As a pioneer minister of the Keralite Pentecostal heritage in the United States, the late Rev. A.C. George was instrumental in the development of the Indian Pentecostal movement in this country, forming the first such Malayalee church in New York in 1974, and in his later years playing a key role in church ministries, including the formation of the IPC Eastern Region Council.
The Early Years
Since his arrival in New York in 1969, Pastor George has contributed greatly to the North American Malayalee Pentecostal community, but the road to his spiritual journey began long before in Kerala, India. A.C. George, known affectionately as Ammini, was born on April 17, 1931, the sixth of 10 children of A.C. Chacko and Rachel Chacko. He was reared in a God-fearing Marthomite family and after graduating high school in 1947 found employment as a film representative at an Ernakulam film distributing company. The job involved frequent traveling and led him to a decadent lifestyle of drinking and smoking. Although he was financially successful, the job involved frequent traveling and led him to a disappointing and decadent lifestyle of drinking and smoking.
The Great Awakening
Incidentally, in early 1951 he had the opportunity to attend an open-air meeting. At the close of the service he was inspired to surrender his life for Jesus Christ and become a preacher. After confessing his sins, the preachers placed their hands upon him, prayed, and then left. Although his knowledge of Jesus was limited, his life changed for the better. Discarding his bad habits, George was inspired to go and preach the Word of salvation, and thereafter he resigned his job and set out on a missions trip to the city of Trivandrum, where he preached for about two months. Circumstances, however, compelled him to return to his parentís home in Eraviperoor, Tiruvalla. His parents were displeased with his new life; especially that he had resigned his job. But it was Godís plan that he should be home. During that time, George, who until then had never heard of Pentecostals, started conversing secretly with an elderly person concerning spiritual matters such as the meaning of being ďborn again,Ē believerís water baptism, how to live a holy and separated life, and the filling of the Holy Spirit. After being convinced that the Word of God is true, he obeyed the Lord by taking water baptism at the hand of Pastor P.M. Philip in Kottayam. While he was spiritually overjoyed, he earned the wrath of his family, who forced him to leave his home. He found refuge in Hebron, Kumbanad, and there he joined the Hebron Bible College for Bible Studies.
Answering the Call
As a Bible student, he often returned to his home village, preaching in the streets and visiting homes of Christians and non-Christians testifying about Jesus Christ. Aware of these happenings, his father made arrangements with his older brother who was working in an oil company in the Persian Gulf to find him a job there. Although he rejected the job offer, under the prayerful direction and blessings of Pastor K.E. Abraham, he decided to go. He worked in Doha, Qatar, for more than 10 years. On his first vacation to Kerala, his father arranged a marriage for him with a Pentecostal girl, Sis. Aleyamma Chacko (Ammini), who also joined him in Doha. They worked together and organized the first Pentecostal church in Doha before they resigned their jobs and returned home to India. The couple were blessed with four children: Finny (Rev. Jacob George) and Kochumol (Rachel Philip), who were born in Doha, and Sunny (Varghese George) and Joymol (Miriam Thomas), born in Kerala.
Upon their return to India, Georgeís father had built a mansion, acquired land and properties for their comfortable living; however, George sold them for the sake of Gospel work. Through fasting and prayer he organized a home church, and through his ministry many souls were saved, the sick were healed, and the demon possessed were delivered. They were forced to move to Bangalore, where they lived for two years and continued in the village ministries. After having depleted their financial resources in Bangalore, they cried unto the Lord in fasting and prayer, and the Lord opened a way for George to come to America as a missionary.
The American Journey
Sometime in December 1968, George started his missionary journey, traveling and preaching in many places as New Delhi, Kuwait and London. His journey eventually brought him to New York on January 14, 1969. He did not know any Malayalees in New York and there was no one to receive him at Kennedy Airport. He managed to travel to a Spanish church in Manhattan with the help of a police officer and he fasted and prayed there for three days. He first began to preach in the streets of Harlem, and then the Lord opened doors for ministry by faith. Later on, God enabled him to receive and help many students and nurses who newly arrived to New York. In the meantime, he changed his status to pursue theological studies and enrolled at Long Island Bible College, where he studied for three years. A Spanish pastor helped him obtain his permanent residence.
A Pioneer and a Leader
After completing his studies and ministering briefly at New York Gospel Assembly in Richmond Hill, he returned to India in 1973. He received his pastoral ordination from Pastor K.E. Abraham, who authorized him to start an IPC church in New York. On January 14, 1974, he founded The India Pentecostal Church, the first by that name in the United States. Rev. George, who died at the age of 74, on June 22, 2004, ministered in the vineyard of the Lord for more than two thirds of his life, including more than 35 years in America. Besides being the Senior Pastor of IPC New York, he held several honorable positions in our community, including serving as the founding president of IPC Eastern Region, a position he held for many years during the groupís early years, and again until his death.
Among his many roles, Rev. George has served as a member of IPC General Council, chairman of IPC Kottayam Theological Seminary, founder and director of India Gospel Mission, founder and president of Philadelphia Theological College in Malabar, Kerala, co-coordinator of Aswasa Bhavan in Eraviperoor, Kerala, patron of North Kerala Theological College in Palaghat, Kerala, president of Power Word Ministries in Melville, New York, patron of India Christian Forum, member of the United States Chaplain Association, clergy liaison of the NYC Police Department, advisor for Good News Weekly, and as the convener of 11th Pentecostal Conference of North American Keralites.
Although he served the community in various leadership roles, it was his humility, sincere love of people, and an attitude demonstrating the servanthood of Christ that earned him the warm affection and love of the Malayalee community, Pentecostals and others. He and his wife, Aleyamma George, who had long resigned her job as a teacher at the urging of her husband, partnered together for the Lord for many years.† Sis. Aleyamma, who went to be with the Lord just six months after her husband on December 20, 2004, like her husband had been active in various ministries, including the Sodhari Samajam and the IPC womenís ministry, holding several positions. Their ministerial partnership has been a great blessing to the Malayalee Pentecostal community at large and the IPC organization in particular. The Malayalee Pentecostal community and the IPC Eastern region Council remember them fondly and are grateful for their love, care and devoted service toward Godís people. Continuing the legacy of his father, the coupleís oldest son, Rev. Jacob George, now leads the church founded by the late pastor.
Rev. A.C. George† ó A Serving Leader
IPC North America Eastern Region. All rights reserved
Designed by Samuel Yohannan.
THE INDIAN PENTECOSTAL CHURCH OF GOD
EASTERN REGION COUNCIL