06.12.08] A public street in Virginia Beach, Va., will be renamed in honor of the late Bishop John Gimenez who died unexpectedly in February after suffering a stroke, reports The Virginian-Pilot.
His wife, Anne, senior pastor of the Rock Church, which they founded together in 1968, requested that a portion of the street that bisects the church property be renamed to commemorate the popular Pentecostal preacher. Her request was approved and the street name will be officially changed July 1.
John Gimenez was well-known for organizing the massive Washington for Jesus rally in 1980 that drew 700,000 people from an array of denominations to pray at the National Mall. He co-hosted the event with Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson and the late Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright.
Gimenez once said his reason for organizing the prayer rally was to call the church to repentance, not to promote a particular candidate or political party. Yet the rally is credited with helping to hasten the emergence of the religious right.
“That first Washington for Jesus [rally], I would call that a flash point in American religious history because he helped bring to prominence the religious right,” said Pentecostal historian Vinson Synan, former dean of Regent University School of Divinity and Gimenez's longtime friend. “He brought together … every denomination.”