This week in Christian history: First black Baptist minister ordained; Pentecostal preacher vanishes; Presbyterian missionary born

Prominent Pentecostal preacher disappears — May 18, 1926

Aimee McPherson
Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), a popular yet controversial Pentecostal evangelist. |

This week marks the anniversary of when famed Pentecostal evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson went missing for about a month under mysterious circumstances.

A self-proclaimed faith-healer and founder of the heavily attended Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, McPherson disappeared while in Venice Beach in Los Angeles.

The following month, McPherson was found in Agua Prieta, New Mexico, claiming that she had been kidnapped and forcibly taken to Mexico before escaping her captors.

“When McPherson came home, a throng of more than 50,000 showed up at the train station to welcome her. In a massive parade featuring airplanes that dropped roses from the skies, the evangelist made a grand re-entrance,” wrote Gilbert King of Smithsonian Magazine in 2013.  

“The kidnapping remained unsolved, and the controversy over a possible hoax went unresolved. Critics and supporters alike thought McPherson should have insisted on a trial to clear her name; instead, she gave her account of the kidnapping in her 1927 book, In the Service of the King: The Story of My Life.”

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