The Heritage Square Center is the restored parsonage of Amy Semple McPherson. The Heritage Square Center is the small quarter-circle building in the center of this painting. More important than the parsonage is ‘Sister McPherson’ (as many people called her), its former resident.
Amy Semple McPherson
Amy Semple McPherson was born in 1890. Sister McPherson was used mightily by God, but often led a tumultuous. She received Christ as her Lord and Savior in a revival meeting in Canada. She was also filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking with other tongues. One year later, she married Robert Semple, the evangelist who had conducted the meeting. The young couple traveled as missionaries to China. Unfortunately, Amy’s husband contracted malaria and passed away in Hong Kong. She returned to the United States with her one month old daughter.
Amy eventually remarried, but withdrew from the God’s call on her life to preach the gospel. After two surgeries and a near-death experience, Amy’s passion and determination to reach people for Christ returned. She and husband, Harold McPherson travel, holding tent revivals across the U.S. However, the life of the itinerate ministry was too much for Harold. He left Amy in the middle of a revival meeting in Florida.
Amy Semple continued to travel, but really wanted to settle in one place where she could raise her now two children. God told her to go to Los Angeles, where He would build a house. It actually became two houses, one for her and one for His people to worship in. Angeles Temple was born. The 5,000+ seat sanctuary was dedicated when she was just 32 years old. It immediately filled to capacity and she began to minister to the packed house.
Amy Semple McPherson used many creative ways to spread the gospel. She built a radio station and ministered to people across the U.S. and beyond. She built a school and trained pastors to establish churches here and in other nations. She produced stage plays to illustrate the Bible. Angelus Temple sent out missionaries around the world. She founded the Foursquare Church, which continues to minister to multitudes today.
However, evil forces challenged her on every front. She was kidnapped on more than one occasion. Charges of ‘conspiracy to commit acts injurious to public morals’ was brought against her by the district attorney. Accusations of adultery were leveled against her. The allegations were later proved to be false. She endured another failed marriage. Nevertheless, Amy Semple McPherson continued to minister, bringing healing and salvation in Christ to thousands each year.
So powerful was her legacy that people continued to be blessed by the life of Amy Semple McPherson after her death in 1944. I was one of them. I grew up in the 1950’s and ’60’s watching reruns of her preaching, not knowing they were recordings. I remember her long flowing gowns, her staccato proclamation of Jesus as Savior, Healer and Baptizer in the Holy Spirit.
It was years after her death before I responded to the message. However, I thank God for Amy Semple McPherson, who planted seeds of salvation in my heart.
I had the privilege of praying with a young man and lady while I was here to do this painting.