The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
1906 ~ Present
Shortly after the Azusa Revival began in 1906 in Los Angeles, it took no time for the formation of a ministerial alliance to develope. From within the confines of the old Azusa Mission the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World was established during the year 1906. At the beginning it was a lose-leaf fellowship of ministerial endeavor, giving Apostolic ministers a sense of unity in belonging to something where common ideas were shared among the constituency of the movement. The PAW was Trinitarian in its theology during its early history, and remained Trinity until the conversion of Elder G.T. Haywood to the Oneness view in 1915. In 1919 the PAW reorganized with a charter as a “Oneness” organization. The PAW was largely interracial at the beginning, and remained that way until 1924, when during the 9th annual convention of the organization held in Chicago, the majority of the white brethren left the fellowship due to problems resulting from racial issues. Some of the problems were blamed on the Jim Crow laws of the South, which restricted the freedom of blacks to travel and enjoy the luxury of their white counterparts. This basically restricted the conventions from being a success in the South, because the black ministers didn’t want to travel, and then be faced with the restrictions that confronted them due to their race.
Then, there were some of the white ministers in the South that didn’t want a black man’s signature on their credentials for fear that it would hinder their progress. During these pressing times Elder G.T. Haywood was the General Secretary of the PAW and his signature appeared on every ministers credentials that was associated with the PAW. While the race card was a weak excuse for creating such a division, nevertheless it worked, thus leaving the PAW in a vulnerable state of condition. During the Chicago Convention in 1924, the PAW was left with many decisions to make after the departure of the white ministers. The PAW re-organized during this meeting, adopting an Episcopal form of church government. General Secretary G.T. Haywood was then elected to serve as the first presiding bishop of the PAW, a position he held until his untimely death in 1931.
In 1915, Brother Glenn Cook came to Indianapolis, Indiana with a message for Elder Haywood concerning baptism in Jesus’ name. At first Haywood refused to espouse the message, but one day while riding on a street car in Indianapolis, the voice of God spoke to him saying, “Bro. Haywood, walk in the light while you have it, lest a greater darkness come upon you.” He swiftly departed the street-car and had Bro. Cook re-baptize him in Jesus’ name. 465 of the members of Christ Temple followed his example, making it an overnight sensation, and thus becoming the largest Oneness church in the country. The PAW soon followed G.T. Haywood in his new theological position, accepting the Oneness of God, thus making it the first recognized Oneness organization in North America.