Entry Category: Religion - Starting with P

Pentecostal Church of God

The Arkansas District of the Pentecostal Church of God is, with 150 churches, the largest district within the denomination. The Pentecostal Church of God is also one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in Arkansas, exceeded only by the Assemblies of God, the Church of God in Christ, and the United Pentecostal Church. Several Arkansans have played prominent roles in the fellowship’s formation and continued leadership. Formation and AdvancementOn December 29 and 30, 1919, a small group of pastors, evangelists, and other individuals from across the United States and Canada met in Chicago, Illinois, in an attempt to unite their efforts for evangelism. Among those present for this meeting was Arkansan Eli Jackson DePriest, an evangelist from Black Rock (Lawrence County). …

Pentecostals

Pentecostalism is a “Spirit-driven,” renewalist movement within Protestant Christianity that began in the last part of the nineteenth century. Today, it is a fast-growing and influential religious tradition in Arkansas and worldwide. The term “Pentecostal” is derived from what is known as the Upper Room outpouring—the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit as described in chapter two of the book of the Acts of the Apostles. The Holy Spirit is described there as descending upon the followers of Jesus Christ with the sound of wind, tongues of fire, and the ability to speak other languages. This outpouring is known as Pentecost in Greek (because it marks the fiftieth day after Pesach/Passover), “Feast of Weeks” in English (also known as “week …

Perry, Harold Robert

Harold Robert Perry was the first African American to become a bishop in the Catholic Church in the modern era. Part of his career beforehand was spent serving a church in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Perry was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on October 9, 1916, the son of a mill worker and a domestic cook. He knew at a young age that he wanted to enter the ministry, and at age thirteen he entered the Society of Divine Word Seminary in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. In 1944, he was ordained into the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church, becoming the twenty-sixth African American to attain this position. Over the decade, he served in several positions, pastoring congregations in Mississippi, …

Pierce, Henry Niles

Henry Niles Pierce was the fourth bishop of the Episcopal missionary jurisdiction of Arkansas and Indian Territory, and the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. Henry Niles Pierce was born on October 19, 1820, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to Susan Walker Pierce and Benjamin Bentley Pierce, a tanner, currier, and deacon of First Baptist Church. Pierce attended Portsmouth High School and graduated from Brown University in 1842. He studied theology under Dr. Francis Vinton and Rev. George W. Hathaway, both of Rhode Island. Initially, Pierce intended to become a minister of the Baptist faith practiced by his family; however, his personal beliefs aligned more closely with those of the Episcopal Church. Upon his physician’s recommendation to seek a …

Polk, Leonidas

Leonidas Polk was the first bishop in the Episcopal ministry to serve Arkansas, and he also served as a Confederate general during the Civil War. In addition, he was the second cousin of President James K. Polk and helped found the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Leonidas Polk was born on April 10, 1806, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to William Polk, who served as an officer in the American Revolution and was a well-to-do planter in North Carolina, and Sarah Hawkins Polk; he had three brothers. Polk first attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1821 to 1823 but did not take a degree. In 1823, he received an appointment to the United States Military …

Powhatan Methodist Church

The Powhatan Methodist Church is one of the historic buildings found at Powhatan State Park. The church exemplifies the nineteenth-century Greek Revival architectural style in which it was built. Records indicate that the Powhatan Methodist Church was formed in 1858 with a 284-member congregation under the direction of four local pastors. Members included white settlers, probationers, and African-American residents. Before the church building was constructed, church members in Powhatan (Lawrence County) may have gathered at the Black River for worship services. Around 1874, building plans for the Powhatan Methodist Church included one double-door entrance at the front and windows placed on each side of the building. The interior of the church has a large sanctuary with two cloak rooms that …

Pratt, Parley P. (Murder of)

Parley Parker Pratt, an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was murdered in Arkansas in 1857 and buried in the state, despite his wishes to be buried in Utah.The Van Buren (Crawford County) newspaper Arkansas Intelligencer, on May 15, 1857, deemed Pratt “a man of note among the Mormons.” While another notable event involving Mormons in Arkansas—the massacre of Arkansas emigrants four months later at Mountain Meadows, Utah—was formerly linked to Pratt’s murder in Arkansas, more recent inquiry suggests other circumstances may have ignited the violence at Mountain Meadows on September 11, 1857. Pratt was one of the key figures in the early Church leadership. Pratt’s writings, which include pamphlets, …

Presbyterians

American Presbyterians have always emphasized mission, evangelism, education, and reform, but disagreement over theology, governance, and reform resulted in the denomination splitting and parts reuniting several times. Currently, the largest group is the Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA), formed in 1983 when the “Southern” Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS) and the “Northern” United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA) reunited. (The union of the PCUSA and the United Presbyterian Church of North America in 1958 had created UPCUSA). Other Arkansas denominations include Cumberland Presbyterian Church (CPC) and the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The Presbyterian Church is a connectional church. Individual congregations are connected to other congregations through three governing bodies: presbytery, synod, and the general assembly. Founders of Arkansas …

Presley, Luther G.

Luther G. Presley was a music teacher, song director, and prolific writer of gospel songs who has been credited with writing more than 1,100 hymns. His best-known song is most likely “When the Saints Go Marching In,” for which he wrote the lyrics in 1937 (the melody was written by Virgil O. Stamps). Luther Presley was born in Faulkner County on March 6, 1887, to James Thomas Presley and Nancy Ann Brooks Presley. He was educated in Faulkner County’s public schools. Presley attended his first singing school at the age of fourteen, under the direction of M. W. Beckett, and taught at his first singing school at the age of eighteen. Presley continued his musical education, and according to a 2005 …