supervisor Pastor Don Phillips.