Church of the Nazarene
   The Church of the Nazarene, an American-based Holiness church, was founded in 1895 by Phineas E Bresee (1838-1915), a former pastor in the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1894, Bresee asked church leaders to appoint him to an independent mission in downtown Los Angeles that had requested his services. They refused him, and he simply resigned from the ministry. The mission soon grew into the First Church of the Nazarene. In 1897, Bresee founded a second congregation in Berkeley, and after several other congregations emerged, he decided to organize a new denomination to operate along America's West Coast.
   The first delegated assembly of churches in 1898 named Bresee its superintendent. By this time, the church had sent five missionaries to India. The church became a national organization through a series of mergers with other regional Holiness associations, beginning in 1907 with the absorption of the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America. Further mergers were negotiated with the Holiness Church of Christ (1908), the Pentecostal Church of Scotland (1915), the Pentecostal Mission of Nashville (1915), the Lay-mans Holiness Association (1922), the International Holiness Mission (1952), the Calvary Holiness Church (1955), the Gospel Workers Church of Canada (1958), and the Church of the Nazarene (Nigeria) (1988).
   The Church of the Nazarene is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. Some 600,000 of its 1.1 million members reside in the United States, with the remainder scattered around the globe. Work is divided into districts under a district superintendent. The General Assembly elects the General Superintendents (who function somewhat like bishops) and the General Board, the primary executive body. The church is affiliated with the Christian Holiness Association and the National Association of Evangelicals, through which it is additionally related to the World Evangelical Fellowship.
   Further reading:
   ■ Russel D. Bredholt, Joseph. E Niel-son, and G. Ray Reglin, A Great Commission Movement: the Church of the Nazarene in the 21st Century (Kansas City, Mo.: Beacon Hill Press, 1993)
   ■ J. Fred Parker, Mission to the World: A History of Missions in the Church of the Nazarene Through 1985 (Kansas City, Mo.: Nazarene Publishing House, 1988)
   ■ W. T. Purkiser, Called Unto Holiness, II (Kansas City, Mo.: Beacon Hill Press, 1983)
   ■ M. E. Redford, The Rise of the Church of the Nazarene (Kansas City, Mo.: Beacon Hill Press, 1948)
   ■ Timothy Smith, Called Unto Holiness (Kansas City, Mo.: Nazarene Publishing House, 1962).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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