Reported by Mayor Harold Rainwater, Wilmore, Kentucky
Fifty-three years ago on February 3rd, no one came to the Dine A Mite after Asbury College’s chapel hour. My family operated The Dixie Restaurant on Main Street and the Dine A Mite next door to Hughes. One of our traditions at Dine A Mite was serving a large crowd just after chapel, coming for our hot honey buns and coffee or orange juice for $1.00. On February 3, 1970 we had the entire front counter covered with hot honey buns, but chapel didn’t end on time. The amazing life-changing 1970 Revival had started.
February 8, 2023 Chapel service at Asbury University began and then the Holy Spirit took over and Revival continued. I can’t say “until now,” because that sounds like it’s stopped. While chapel service is over, revival spreads. I share two photos from the many posted on social media. First Photo: 1st Week during 2023 Asbury Revival
Two weeks later: People waiting to enter Hughes Auditorium, Asbury University
Yes, Bill and I were in Wilmore and experienced the 1970 Revival. That February Bill was completing his last year teaching at Asbury Theological Seminary before he would move to teach at Asbury College (University). The staff and students at ATS heard something extraordinary was happening at the college, so Bill and others walked across the street to see for themselves. When Bill came home for supper he told me he intended to sit an hour to observe, but when he decided to leave he noticed about three hours had passed. Extraordinary yes, but supernatural was more like it. This was a Spirit-led, unplanned revival.
That Sunday morning in 1970, local churches moved their services to Hughes Auditorium on Asbury’s campus. That’s when our family of six attended and sat in the balcony. My most memorable moment focused on Helen Seamands who gave her testimony of being dry in her spirit and how Jesus came to reside, change, and move her to be radically honest.
Later I found out what happened behind the scenes on campus. Jeannine Brabon and other students, moved with concern over various students, formed a prayer team. This went on for several weeks, as I recall. On that February 3rd 1970 Chapel Service, when Custer Reynolds asked if anyone wanted to come to the altar and pray, several of those prayed-for students come forward and then went to the mike to share their testimonies. Sparked by the Holy Spirit, other students came forward, prayed, testified, and chapel time did not close for days. President Dennis Kinlaw, out of town, received a phone call from a staff member, and he approved of their decision to let chapel continue and classes to be optional.
How different or similar is the 2023 Asbury Revival can be described by the many who were there in the original hour and by those who traveled to join in the experience. I did not go, and I am satisfied to know that revival can happen wherever a person is knee-bent to welcome the Holy Spirit’s work in a life submitted. I’ve spent hours online viewing, listening, and reading about the 2023 revival. Learning how it’s spreading across the nation and around the world convinces me that God is still at work to redeem and sanctify His people. Revival begins with Christians. I’m ready. Are you?