One of the key issues with archives is that, for the most part, the sources are unavailable to the average person. When they are in physical form, archives are often distant from people wishing to do research, and any thorough going research requires the sort of time, funding and commitment which most people are often not willing to spend. This is not only true with regard to casual or family historians, but also often with regard to professional historians, for whom the slide in humanities funding and cuts in university funding has meant less free time to undertake detailed research. Then there is the nature of the sources — Pentecostal communities are largely oral in the way they articulate narratives, and almost always are scattered around the nation in minority groupings largely invisible to the public eye. From the beginning, therefore, the Australasian Pentecostal Studies Centre determined to construct itself as a digital archives, making available its sources online and – where possible — free of cost. This is a very significant undertaking, but one which will pay off over time – and indeed has already been paying off in supporting the research of early career scholars at the College.
The first major project undertaken by the centre was to locate surviving Pentecostal journals, and make these available in digital format. Significant portions of the following journals have been made available online through the centres Webjournals publishing framework (http://webjournals.alphacrucis.edu.au/):
1. Good News:
The magazine for Australia’s first enduring Pentecostal Church, founded by Sarah Jane Lancaster in North Melbourne in 1909, Good News magazine had at its peak a circulation of about 3000. It was a key organ for spreading the news of restored charismatic gifts around Australia, and connecting the scattered Pentecostal community to international events. Heavily eschatological in its content, the magazine is the most valuable source for the history of early Pentecostalism in Australia.
Provenance: The Australasian Pentecostal Studies Centre thanks Dr Barry Chant for making available these rare and important sources. Without Barry’s careful collection over the years, it is doubtful that these sources would have survived.
Coverage: Oct 1913, Nov. 1923, Jan 1924-Aug 1935 (incomplete) The collection is incomplete, partly due to several arson attacks on Dr Chant’s offices over the years, and through the incompleteness of the original collection. If readers of this blog are aware of issues not held, or better copies of those held which are damaged, the APSC would be grateful to hear from you.
2. Glad Tidings Messenger
Commencing in November 1934, the GTM was the official Journal of the Assemblies of God in Queensland. Its editor was Sarah Jane Lancaster’s daughter, Leila Buchanan, who moved with her husband W. A. Buchanan, to plant churches in Queensland, in the wake of the William Booth-Clibborn campaigns of the early 1930s. The commonality of stylistic and content elements with Good News magazine is apparent.
Provenance: James Wallace Memorial Library Collection
Coverage: November 1934 – January 1936. In 1937, the GTM and the Australian Evangel were fused (first as the ‘Australian Evangel and Glad Tidings Messenger’, later as purely the Australian Evangel, see below.)
3. Australian Evangel
Commencing in 1926, in the wake of the Sunshine Revival in Melbourne, the Australian Evangel was the organ of the Pentecostal Church of Australia founded by Adolfo Valdez, Kelso Glover and Charles Greenwood. In competition with Good News, the aim of the journal was to spread the revival, and assist in organising coherent Pentecostal communities. In 1937 it was fused with the Glad Tidings Messenger on the formation of the Assemblies of God in Australia (through the merger of the Pentecostal Church of Australia and the Queensland Assemblies of God). Ironically, having commenced in competition with Good News, the combined journal was placed under the editorship of Leila Buchanan until she retired in the early 1940s.
Provenance: James Wallace Memorial Library Collection
Coverage: July 1927 – November 1940, May & July 1941, September 1943, Jan-Nov 1944, Jan/ Feb/ June/ July/ Sept 1946; Jan 1947, March 1948, July/ November 1948, Jan 1949- end (incomplete).
4. Vision Magazine
The magazine of the Temple Trust (later renamed Vision Ministries), Vision was the magazine of the peak interdenominational institution for the organised charismatic movement in Australia. Commenced in February 1974 (with a joint “Jan-Feb” number), the magazine spanned the leadership of Alan Langstaff. Langstaff left the Temple trust in 1980 to pursue opportunities in the United States. The magazine covers most of the key national events of the charismatic movement, provides a unique interdenominational insight into this important period of Australian Christian history, and covers the first use of many of Australia’s future important Pentecostal leaders (such as Frank Houston, David Cartledge, etc) as they emerge onto a national stage.
Provenance: Alan Langstaff
Coverage:Jan-Feb 1974- Sept/Oct 1978.
All of these items may now be searched through the convenient Google search engine embedded in the site. There are many lacunae in the collections, and the Centre would be appreciative of donations (or even photocopies) which would help it fill those holes.
- Revival News: The broadsheet of the latter rain evangelist, Ron Coady, in New Zealand. Incomplete and based on photocopies, the Centre is seeking to complete its collection.
- other Australasian denominational magazines, eg. The Australian Revivalist, the New Zealand Evangel, etc.
- local church publications
- publications by independent ministries.
The Centre is open to expanding its digital journals collection. Please contact the APSC Director: Rev Associate Professor Denise Austin: +61 2 8893 9000; firstname.lastname@example.org you have anything to contribute.