Religious Figures Graves
Rev Heinrich Christian Schwan. Minister, Father Of The American Christmas Tree. Lutheran pastor who emigrated to America in 1850. In 1890 he was commissioned by the LCMS to prepare a catechism, which was published by Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO in 1896. It became known as the Schwan Catechism. He helped popularize the use of the Christmas tree in American churches.
Oral Roberts. Television Evangelist and founder of Oral Roberts University. He is remembered by his critics for his prosperous lifestyle and unusual fund-raising methods. While other televangelists would have sex scandals and illegal money activities during their careers, Oral Roberts was noted for living an honest and moral life, free of any scandals, although not without controversy. Born Granville Oral Roberts, he was the fifth and last child of the Reverend Ellis Melvin Roberts and his wife, the former Claudia Priscilla Irwin. His family was always poor, and after finishing high school in Oklahoma, Roberts attended Phillips University for two years. In 1938, he married Evelyn Lutman Fahnestock, the daughter of a preacher. They would have four children: Rebecca, Ronald, Richard and Roberta. After leaving college, Roberts would become a traveling faith healer, erecting a large tent and seating up to 3,000 listeners on folding chairs. After reading in the Bible, 3 John 1- 2, he decided that God allowed him to be rich, and after prayer, he believed God told him to go out and heal the sick. He established the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association (OREA), and would then travel across the United States and later around the world, conducting faith healing meetings and conventions. In 1954, he began to broadcast his revivals on the new medium of television, and over the years, attracted a large viewership. His program, “The Place for Miracles” is still seen on television. By the 1980s, he was the leader of an organization employing 2300 people and earning $120 million annually. In 1963, he founded Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which he required his students to sign an honor code, pledging not to smoke, drink or engage in premarital sex. When he was described as a faith healer, he would disclaim the title, saying, “God heals, I don’t.” From 1968 to 1987, he was a member of the United Methodist Church’s ministry. In 1977, he had a vision from Jesus Christ, who commanded him to construct the City of Faith and Medical Research Center, which opened in 1981. At the time, it was controversial as it combined prayer and medicine both into the healing process for treatment of medical illness. Roberts is most remembered for his controversial fund raising methods. In January 1987, he announced that unless he raised $8 million in two months, God would “call him home.” In the two months, he was able to raise $9.1 million. As a result of his controversial fund raising methods, his success, and his prosperous life style, he was often ridiculed by others who did not share his faith, or who believed him to be hypocritical for not living a poor life. During the 1980s and 1990s, his organizations were being affected by scandals involving other televangelists, and in 1989, the City of Faith Hospital was forced to close down after losing money, and Roberts was forced to sell his vacation homes in Palm Springs and Beverly Hills. In 2007, a Congressional investigation looking into allegations of improper use of funds for political and personal purposes found that there was no malfeasance while Roberts was in charge. Roberts went into semi-retirement and was living in Newport Beach, California, when he died at the age of 91 from pneumonia.
Evelyn Lutman Roberts. Evangelist. Evelyn played a vital role in Oral Roberts’ ministry since its origin in1947 with humble tent meetings attracting a few worshipers, then packed audiences until folding the big top for the last time in Los Angeles. The result was the establishment of an evangelistic organization with headquarters in Tulsa with radio preaching and eventually a television ministry seen around the world. The couple founded Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Evelyn was a familiar sight by her husbands’ side as they traveled around the world on many evangelistic missions. She served as a trustee for the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association and was the spiritual regent for the University. She became a popular author and speaker in her own right, authoring several books, including her best-selling autobiography, “His Darling Wife, Evelyn,” “Whither Thous Goest” “Miracle Life Stories” and a childrens’ book, “Heaven Has a Floor.” Her personal life…She was born Evelyn Lutman Fahnestock in Warsaw, Missouri, the daughter of a preacher and one of eight children. Still in her childhood, the family moved to Oklahoma and attended Texas College of Arts and Industries in Kingsville,Texas transferring to Northeastern State University coming away with a teachers certificate. While attending a camp revival meeting in Sulphur, Oklahoma, a chance seating arrangement with Oral Roberts a speaker, seated at her left, led to an exchange of a few words. Evelyn went on to Texas where she taught school for three years. Later after the meeting, she received a package containing a book authored by Oral. A courtship by correspondence began. Oral with his mother made a special trip to Texas and visited Evelyn during school hours too the amusement of her pupils. The two resumed corresponding while she continued to teach school, and he continued to hold evangelistic meetings. One night, as Oral was holding a revival, a man standing across the street fired a bullet within a few inches of his head resulting in national fame as an evangelist. Evelyn finally accepted a marriage proposal and the couple was married in Westville, Oklahoma on Christmas Day in 1938. A great American love story and marriage would last over 66 years. Down through the years, whenever Oral Roberts spoke publicly about his spouse, he referred to her as “my darling wife, Evelyn” which became a trademark for the couple and their ministry. In 1965, they broke ground for and institution of higher learning which became known as Oral Roberts University. The school opened with three hundred students. Today ORU is an accredited school with alumni numbering in the thousands. From 1961 to 1970, the couple preached in over 54 different countries. The ministry has been marred by outlandish claims of visions, faith healing, law suits and shady real-estate ventures but has survived and grown with their son Robert in control. Although Evelyn admonished Oral, when he spoke about marriage, stating she was not interested in being a preachers wife, while living in a church parsonage with a passel of children. After rethinking her position, her marriage to Oral encompassed a parsonage, although she had an active part in the ministry, resulted in a family of four, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Due to age and a decline in Oral’s health, the couple retired to Newport Beach, California but maintained honorary ties to the ministry. Evelyn, on a simple trip to her dentist, fell in the parking lot and sustained a serious head injury which led to her death at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian at age 88. A public memorial service was held at Oral Roberts University Mabee Center which was attended by thousands, her husband, children and many dignitaries including Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry. Her remains were transported back to Oklahoma and interred privately in the family plot in Memorial Park, Tulsa.
