Among those attending the meetings on Azusa Street was Florence L. Crawford, a Methodist laywoman. There she received the experience of sanctification and the power of the Holy Spirit. At her baptism in the Holy Spirit, she related that God “permitted me to speak in the Chinese tongue, which was understood by a Christian Chinese who was present.” She also testified to receiving a miraculous healing of her eyes, which had been damaged by spinal meningitis.
A dynamic woman, Crawford entered wholeheartedly into evangelistic work, assisting mission leader William J. Seymour. Thousands of inquiries had begun coming in from people who wanted to know more about the Pentecostal outpouring, so Crawford began putting the record of what was being said in the meetings into a newspaper format. The publication was called The Apostolic Faith.
In addition to her efforts in the publishing work, Crawford felt God’s call to travel beyond the boundaries of Los Angeles with the Pentecostal message. Her first ministries were along the West Coast where she worked as an itinerant home missionary. In December of 1906, she made her initial visit to Portland, Oregon, where she had been invited to preach in an independent church on Second and Main Street. Subsequently, the pastor of that church offered her his pulpit permanently, and in 1908, Crawford moved to Portland. The Azusa Street ministry turned over the responsibility of publishing The Apostolic Faith paper to her, so she and her co-worker, Clara Lum, brought that work to Portland with the blessing of the Azusa Street ministry. The publication continued uninterrupted, with the final edition from Los Angeles being printed in June, 1908, and the first edition from Portland coming out in July-August, 1908.
Portland was established as the headquarters of the growing movement. In 1922, the headquarters building, a landmark in downtown Portland, was erected. A large neon sign with the message "Jesus the Light of the World,” first displayed in 1917, was transferred to the new structure.
Through the years, the Apostolic Faith work has maintained the doctrines outlined in the first editions of the Apostolic Faith papers printed in 1906. As a Trinitarian and fundamental church, their doctrinal position centers on a belief in a born-again experience, supports the Wesleyan teaching of holiness, and stresses the need of sanctified believers to receive the Pentecostal experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They hold to the Armenian teaching of salvation rather than the Calvinistic belief of predestination and eternal security.
The church is governed by a board of five trustees headed by a Superintendent General, with Rev. Darrel Lee currently serving in that position. Both home and foreign missions have emerged on a large scale, with works in Africa, Asia, the West Indies, and Europe. The largest mission field is in Nigeria, where there are approximately 20,000 members. Each local congregation is under and leadership and direction of the international headquarters work in Portland.
Membership: In 1997 the church reported approximately 4,000 members, in 50 congregations with 160 ministers in the United States, and 10 congregations and 25 ministers in Canada. There are approximately 50,000 members in foreign lands. Membership is only an estimate; the church counts those who regularly attend as members.
Periodicals: Higher Way; The Light of Hope