Our History

Introduction

The modern Pentecostal movement can be traced back to the late 1800’s and the Methodist revival of those days. Under the ministry of the great preacher John Wesley, the Methodist church experienced a great revival as they earnestly sought after the “second work of grace” in the life of a believer. This second work of grace was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers that would bring them into a closer relationship with God. This experience of the “second work of grace” brought about holiness in the lives of believers and also brought forth the “Holiness Movement” of the later part of the century. Some of the other great names of that period and leaders in the “Holiness Movement” are Charles Finney and Dwight L. Moody.

The turn of the century has been acknowledged as the start of the present day Pentecostal movement. Students at a Quaker Bible College in Topeka Kansas were encouraged to seek out what brought about the power and growth in the early New Testament church. As the students were in prayer on that 1899 New Year’s meeting praying for the new century, the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they spoke in tongues as was recorded in the book of Acts chapter 2. In the first decade of the 20th century, a great revival broke out in a home church of a black preacher named William Seymour. This home church quickly grew and they sought out a larger building on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. The prayer meeting in Topeka and the Azusa street revivals are acknowledged as the birth place of the present Pentecostal movement.

The message of the “Pentecostal experience” was soon embraced by many in the Methodist, Wesleyan, as well as the Missionary Alliance church and it was the support of these three organizations that facilitated the growth of the experience of being “Baptized in the Holy Spirit.” By the 1920’s and 30’s this spirit of revival and seeking to be baptized in the Spirit had spread across North America and the world. The Pentecostal church in both the United States and Canada were established. One of the primary goals of the new church was to send out missionaries to proclaim the Gospel and doctrinal purity to every nation. It was during this period of time that this desire towards Holiness had spread into our community and so began the history of the Pentecostal church in our community.

The Pentecostal Movement in Dufferin and Orangeville

Like the Pentecostal movement that swept across North America, the present church in Orangeville began with meetings in a home church. Archives record that a home church was started in east Luther by the Nelson family. The archives also show that in 1898, a Miss Nelson came to her uncle’s farm and while there had a strong desire to minister to the youth in the community. As the children came to accept the Gospel message, they influenced their parents and soon the parents were attending evangelistic meetings at the Nelson homestead. This group of believers soon outgrew the space in the home and Harry Nelson and his sister started holding meetings at the nearby Union School House in 1900. In 1903 a log meeting house was built on lot 21, concession 2. This group of believers had a desire to see the manifestation of the second work of grace applied to the lives of the new believers. To this end they held “camp meetings” in a nearby bush in 1903 and invited speakers from Canada, the United States as well as a speaker from India. The thrust of the meetings was to “preach the full Gospel of salvation from sin, sanctification teaching, and the ministry of healing all through faith in the ‘atoning blood of Jesus Christ.’” During this time it was the practice of the Canadian Pacific Railway to offer reduced rail rates to people involved in the ministry. Reports have it, that this group of believers, made arrangements with the CPR to have people brought to these meetings at one third of the established rate. The Spirit of the New Testament church was at work in this group of believers, for it is said that once there, the needs of those who came to hear the Word of God had their needs met at no cost to those visiting. The growth from these camp meetings facilitated the need for a new building and in 1904 Victory Chapel was built on Sideroad 21-22 one line north of Concession Road 2-3.

The East Luther church was to be one of the three founding churches to come together to form what is presently the Orangeville Pentecostal Church. Many believers from this group went out into the mission field and ministry within the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. It was also from this group of believers that we received one of the founding fathers of the Orangeville church. The Lucas family had remained a part of Broadway Tabernacle until the untimely death of Arnold Lucas in 1984. The Lucas family has provided much spiritual wisdom and guidance to the Pentecostal church in our area and have been members of our church throughout our history. A bursary in memory and in honour of Arnold Lucas is presented yearly to a student at our seminary, Master’s Bible College and Seminary. The Lucas name is prominent in that it has produced a number of ministers to the movement and one of the grandsons is presently the pastor at the nearby Pentecostal church in Alliston.

While the church in East Luther was growing and reaching out to its community, a new home group was starting in Garafraxa. The Garafraxa group started in1901 in the home of Mr. G Bland as a group of like minded believes studied the Bible, the full gospel and to seek lives dedicated to the Holiness of God. Friends and neighbours were invited to the meetings. Soon a number of attendees realized their need for Christ as a personal saviour and found salvation. This home group experienced rapid growth in their numbers. The grandson of this early church pioneer G. Bland, Don Bland and his family, still attend Broadway. It was in 1917 that one of the members of this group Fred Cornelius first came into the experience of the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Having heard of the phenomena of the moving of the Spirit, Fred Cornelius traveled to a Kitchener revival meeting to seek out the Baptism and later at a meeting in Barrie, he was given the desire of “his heart” and received the Holy Spirit in accordance with Acts chapter 2. The Garafraxa group also held “tent meetings” on the grounds of some of the local parishioners and they too outgrew their location. From this group of believers was born one of the outstanding missionaries in the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada William Cornelius. As some of our present members have participated in mission trips to various parts of the world, we have evidenced his impact as we see the William Cornelius Academy. These academies reach out to the people in the various countries and provide schooling, orphanages and feeding programs to the local people in Africa and in Central America.

