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William J. Seymour - Azusa Street Revival 1906

William J. Seymour – Pastor of Apostolic Faith Mission in Los Angeles, California. The church was home to the Azusa Street Revival of 1906. | Image: Wikimedia

William Joseph Seymour was born in Centerville, Louisiana, on May 2, 1870. He founded the Apostolic Faith Mission at 312 Azusa Street in downtown Los Angeles, California in 1906, which was home to the Azusa Street Revival.  They began having frequent worship services that continued around the clock.

His pioneering work and message influenced millions of people around the world.  Today millions of Protestant Pentecostals and Charismatic groups can trace their lineage back to the Azusa Street Revival and Pastor William J. Seymour.


William J. Seymour – The Azusa Street Revival 1906 – Documentary

Video Testimony

it began there but it spread to the whole world the world had just entered the twentieth century the United States was under the leadership of its 26 President Theodore Roosevelt and Los Angeles was about to experience something it could never have imagined hi my name is Matt Gibson and I have been given the honor and privilege of sharing with you a most remarkable story it is the story of real events real people and a real God it was a warm April day in the spring of 1906 when a group of African American Christians gathered in a simple home embodied Ray Street in downtown Los Angeles where they prayed and waited on God’s Spirit a pastor teacher named William Seymore was with them that night the son of a slave who fought in the Civil War for the Union Army Seymour left his home in Louisiana at an early age and became a committed Christian after smallpox blinded him in one eye the night of April 9th Seymour met with a small gathering of people he preached from the Bible acts 2:4 all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the spirit enabled them a man named Edward S Lee was baptized in the spirit and began to speak in tongues soon after a woman named Jenny Moore was also baptized in the spirit it seemed as if a vessel broke within me and water surged up through my being which when it reached my mouth came out in a torrent of speech and languages God had given me Jenny Moore what happened inside that house set on a hill separated father’s from sons and mothers from daughters it invited ridicule from the press and divided congregations in Los Angeles and all over the United States at the same time it changed lives forever and forged friendships that crossed racial and economic barriers that endure until death by the end of April the Bible study on Bonnie Brae had grown so rapidly that it moved to new quarters on Azusa Street within a year as many as 1300 people crowded into the hall and gathered out on the dirt street to attend meetings upstairs walls were full of crutches and canes left behind by those who had been healed it’s spawned a dozen denominations and today roughly 600 million people worldwide trace their spiritual roots to its dirt floors and plain wooden alter history refers to what happened inside the whitewashed wood structure at 3:12 Azusa Street as the Azusa Street revival in the late 1800s and early nineteen hundred’s America had one foot and its pioneer past and another in the industrial age sugar was four cents a pound and eggs were a penny apiece but a three-minute phone call from Denver to New York cost $11 more than a week’s wages only one in ten Americans had a high school education yet by 1903 the Wright brothers had lifted off from Kitty Hawk in a contraption they call a lighter than air plane thousands of miniature movie theaters known as Nickelodeon’s were often Americans a five-cent peek at moving pictures and thomas edison had already produced a feature film the nation had one foot in the past and the other tentatively placed in the future and so did the church things began to change before the turn of the century when the West land holiness movement that sprang up after the civil war claimed sanctification was a second work of grace and abandoned its attempts to convince the Methodist Church of the doctrine new denominations sprang up around the country and gravitated toward a third work of grace they called the baptism in the holy spirit the first people in the world the first time they heard about Pentecost is from Azusa Street in Europe they always said it started in the zoo the street so as far as I’d say American Pentecostals were started in Topeka worldwide Pentecostalism started at the zoo’s history among those men and women who sought a closer walk with God was a young William J Seymour if you would have to say who was the Luther or the Calvin or the Wesley of the Pentecostal movement you just about have to say Seymour and that the movement really originated in a little Church that became integrated in Seymour’s father Simone Simone was a slave and a brick worker by trade who fought in the Civil War with the core Africa Simone died from diseases he contracted in the Louisiana swamps while serving with the Union Army and his passion left his family destitute his son William left behind his home in Senegal where he straddled the fence between Baptists and Catholic traditions and migrated north to Indianapolis there he joined an all-black congregation and worked as a waiter to support himself from Indianapolis seymour moved to Cincinnati where he experienced the second work of grace known as sanctification to the people in the holiness movement during that time Seymour associated himself with the evening life Saints also known as the Church of God Anderson Indiana Daniel warned of small denomination was known for its teachings on sanctification and on Christian unity members lived austere lives patterned after the first century Saints they did not drink coffee nor did they weren’t sure it or attend popular entertainment by 1904 Seymour had traveled south and west to Jackson Mississippi where he was discipled by Charles P Jones a co-founder of the Church of God in Christ in 1905 Seymour moved to Houston where a holiness preacher named Lucy Farrell introduced him to Charles F power parem was the leader of the Topeka outpouring of 1901 and was a recognized full gospel preacher there’s been a lot of discussion between historians as to where the Pentecostal movement started you have to say that the doctrine and the experience was pioneered by Charles Fox Parmen 18:01 in Topeka Kansas that’s the beginning of the movement as a distinct Theological movement with a distinct experience they called it the touch spell around the world and then his disciple Seymour comes to Los Angeles and the great Azusa Street revival takes place but it did become a worldwide movement until Azusa Street so what I see is that you had two major founders of the movement parem and Seymour and you had to have both Seymour studied under the Apostolic Faith evangelist who taught three separate works of the Holy Spirit salvation sanctification and the baptism in the spirit curiously parms Brian Hall Bible School was racially segregated and Seymour was obliged to listen to Palms lessons from the hallway he was not allowed to sit with his white brothers and sisters in class nor was he allowed to tarry with them at the altar those humbling circumstances did not make William Seymour bitter instead they focused his