Rev. Lena Spillman
United Pentecostal Church International
1879 ~ 1953
A baby girl was born on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1879, to Frank and Catherine Calvert, who lived on Georgia Creek in Henry County, Kentucky. The youngest of several children, she was named Lenora but was called Lena throughout her life. Lena lived with her parents on Georgia Creek until she was a young lady. Life was not easy for the family. Lena went barefoot and stumped her toes on the rocks and was frightened many times by the numerous snakes that were prevalent in the area.
Lena married a Judges son named Dan Wright. About a year after they were married, a baby girl was born to them. They named her Addie. After two short years Lena's beloved Dan became ill and died. When Addie was about four years old, Lena met and married Jim Spillman. A daughter was born to this union. When the baby was about two and one-half years old, she died, and sorrow again moved into Lena's life. The family, Jim and Lena Spillman and little Addie, moved to Indianapolis where Lena joined the Christian Church and was baptized by immersion. When Addie was a teenager, Lena's health declined. A doctor was consulted, and he told her that she was in such a condition with leakage of the heart that she could not live more than two and one-half months. Addie quit high school to be with her mother and to help her.
Meanwhile a Pentecostal work had started on Roosevelt Avenue in Indianapolis. It was called Oak Hill Tabernacle. Brother L.V. Roberts was the pastor. In late October 1914, while Brother Lemuel C. Hall was preaching a revival at Oak Hill, Lena's cousin invited her to go to the service on Sunday afternoon. When they arrived, the cousin took Lena right up to the platform because she took care of the pianist's sons during the service. The building was just a shell with sawdust floors, but God's Spirit was there and Lena was exposed to it at close range.
Brother Hall preached about that "Pearly White City" coming down out of heaven. While he preached, conviction seized Lena Spillman. Realizing that she was lost, she rushed to the altar, fell down, and cried out, "Anything, Oh God! Just save my soul!" She fell under the power of God, received the Holy Ghost, and at the same time, she was healed. Sister Spillman became a real prayer warrior, and God began to talk to her about working for Him. Since she was not too well educated, she felt that she lacked the ability to preach. Consequently, she ran from the call to preach for ten years even though the Lord's hand was on her in a great way.
On August 4, 1929, Lena held her first service in an old unused school building on the corner of Orchard and Thirty-Fourth Streets. Good crowds attended the revival in the school building and several were converted. The services went on until October of that year. Afterward, they moved into a store front and had services there until February, 1930. Fifteen were baptized in the Name of Jesus and were filled with the Holy Ghost. Afterward, Sister Spillman rented the Old Grande Theater in the Brightwood section of Indianapolis. Although the theater would hold more than five hundred people, it was about full every night for six weeks. Sixty-three persons were were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and most of them were filled with the Holy Ghost during the six weeks' time.
God opened up the way for the group to purchase the lot and a small building on the corner of twenty-eighth and Sherman Drive. There continued to be a wonderful move of God. People came and received the Pentecostal experience. Among them was Sister Spillman's husband, Jim. She affectionately called him, "Daddy Jim." When they moved into the building on Twenty-eighth and Sherman Drive, Sister Spillman pointed out, "They were first called Christians at Antioch, so I would like to call this church Christian Tabernacle." And that is what it has been called ever since.
Many souls found God as a result of Sister Spillman's dedicated ministry. Many healings took place, demons were cast out, and people were slain under the power of God. God blessed and people danced and shouted. She was very sensitive to the needs of the people, both spiritually and naturally. Sister Spillman passed away August 1953, but the work she built is still going one. Those who visited her in her last hours did not realize she was so near the end because she did not tald about her illness. She encouraged and lifted up those who were at her bedside. Ministers came away saying, "She told me to, 'Preach It!' " Sister Spillman loved the church and had a burden for it until the end. She told Brother paul Jordan, one of her converts and her assistant pastor, that she wanted him to pastor the church. Her last words to him were, "Keep the church clean." After Paul Jordan passed away, his son Joe Jordan pastored the church until his demise. Today his son Kent Jordan is the pastor.