The Orangeville group had a later start in the Dinnick family homestead. In 1924, Reverend Mr. and Mrs. S. D. Dinnick, retired Methodist ministers and their family, heard about the Pentecostal movement in Toronto and so they travelled to Toronto to attend these meetings. While there they experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit and returned to Orangeville set on fire and desiring to bring this experience to others in the community. The Dinnicks opened up their home and held similar meetings so that others could also share in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Dinnicks were assisted in their work by a Clares Greer. Many from the nearby Garafraxa home group decided to also attend these meetings and the house was usually packed with people seeking a fuller experience of God. This group decided to hold tent meetings in 1927 and 1928 and set up a camp meeting at the corner of Church and Mill Streets. These tent meetings and the power of the message of God along with the baptism in the Holy Spirit brought about a great increase in the number of attendees.

In 1930, Reverend H. Harris was sent from the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada to help organize this group of Orangeville believers. The organization of the group, lead to the purchase and renovation of an old blacksmith shop on the corner of Church and Mill Streets. The establishing of the first Pentecostal church in Orangeville, Elim Tabernacle was completed. The first official meeting of this local assembly was held at the dedication of this building on May 7, 1930. The anointing of God was on this congregation and they continued to grow. Special speakers and evangelistic rallies were held and because the church building was not too large, the congregation would hold these special meetings at the Orangeville town hall auditorium. The Courtneys were one of the pioneer families of this church and to this present day we have members of the Courtney family still in attendance. During this decade there was a great expansion in the membership in the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and this was also true of the local church here in Orangeville. Soon the church on Mill Street was too small to hold the expanding congregation and a new building was sought.

Property was purchased on the north side of Broadway across from John Street. It is presently the parking lot on the north side of the street. By February of 1941, services were held in the new building, the Full Gospel Temple. Later in the 1940’s an extension was added onto the build to help accommodate the continued growth in the congregation. By 1956, the congregation had expanded to the point that they needed to purchase new property and a lot was purchased across the street which is presently Broadway Music. In May of 1962 the new church Broadway Pentecostal Tabernacle had their dedication service. The 1970’s saw the explosion of bus ministry across North America and also at Broadway. At the height of the bus ministry, Broadway had five busses going out and bringing children into their Sunday school programme. The bus ministry was so effective that the church needed to rent space at Parkinson Centennial School to accommodate all those who attended. This new building was again too small to hold the ever expanding congregation. Soon a larger property was bought just west of town (our present location) to accommodate the ever growing congregation. The property was bought and members of the congregation assisted with the building of the new facility. On May 5, 1974 the present church building was dedicated at a special service for that purpose.

Over the past four decades we have had a number of pastors taking on the leadership of this congregation, each with their own unique strength and ministries. We have had a very strong emphasis on outreach into our community with a strong bus ministry, evangelical “Miracle and Healing” services, Vacation Bible School during the summers, a dynamic youth group and Christmas and Easter productions. We continue in that tradition of reaching out to our community through our “Love Orangeville” ministry as we participate in various activities to show God’s love to our neighbours, friends and fellow citizens of Orangeville. We participate in the cleaning up of our community. We help collect food for our local food bank. We invite the community to a corn boil at the Farmer’s Market in the fall. We participate in the annual Santa Claus parade. We have outreach BBQ’s at our church grounds. The congregation continues to realize that the mandate of the church is to reach out to those in our community.

The vision of Broadway has always been one of spreading the Gospel as commanded in God’s word. We can see from the number of our past members who have taken up the challenge and have participated in various mission efforts throughout the world. We have helped establish sister churches in Dundalk, Bolton and Waldemar. We have assisted another church in Erin. We at Broadway continue in this tradition by our support of our Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada missionaries throughout the world. We encourage our members to get actively involved in missions by participating in short term mission trips. In the past few years we have been sending mission teams to Guatemala to help build schools and church buildings. We know that if a church is to continue to grow, our focus must not be inward on our needs but out to those around us who need to see and experience the love of God in their lives.

We continue to look to what God has in store for us in the future. In 2011, we became incorporated and also changed our name to Broadway Pentecostal Church. Our church is again at capacity and we are looking at plans to expand our building to accommodate the need for larger facilities. We know that as we continue to serve our Lord and seek His guidance and direction for His church here in Orangeville, there is no limit to what God can do.

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"There is one Body and one Spirit...there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all..."
Ephesians. 4:4-6