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Maria Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924)

Maria Woodworth-Etter

Faith healing Pentecostal evangelist
Born in rural, central Ohio, she experienced a religious conversion at thirteen and soon after a call to evangelism. A difficult marriage to Philo H. Woodworth and the death of five of their six children catapulted her into severe illnesses. She claimed her recovery was due to her promise that she would answer God’s call to become an evangelist. Soon after she began to preach, at the age of thirty-five, the phenomenon of trances occurred during her meetings. She also claimed the gift of healing. As the number of people at her meetings increased, crowds overflowed her tent, which accommodated 8,000 people. Many of her meetings resulted in new churches, primarily for the Church of God (Winebrenner). In due course, her independent, itinerant ministry clashed with the denomination’s polity, and her ministerial license was revoked. Another source of conflict was her marriage, and eventually she filed for divorce from Philo on the grounds of his adultery. Several years later, she married Samuel Etter, who ably assisted her evangelistic work. By 1912, she made her way into the Pentecostal movement and was a featured Pentecostal evangelist across the country.

Bibliography:

Maria Woodworth-Etter, The Life and Experiences of Maria B. Woodworth (1885) and six subsequent editions with various titles; Holy Ghost Sermons (1918) and Spirit-filled Sermons (1921); Liardon Roberts, Maria Woodworth-Etter: The Complete Collection of Her Life Teachings (2000); Wayne Warner, The Woman Evangelist: The Life and Times of Charismatic Evangelist Maria B. Woodworth-Etter (1986) and Maria Woodworth-Etter: For Such A Time As This (2004)