Evangelical, neo evangelical, religious right, conservative, american politics


In 1953 a small, seemingly insignificant, church was founded in Winter Park, Florida. By the early 1970s, Calvary Assembly of God, a church that had started with a dirt floor, was declared one of the fastest growing churches in America with membership easily reaching over several thousands.1 In the late 1970s and 1980s, it became a major religious and political force in central Florida so much so that it had received visits from then presidential hopefuls Pat Robertson and Vice President George Bush. The changes that took place at Calvary Assembly, both politically and religiously, provided a microcosm of the rest of the nation, while at the same time, these changes made Calvary a leader within the charismatic neo-evangelical subculture. The incredible growth of Calvary Assembly is part of a larger narrative on the expansion of neoevangelicalism, and more specifically, the charismatic movement in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as, the growth of central Florida. As a result of their growth Calvary was able to launch, and participate in, many programs on both the local and national level. Religious orthodoxies seeped into the political and social thought of those at Calvary, which influenced, and helped to explain, how the church became politically active. Part I examines the growth of Calvary within the context of the growth of Central Florida and the growth of the charismatic movement, This section will include the founding of Charisma 1 Stephen Strang, “Calvary Assembly-Fastest Growing Sunday School in the U.S.,” Pentecostal Evangel, July 30, 1978, 6. iii magazine, major national events such as the Jesus Festivals, and the impact of charismatic revivalists. The impact of Calvary on the local community is another part of the story. Part II addresses the political bloc Calvary produced in central Florida. The church participated in and influenced national rallies such as “Washington for Jesus.” It shared its political views with central Florida through bulletins like Insight, which addressed moral issues like pornography, homosexuality, education and abortion. Calvary also used events like Freedom Celebration, and articles in Charisma to promote its views on American freedom. As a result local and national politicians and political groups recognized Calvary Assembly as a political powerhouse. Another part of the story is that Calvary and central Florida represented the local side of a national story on evangelicalism and national politics.


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Graduation Date





Crepeau, Richard


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program

History; Public History








Release Date

August 2013

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities