WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of Pentecostals are bracing for the Holy Spirit to sweep through the nation’s capital as they prepare for the Azusa East Centennial celebration in nearby Baltimore next week.
"Azusa East" provides an opportunity for those who were unable to attend the Azusa Celebration in Los Angeles last month to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the Pentecostal movement.
According to the event website, the purpose is to "celebrate the dynamic progress of the Pentecostal movement’s first 100 years" and "to seek the face of God for the Pentecostal movement’s future direction."
The Azusa Street Revival will kick-off at the Baltimore Convention Center on Wednesday, May 24, with a Pentecostal Inter-Organizational Unity Conclave and a "Let Us All Go Back" Power Service featuring Bishop Norman Wagner – Presiding Prelate of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and pastor of Mt. Calvary Pentecostal Church in Youngstown, Ohio.
The highlight of the Azusa East celebration is slated for Friday, when Bishop T.D. Jakes – one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential evangelicals and founder of the Potter’s House ministries – is scheduled to speak for night of worship and celebration. The event will close with a Centennial Celebration Concert on Sunday, May 28.
It was in 1906 that William Seymour, a nearly blind African-American preacher, went to Los Angeles and started a revival meeting in a small home. Soon, after receiving what they believed were the gifts of tongue and prophecy through the Holy Spirit, the church grew and moved to an abandoned building in 312 Azusa Street. From 1906 to 1909, thousands came to experience this modern-day fulfillment of Acts 2:4 – a biblical passage in which the Holy Spirit descends on the disciples after Jesus Christ’s ascension – and thousands left to spread the Word of God to others.
Now, Pentecostalism has grown globally to over 600 million adherents, ranging from Charismatics, Apostolics, and Trinitarians.
At the Los Angeles Centennial Gathering in late April, more than 30,000 people from 120 countries culminated in the historic city to commemorate their past and envision the future.
The Centennial East celebration will provide another chance to celebrate the movement’s progress and to provide an experience where "black Pentecostals, neo-Pentecostals and Charismatics, can learn from the rich spiritual heritage" they share.