Rolf McPherson

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Angelus Temple, Los Angeles, California, 2005

Dr. Rolf Potter Kennedy McPherson (March 23, 1913 – May 21, 2009) was the pastor of Angelus Temple and president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, serving in that capacity from 1944 to 1988. By his retirement, the evangelical Pentecostal denomination had grown from 29,000 members in 410 churches to 1.2 million members in more than 19,000 churches located in 63 countries.[1][2]

Personal background[edit]

Rolf McPherson was born on March 23, 1913 in Providence, Rhode Island. He was the son of Harold Stewart McPherson and Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. He was the half-brother of Roberta Star Semple, the daughter of Aimee and her first husband Robert James Semple, who had died of malaria one month before the birth of his daughter. Rolf and his sister Roberta were part of many services and revivals when young. McPherson attended college, first studying engineering. He switched to religion in 1930 after his mother became ill, and also completed divinity school, earning a doctorate.[2]

McPherson began his career as a preacher in one of the churches. He assisted his mother in leading the denomination. After his mother's death in 1944, McPherson became minister at her 5,000-seat Angelus Temple in Los Angeles. He was described as "very sharp, a 'savvy and brilliant administrator' who guided the denomination into "the mainstream of American evangelicalism."[2] For 44 years, he led the denomination his mother had founded, and brought it into the evangelical mainstream, which supported its tremendous development in the United States and expansion internationally.[2]

He retired in 1988. After retirement, he continued to attend church every week, serving in congregational ministry. He resigned from all church duties in 1997.[3] He died on May 21, 2009, at his home in Los Feliz, California. He was 96 years old.[2]


  1. ^ "Dr. Rolf K. McPherson with the Lord | Foursquare News | The Foursquare Church". Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Woo, Elaine (2009-05-28). "Rolf K. McPherson dies at 96; longtime Pentecostal church leader". Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  3. ^ "Lorna McPherson, 82, Of the Angelus Temple". New York Times. June 18, 1993. Retrieved 2007-08-21. Mrs. McPherson was elected to the post in 1944 when her husband, Rolf K. McPherson, succeeded his mother as president and chief minister of Angelus Temple following her death. 

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