Rev. Stuart Greene Norris
United Pentecostal Church International
1901 ~ 1990
In 1901, the sleepy town of Royalton boasted of about 200 people. Frank and Susan Norris increased its population by one on July 16, with the arrival of their first and only child, Stuart Greene. When Stuart was five, his father was killed in a freal electrial accident while working. Susan drew comfort from her strong Presbyterian roots and the love she felt from her son.
At age eight, Stuart became a salesman. On the streets of Columbus, this small-town boy had his first encounter with leadership. He began selling newspapers. In high school, Stuart fell in love with a vivacious Methodist girt, Jesse Alberta Dunn. He enrolled at The Ohio State University, Columbus, taking a major in business administration. To support himself, he worked nights at Western Union, a job he had started while in high school.
Jesse Dunn also attended The Ohio State University, majoring in chemstry. Her father, William J. Dunn, became very ill. A friend at his place of business invited Dunn to attend a Pentecostal revival preached by Andrew D. Urshan. Mr. Dunn was healed and consequently converted. He introduced Stuart and Jessie to Pentecost. The couple realized a great difference in their traditional worship and the powerful move of God at the Pentecostal church. Jesse invited Jesse to attend the revival again. He did. In 1923 they were baptized in Jesus' name, and filled with the Holy Ghost. On July 27, 1923, Stuart and Jessie were married. They had five children: James, Mary, David, Elenor, and Ruth.
After he and Jesse married, Stuart became an elder in the Apostolic Gospel Church, Columbus. Love for the Word ignited his drive for a teaching ministry which began under W.T. Witherspoon. The Columbus church heard Stuart's first sermon. After moving to New York City in 1931, Stuart saw a great need for a church and set out to fill the need. He rented an old church building with Pastor Witherspoon's financial support. A home missions church was birthed, and the power of God moved mightly as people were baptized in Jesus' name and filled with the Holy Ghost.
One day, Stuart heard the voice of God speak to him saying, "You will not be here long". Letters began to arrive from andrew D. Urshan imploring Stuart and Jesse Norris to leave New York City for a struggling congregation in St. paul, Minnesota. Commissioned by Superintendent W.T. Witherspoon, they left for st. Paul in 1934, after two years of pastoral service in New york City.
Just 36 years following the original outbreak of Pentecost at stone's Folly, Topeka, Kansas, and 24 years after the great Oneness revelation in the Arroyo Seco, California camp meeting, another stepping stone was laid in Apostolic history. While driving home one night from a conference in Spencer, Iowa, Norris received a call from God to train Gospel workers. In 1937, such an idea found little favor but was the focus of Norris' exceptional spiritual insight. His management training in sales had been "for such a time as this." He answered unhesitatingly, "YES!" Norris recruited a dedicated team of W. L. Hodge, from Wisconsin, Mrs. C. E. Lundquist, from Iowa, and later Jesse Norris, who added her expertise. Apostolic Bible Institute enlarged its mission.
Times were dark because of the Great Depression. On October 1, 1937, Apostolic Bible institute opened its doors to men and women with the motto: I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work. - John 9-4. The school's very foundation was the Word of God. At the general Conference of the United Pentecostal Church International in Louisville, Kentucky, Stuart and jesse Norris were honored in their efforts when the General superintendent, N.A. Urshan, pronounced Stuart and Jesse Norris "Mr. and Mrs. Pentecost."
The shrill voice of a newspaper boy developed inro a solid, firm voice of a widely acclaimed Bible teacher. Stuart Norris refused to tolerate spiritual weaklings or liberals. Over 4,000 alimni of ABI preach the Word around our globe. Upon the pages of Apostolic history is imprinted fifty years of wholehearted service of a newspaper boy and high school sweetheart. Stuart Norris passed away January 4, 1990 and was joined by his sweetheart on May 17, 1994.