APOSTOLIC ORIGINS

The “first (recorded) individual to receive the Holy Ghost in Louisiana” was Alice Taylor of New Orleans. Her signed account is recorded in “Volume One of The Apostolic Faith publication, official papers of the Azusa Street revival, dated September, 1907.”[i]

 

In 1915, the topic of baptism in Jesus’ name was sweeping the country. Ministers and saints realized their need to search Scripture for proof of their beliefs. A decision was made to call a Bible Conference in the town of Elton, Louisiana to pray, examine Scripture, and deliberate their findings in order to lay the controversy to rest, not just for knowledge but to obey and practice New Testament teachings. Those in attendance longed for God to speak to them and their fervent prayers to know full truth were answered. The revelations of Jesus’ name baptism and the mighty God in Christ that were received during that Conference not only changed their lives but changed the religious landscape of the state of Louisiana and beyond.[ii]

 

[i] Tom F. Tenney, The Flame Still Burns: A History of the Pentecostals of Louisiana, rev. and enl. ed. (Tioga LA: Focused Light, 2002), iv.

[ii] Karen R. Weber, “1915 Elton Bible Conference: The Birth of Oneness Pentecostalism in Louisiana” (paper presented for Modern Pentecostal Movements, Urshan Graduate School of Theology, 2021), 8.

 

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District Formation

The Louisiana District UPC officially began in 1945 as a result of the merger between the PCI (Pentecostal Church, Inc.) and the PAJC (Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ) which formed the United Pentecostal Church.

Howard Goss, newly elected General Superintendent of the merged group, served as Chairman of the first Louisiana UPC District Conference held in DeQuincy on January 2, 1946. It was decided that the District Superintendent would be elected from one organization and the Secretary from the other. After a lengthy balloting process, Bro. S. L. Wise was elected Superintendent and Bro. George L. Glass, Sr. was elected as Secretary.

The Louisiana District UPC was thus organized with seventy voting ministers.[i]

 

[i] Tenney, The Flame Still Burns, 50.

 

District Executives

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S.L. Wise

District Superintendent
1946 - 1953
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George L. Glass, Sr.

District Secretary
1946 - 1958
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C.G. Weeks

District Superintendent
1953 - 1978
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J. Roy Weidner

District Secretary
1958 - 1981
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T. F. Tenney

District Superintendent
1978 - 2005
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C. E. Cooley, Jr.

District Secretary
1981 - 1998
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Kevin V. Cox

District Secretary
1998 - 2005
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Kevin V. Cox

District Superintendent
2005 - 2021
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Randy O. Harper

District Secretary
2005 - 2022
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Derald R. Weber

District Superintendent
2021 - present
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Brandon Stroud

District Secretary
2022 - present

District Growth

In 1915, there were approximately seven churches in Louisiana. The revival that spread as a result of the Elton Bible Conference caused significant growth across the state. By 1926, Louisiana had roughly twelve churches.[i] According to records in St. Louis, in 1947 there were seventy-four churches in the Louisiana District.[ii]

After the merger in which the United Pentecostal Church was formed, the newly unified Louisiana District began to grow as the apostolic new birth message spread. Churches continued to be established, ministers answered the call of God on their lives, and leaders served the Louisiana District with passion and excellence.

As of the beginning of 2022, the Louisiana District is the largest in North America with over 300 churches and almost 800 ministers. Each year, these numbers increase and the congregations of Louisiana continue to experience the blessings of God. Additionally, Louisiana sends pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and leaders from our state to work in the kingdom all over the world. The Louisiana District is strong in raising up ministers and releasing them to the harvest field.

 

[i] Tenney, The Flame Still Burns, 94.

[ii] Tenney, The Flame Still Burns, 50.

 

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Camp Meetings

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“Louisiana Pentecostal churches held their first camp meeting in 1915, at Merryville, Louisiana, with Brother Robert LaFleur as the camp evangelist. At that time there were approximately seven established Pentecostal churches in the state.”[i] Brother Harvey Shearer was the camp chairman.

