An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Bennett, Dennis Joseph

(Oct. 28, 1917-Nov. 1, 1991). The “father of charismatic renewal in the Episcopal Church.” He was born in London, England. His family moved to the United States when he was ten years old. He graduated from San Jose State College in 1944. Two years later he entered the University of Chicago Divinity School and received his M.Div. in 1949. Bennett was ordained a Congregational minister in 1949, and served Congregational churches in San Diego, California, from 1949 until 1950. He later became interested in the Episcopal Church and was appointed lay vicar of St. Paul's Church, Lancaster, California. He was ordained deacon on Feb. 21, 1952, and priest on Oct. 20, 1952. Bennett became the rector of St. Mark's Church, Van Nuys, California. Under his leadership its membership increased from approximately 500 to 2,500 by 1960. In 1959, he and some members of his congregation received “baptism in the Holy Spirit.” On Apr. 3, 1960, Bennett preached a sermon in which he revealed to his congregation that he had experienced “baptism in the Holy Spirit” and had spoken in unknown tongues. This generated opposition to him and he resigned the parish. In 1960 he became the vicar of St. Luke's Church, Seattle, Washington, which was about to close. Under his leadership it grew to over 2,000 members. Bennett was one of the founders of the Episcopal Charismatic Fellowship, later called Episcopal Renewal Ministries. He resigned as rector of St. Luke's Church in 1981, and spent the rest of his life writing, speaking, and conducting seminars. With his second wife, Rita Marie Reed, he held renewal conferences and wrote the best seller, The Holy Spirit and You (1987). Nine O'clock in the Morning, which he published in 1970, was also very successful. He died in Seattle.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.