The Pentecostal Movement started at the turn of the nineteenth century in the city of Los Angeles in the United States of America. Historians use April 19, 1903 as its birthday.
This modern-day movement was founded on the events that took place on the day of Pentecost, some, ten (10) days after the ascension of Jesus Christ as recorded in Acts Chapter 2. Pentecostalism, which maintains that Holy Spirit’s Baptism is accompanied by the physical evidence of ‘Speaking in other Tongues’, is a normative experience available to all Christians.
Moreover, Pentecostalism also declares that other spiritual graces the ability to interpret unknown tongues, to prophesy, to heal the sick, is manifested in the life of the contemporary Church and in the lives of Christian believers.
Since the historical biblical account of the original Pentecostal outpouring and the ‘so-called’ passing of the New Testament Church era, religious historians have referred periodically to isolated occasions when Christian worship and earnest prayer were accompanied by “Speaking in other Tongues.” However, since the modern-day outpouring, the Pentecostal experience has brought a renewed emphasis on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
Pentecostalism in the Caribbean
As early as 1910, there were zealous and devout Christians in the Caribbean region who testified to the experience of a personal Pentecost. In 1912, on the island of Montserrat, American Missionary, Rev. Robert J. Jamieson, whose Pentecostal experience revolutionized his life and ministry, found support for his cause in a small band of people of similar persuasion. Among this group were individuals such as A.B. Mulcare, Snr., William Morgan and Lydia Mings (nee Downey).
Under this new stimulus, this young church spread rapidly in Montserrat and throughout other Caribbean Islands, from St. Croix in the north to Trinidad and Tobago in the south. Rev. Jamieson and his associates, sought to establish a Pentecostal Movement. It must be noted, that this group of followers became the nucleus of what is today known as the “Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies”
The Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies
On August 17, 1946, the Pentecostal Movement in the Caribbean held its first Conference at Petit Valley in Trinidad. At that Conference, the movement became affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC), and was officially declared as the West Indies District of PAOC. The West Indies School of Theology was established at that Conference.
The establishment of the West Indies School of Theology (W.I.S.T) at the Woodbrook Pentecostal Chapel in Trinidad in 1946 is considered by many to be the most significant contribution to the Caribbean region by the parent body (PAOC). The School graduated its first group of students in 1949. WIST has since been responsible for training thousands of national ministers, lay workers and church leaders through its main campus and Extension Schools dispersed among PAWI Districts. Today, WIST graduates pastor some 90% of its churches throughout the region. Others give able spiritual leadership to varied ministries, regionally and globally.
At the 1958 Conference held in Trinidad, the name of the Fellowship was changed to the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies. This decision afforded the young Fellowship to become self-governing, self -propagating and self-supporting.
God is a strategist. When humanity first fell away from God in Genesis, a clear indication of the redemption strategy of God is in Jesus. (Genesis 3: 15). God’s strategies for Noah, the ark, Abraham, Joseph, and Israel all litter the pages of the Old Testament.
Jesus came at a strategic time and place. Jesus had a strategy for training and developing his disciples and for evangelism. The early Church grew again through strategic evangelism as part of that strategic intent. Such a strategy was both God-initiated and church-initiated.
God is a strategist. Jesus is a strategist. The Church of Jesus is to be strategic. The Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies can therefore be no lesser. God has a plan for this Fellowship, and the Holy Spirit wants to reveal and accomplish it through us. Read more…
The objectives of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies as spelt out in its Constitution and Bylaws are as follows:
- Establish places of worship for the propagating of the Christian Faith
- Organize and conduct schools for religious instructions.
- Build and operate schools for secular education.
- Own, operate and use the facilities of established news media, in accordance with the laws of the territory.
- Carry on home and foreign missionary work for the spread of the Christian Faith.
- Carry on charitable and philanthropic work
- Collect, solicit and accept funds and subscriptions for the carrying on of the work of the corporate body and for religious, educational, charitable, or benevolent purposes.
- Publish, sell and distribute Christian Literature.
- Operate Friendly Societies, Cooperative and Pension Funds.
- Exercise any of the powers conferred on duly incorporated and registered benevolent societies by local, regional or governmental authority.
- Conduct street, way-side or open-air services in keeping with local regulations.
- Purchase, sell or otherwise acquire and dispose of property of a fixed or movable nature.
- Build and operate hospitals and clinics.
- Build and operate orphanages and homes for the aged.
In order to accomplish its purpose as spelt out in its Mission Statement and Objectives, P.A.W.I. International is organized as follows:
The highest decision making body, which meets biennially.
Gives oversight between General Conferences. The General Executive are responsible for:
- Human resource development at all levels of organization (i.e. identifying skills needed and where, skills possessed, and develop training programs for imparting those skills).
- Providing the infrastructure for social ministry on a macro scale.
- Maximizing the use of finances and creating new streams of income for PAWI.
- Creating a structure for effective communication throughout the organization especially from the head office to all congregation members.
- Encouraging greater real estate development.
Highest decision making body in each District, which meets annually.
Gives oversight to the District between District Conferences. The District acts as the facilitator and middle manager in ensuring that the directives of the executive body are carried out. Secondly they will also be responsible for ensuring that the primary objectives of the church are well mapped out and that they are being executed. In their role as the overseer of churches, the District also acts as liaison/communication facilitator between the executive and the pastors and churches, ensuring a two-way flow of information.
Led by a pastor and together, in each locale, form a District. The responsibilities of the Local Church are evangelism, missions, edification of the body (counselling, discipling, family growth) and financial stewardship.
To achieve the objectives of the organization, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies has embarked on the following:
- World Missions
- Social Ministry
- Human Resource Development
- Congregational Development
- Evangelism and Church Planting
- Finances and Budgeting
- Real Estate / Capital Projects