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Rex Humbard

Rex Humbard

Rex Humbard, the son of Pentecostal evangelists, built a ministry that evolved from church revivals across the country to a permanent home in Akron—and on television. Rex’s “Cathedral of Tomorrow” once reached more parts of the globe than any other broadcast ministry. In  1999, U.S. News & World Report named Humbard, who gave his first televised sermon in 1949, one of the 25 principle architects of the modern era for his pioneering televangelism. He realized the potential of the new medium in the early 1950’s and became known to millions by the 1970’s. 

“The vast majority of people do not go to church, and the only way we can reach them is through TV,” Humbard said. As with his contemporaries Billy Graham and Oral Roberts, Humbard’s ministry began to flourish in the post-World War II era.

In 1952, Humbard founded the non denominational Cathedral of Tomorrow, one of the country’s first mega-churches. It cost $4 million, seated 5,000 and included a hydraulic stage and a huge red, white and blue cross that stretched across the ceiling. His weekly program was carried by more than 2,000 stations worldwide in 91 languages for nearly 3 decades. The “Cathedral of Tomorrow” broadcast developed into a mixture of preaching and music, featuring Humbard and his wife, Maude Aimee, an accomplished gospel singer.

Elvis Presley, whose popularity precluded regular churchgoing, called Humbard “his Preacher” and often gathered his backup singers to watch broadcasts with him.