During the Welsh Revival in 1904 – 1905

...over one hundred thousand people were converted. Many of them called themselves the "Children of the Revival." One such group held meetings in a house in Penygroes, Llanelli, U.K. In February 1910 they opened a building called 'The Evangelical Church', Penygroes. During the Revival some had experienced speaking in tongues and prophecy. In the new church these manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit began to be heard more frequently.

A miner Mr. D.P. Williams (1882-1947) began to attend some of the services. He had been converted in the Revival on 25 December 1904 when Mr. Evan Roberts, the Revivalist, laid his hands on him. He became a well known preacher in the Independent (Congregational) chapels in and around Penygroes and was baptised in the Holy Spirit in 1909.

This experience brought him to a time of decision. He decided to leave the Independents and joined the Evangelical Church in 1910. He was baptised in water and shortly after that visited Pastor W.O. Hutchinson's Emmanuel Mission Hall in Bournemouth where he and a friend were greatly blessed.

History

pennygroesIn December 1910 a prophecy was given in Emmanuel Mission Hall indicating that Pastor Hutchinson and a Mr. J. Dennis should go to Penygroes and anoint “the Lord’s Servant” at a farm where a number of people would gather without any prior arrangement. They went to Penygroes and ministered in the Evangelical Church. They were asked to go with Mr. D.P. Williams to a farm to pray for a sick child. A company of people had met at the farm and during a time of prayer Mr. J. Dennis gave a word of prophecy in which Mr. D.P. Williams was named as “the shepherd of His people”. The prophecy given previously in Bournemouth was then read to those present and Mr. D.P. Williams was ordained. Although this ordination was not accepted by many of the members of the Evangelical Church a further prophecy in the assembly early in 1911 indicated that “the one ordained” should be the leader and this was accepted.

In May 1911 the assembly in Bournemouth was described in the magazine as “The Apostolic Faith Church” and by the end of the year there were six assemblies in Scotland, eleven in England, and thirteen in Wales. All were in active fellowship with the Bournemouth church. The Apostolic Faith Church was the first Pentecostal Denomination founded in Britain.

The speakers at the opening of the Apostolic Faith Church building in Penygroes in May 1914 were Pastors W.O. Hutchinson, D.P. Williams, M. Reade and E.C.W. Boulton (a future leader in the Elim Pentecostal Church who was used in prophecy in the Apostolic Faith Church). In June the London Convention for the Church was held in Arthur Street Chapel, King’s Cross and a word of prophecy was given in which Pastor D.P. Williams was called as the Apostle to lead the Apostolic Faith Churches in Wales and Pastor A. Murdoch was called similarly to lead the Churches in Scotland. Both men were ordained by Pastor W.O. Hutchinson who was described as “the Chief Apostle”. The teachings of the Church were set out in the magazine as – Conviction of sin, Repentance, Restitution and Confession; Justification and Sanctification; The Baptism of the Holy Ghost, with the sign of New Tongues; Divine Healing for the body; The Blood of Jesus. Pleading and Sprinkling; the Gifts of the Holy Ghost; Eternal Punishment for the Unbelieving; The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; The Millennium Reign; Tithes and Offerings; Ordinances. Water Baptism by Immersion. The Lord’s Supper. Fellowship and Breaking of Bread; The Divine Inspiration, authority and sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures; The Unity of the Godhead and the Trinity of the Persons therein; The utter depravity of human nature in consequence of the Fall; The Incarnation and Virgin-Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and His work of Atonement for all sinners of the human race; The immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to judge the quick and the dead; the eternal blessedness of the righteous, and the eternal punishment of the wicked.

The seventh major Conference of the Apostolic Faith Church was held in Bournemouth from 31 July to 3 August 1915 and after a word of prophecy stating – “bring your treasure to the Apostles’ feet”, over £3,000 was received in the special offering. This was a large amount of cash etc. for those days and Pastor D.P. Williams suggested that a Committee of seven men should be responsible for its wise use. This was flatly refused by Pastor Hutchinson who stated that it was his money to use as he pleased. This was the beginning of tension which eventually led to a meeting of Church leaders on 8 January 1916 in the Apostolic Faith Church, Ammanford, South Wales, during which Pastor D.P. Williams stood and asked all those who no longer accepted the authority of Pastor Hutchinson to stand with him and leave the meeting. Representatives of three churches in Wales continued in the Apostolic Faith Church and all the others left to form the Apostolic Church with its Headquarters in Penygroes, South Wales.

