Henrietta Mears

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Henrietta Cornelia Mears (October 23, 1890 – March 19, 1963) was a Christian educator and author who had a significant impact on evangelical Christianity in the 20th century. Best known as the innovative and dynamic Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, California in the mid 1900s, Henrietta Mears was one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th Century. She founded "Gospel Light". , a publishing company for many of her training materials, Forest Home, a Christian conference center nestled in a wooded setting of California's coastal range, and "Gospel Literature Internationals (GLINT)". , and profoundly impacted the ministries of Bill Bright (Campus Crusade), Jim Rayburn (Young Life) and Billy Graham (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) with her emphasis on Scripture and a clear Gospel message for young people.

She was a gifted educator and was known as "Teacher" by those in her program.[citation needed] Her book, What the Bible is All About, has sold over three million copies.[1]

Literally hundreds of men and women[citation needed] came out of her Sunday School program into full-time Christian service. Among the many she influenced were Bill Bright and his wife Vonette, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, which they ran out of Henrietta's house for 11 years; Billy Graham; Reverend L. David Cowie, pastor of University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington, 1948 to 1961; Donn Moomaw, a UCLA All American football player in 1951, who later became Ronald Reagan's pastor at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in California and Frederick Dale Bruner, a biblical scholar best known for his commentaries on Matthew and John.

Mears founded Light, a publishing company for many of her training materials.

Miss Mears never married. She died in her sleep at her home near the UCLA campus.

Early life[edit]

Henrietta Cornelia Mears was born on October 23, 1890, in Fargo, North Dakota, the seventh child of banker Ashley Mears and Baptist laywoman Margaret Burtis Everts, whose father had been an influential Chicago pastor. Already 42 when Henrietta arrived, Margaret died when her youngest daughter was only 20. (An obituary tribute said, "as a Bible teacher she had few equals in the city of Minneapolis").

Originally wealthy, the Mears family lost most of their money in the Panic of 1893 and re-settled in Minneapolis. Here Henrietta inaugurated her early schooling by announcing that she was bored with kindergarten because it was "to amuse little children, and I'm amused enough. I want to be educated." At seven years old she declared she was ready to become a Christian and joined the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis.

Henrietta was troubled by poor health, contracting muscular rheumatism at age 12. Though the prayers of a family friend brought healing, she suffered from bad eyesight all her life, and her doctors advised her that if she continued her studies (she planned to enroll in the University of Minnesota) she would be blind by age 30. Her response was, "Then blind I shall be—but I want something in my head to think about." She graduated from UM in 1913, still able to see, and began a career as a public school chemistry teacher, establishing a home with her older sister, Margaret.

Public education might have remained Henrietta's life work if not for an encounter with Stuart MacLennan, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, who spoke at the Mears sisters' church in Minneapolis in the 1920s. In 1927 Henrietta took a sabbatical year to consider whether she should enter Christian work full time. She and Margaret traveled to California, where the sisters visited Dr. MacLennan's church and Henrietta spoke. Before Henrietta left, MacLennan offered her the Director of Christian Education post, and in 1928 she and Margaret moved to Hollywood.[2]

Selected works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Website offers new view of music". Forest Home. 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  2. ^ Henrietta Cornelia Mears was born on October 23, 1890, in Fargo, North Dakota, the seventh child of banker Ashley Mears and Baptist laywoman Margaret Burtis Everts, whose father had been an influential Chicago pastor. Already 42 when Henrietta arrived, Margaret died when her youngest daughter was only 20. (An obituary tribute said, "as a Bible teacher she had few equals in the city of Minneapolis"). Originally wealthy, the Mears family lost most of their money in the Panic of 1893 and re-settled in Minneapolis. Here Henrietta inaugurated her early schooling by announcing that she was bored with kindergarten because it was "to amuse little children, and I'm amused enough. I want to be educated." At seven years old she declared she was ready to become a Christian and joined the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis. Henrietta was troubled by poor health, contracting muscular rheumatism at age 12. Though the prayers of a family friend brought healing, she suffered from bad eyesight all her life, and her doctors advised her that if she continued her studies (she planned to enroll in the University of Minnesota) she would be blind by age 30. Her response was, "Then blind I shall be—but I want something in my head to think about." She graduated from UM in 1913, still able to see, and began a career as a public school chemistry teacher, establishing a home with her older sister, Margaret. Public education might have remained Henrietta's life work if not for an encounter with Stuart MacLennan, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, who spoke at the Mears sisters' church in Minneapolis in the 1920s. In 1927 Henrietta took a sabbatical year to consider whether she should enter Christian work full time. She and Margaret traveled to California, where the sisters visited Dr. MacLennan's church and Henrietta spoke. Before Henrietta left, MacLennan offered her the Director of Christian Education post, and in 1928 she and Margaret moved to Hollywood.