Clergyman, educator. Eikerenkoetter was born in Ridgeland on June 1, 1935, the son of Frederick Joseph Eikerenkoetter, Sr., and Rema Matthews. At age fourteen he followed his father into the ministry when he became assistant pastor of the Bible Way Church in Ridgeland. After graduating from high school in 1952, he attended several fundamentalist Bible colleges, received a Th.D. from American Divinity School in New York in 1960, spent two years in the U.S. Air Force chaplain service, and then returned to South Carolina to found the United Church of Jesus Christ for All People. In 1964 he moved his ministry north and established the Miracle Temple in Boston, where he began to call himself “Rev. Ike.” In 1966 he transferred his operation to New York City, where he founded, under the aegis of his United Christian Evangelistic Association, what was to become Christ United Church, occupying an elaborate former Loew’s theater at 175th and Broadway.
He used radio, direct mail, and a nationwide evangelistic campaign to build a large following, particularly among African Americans. Rev. Ike transformed what had been a conventional healing ministry into a vehicle for instruction in a system of positive thinking he has called Mind Science, the Science of Living, and more recently, Thinkonomics. He presented this system of self-improvement in his book Rev. Ike’s Secrets for Health, Joy and Prosperity—For YOU!, in sermons, in audio and videotapes, on radio and television, in Miracles RIGHT NOW! magazine, and in courses taught at the United Church Schools, which he serves as founder and chancellor. He is assisted in the pastorate of the United Church by his wife, the Reverend Eula M. Dent Eikerenkoetter, senior copastor; and his son, the Right Reverend Xavier Frederick Eikerenkoetter, bishop coadjutor.
Martin, William C. “This Man Says He’s the Divine Sweetheart of the Universe.” Esquire 81 (June 1974): 76–78, 140–44.