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Evangel & AGTS participate in Society for Pentecostal Studies annual conference

Published on Mar 22, 2016 by Jennifer Hall

Former AGTS President, Dr. Byron Klaus, honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A dozen faculty and students from Evangel University and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary participated in the 45th Annual Conference of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (SPS).

The event was held March 10-12, 2016, at Life Pacific College in San Dimas, Calif.

This year’s conference, under the theme “Worship and the Arts,” featured 331 scholars of Pentecostalism from around the world gathered for plenary sessions, academic paper presentations, networking opportunities and a curated art exhibit.

Former AGTS President Dr. Byron Klaus was honored with the SPS “Lifetime Achievement Award,” along with Dr. Murray Dempster and Dr. Doug Petersen. The honor celebrated the 25th anniversary of their co-edited book, Called and Empowered: Global Mission in Pentecostal Perspective.

Klaus retired from AGTS last summer following 16 years of service.

Begun in 1970, the SPS is an international community of scholars working within the Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions. Currently SPS has 557 members from 18 nations, 30 U.S. states and 41 Christian denominations/traditions.

AGTS hosted the event in 1992, and Evangel University hosted in 1999 and 2014.

Next year’s annual meeting will be held March 9-11 at Urshan College/Urshan Graduate School of Theology, in Florissant (St. Louis), MO. For more information, visit

Evangel & AGTS faculty presentations

Several Evangel University and AGTS professors contributed academic papers during the meeting, including:

  • Paul Lewis (AGTS) presented a paper in the Missions Interest Group session, “Worship and Spirituality in the First Millennium Church of the East Mission in China: Lessons for the Pentecostal Mission Work Today.”
  • Lois Olena presented with several book contributors from the co-authored/co-edited Festschrift with Dr. Eric Newberg, Children of the Calling: Essays in Honor of Drs. Stanley M. Burgess and Ruth V. Burgess. (The Burgesses are former EU professors and also responded to the panelists’ presentations). Dr. Paul Lewis (AGTS) also presented in this session on his volume chapter.
  • Ava Oleson (AGTS) and Dr. Lois Olena (AGTS) participated in a panel discussion on “Women in Pentecostal and Charismatic Ministry: Informing an Ongoing Gender-Focused Dialogue on the Faith Contributions of Women”
  • Charlie Self (AGTS) presented a paper, “Streams of Living Water: Art and Healing in the Christian Traditions and 21st Century Global Pentecostal Mission.” In addition, Dr. Self’s wife, Kathleen, served in SPS’ first-ever art exhibit with one of her paintings called ‘Celestial Fire.’
  • Geoffrey W. Sutton (EU ret.), Dr. Brandon Schmidly (EU), and Dr. Paul Lewis (AGTS) presented in a session on “Christians and Moral Decisions: An Interdisciplinary Focus on the Moral Life.”
  • Michael Tenneson (EU) and Dr. Donald Johns (EU) presented in the Philosophy Interest Group on “Hermeneutics of Theology and Science Integration.”
  • DeLonn Rance (AGTS) and Dr. Michael Tenneson (EU) also served as session chairs.

AGTS student presentations

  • Allison MacGregor served as a panelist in the Canadian Pentecostal Research Network on “Changing Clergy Views: Part One—‘Pentecostal Drift: A Newfoundland Perspective.’”
  • Desiree Rodgers had two presentations — in the Practical Theology/Christian Formation Interest Group on “The Theological Necessity of Generationally Diverse Congregations and the Sticky Wicket of Church Music Ministry,” and in a History Interest Group session on, “Lilian B. Yeomans: Medical Doctor, Dope Addict and Faith Healer.”

Transition of SPS leadership

2016-03.12 Olena and de Alminana
Dr. Lois Olena of AGTS turned over leadership of SPS to Dr. Margaret (“Peg”) de Alminana, assistant professor of theology at Southeastern University. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

At this year’s Society for Pentecostal Studies conference, Dr. Lois Olena of AGTS completed her five-year term as executive director.

SPS members unanimously elected Dr. Margaret (“Peg”) de Alminana as the new executive director. She currently serves as assistant professor of theology at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.

Reflecting on this time of transition, SPS Secretary/Treasurer Dr. Zach Tackett commented on Olena, “Lois’ wisdom has navigated the Society through several challenges in the past five years. Yet, the Society has not only worked through these issues, but has advanced.

“Lois has an innate ability to bring people together to share ideas and think outside the box. As a result, we have the highest membership in eight years, we have added a fourth issue to Pneuma, and we are financially sound.”