The ‘Birthday’ of the Apostolic Church

As with many things in history, it's impossible to give a precise calendar date for the beginning of the Apostolic Church. As the original assemblies began with groups of Plant y Diwygiad (Children of the Revival) it emerged gradually after the 1904-05 Welsh Revival, with cottage meetings in villages like Penygroes. Certainly it had begun as a church by 1909. But, as with many things that have gradual beginnings, in later years the first generation looked back fondly to a particularly significant day as marking a sort of birthday. I don't actually know the exact date, but it was in the month of February.

In truth, the church had already been in existence for over a year by February 1911. A pastor had even already been ordained (D.P. Williams). But on that day the Lord did something in the life of this little church that truly constituted it as a Pentecostal church. Before that point, many of the members of the church were Pentecostal, and others were sympathetic to Pentecostalism; but, one evening in February 1911 the Holy Spirit fell in a particularly powerful way in the village of Penygroes. 

That night, at a youth meeting, there were fourteen new Christians. At the same time, in the church, there was a prayer meeting going on. And another group had gathered in a house in the village. All three groups were praying. And the same thing happened in all three places: the fire fell and they were all baptised in the Holy Spirit. 

And, even though it wasn't the very beginning of the Penygroes assembly, the outpouring of the Spirit in those three prayer gatherings on that one night was often later remembered as the ‘birthday’ of the Apostolic Church.

Around the same time, in January 1911, there was also another powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in another assembly. This one was in Llanelli, where Thomas Jones (who would later be called as the second apostle in the Apostolic Church, after D.P. Williams) was pastor. He had started holding meetings in his house after Chapel on a Sunday evening for children of the revival in 1908. People were saved, healed and baptised in the Spirit, and soon it grew into a church. So, like in Penygroes, the Llanelli assembly already existed, but God did something powerful through an outpouring of his Spirit there at the beginning of 1911 that people in years to come would look back to.

From those groups of praying people, the gospel has spread to every continent, and those little Pentecostal assemblies in Wales became the firstfruits of what’s now over 15 million believers who are members of the Apostolic Church around the world. The Lord answered their prayers in an even greater way than they could have imagined all those years ago.