Azusa Street is a Pentecostal Heritage Site
Until relatively recently, we have not known much about the Azusa Street Mission or the revival that brought it into existence. Most of what we have known about the revival was written by Frank Bartleman. The title of his book, How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles, first published in 1925, leads people to believe that it is the story of the Azusa Street Mission and revival. Yet of the ten chapters found in this book, only one of them actually focuses on “Azusa Street”. There are brief comments about the Mission and the revival in two or three other chapters, but it really contains only a single chapter on “Azusa Street”.
Between 1906 and 1909 when the revival was in full force, others wrote about it as well. Far too many stories that have come down to us based uncritically upon a relatively small number of oral or written accounts, many of them highly biased. Historians have used a few of them to sketch the basic storyline, but in the past 100 years, very little new and useful material has been referenced. As a result, our knowledge of the depth and impact of the revival has been very limited until now.
In recent years, however, many new sources have been unearthed including a plethora of public documents such as maps, City Directories, court records, census materials, newspaper articles, birth, marriage, and death records, and private documents such as correspondence and diaries written by participants and critics alike. These discoveries now provide new ways of assessing what is arguably the most far-reaching and significant revival to take place in years, if not centuries.
During the primary years (1906-1909) of the Azusa Street Revival, Pastor William J. Seymour sent our scores of evangelists, church planters, and missionaries. Wherever they went, they scattered the message of salvation, holiness, and power, rooted in Acts 2:1-41. Today, the following groups in the United States look to Apostolic Faith Mission that stood at 312 Azusa Street as having a role in their very existence: Church of God in Christ, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel whose headquarters stands at Glendale Blvd and Sunset, the Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, the United Pentecostal Churches, Church of God (Cleveland, TN), the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Victory Outreach, the Macedonia International Bible Fellowship, the Apostólica Fe en Christo Jesús, and the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.
Among the hundreds of congregations in the Los Angeles area that are part of the Pentecostal Movement spread by this Mission are Aimee Semple McPherson’s historic Angelus Temple (Glendale Blvd near Sunset) currently led by Matthew Barnett, Bishop Charles Blake’s West Angeles Cathedral (Church of God in Christ, Crenshaw Blvd.), the Reverend Frederick K. Price’s Cathedral of Faith (Crenshaw Blvd.), Bishop Kenneth Ulmer’s Faithful Central Bible Church, Bishop Noel Jones’ City of Refuge Church (Gardena), and Pastor Tim Clark’s [Formerly, Jack Hayford’s] Church on the Way (Van Nuys), each of which ministers to between 10,000 and 25,000 members weekly. The region hosts a wide range of independent congregations that are part of this Movement as well.