attention on God years later parem would call Seymour the most humble man I ever met while God humbled Seymour in Houston the prayers of thousands and the work of many hands prepared Los Angeles for revival it would be a great mistake to attribute the Pentecostal beginning of Los Angeles to any one man either in prayer or preaching Pentecost did not drop suddenly out of heaven Frank Bartlett this was especially true during 1905 when a physically infirmed Bartle Minh worked the streets of Los Angeles and called for revival wherever he went like a modern date John the Baptist Bart Ehrman and itinerant pastor spent most of his nights in prayer his days preaching distributing tracts and promised in Los Angeles that revival was coming bottle man used to come in and see my father and I remember he was carrying a little black bag oh I was probably seven or eight nine bottle Minh wasn’t alone Josef’s male pastor of the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles sought more of God and traveled to Wales to meet Evan Roberts leader of the great Welsh revival of 1904 that revivals so changed the complexion of Welsh society that news pulling coal loads out of the mines had to be retrained because the Teamsters who urged them on now did so without anger or cursing when Smail returned to Los Angeles energized by the experience in Wales he was instrumental in the birth of a revival that went on for four months Smail promised his congregation Pentecost has not come but it is coming after 15 weeks of non-stop revival meetings that taxed his congregations patience and tested their commitment the pastoral committee of the first baptist church of los angeles voted to dismiss Smail a disappointed frank bottle man commented what an awful position for a church to take to throw God out while attending Bible School in Houston in 1905 William Seymore pastored Lucy Pharaoh’s small Holiness Church while she traveled to Kansas with the parms a visitor from Los Angeles named Neely Terry attended services and came away impressed with Seymour when she returned to Los Angeles she recommended Seymour to a small group of believers pastored by Julia Hutchins they sent Seymour train fare and invited him to come West although palm did not feel Seymour was ready Seymour felt differently it was divine call that brought me from Houston Texas to Los Angeles the Lord put it into heart on one of the Saints in Los Angeles to write to me that she felt the Lord would have me come over there and do a work when I came Fire felt it was the leading of the Lord the Lord sent the means and I came to take charge of a mission on Santa Fe Street Seymour crossed in America in which two out of three citizens lived rural a there were 8,000 cars in the United States but only 144 miles of paved roads there were no skyscrapers in the Los Angeles of that day even though the traffic was quite modern Los Angeles had 256 churches or one church for every 1000 people by February 1906 the hearts of many believers in those churches were on fire stirred up by the Holy Spirit they felt that God himself was standing in the doorway the Pentecostal manifestation did not come like a huge prairie fire for years there had been a necessary time of preparation as God readied the hearts of his people and reverence males New Testament church believers joined hands one afternoon in February after a service and prayed that God would pour out his spirit speedily with signs following Frank Bartlett as Smales congregation prayed Julia Hutchins and the eight families that had sent Seymour train fare left the Bonnie Brae home of Richard and Ruth as Barrie and leased a building on Santa Fe there they waited for the arrival of William Joseph Seymour as Simos train choked westward across the Arizona desert there were 46 states in the Union and 46 million dollars in the Treasury construction on the Titanic had not yet begun and the tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower Babe Ruth was 11 Seymour arrived at the Santa Fe railways of a grand station on February 22nd on that platform a traveler was just as likely to hear Spanish German Chinese a Russian as he was English even though some claim Hutchins wanted to turn over a small flock to see more his emphasis on tongues and his premillennialists views alarmed her after seymour preached enough sermons to clarify his doctrinal position she locked him out of the facility after only a week in Los Angeles the holiness man from Houston had worn out his welcome unemployed and discouraged Seymour accepted an invitation to break bread at the home of Edward S Lee of the pineal mission the graciously newest guest had nowhere to go so he invited Seymour to remain at his home except to offer him hospitality Lee did not know what to do but Celia and Seymour did not know where to turn next together the two men turned to prayer sometimes they prayed all night and in the morning Lee would get off his knees and leave his job at a local bank while Seymour remained behind praying and reading God’s Word as the days went by other believers heard of Seymour’s devotion to prayer and came to the Leigh home and joined soon see more increased his daily prayer time from five hours to seven hours a day Richard and Ruth Asbury invited him to hold a prayer meeting at their home after their invitation Seymour sent to Houston for two helpers Joseph a Warren and Lucy F Farrell and entered into a season of prayer at the home on Bonnie Brae on April 6th the humble pastor proposed a 10-day fast to his small band of believers Edward s Lee and his wife signed on as did Emma cotton the as berries and a woman who later became Seymour’s wife Jenny Moore on the evening of April 9th Lee and Seymour walked to the Asbury home after singing and lots of Prayer Seymour preached on acts 2:4 all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the spirit enabled them around 6:00 p.m. Seymour prayed for leading language and his friend began speaking in tongues at the same time Jenny Moore fell from her stool the power of God failed and I was baptized and the Holy Ghost and fire with the evidence of speaking in tongues as I look to God it seemed as if a vessel broke within me and water surged up through my being which wouldn’t reach my mouth came out and a torrent of speech and the languages God had given me the message came with power so quit that but few words would have been recognized interpretation of each message followed in English I sang under the power of the Spirit in many languages and in the home where the meeting was held the spirit led me to the piano where I play and say under inspiration although I had not learned to play several other believers were knocked to the ground by the power of the Spirit their shouts of joy could be heard throughout the neighborhood curious neighbors gathered and when the faithful moved to the front porch they spoke in tongues and praised God and the word spread rapidly by the next morning the crowd of witnesses had grown so great that it was difficult to approach the house standing on a slight rise the structures placement made the porch and natural pulpits for three days and nights the prayer group worshiped God continually hundreds came to Christ and at 4:00 in the morning on the third day brother Seymour was baptized in the Holy Ghost many strange things that happened in Los Angeles in the name of