AFM SA celebrates 110th birthday

2018-06-19 06:00
The members of the Apostolic Faith Mission in the Western Cape are front from left: Pastors Lawrence Jonas (treaurer), Rionel Adams (secretary), Trevor Herbert (chairman) and Dr Cedric Janse (vice-chairman). Back from left: Pastors Andrew Meyers, Freddy Stevens and Colin Doman (executive members). Pastors Nomsa Phalla and Malvert Nquma were absent when the picture was taken.

The members of the Apostolic Faith Mission in the Western Cape are front from left: Pastors Lawrence Jonas (treaurer), Rionel Adams (secretary), Trevor Herbert (chairman) and Dr Cedric Janse (vice-chairman). Back from left: Pastors Andrew Meyers, Freddy Stevens and Colin Doman (executive members). Pastors Nomsa Phalla and Malvert Nquma were absent when the picture was taken.

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The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa is celebrating its 110th anniversary and churches and structures in the South Peninsula are celebrating with churches countrywide.

“The start of the Pentecostal Movement started about 118 years ago in the United States of America at 23:00 on January 1 in 1901. Agnes Ozman la Berge spoke in tongues according to 1 Corinthians 14 verse 2. There are many who believe that this was the spark that ignited the fire of what was to become known as the Pentecostal Movement. The early leaders of this movement included, among others, William Seymour, John G Lake and Thomas Hezmalhalch,” says Pastor Trevor Herbert, Chairman of the AFM in the Western Cape.

“While the Apostolic Faith Mission was founded in 1908 and Pentecostalism brought to South Africa by American missionaries, several factors helped to create a favourable climate for the Pentecostal movement to spread in the country. First, revivals in the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa (DRC) in 1860, 1874 and 1884 were characterized by deep conviction of sin followed by conversion, fervent prayer and some ecstatic phenomenon,” he says.

Arriving in Pretoria, John G Lake felt that the Holy Spirit was leading him to Johannesburg because they found no doors open in Pretoria. In Johannesburg, a certain Mrs Goodenough met them and invited them to stay in her house. She testified that the Holy Spirit had sent her to the train station to meet the American missionaries. They first began ministry at a rental hall in Doornfontein, a Johannesburg suburb, on 25 May 1908, he explained the founding of the church in South Africa.

“The beliefs of the AFM of SA are captured in their Confession of Faith which is predicated on the ancient Apostolic Creed. There is freedom and flexibility as far as the liturgical practices in local AFM churches are concerned. Locally, within the Apostolic Faith Mission, a variety of identities and ministry philosophies are embraced including “Seeker-Sensitive”, “Word of Faith”, Presbyterian, and Classic Pentecostal,” Herbert says.

The initial services consisted of a mixed racial group, and many who attended those first services were Zionist. However, the interracial character of the AFM was, like American Pentecostalism, short-lived. “Until 1992 the church was racially divided into so-called whites, blacks, coloureds and Indians. The blacks, coloureds and Indians first took the lead to unite and then in 1996, the AFM of SA finally abandoned its racial divisions and became one united, non-racial church.

“Today there about 1.4 million members active in about 2 000 local AFM churches and branches across South Africa. The national leadership structure is made up of 43 regional leaders and 6 national heads of departments, representing men, women, youth, children, welfare and theology. The current president of the AFM of SA is Pastor George Mahlobo. The AFM also accommodates many vulnerable citizens in old aged and children’s homes,” he said.

The celebrations started on Friday 25 May and will continue through the year.

V Call Susan de Villiers on 071 345 1534 for more information.

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