David Lipscomb. Well known personality in the Church of Christ and founder of David Lipscomb College (Now David Lipscomb University) in Nashville.
Rev Jerry Falwell. Television Evangelist and Pastor. He is best remembered for founding the Moral Majority, using it to influence US national policy. Over the years, Falwell built a Christian education system, beginning with the Lynchburg Christian Academy in 1967. Three years later, he started the Liberty University, with a liberal arts Christian oriented curriculum, taught by Christian professors, as an alternative to what Falwell viewed was the college movement away from Christ; Liberty University now has over 21,000 students. But it was Falwell’s concern that society and politics were becoming more immoral that led him to found the Moral Majority, which Falwell started in 1979 as a conservative political lobbying movement for which he is best known. Opposition liberals quickly labeled it the “Religious Right.” The Moral Majority was founded on Falwell’s principles and beliefs of pro-life (anti-Abortion), pro-family, pro-Israel, and pro-strong National Defense. Falwell used the Moral Majority to encourage voters to exercise their right to vote for conservative candidates. As a political action lobby, it has attracted much controversy, and has served as a lightning rod for those who do not share their political views. Falwell and the Moral Majority became politically active over the years on a number of political subjects, providing yet another voice in the democratic debate over a wide variety of issues facing the country. In 1989, Falwell dissolved the Moral Majority, saying that its political aims had been achieved, but in 2004, he formed the Faith and Values Coalition when he realized that a conservative politically active group was still needed. Over the years, Falwell has been honored with a number of awards, including three honorary Doctorates, and has met with four US Presidents (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush), six Israeli Prime Ministers, and a number of other Presidents and leaders from around the world. He has also written more than ten books, including his autobiography in 1997.
Brigham Young. Religious Leader. Second President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormons. He is revered today by his followers for his wisdom and leadership in the building of the Mormon Church in Utah. He is controversial for his belief in plural marriage and his role in the late 1850s in a dispute with the Federal Government. Born the 9th child of 11 to a poor farmer in Whitingham, Vermont, his father, John Young, moved his family to upstate New York, where Brigham became an itinerant carpenter and painter. Raised a Methodist, he married Miriam Works in 1824, and moved to Cayuga County, New York, where he plied his trade of carpentry and painting. In 1829, he moved to Mendon, Monroe County, New York, where he saw the Book of Mormon for the first time. He quickly joined the LDS Church, being baptized on April 14, 1832. After his wife’s death on September 8, 1832, he became more convinced of the correctness of his new religion, and began preaching and converting others to the LDS faith. In the fall of 1833 he moved to Kirtland, Ohio, and married Mary Ann Angell, who took care of his two children from his first wife, and bore him several additional children. In February 1835, he was named one of the first 12 Apostles of the LDS Church. In the next several years, he performed missionary missions in New York and Missouri, and working as a carpenter and painter helping to build the Kirtland Temple. In 1839, he went to Missouri to help the Mormons there move to Nauvoo, Illinois. In 1840, he went to England to perform missionary work, returning to Nauvoo periodically. While in New York in 1844, he learned of the death of Joseph Smith, Founder, first President and Prophet of the LDS Church, and he hurriedly returned to Nauvoo. Speaking powerfully to the dispirited people of Nauvoo, he rallied them and was quickly given authority as President of the Church. In 1846, the Mormons were forced from Nauvoo, Illinois, and Brigham Young determined to lead them to a better land where they would not be persecuted. He and 147 others arrived in the Salt Lake valley on July 24 1847. Young was ill, and when he saw the valley for the first time, he stated, “This is the Place.” Salt Lake City was built with his guidance. From 1851 to 1858, he served as the first Governor of Utah Territory. While in Utah, he had a vision that God would allow the Mormons to have multiple wives. Before his death, he had 29 wives and 56 children, for which he was highly criticized by many people. From 1856 to 1858, relations between the Mormons and the Federal Government deteriorated, with the eastern press playing up popular fear that the polygamous Mormons were about to declare their independence from the United States. President James Buchanan ordered the United States Army to Utah, to reestablish Federal control. This force, under command of Colonel (and future Confederate General) Albert Sidney Johnson, remained in Utah until the outbreak of the Civil War. Brigham Young established the LDS Church firmly in the West, seeing to its expansion, growth and stability. He laid the groundwork for Utah’s eventual entrance into the Union as a state, and was a political force throughout the latter half of the 1800s. It can be truly said that he helped to build and settle the West. His dying words were reportedly a call to the first LDS Prophet, “Joseph! Joseph!”