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Apostolic Revival – N.A. Urshan (1976)

Rev. Nathaniel Andrew Urshan, a resident of Indianapolis, IN was gathered into the arms of God at 2:50 p.m. Friday, March 11, 2005 from his home with his beloved family at his side. He was born August 29, 1920, in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Andrew David and Mildred (Hammergren) Urshan. Nathaniel lived in Chicago through most of his childhood and teen years. The family then moved to New York, where his father became pastor of the Apostolic Christian Church on 92nd Street in Manhattan. Nathaniel attended Columbia University as a pre-med student, desiring to be a surgeon. In the fall of 1938, he met Jean Louise Habig as she accompanied the R. G. Hoekstras in revival services at the 92nd Street church.

After being stricken with tuberculosis and then being miraculously healed, Nathaniel realized God had called him to preach. Nathaniel and Jean were married on October 1, 1941 in Indianapolis, Indiana. They made a great evangelist team, preaching and singing the gospel. The Urshans were blessed with four children: Sharon, Annette, Nathaniel Paul, and Andrew. Both sons became ministers and both daughters became wives of ministers. Rev. Urshan became associate pastor to C. C. Kirby of Royal Oaks, Michigan, in February 1943. After leaving Royal Oaks, they evangelized for a while. Rev. Urshan then became assistant pastor to R. G. Hoekstra, Calvary Tabernacle, Indianapolis, Indiana. This was Jean Habig Urshan’s hometown and church.

The Urshans left Indianapolis to pastor Apostolic Christian Church, 92nd Street, Manhattan, New York from 1947-49. In July of 1949, Nathaniel A. Urshan became pastor of Calvary Tabernacle, Indianapolis, Indiana. He pastored there thirty years and over 100 ministers and minister’s wives are active in the work of God because of his pastoral touch. He had a 15-minute radio program five nights a week called Hymns of Faith. Rev. Urshan served on the Board of Education of the United Pentecostal Church International for a number of years and the Indiana District Board as the presbyter of Section Five for 27 years. For 41 years he has been a foremost speaker on the international radio broadcast, Harvestime®. While pastoring Calvary Tabernacle, Rev. Urshan served the United Pentecostal Church International as Assistant General Superintendent from 1971 to 1978. The 1977 General Conference of the United Pentecostal Church International elected Nathaniel A. Urshan as general superintendent, and he took office January 1, 1978 and served until January 1, 2002. During his leadership the UPCI realized a worldwide increase from 404,000 to 3,060,000 members in 138 countries; the number of churches and preaching points increased worldwide from 8,602 to 30,260; and Harvestime® radio’s message was spread to 130 countries with over 160 stations. Rev. Urshan ministered in over 24 countries throughout the world.

During his superintendency the UPCI initiated a chaplaincy program, established the United Pentecostal Church Historical Center, initiated the North American Youth Congress, acquired property for a Shepherds’ Home, established the World Network of Prayer, began the Global Council, initiated the Daughters of Zion, established the World Evangelism Center Information Technology Department, introduced the Men’s Ministry, and established the Urshan Graduate School of Theology.

His leadership also led to registration of the United Pentecostal Church in Russia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Jordan, and Bethlehem, West Bank. In addition, his leadership was essential in the release of the Siberian Seven, religious dissidents who fled to the American Embassy in Russia for asylum in 1981. Nathaniel Urshan was active in the YMCA, serving as a board member, Board Chaplain, Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Indianapolis Metropolitan YMCA Board of Directors. He also served as a member of the Central Branch Board of Directors. He served as Chairman of the International Board of the World Service YMCA. He served as an active member of the Republican Senatorial Committee, Republican Senatorial Inner Circle, and the National Republican Committee and was a trusted Religious advisor to President George H. W. Bush. He was active in the Marion County Heart Fund, serving as Chairman and, in 1970, as Campaign Chairman. He was also active in the Little Red Door Cancer Society and the Indianapolis Ministerial Association. His professional honors include honorary doctorate degrees from the Apostolic Bible Institute and the Gateway College of Evangelism. In both Indianapolis and St. Louis, the mayors have proclaimed days as Nathaniel A. Urshan Day.