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Church of the RedeemerThe Church of the Redeemer is an Episcopal (Anglican) church in Houston, Texas. In the early 1960s it was languishing and in danger of closure. The Rev. Graham Pulkingham was sent there to try to revive it, but all his initial efforts proved in vain. However, at that time a new phenomenon was beginning to appear in the mainstream churches: the experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Graham visited David Wilkerson, the founder of Teen Challenge in New York. There, he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit himself - and the rest, as the saying goes, was history.

From small beginnings, members of the church began to meet together to pray, worship and study the scriptures. Had it stopped there, possibly little more would have been heard of Redeemer. But the time spent together was extended until people and families were drawn in and homes and incomes were being shared. Eventually there was a community several hundred strong at the heart of the church. An experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit became a shared experience of love, rather like that described in Acts 2.

The community was especially known for its powerful corporate worship, a ministry in which Betty Pulkingham was largely instrumental. It existed for a ministry purpose, seeing itself as the presence of Christ in that particular neighbourhood. Many received healing and personal renewal. Various social initiatives reached out into the local area. A coffee bar (The Way Inn) pioneered outreach to young people, including the hippie and drug culture, generating many new songs. The church attracted international attention, which in time led to an invitation to try to establish something similar in Britain. In 1972, Graham and Betty Pulkingham and others left for England. This was the genesis of the Community of Celebration.

The community at Redeemer continued for several years, but over time there were many changes and the church's ministry eventually developed in other directions. Today it has no formal links with the Community of Celebration.

Redeemer choirThe choir at the Church of the Redeemer during its community days.
The painting at the back of the chancel, intended to depict the church as people from all walks of life, originally extended to the walls on each side.

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