"The saints are coming” by the thousands to Baltimore to celebrate the last 100 years of Pentecostalism’s history and growth.
The Azusa East Centennial Celebration, featuring hosts Bishop T.D. Jakes and Bishop Charles Blake, opened Wednesday at the Baltimore Convention Center with a power service and historical symposium on the fastest-growing family in Christianity.
“We believe Azusa East will provide God an opportunity to move by his Spirit in a way that will impact all who attend,” explains a statement from the website. “It is anticipated that many will be saved, filled with the Spirit, and healed.”
Azusa East is a counterpart to the larger, international Azusa Street Centennial that was held last month in Los Angeles. While the two events were organized and hosted by separate groups, they commemorate the same spirit-filled event that began at an abandoned warehouse in 1906.
The Azusa Street revival of April 1906 is widely recognized as the foundation of modern-day Pentecostalism and seen as a reenactment of Acts 2 – a biblical passage that includes a record of when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples after Christ’s ascension.
Now, 100-years later, the movement has grown to more than 600-million adherents around the world, and this international expansion was clearly felt at the Los Angeles Centennial where 30,000 visitors from over 130 countries toured the famed downtown streets.
Azusa East is more of a domestic commemoration, featuring an all-American lineup of main speakers and presenters.
According to organizers, the purpose of the event is to “provide Pentecostals who are unable to attend the Azusa Celebration in Los Angeles another opportunity to celebrate the centennial.”
It also places a distinct focus on the role of black Pentecostals in shaping the movement, as will be seen at the main symposium today entitled, “The Influence of the Black Pentecostal Movement on Women.”
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.