religion and AG Osterberg pastor of The Full Gospel Assembly felt it was his duty to protect his flock from fanaticism and to lead them in the paths of righteousness he decided to secretly attend the bonny brave prayer meeting my idea going alone was a lost cause when three of my deacons brothers worthington weaver and dodged announced they were going to the prayer meeting that meeting on Bonnie Brae convinced me not not because of the speaking in tongues of the pattern of the meeting but because I could since they were spiritual people there was no nonsense going on although I didn’t quite understand the the matter of speaking in tongues I was convinced these people were sincere that night as I drove home I asked myself Arthur what are you gonna do AG Osterberg Full Gospel business man’s voice may 1966 Austen Berg’s response was to gather his church together and study the book of Acts some persons attending the meeting in those early days of revival were not seekers of truth but came to mock them and find fault and they do so presently but this is true of every mighty work of the Spirit it would be unlike Satan not to stir up opposition indiscretions and counterfeiting because he is an expert at such things yes he has as many counterfeits among the Pentecostals as he does among the Methodists alw org three times a day seven days a week for three years the services went on led by the spirit not by the will of men one of the brothers would open in prayer and commit the meeting to God to keep us from emotionalism and crooked spirits Epis taluk faith 1908 if someone would pound the seat with their hand brother Seymour would go to them gently and tap them on the shoulder and say brother that is the flesh and a holy hush and quietness would settle down upon those tarrying there at times someone or some teacher would get up in the audience to read a scripture preached a sermon or give a long testimony and brother Seymour would say dear loved one these meetings are different from any you have ever seen these are Holy Ghost meetings and no flesh can glory in the presence of our God Rachel sighs love a word concerning brother Seymour who is the leader of the movement under God he is the meekest man I have ever met he walks and talks with God his power is in his weakness he seems to maintain a helpless dependence on God and is as simple hearted as a little child and at the same time so filled with God that you feel the love and power every time you get near him Apostolic Faith February March 1907 testimony of William Durham pastor of the North Avenue Mission in Chicago brother C more generally sat behind two empty shoe boxes one on top of the other he usually kept his head inside the top one during the meeting in prayer there was no pride there the services ran almost continuously and the place was never closed and it was never empty the meetings did not depend on a human leader but God’s presence became more and more wonderful in that old building with its low rafters and bare floors God broke strong men and women and then put them together again for his glory pride and self-assertion self-importance and self-esteem did not survive for long in that place Frank Bartlett no collections were taken no bills were posted to advertise the meetings no church or organization was back of it all who are in touch with God realized as soon as they entered the meetings that the Holy Ghost lettuce Apostolic Faith November 1906 no subjects or sermons were announced ahead of time and there were no special speakers all was spontaneous ordered of the Spirit we wanted to hear from God through whomever he might choose to have speak Frank Bartlett don’t leave this meeting and talk about tongues instead try to get people saved but when you go remember apostolic power will bring apostolic persecution if God for Christ’s sake has forgiven your sins you know it and if you do not know it better than you know anything in this world you are still in your sins if he has given you a clean heart and sanctified your soul you know it if you do not know it the work is not done when you are sanctified people can see it in your life but when he baptizes you in the Holy Ghost it brings a holy boldness to stand up before the world without fear man may say it is of the devil and you are drunk but glory to God there is a power behind you that men and women cannot deny the enchanting strains of the heavenly choir that sang hymns under the evident direction of the Holy Spirit both s two words in tune thrilled my whole being it was not something that could be repeated at will but was supernaturally given for each special occasion and was one of the most indisputable evidences of the presence of God’s power the singing inspired a holy awe a feeling of indescribable wonder in hearers with a devout attitude aw org the weekly Evangel March 18th April 8th 1916 no instruments of music are used none are needed no choir but bands of angels have been heard by some in the spirit and there is a heavenly singing that is inspired by the Holy Ghost Apostolic Faith November 1906 when about 20 persons joined in singing the heavenly chorus it was the most ravishing and unearthly music that ever fell on mortal ears it seemed to me then and still does that I did not belong in that course for it came directly from heaven William Durham I was a boy and had accompanied my mother a devout Catholic woman before she came to Azusa as we moved to an open spot on a near bench I suddenly felt chill and they here are my arms legs and head stood on end it felt as if I was surrounded by God I was trembling and so was my mother and everybody else in most churches children would be twisting in their seats and running up and down the aisles but not at Azusa everyone was quiet even babies in their mother’s arms it was not their parents who kept them quiet because nobody said a word not even a whisper as my hands shook and the hair on my arms stood up people suddenly rose to their feet and their hands shot towards heaven my hands went up with theirs though I hadn’t tried to raise them even the hands of babes in arms shot towards heaven strong men began to cry out loud and then the women followed as I looked over the congregation another chill ran down my spine It was as if ocean waves move from one end of the congregation to the other wave after wave of the spirit rippled through the hall like a breeze passing over a cornfield when they hear on my arms settled down so did the people they settled back into their seats and prayers pass through the hall then tongues of fire suddenly appeared over the heads of some of them in a black man the shiny face began to speak in tongues as he spoke a blind white woman came off the bench like a jack-in-the-box and she cried out Oh My blessed Jesus I can see I can see praise for the precious blood of Jesus sprang to our mouths the crowd seemed to have forgotten how to sing in English and another mouth came new languages in a heavily harmony that no human being could have learned I cannot describe it and no human being could ever duplicate it we sang heavenly Horace’s and in between each chorus our eyes filled with tears a civil death fire at Azusa many lives would change data Zeus’s Street and through them thousands came to experience the baptism with the holy spirit and through those thousands tens of thousands and then millions more

