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HISTORY OF THE

INTERNATIONAL PENTECOSTAL CHURCH OF CHRIST

HISTORY OF THE INTERNATIONAL PENTECOSTAL ASSEMBLIES

As a result of the visit to the Asuza Street revival of G. B. Cashwell in 1906 a small group of baptized believers with a sincere desire to promote missionary work began a Pentecostal periodical in 1907 which they named, The Bridegroom’s Messenger. The Bridegroom’s Messenger became known as the “Voice of Pentecost to the South” and for a short time served as the official magazine of the Church of God, Cleveland and the Pentecostal Holiness Church. About the same time the paper was founded, this small prayer group planted a local Pentecostal assembly in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. In the year 1919, Beulah Heights Bible Institute was founded by Paul and Hattie Barth, pastors of the local church. Minutes show that Hattie Barth gave ownership of the college to the IPA in 1956. The Atlanta church along with a few other small churches in the southeast founded and chartered the Association of Pentecostal Assemblies (APA) in the State of Georgia in 1921.

In 1919, the National and International Pentecostal Missionary Union was chartered as an Ohio corporation for the purposes of visiting missionaries and encouraging fellowship with Paul Wittich as the president. The name was changed to the International Pentecostal Church (IPC) before its merger with the Association of Pentecostal Assemblies (APA).

On August 25th, 1936 the APA and the IPC met in joint council meeting at the Radio Church in Baltimore, MD. The action of the joint council resulted in the formation of the International Pentecostal Assemblies (IPA). The Rev. John W. Pitcher was elected as the first Chairman. The IPA maintained offices, continued to publish The Bridegroom’s Messenger (still reported to be the oldest Pentecostal periodical in the world), and own and operate BHBC in Atlanta and a campground in Lake Odessa, MI. The IPA maintained extensive missions activities in Kenya, India, and Mexico, which included Bible schools, orphanages, and churches.

HISTORY OF THE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH OF CHRIST

John Stroup, an elder of the Methodist Protestant Church of South Solon, Ohio, received the baptism of the Holy Ghost the year following the 1906 Azusa Street Revival. In 1913 he was invited into the Ohio Valley to preach this experience. After four years of ministry in the area where the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia converge, he encouraged ministers and representatives to meet at Advance, (now Flatwoods) KY, and on May 10, 1917 organized a body of believers into a Holiness-Pentecostal denomination named the Pentecostal Church of Christ. Stroup was elected as the first Bishop. The Pentecostal Church of Christ was chartered as an Ohio corporation on March 8, 1927.

It operated Faith Bible Institute from 1941-52. Ambassador Bible Institute was formed in 1964 and continued until it was merged with Beulah Heights Bible College in 1977.

The Pentecostal Ambassadors was founded in 1942 as the youth organization of the PCC in Akron, OH. Rev. Carl Callihan was elected as their first General President.

An extensive missionary enterprise was initiated in Brazil in 1938 and continued to be the key missionary focus of the PCC until the consolidation. It grew into an indigenous and autonomous national church and continues to expand.

The Pentecostal Witness, the official magazine of PCC, began in 1923 with Rev. Charles Crossen as editor and was printed for 51 years until consolidated with The Bridegroom’s Messenger when the trial consolidation between the IPA and the PCC began.

In 1947 the Conference purchased the historic Cliffside Opera House in Ashland, KY to be used as its headquarters. In 1957, it relocated its headquarters to London, Ohio and constructed a new tabernacle and headquarters facility.

THE INTERNATIONAL PENTECOSTAL CHURCH OF CHRIST

In 1974 a two year trial consolidation commenced between the IPA and the PCC, which resulted in the complete consolidation of the two groups at a Joint General Conference held at London, Ohio, August 10, 1976. By an overwhelming majority vote from each separate group one body came forth out of two with the name International Pentecostal Church of Christ.

The same legislative body adopted a Constitution and By-Laws, and elected Rev. Chester I. Miller of the PCC as General Overseer; Rev. Tom G. Grinder of the IPA as Assistant General Overseer.

