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Angelus Temple
Los Angelus, California

Angelus Temple

On January 1, 1923, at 2:15 p.m., Aimee Semple McPherson opened the 5,300 seat Angelus Temple to the public. Thousands of people streamed into the domed concrete building across from Los Angeles' Echo Park. The first day of services was the culmination of two years of planning, fund raising and construction. McPherson described it as "the day when the seemingly impossible became possible, the glorious dream a living fact and the wondrous vision a concrete reality."

By the mid-1920s, the new technology of radio was beginning to catch on with consumers. Soon after opening Angelus Temple, McPherson asked local radio experts how to start her own religious station. They told McPherson she could start broadcasting for less than $25,000 -- and that she could reach over 200,000 radio owners within a hundred miles of Los Angeles. On February 6, 1924, McPherson launched KFSG (Kall Four-Square Gospel) from within Angelus Temple. Two lighted radio towers atop the temple marked a new era in delivering Sister Aimee's preaching. Listeners hundreds of miles away tuned in to hear live sermons, midnight organ recitals, children's programs and more.1

Aimee in the Angelus Temple Pulpit

The Angelus Temple, located on Glendale Boulevard, was designated a National Historic Landmark on April 27, 1992. The Angelus Temple is historically significant as the base of operations for Aimee Semple McPherson, a pioneer in the field of radio evangelism. McPherson set a number of important precedents for women in religion in the early part of the 20th century; she was the first woman to receive a FCC radio license and she was a pioneer religious broadcaster. On radio station KSFG and in her preaching at the Angelus Temple, McPherson was an innovator in incorporating Hollywood and vaudeville style entertainment into her sermons. In addition, she mobilized an extensive social ministry from her headquarters at the Angelus Temple.

The Temple, designed by Brook Hawkins, was completed in 1923. The fireproof building was designed of concrete and steel. The main architectural feature of the building is its large, unsupported concrete dome coated with a mixture of ground abalone shells. The dome, at the time of construction the largest in North America, rises 125 feet from the main floor. A large revolving neon cross is mounted on the exterior of the dome. Beneath the dome on the interior of the building is the main auditorium, a large room with two balconies that seat 5,300. Originally, its ceiling was decorated with a panorama of clouds painted by artist Anne Henneke. Eight stained glass windows made by artist George Haskins depict the entire life of Christ. Some renovations occurred in 1972, but the exterior and interior of the Angelus Temple recall the time of Aimee Semple McPherson. The second floor of the building contains offices and other rooms related to the function of the Temple. The building also houses the Hundred and Twenty Room and the Five Hundred Room where the ill receive religious instruction regarding religious healing, and an encasement containing evidence of past illnesses healed by faith. 2

History was made November 1, 2001 when Matthew Barnett, 27, Los Angeles Dream Center (A/G) pastor, was appointed pastor of the Angelus Temple by Paul Risser, president of the ICFG. The church is now known as Angelus Temple, Home of the Dream Center. Since it opened in 1994, the Dream Center had become home to 200 compassion ministries operating 24 hours a day in the renovated Queen of Angels hospital building, but a larger building was needed to expand the thriving ministry. A building program would have taken years, as well as drained funds and diluted ministries. "I was amazed that Foursquare leaders so easily opened their hearts to A/G ministers to use the most sacred building in the Foursquare church," Matthew says. "I never expected to see that level of cooperation." Angelus Temple seats 3,500 and negates the need to expand the Dream Centerís current undersized sanctuary. 6