Over the next decade camp meetings moved around the state and were held in Dequincy, Oil City, Provencal, Lake Charles, and Oakdale. Camp speakers during this time included A. D. Urshan and O. F. Fauss. Throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s, some camps were under the direction of the PCI (Pentecostal Church, Inc.) while most were led by the PAJC (Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ). In 1934 a joint camp was held in Oakdale. The camp meeting in 1946 in Dequincy was the first camp after the merger where the UPC was formed.

The present Campground was purchased in 1946 and Camp Meetings were held in a tent in 1947 and 1948 until a Tabernacle could be constructed. W. E. Gamblin was the 1947 camp speaker but his arrival was delayed so Bill Treadway (son-in-law of S. L. Wise) preached the first sermon. Bro. N. A. Urshan was the camp evangelist in 1948. By camp meeting time in 1949, the concrete block building (which is now the dining hall) had been completed for services with V. A. Guidroz as the night evangelist.[ii]

The 1954 Camp Meeting was held in a new 100’ x 150’ two-story Tabernacle with S. G. Norris as the Camp Evangelist. Due to the ever-increasing crowds that attended the annual Pentecostal camp meeting, in 1968 the Tabernacle was remodeled adding a balcony and in 1971 air conditioning was added. In 1983 the Tabernacle was remodeled again to add additional seating and offices.

Over the years, thousands of people have attended the Pentecostal camp meetings in Louisiana. Lives have been changed; people have been saved, healed, delivered, and called and anointed for ministry. The fellowship at camp meeting has created life-long friends and, in some cases, the finding of a spouse. Only history and heaven will completely reveal the stories that originated and those that were influenced at a Louisiana camp meeting.

On June 29 – July 4, 2014 the 100th Louisiana Camp Meeting: Continuing the Story was held. People from all over the nation descended upon the Louisiana District Campground for fellowship, powerful worship, and dynamic messages. The week also included a powerful drama depicting our history and a reception for all licensed ministers who attended. Many people from all over the nation returned to Louisiana to experience this historic event.

 

Hear this, you elders, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land!

Has anything like this happened in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?

Tell your children about it; let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.

Joel 1:2-3 (NKJV)

 

[i] Tenney, The Flame Still Burns, 64.

[ii] Tenney, The Flame Still Burns, 67.

 

Camp Grounds

In 1946, seventy-five acres of land in Tioga were purchased for $3,000 for the purpose of building a campground where camp meetings could be held for the Louisiana District UPC. In 1947, six cottages and a dining hall were completed for the camp meeting and a tent was used for the services.[i] That early dining hall is now the girls’ lower dorm. In 1949, an 80’ x 100’ concrete block building (which is now the dining hall) had been completed for the Camp Meeting services.

At District Conference in 1953 a resolution was passed to build a 100’ x 150’ two-story Tabernacle. The 1954 Camp Meeting was held in this new Tabernacle. The Children’s Chapel (which is now the Prayer Chapel) was also ready for this camp.

The Administration Building which included offices and a Board Room was built in 1963-1964. That building is now called the Cecil Daniels Activity Center. Due to the growth of Pentecostal youth in Louisiana, the Conqueror’s Hall, now named the Delisa Cox Building, was built and then dedicated during the 1966 camp meeting.[ii]

In 1968 the Tabernacle was remodeled adding a balcony and, in 1971, air conditioning was added. In 1983 the Tabernacle was remodeled again to add additional seating and offices. Over the years, numerous buildings have been built on the Campground: a concession stand, private cabins, trailers, public and church dorms, electrical shop, maintenance compound, and more. A recreational pavilion was erected in 1998 where spirited basketball and volleyball games are held. Space has been added for RV parking to facilitate the families who enjoy being on the campground each summer. In addition, the residences for the District Superintendent, District Secretary, and Operations Manager are located on the Campground.

 

[i] Tenney, The Flame Still Burns, 76.

[ii] Tenney, The Flame Still Burns, 79.

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Pineville, LA 71360

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