by Archibald Thackeray
Alton Earl Lee and his wife Rhoda pastored a large church in Los Angeles, California - Immanuel Gospel Temple - that became one of the main hubs of activity early in the Latter Rain Movement of 1948. Both were known for outstanding preaching.
Earl's ministry also included miracles, signs, and wonders.
Following are some of the chronological highlights of their shared life and ministry:
- Earl was born in 1899 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- Rhoda Harriet Lee (nee Anderson) was born in Clarkfield, Minnesota in 1914.
- Earl was a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.
- Prior to becoming a minister, one of Earl's jobs was playing the calliope as a circus performer.
- Earl began preaching in 1919 (before pastoring Immanuel Gospel Temple, he pastored in St. Louis, Missouri, and both Seattle and Aberdeen, Washington).
- Prior to pastoring with Earl, Rhoda worked with the famed Foursquare preacher Aimee Semple McPherson at Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, California.
- Earl set a world record by preaching 21 consecutive hours in May 1937.
- Earl and Immanuel Gospel Temple were featured in the June 14, 1937 issue of LIFE magazine because the church held a mass baptism on May 16 (over 80 people were baptized).
- February 1949 - Earl attended special meetings at Wings of Healing Temple in Portland, Oregon (pastored by Thomas Wyatt) where he heard George Hawtin and Milford Kirkpatrick, leaders in a ministry in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, speak about the revival that had broken out there in February of 1948. He would later write, "From that moment on, the Latter Rain has been falling, not only in my heart, but in the church of which God has set me as pastor. After the laying on of hands, I returned to Los Angeles, and beginning with the Sunday service of February 27, until this present hour, two services have been held daily in our church, with three on Sunday" (in The Sharon Star, December 1, 1949).
- The Associated Press reported on June 6, 1950 that Immanuel Gospel Temple had announced the purchase of the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles for $200,000.
- In July 1950, David Schoch received a dramatic prophecy during a Latter Rain service at Immanuel Gospel Temple (Schoch's account of that service and the prophecy can be read here). Latter Rain pioneer Charles Green says, "He [Earl Lee] and David were close. Earl was the Apostle, David the Prophet."
- In November 1950, what Latter Rain historian William Faupel calls "the first National Latter Rain Convention" took place in St. Louis, Missouri. Many of the most prominent Latter Rain ministers were in attendance, including: Thomas Wyatt, Charles Green, David Schoch, and Earl Lee.
- According to William Faupel, in February 1951, Earl led Latter Rain evangelistic efforts in both Australia and New Zealand (see Winds from the North: Canadian Contributions to the Pentecostal Movement, page 245).
- The Latter Rain Evangel reported that, "Dr. Earl Lee and Rev. Forest Conley held one of the greatest revival meetings in Bethesda Missionary Temple [in Detroit] in November, 1952. Three weeks of miracles and blessings that we will never forget."
- Early in 1964, Rhoda took a missions trip to the Far East, in particular ministering at Immanuel Gospel Temple's mission effort in Hong Kong.
- Earl died in October 1981.
- Rhoda died in March 2003.