On/File: A Continuing Record of Groups, Movements, People and Events Shaping Contemporary Religion

Peoples Temple, the group most infamous for the Jonestown murder-suicides in 1978, is being reestablished by clergy in the Disciples of Christ (Christian Churches). Peoples Temple was a movement within the Disciple of Christ well-known for its strong social justice thrust in American inner-cities under the leadership of Jim Jones until he moved the group to Guyana. When the original Peoples Temple was dissolved, it was still in good standing with the denomination, and, under Rev. Cupid Osburn, clergy are taking steps to reestablish the group. Osburn started a temple in the Great River region of Arkansas and reports that there is interest in establishing Peoples Temples in other regions. Osburn and others found the original People’s Temple inspiring for its ministry to the poor, supplying jobs to the unemployed and housing and legal aid to the needy. The new temples will meet in members’ houses until people will be ordained and more congregations planted throughout the country. There will also be a special board of advisors to monitor People’s Temple activities to insure the past does not repeat itself. “There will be life in the services such as seen in the Pentecostal movement,” Osburn writes. (Source: The Jonestown Report, November)