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90 Years at Newport, Tennessee:
Edgemont Church of God
by Louis F. Morgan
Although Rouse found much interest meetings. This love also compelled them
among Newport residents, after seven to serve their neighbors in need.
“We began a meeting about six miles from weeks he returned to the more comfort- Rouse led services in a community
Newport, near Carson Springs. . . . God began able surroundings of Knoxville. He later meetinghouse known as “The Patch,” and
to bless from the beginning. The people filled remembered, “The state overseer advised soon a church was set in order with seven
the house and it looked like we were going to me to [return] to the mountains where the members. Rouse served faithfully until a
capture the whole country.” — L.G. Rouse people didn’t know anything about this Church of God was established. He would
way . . . so I
HEN FANNIE BARNES pleaded hitched my old
More than 100 individuals accepted
for someone to preach the red mule to the
Christ during a revival conducted by
Pentecostal message to her rel- hack, loaded it
Mrs. Edna Louise Lilly at Carson
atives in Newport, Tennessee, the Holy with our camp-
Springs during the mid-1940s.
Spirit compelled Evangelist L.G. Rouse to ing outfit, and
go. In January 1919, Rouse began con- started back to
ducting services in nearby Carson Springs the mountains.”
and introduced the Church of God to Life in the
local residents, particularly the Clevenger east Tennessee
and Barnes families. Ninety years later mountains was
Church of God members continue to difficult. Often
minister to their community. Rouse and his
Establishing the local church was not family went days
without challenges. In 1918, Rouse received without food,
the Holy Spirit baptism in Anniston, Alaba- until neighbors
ma. The following day he was arrested for or church mem-
violating the Espionage Act when he bers came to
refused to purchase war bonds, due mainly their rescue. Persecution abounded as boast later that every member was paying
to the Church of God’s early pacifist teach- well. Those opposing the Pentecostal mes- tithes by the time he left Carson Springs
ing. Although Rouse was jailed for more sage tried to push the wooden church in the fall of 1919.
than three months, God miraculously deliv- building over while the congregation was Ninety years later, the Edgemont
ered him from a long prison sentence. worshiping. One man attempted to shoot Church of God serves as a testimony of
Through this experience he learned Rouse as he stood in the pulpit, but the God’s prevailing power to overcome diffi-
dependence upon God and saw numer- gun failed to fire. Rouse was also beaten in culty and continues sharing the trans-
ous miracles. Following his release, Rouse the public street as bystanders watched. forming message of Jesus Christ in New-
became a Church of God minister and Unexplainably, the perpetrator could no port, Tennessee.
returned to his native Tennessee, where longer move his legs, thus ending the
he conducted a meeting near Knoxville. attack. Yet, such opposition strengthened
Louis F. Morgan, Ph.D.,
There he met Fannie Barnes and agreed to the faith of those whose lives had been
serves as assistant professor
take to her relatives the message of salva- transformed by the Holy Spirit. Filled with
and librarian for public service
tion, sanctification, the baptism of the love for God and one another, they often
and learning at Lee University.
Holy Ghost, and divine healing. shouted, danced, and rejoiced in their
EVANGEL • APR 2009 19
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