Special meetings were held in the Apostolic Church, Penygroes (formerly Apostolic Faith Church) in March 1916. The speakers were Mr. A. Bell, the leader of the Apostolic Faith Church in Dunfermline, Scotland, and Pastor R. Jardine (1878-1950) from the Pentecostal Assembly, Bedford, England, which had been opened by Mr. C. Polhill (one of the famous ‘Cambridge Seven’). Pastor Jardine had been baptised in water in 1902 and been a minister in the Baptist Church until he was baptised in the Holy Spirit in 1912. In the Penygroes meetings he was named by several Prophets as an Apostle for England and he was ordained by Pastors D.P. Williams and T. Jones (who had been recognised as an Apostle in Llanelli in 1915).

The Apostolic Church published its first magazine entitled “Riches of Grace” in April 1916. It was made clear that the Church was in no way connected with the Apostolic Faith Church, Winton, Bournemouth. A list of the nineteen churches in Wales was included in the magazine. During the first week of August 1916 the Apostolic Church held its first major Convention in the Penygroes. During 1917 another eight assemblies were opened and the Convention in August was held in a large tent in order to accommodate the crowds.

In 1916 Pastor R. Jardine and Pastor E.C.W. Boulton (as the Prophet) ministered for two weeks in a Pentecostal assembly called “The Burning Bush” in Glasgow, Scotland. Pastor Jardine wrote to Pastor D.P. Williams and told him he had met – “a man of God in Glasgow, there are mighty deeds done through him in the Name of Jesus”. This man was Pastor A. Turnbull who had opened a Pentecostal Assembly in Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland with Mr. J. Ferguson in 1912 and had became part of the Apostolic Faith Church. During 1918 Pastor Turnbull heard of a group of “pentecostal believers in Wales, who were convinced of the efficacy of directive prophecy”. Prophecy and visions confirmed that the group in Wales should be contacted and Pastors D.P. Williams and W.J. Williams (he had been recognised as a Prophet in 1913) were invited to Glasgow. They paid another visit a year later during which the leaders of the “Burning Bush” decided to become part of the Apostolic Church. In that same year the Pentecostal Assembly in Smethwick, Birmingham also decided to join the Apostolic Church.

In 1918 Pastor F. Hodges from Hereford, England decided to visit the August Penygroes Convention. He was told of the blessings being experienced in the 1917 Penygroes Convention but was also warned that Pastor D.P. Williams and his colleagues were “in error”. He decided to go and see for himself and was blessed and impressed by what he saw and heard, particularly by the content and quality of the anointed prophetic ministry. After the 1919 Convention he invited Pastor D.P. Williams and other Pastors to minister in the Hereford Church. When they arrived for the meeting they were amazed to see the name “The Apostolic Church” engraved over the entrance and Pastor F. Hodges remarked – “That name has been waiting for you for seven years”. After this period of ministry and sharing together about doctrine, Pastor Hodges and his congregation became part of the Apostolic Church and many other meetings were opened in the surrounding area.

The first Apostolic Church Convention was held in Glasgow in 1920. A party led by Pastor D.P. Williams ministered there. Pastor A. Turnbull had been in correspondence with Pastor B. Fisher of the Pentecostal Church, Great Victoria Street, Belfast. They also ministered there in January 1920 with the result that the assembly there also joined the Apostolic Church. In October 1920 a Pastor and an Evangelist were sent to Belfast from Wales to help the progress of the work there. These men were the first ministers sent from Britian to another country.

The tenets of the Apostolic Church were published in English in 1920 (Up to 1919 they had been in Welsh) as follows

1. The unity of the Godhead and the Trinity of the Persons therein.

2. The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration, and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.

3. The Virgin Birth, sinless life, triumphant Resurrection, Ascension, and abiding Intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ; His Second Coming and Millennial Reign upon earth.

4. Justification and Sanctification of the Believer through the finished work of Christ.

5. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.

