Samuel Joshua Grimes (1884~1967)
Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
Bishop Sameul J. Grimes was born on January 3, 1884, on the Island in the Caribbean Sea called Barbados, in the British West Indies. He was the son of Louretta Tate and Samuel Joshua Grimes. He received his early training in the schools of his Island home.
His first religious awakening was also expressed there when at about the age of seven. He was so strongly impressed with a service he for the Sunday School that he felt that he wanted to preach. When he returned home he told his brother, and tried his preaching out on him, although he was not favorably impressed. The Sunday school teacher who taught his class in the little Wesleyan Methodist Church made a lasting impression on his life.
Samuel came to the United States of America in 1903. He remained here about six weeks, then, as a seaman, visited Japan and Australia where he wanted to remain, but was not permitted because of his race and Cardiff in Wales, where he lived a short while. Samuel returned to America in 1905. In 1911 while livig in Philadelphia, PA. he had a further spiritual awakening at St. Johns A.M.E. church under the ministry of Rev. Bradley.
At this time he had a very definate call to the ministry. His hunger for God was so intense that he gave up secular work, and enrolled as the fourth student in the national Bible Institute of Pennsylvania, which held classes in a store front with Brother W.W. Rugh as its teacher and founder. At this school Rev. Rugh who was known as the “Bible Man” became interested in him, and did more to help him to know God’s word, and to make it known to His people than any other man.
While studying in the school on the “Personality of the Holy Spirit” he attended a service conducted by a capable servant of God to a most exclusive and wealthy group. At the close of the service a fashionably dressed lady met him in the corridor, greeted him and inquired, “Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?” Samuel was flabbergasted, but answered, “Yes, I think I have.” She replied, “No you haven’t, but if you go to sevententh and Lombard Streets, God will baptize you with the Holy Ghost. He is pouring out His Spirit there.”
After three weeks, he visited the store-front church that she described. When the altar call was given he got up as soon as he could and went forward. While kneeling, the Holy Ghost quickened him from head to foot. The pastor, Elder Prentiss placed his hands on Samuel’s head, and he was filled with the Holy Ghost, and spoke in tongues as the Spirit gave utterence.
Samuel continued to worship in the Methodist church, and to attend the Philadelphia Bible School until God directed him to New York City, where he enrolled as a full time student in the National Bible Institute of New York. During his last year in school, and for a year after graduation, he did evangelistic work for the school with demands for their services coming from various denominations. While on an extensive evangelistic tour, which started from boston, Massachusetts and extended to New Westminister, British Columbia. The ministry of Bible teaching and preaching was shared with Sister grimes. On this tour while in Cleveland, Ohio, they heard Bishop G.T. Haywood preach and were baptized in Jesus’ name.
In 1927 Elder Grimes was nominated for the bishopric at Indianapois, Indiana but declined. However, after the demise of Bishop Haywood he reconsidered, and thus agreed to the request made by the Eastern District Council, and some of the leaders of the Midwest to accept the nomination of bishops. At this time he was defeated.
There was a General Assembly which was being held in Detroit in 1931 that laid the foundation for another rift, which would try the faith of many in the PAW. At this convention there was not much visible to inspire organizational confidence. The Assembly was visited by representatives of the groups that had left the PAW in Chicago, who were giving them conditions for their return. These conditions were acceptable to the majority of PAW leaders, but were eventually rejected by the electorate. Later, the PAW leaders with the exception of Bishop A. William Lewis and Bishop F.I. Douglas were deceived by the desire for unity into an attemted merger. This was a great test for Bishop Grimes. After several days and much prayer, Bishop Grimes was confident that a mistake had been made, and promised the saints of the East and Midwest that he would remain, and contend for the survival pf the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.
Bishop Grime’s decision and that of others proved to be a wise one for those who remained, as well as for the others. As a reward for his churchmanship and former faithfulness he was unanimously elected to the bishopric in February, 1932, and served as the Presiding Bishop of the PAW for 35 years.
Bishop Grime’s entire life story is wrapped up in the history of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, and the forming of councils at home and in foreign fields. Afte the passing of Sister Kathleen in 1960, he was married to Miss Carolyn Andrew in September 1963.
On Tuesday morning, June 13, 1967 Bishop Samuel Grimes passed from this life at his New York City home. For several months he was beset with illness which began with three strokes of minor nature. His recovery seemed well on the way and he resumed teaching Bible classes, and doing the work he loved so well when the end came.
Bishop Grime’s last wish was revealed at his eulogy by Bishop Paddock, “Don’t let anybody separate us; contend for the unity of the brethren as well as the unity of the faith.”