Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), the fourth-largest Pentecostal church organization in the world, kicked off its 97th annual convention in New Orleans on Sunday with a service focused on Christian unity.
Bishop Charles H. Ellis, Presiding Bishop, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
The unity service was a joint meeting between the conventions of PAW and the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith (PCAF), an organization that was formed by former PAW members in 1957. Sunday's service, in which 4,000 people came to listen to PAW Presiding Bishop Charles H. Ellis III speak, marked the second consecutive year the two organization's gathered together during their conventions.
"The only reason that is significant is...it was the first time in the 54 years that these two conventions, or these two organizations, had come together in worship service," Timothy Moore, director of media relations for PAW, told The Christian Post on Monday.
The theme of this year's convention, which is expected to draw an attendance of 10,000 people before the week is over, is "Endeavoring to Keep the Unity." Moore says Ellis has emphasized the importance of staying united with other Christian organizations, especially Pentecostal ones, for the purpose of meeting common goals.
He also hopes to foster greater unity within the PAW denomination as well. Within PAW there are auxiliary groups and departments that have specific focuses - like International Missions, Christian Education, Men's Ministry, Young People's Union and others - that meet together during the convention. In order to foster unity, however, all auxiliary meetings will cease several times during the week so everyone in attendance can gather together for worship.
The unity service on Sunday was the first of these large gatherings. There will also be a Holy Communion service, and on Thursday evening everyone will gather for a service that will be broadcast live on The WORD Network at 9 p.m. ET.
Source: Christian Post | Jeff Schapiro