6. The Gifts of the Holy Ghost for the comfort, edification and building up of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

7. The Sacraments of Baptism by immersion, and of the Lord's Supper.

8. The Divine Inspiration and Authority of the Holy Scriptures.

9. Church Government by Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers, Elders and Deacons.

10. The possibility of falling from Grace.

11. The obligatory nature of Tithes and Offerings.

In 1921 Tenet No. 3 was amplified to read "Sinless Life, Atoning Death"; and in 1937 Tenet No. 6 was re-worded to read "The Nine Gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification , exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

Most evangelical churches could agree with Tenets Nos. 1,2,3,4,7 and 8. Many would also agree with Tenets Nos. 10 and 11. Tithing is advocated by many groups in these days. These Tenets emphasise that we are a group of Trinitarian and Orthodox believers. In no way are we heretical in our doctrines.

Tenets Nos. 5 and 6 place us firmly in the Pentecostal section of Christendom, the fastest growing expression of the Christian faith.

Our unique Tenets is No. 9 believing as we do that it was never the purpose of God that the recognised (and obeyed) ministry of the Apostles and Prophets should cease at any time in the "Church Age". We believe that these united ministries are the Biblical channels for Theocracy today as is further explained later in this data.

The expansion of the Apostolic Church into the five continents commenced in 1922 when the Missionary Council sent three Missionaries to Tucuman, Argentine. The work in the atmosphere of the religious traditions there proved almost impossible and eventually all the personnel were withdrawn in 1930. One of the true converts, however, was a Mr. Palau who became the father of the International Evangelist Luis Palau, who visited the Apostolic Church Penygroes Convention in 1980 to express his gratitude to the Church which had been the means of bringing his father to Christ. Also in 1922 an enquiry was received from U.S.A. and Pastors D.P. Williams, A. Turnbull. F. Hodges and W.J. Williams travelled to Philadelphia and ministered there and in six other towns in U.S.A. and three in Canada. As a result of this visit ten assemblies in U.S.A. and Canada became part of the Apostolic Church.

From 1922 as a result of invitations and Missionary Board initiatives Apostolic Churches have been opened as follows - 1924 Denmark and China. 1925 France. 1926 Italy. 1928 New Zealand. 1930 Australia and India. 1931 Nigeria and Egypt. 1932 Gold Coast (Ghana). 1935 Estonia. 1936 Japan and Latvia. 1937 South Africa. 1945 Hungary and New Hebrides (Vanuatu). 1946 Germany, Norway and Greenland. 1947 Switzerland. 1948 Togo and Jamaica. 1949 Cameroun. 1951 Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). 1954 Papua New Guinea. 1956 Benin Republic. 1957 Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). 1958 Republic of Ireland. 1960 Holland. 1963 Barbados and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). 1964 Sierra Leone and Peru. 1967 Spain, Senegal and Zaire. 1969 Portugal. 1970 Brazil. 1971 Belgium. 1975 Upper Volta (Burkina Faso). 1982 Malawi. 1990 Mozambique. 1993 Botswana, Indonesia and Singapore. 1994 Angola and Chile. 1997 Tanzania. 1995 Myanmar (Burma).

This growth of the Apostolic Church world-wide has been accomplished by the dedicated service of a large number of Missionaries from many lands who have worked in co-operation with the equally committed indigenous Ministers in each Field. Ten Missionaries laid down their lives while serving the Lord.

The policy of the Apostolic Church has always been to establish an indigenous Church, with many assemblies, in each Country and that this would eventually lead to the Church in each land becoming autonomous with its own General Council, and its own Missionary outreach. At this time the following countries are autonomous - Australia, Britain, Cameroun, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Switzerland, U.S.A. and Vanuatu. There are now well over four million Apostolic Church members and thousands of adherents throughout the world.

The unity of the universal Apostolic Church is maintained by an ongoing interchange of ministry between the various countries and Mission Fields. Every four years a World Apostolic Conference is held, the host country in 1999 was Canada.

In 1990 the administrative departments of the Church in U.K. were amalgamated in the International Administration Offices, Swansea (admin@apostolic-church.org). These Offices can supply information about any of the countries where the Church is operating or where there are contacts.

Looking to the future the Apostolic Church will continue to propagate the Full Gospel and the proven concepts of Theocracy throughout the world, seeking to emulate the example of the post Pentecost believers of whom it is recorded - "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers . . . And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved". Acts 2:vs 42 and 47.

Gordon Weeks, Barnsley.