London, Ohio was chosen as the site for the international headquarters. The departments of Global Missions, Evangelism and Home Missions, Ladies Auxiliary (now Women’s Ministries), Sunday School, and the Pentecostal Ambassadors were created and continue to this day.

Since 1976, the IPCC has expanded its missions emphasis into French Guiana, Israel, Myanmar, The Philippines, South Sudan, Suriname, and Thailand; adopted a new concentration on youth ministry, initiated literature services; developed a variety of leadership development seminars and conventions; further developed its Conference Center; embarked on a church planting campaign; and has sought a deeper corporate relationship with God. The IPCC practices complete openness in its financial accountability practices. Current officers and information is available at the web address ipcc.cc and complete statistics are available in the Annual Report Book, available to members from the General Offices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Dr. Chester I. Miller

1917-2003

As a young preacher, Chester Miller walked many miles to preach at country churches. Licensed to preach in 1936, Dr. Miller served as missionary to Brazil 1940-1954; General Overseer of the Pentecostal Church of Christ, 1954-1976, and General Overseer of the International Pentecostal Church of Christ, 1976-1982. He also served as General Treasurer; Editor; General Secretary; Field Secretary of South America; Home Missions Representative to Portuguese Speaking Churches, instructor at Faith Bible Institute, and Beulah Heights Bible College.

 He was the visionary to purchase property in Central Ohio and construct the first structure, a dining hall and later the Stroup Memorial Tabernacle/Bible School. During his tenure, Ambassador Bible Institute was inaugurated, numerous program improvements and the consolidation with the International Pentecostal Assemblies.

Dr. Miller served our organization as historian and archivist until his death on July 24, 2003. He deeply loved Brazil and his love for this mission field is legendary and was acknowledged by the dedication of the Chester I. Miller Library in Mogi Guaçu, Brazil in 1999. He was widely known for his impeccable integrity and his lectures on Revelation and Joseph.

 

 

 Dr. Tom G. Grinder

1925-2013

 Called to ministry at the age of 15 and credentialed at just seventeen, he pastored in South Dakota, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, building one church by cutting the timber in the forest and pulling them out with his car. He served as the District and National Youth Director, District Superintendent for the Mid-Eastern and Southeastern Districts; Assistant General Superintendent and General Superintendent for the International Pentecostal Assemblies and the Assistant General Overseer and General Overseer for the International Pentecostal Church of Christ.

 He was the functional Global Missions leader and a great visionary. He opened the headquarters offices full-time, began our involvement in the four denomination Church Leadership Conference; founded the District Overseers’ Retreat; was the visionary for the construction of the Rachel Miller Tabernacle; visionary for the successful consolidation efforts with the Pentecostal Church of Christ and visionary for the consolidation efforts with the Congregational Holiness Church and the Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church. He also served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals and as the Treasurer for the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America (now PCCNA.)

 

 

DR. CLYDE M. HUGHES

Saved in the first headquarters building of the Pentecostal Church of Christ in 1957, he graduated from the church’s Ambassador Bible Institute, Cedarville University and the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Over 41 years of leadership, he has taught in ABI and many seminars in church growth, Christian Education and Leadership. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he has served as Christian Education Director, pastor, National Sunday School Director, District Overseer for two districts, Director of Church Ministries, Assistant General Overseer and General Overseer. He founded the National Sunday School, Literature and Men’s Fellowship Departments, the IPCC’s involvement in Leadership21; served as architect for the Rachel Miller Tabernacle and visionary for the Ministry Resource Center. He served as the functional missions leader with 32 entries into mission fields. Published in several magazines, he also has served as County Coordinator, Citizens for Community Values; member of the Board of Directors/Administration for the National Association of Evangelicals and PCCNA; First Vice-President, International Pentecostal Press Association; and Secretary, Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America. He and Linda are the parents/grandparents of 8 children and 16 grandchildren.

 

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