  • Documentary on Pastor William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival of 1906. Many people came to witness the Glory of God and to receive their deliverances and miracles.



Azusa Street Revival | It’s Supernatural with Sid Roth | Tommy Welchel

(Sid Roth It’s Supernatural) As a young man, Tommy Welchel lived among the survivors of the Azusa Street Revival. Now he shares the impartations he received from the very people who were there.



More resources:

William J. Seymour Biography – Azusa Street

Bishop William J. Seymour. Pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission. 312 Azusa Street – Los Angeles, California. William Joseph Seymour was …

When the Holy Spirit poured out on a small church group in Los Angeles, history was unfolding right before William J. Seymour‘s eyes. Take a look at the …

Pentecostalism: William Seymour | Christian History

In early 1906, Seymour was invited to help Julia Hutchins pastor a Holiness church in Los Angeles.

William J. Seymour: Pioneer of the Azusa Street Revival Book – Charles R. Fox

William J. Seymour - Pioneer of the Azusa Street Revival Book - Charles R. Fox

William J. Seymour was a deeply spiritual man who impressed everyone who met him. These are just some of the descriptions of Seymour, who proved to be an effective leader, writer, teacher, and revivalist. His impact continues to be felt around the world today.

Seymour’s early work has opened the door to millions of people finding the fullness of the Holy Spirit since the Azusa Street Revival, which both Life Magazine, and USA Today have listed as being one of the top – 100 – nation impacting events of the 20th century. | Learn more…


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Cee Harmon is founder of Elevate Christian Network and Elevate Your Potential Magazine. He enjoys helping people improve the quality of their lives - spirit, soul, and body.
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