Change is hard and produces some of the most deeply felt resistance and stress of any actions a person or organization can experience. Change, is however, a vital aspect of growth and its absence a sign of problems. In this cold winter time we can recall one episode where pioneer leaders faced the fear of change and followed God's guidance.
January 31, 1911 in a small octagon shaped chapel called the Little Tabernacle of Falcon, two groups met to give the final word on a plan of consolidation between the original Pentecostal Holiness Church and the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church.
From the heartland came 32 Fire-Baptized Holiness people: F.M. Britton, G.O. Gaines, J.J. Carter, M.D. Sellers, H.P. Lott, E.D. Reeves, C.M. Wheeler, Mrs. F.M. Britton, J.H. Blake, S.D. Page, C.O.Daniels, Howard Sellers, Ralph Taylor, A.E. Robinson, J.H. Inman, J.M. Howell, J.H. Spain, J.T. Crumpler, J.A. James, M.H. Israel. From the east and the Pentecostal Holiness came six: A..H. Butler, G.F. Taylor, J.A. Culbreth, R.B. Jackson, J.T. Herring, and B.B. Pleasants. Nearly all are names that loom large in any study of the Pentecostal movement in North America. Many are names that can be found in the pages of the early newspaper of the 1906 Azusa Street Revival of California.
Lamps had burned into the late hours of the 30th as the assembled parties gathered night before, one in a school and one in a private home. The crisp southern air of the North Carolina night was taut with the sense that something momentous was occurring, something unprecedented in the new Pentecostal Movement. Visionary leaders and praying people had arrived at the idea in 1909 that their two groups, so alike in major beliefs and history, should come together as one stronger group. It was inspiring as men and women laid aside egos, vanity, and their own desires to seek and follow the will of God. To boldly step onto a new level of existence and ministry as the 20th century began.
As the document of government and belief was signed, the two groups broke out into song. As "Blest Be The Tie That Binds" soared through the little tabernacle the presence of God's spirit was strongly felt and long remembered. "Heaven descended, and the "old-time" power filled the place…" wrote A.E. Robinson (Synan, pg. 123). These groups could have clung to their identities, their individualism, their separate groups, but they recognized and responded to the call of the Spirit to take the next step in a future filled with many more important decisions.
Bundy, V. Mayo. A History of Falcon, North Carolina. Walsworth, 1980.
Campbell, Joseph. A History of the Pentecostal Holiness Church, 1898-1948. PHC, 1951.
Synan, Vinson. Oldtime Power: A Centennial History of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. LifeSprings, 1998.
by Marilyn Hudson, Author & Historian
Director of Library Services, Southwestern Christian University