Mattie Poole

Mattie (Robinson) Poole (1903-1968), was born to a spiritual family in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Chicago. When she was seventeen, she was baptized in water, and at the age of eighteen, she became active in ministry alongside her husband, Charles.

Mattie studied at Chicago Musical College and Conservatory, and was a skilled pianist and piano teacher. In addition to work and school commitments, she would spend four hours in prayer each day.1

In 1932, Mattie’s husband, Charles, founded Bethlehem Tabernacle as a mission in Chicago’s west side area. Six years later, Mattie joined him in the ministry as associate pastor.2

After the church relocated in 1944, remarkable things began to take place within Mattie’s ministry. Many people who attended services at Bethlehem Tabernacle were supernaturally healed of chronic conditions, including blindness, deafness, and barrenness.3 One source even claims that the dead were raised in Mattie’s services.4 Neck braces, walkers, wheelchairs, and crutches adorned the walls of her church—all trophies of people who had been healed there. Mattie described her passion for the healing power of the Holy Spirit in this phrase: “why should you suffer when others are being healed? Why should you die before your time?”5 Visitors traveled great distances to worship the Lord, experience healing, and hear Mattie’s preaching.

As the reports of healing continued, the church grew, relocated again, and was renamed as the Bethlehem Healing Temple.

William Ellis, a bishop in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, remarked that the services were “a powerful ministry on the west side. Sometimes ambulances would bring people to Bethlehem Healing Temple and Mother Mattie would tell them, ‘You can go ahead and leave. They won’t need you once the service is over.’”6

Mattie and Charles began broadcasting the services by radio, with their messages focusing largely on holiness and healing. At its height, their program reached an international audience. A number of audio clips have been preserved and are now available online.

By the time Mattie passed away in September 1968, she had helped plant churches and Bible schools across the U.S., and in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Jamaica.7  Bethlehem Healing Temple, the church she and Charles pastored in Chicago, continues to this day. Mattie left a mark on the world as a servant of God who moved in remarkable gifts of healing and deliverance.

1. “Throwback Thursday – Mother Mattie B. Poole,” Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc.’s Facebook page, accessed May 1, 2013,
2. Greater Bethlehem Healing Temple, “Our History,” accessed May 1, 2013, “”
3. “Throwback Thursday.”
4. Sherry Sherrod DuPree, African-American Holiness Pentecostal Movement: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland Publishing 1996), 261.
5. “Throwback Thursday.”
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.

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