Remembering our history

Eloquence With a Typewriter

Roy Thompson was an archivist, editor, pastor and chaplain.

Roy Thompson, no doubt one of the most influential voices in the history of the EFCA, accepted Christ under the preaching of Rev. E.A. Halleen, former president of the Swedish Evangelical Free Church and first president of the EFCA. Thompson was the author, co-author and editor of dozens of books; he also founded the archives department at the EFCA and Trinity International University.

A black and white photo of a man wearing a suit and glasses, sitting at a typewriter
Roy Thompson, sitting behind his typewriter

After World War I, Roy Thompson attended Moody Bible Institute and the Free Church school located there. His first role as editor was for some of our earliest publications, the Young People’s Messenger from 1921-1926, and the English section of the Chicago-Bladet.

In 1931, Thompson became the founding editor of the Evangelical Beacon, a position he held for 27 years. He wrote editorials on his typewriter for almost every issue, focusing on significant topics for EFCA churches and members. He prayerfully chose and published all the content for every issue during those decades, greatly impacting the direction of the denomination. Later in life, he served as Secretary of Publications.

In retirement, he served as assistant pastor at First Free Church in Minneapolis and Chaplain at Redeemer Residence (Elim). In recognition of his work, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Trinity in 1964.

He went home to be with the Lord in 1985 at the age of 88. His influence cannot be underestimated as editor, writer and leader in the growth years of the EFCA.

Tom Cairns

Tom Cairns is the archivist for the EFCA. A physician who worked for 19 years in Congo, Tom later served as director of international ministries for the EFCA mission, now known as ReachGlobal. Since retirement, Tom enjoys sharing stories about the history of the EFCA, answering questions from our churches and helping the churches with their own stories. He also uploads our historical books, photos and documents to our archive website. Tom’s great desire is to bring glory to God as we celebrate the history we have in the EFCA.

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