Thursday, July 30, 2009
My Great-Auntie used to love listening to the radio (as did most folks back in the day). Two of her favorite things to listen to - the Cardinals and Rev. Ike. She rooted for the Cardinals as religiously as she sent Rev. Ike cash. In return for the cash she sent The Righteous Rev. Ike - she got a prayer cloth. Part of Rev. Ike's shtick was don't tell nobody you are sending him cash, she tried to hide it and got away with it for a while. We found out about it and tried to stop her, but couldn't.
The Cardinals broke a long standing losing streak the year after she died. Rev. Ike faded from my view. I never again thought of how much money she sent him until now. I know you shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but good riddance Rev. Ike...
The Rev. Frederick Eikerenkoetter, known as Rev. Ike to a legion of followers here and across the nation to whom he preached the blessings of prosperity while making millions from their donations, has died. He was 74.
A family spokesman said he died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital, two years after he suffered a stroke from which he never recovered.
Rev. Ike's ministry reached its peak in the mid-1970s, when his sermons were carried on 1,770 radio stations to an audience estimated at 2.5 million.
He also preached his philosophy of self-empowerment on television and the Internet, in books and magazines, and on audiotapes and videotapes.
From the stage of the former Loews movie theater on 175th St. in Washington Heights, which he restored and transformed into his United Church Science of Living Institute, Rev. Ike would tell thousands of parishioners "this is the do-it-yourself church. The only savior in this philosophy is God in you."
He then would exhort the believers to "close your eyes and see green ... money up to your armpits, a roomful of money, and there you are, just tossing around in it like a swimming pool."
As payback for spiritual inspiration, Rev. Ike asked for cash donations from the faithful - preferably in bills not coins. "Change makes your minister nervous in the service," he would say.
Critics called Rev. Ike a con man, saying the only point of his ministry was getting rich from the donations.
They noted that he made a show of sumptuous clothes, jewelry, posh residences and exotic cars. "My garages runneth over," he would boast.
But his supporters said Rev. Ike's love of luxury had roots both in the traditions of African-American evangelism and the philosophies of mind over matter.
Rev. Ike was born in Ridgeland, S.C., to a father who was a Baptist minister and a mother who taught elementary school. They divorced when he was 5.
At 14, he became an assistant pastor for his father's congregation. He briefly preached in Boston before coming to New York.
He leaves his wife, Eula, and son, Xavier Frederick.