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Minister dies before trip to spread message overseas

Des Moines Register/July 23, 1996

By Daniel P. Finney

The Rev. Lloyd Lavern Goodwin believed in the Des Moines Gospel Assembly Church so much that had he not died Satur-day, he would be on his way to Af-rica to preach his church's message in Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The Rev.Good-win,67,of 8521 N.W.54th Ave., died Saturday at Iowa Lutheran Hospital from a heart attack.

The Rev. Goodwin founded the Des Moines Gospel Assembly in 1979 and was leader of an organization of more than 100 gospel churches worldwide. He and the Rev. Leander Ray were scheduled to leave for Af-rica Monday to spread the Gospel Assembly's message.

Ray said the Rev. Goodwin was firm and passionate on the Pulpit while tender and generous in coun-seling.

"His pulpit mannerisms and his compassion for people were un-matched," said Ray, who was a pas-tor at the Des Moines Gospel Assem-bly under the Rev. Goodwin for several years. "He was the greatest man I've ever met."

The Rev. Goodwin was born in Ev-ansville, Ind. He lived in Des Moines for many years and watched the Gospel Assembly's membership grow steadily and helped the church build a new parish in Urbandale at 7135 Meredith Drive.

The church was often challenged for its beliefs that Jesus Christ would return to Earth during the 1990s and a war of Armageddon would soon follow. Criticism of the Gospel Assembly reached fever pitch after the Branch Davidian di-saster in Waco, Texas, in 1993.

The Rev. Goodwin bought a six -page advertising supplement to The Register in July 1993 to rebut char-ges that his church was a cult that brainwashed people. The ad, written almost entirely by the Rev. Goodwin, quoted heavily from the Bible and denounced idle curiosity by other Christians.

Ray said the Rev. Goodwin's faith in his mission never wavered in the face of criticism.

"His passion for God transcended ordinary faith," Ray said. "He was the most dedicated man to God I've ever known. This church was his life."

Services for the Rev. Goodwin will be 10 am. Thursday at Gospel As-sembly Church. Burial will be at Highland Memory Gardens.

He is survived by his wife, Mar-tha; two brothers, Vernon and Na-than, both of Des Moines; and a sis-ter, Audrey Goodwin-Werling, also of Des Moines.

Friends may call until the time of service Thursday at Gospel Assem-bly Church, where family will greet visitors. Memorial contributions may be made to the church.

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