The Apostolic Church of Tallahassee, Affiliated With The United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI)
The Pentecostal movement was an integral part of to the beginning of the formation of the United Pentecostal Church International. The Pentecostal movement first started in Topeka, Kansas where ministers got together and created a bible school in 1901 (UPCI). Five years later, in 1906, William J. Seymour led the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles, California. Here is where the apostolic religion really began to flourish. The first church was located at 312 Azusa St. California and opened in 1906 (McGee). The church was called “ The Apostolic Faith Mission” and was unusual at the time because it was made up of a predominantly black community but some whites were also frequently in attendance (keep in mind this was a time of segregation). However to think that an African American minister could open a church in 1906 without any confrontation from the community at the time would be naïve. After Seymour’s first time preaching, what apostolics call “speaking in tongues”, someone had padlocked the Baptist church that Seymour had used to preach. In order to take manners into his own hands, Seymour began holding bible studies at people’s houses. He began to teach others how to speak in toungues, thus effectively being able to spread the word. After a few months of this is finally when the Apostolic Faith mission was able to open its doors.
Apostolicism began to grow rapidly in the west and began to spread throughout the rest of the country. By 1916 Ministers had began to gather and taught their people of water baptism and the Oneness of God, these are two building blocks of their faith as a whole. To give perspective on this, Catholicism is a Trinitarian religion meaning they believe God is three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Apostolics, However, believe in the Oneness of God therefore meaning God is one person and when Jesus came down as the Messiah he was God himself not one of the three people that make up God.
By 1945 the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) had been formed and consisted of 521 churches. By 2015 that number had grown to 4,602 churches and 9,746 ministers respectively (UPCI). Showing rapid growth across the United States helped give the UPCI a good basis to build upon for the future.
Reverend David Lamar Welsh (1904-1994) was a Pentecostal activist known for preaching and helping establish religious institutions across the South Eastern part of the United States. One of the churches he founded was “The Apostolic Church of Tallahassee”. However, this church had very humble beginnings and unlike many churches. While most churches have a building to give its services, the Apostolic Church of Tallahassee began in a makeshift tent. The community would set up the tent for services on Sundays to protect them from rain or heavy sunlight. If tents were unavailable they would set up four wooden posts and create a makeshift roof out of palm trees and other materials that they could find.
Finally, in 1975 the Apostolic Church of Tallahassee was able to afford a building. This building is now located at 228 Gaile Avenue Tallahassee, FL, 32304. The first pastor to run the church was Leon Laney who ran the church for about 5 years until Pastor Bryan Abernathy took over his duties. About 10 years later Bryan Abernathy passed on his duties to Pastor Daniel Huba, who is the current pastor and has been running the church for over 25 years now.
Since taking over control of the Apostolic Church of Tallahassee Pastor Huba has taken big steps in order to increase the size of the community the church reaches out too. Pastor Huba started the Campus Apostolic Ministry International chapter at Florida State Universtiy in the mid 1990’s. For a time this organization was run by his Daughter while she was a student at Florida State but once she graduated she handed her duties over to the current president Brandon Anderson. By doing so Pastor Huba has been able to infuse his community with young individuals wanting to learn about the Apostolic faith. The church has also been involved in the community in various ways like performing in the annual Christmas show and making floats for the parades.
One of the newest additions to the church might be one of the most fascinating that Pastor Huba has accomplished. In the Fall of 2015 Pastor Huba successfully launched ACTS Academy school, a Kindergarten through high school academy that is connected to the north side of the church. In its first year the ACTS Academy has 14 students, a small number but a very good start for a small private school. Pastor Huba did networking and found the perfect fit for his first principal at the school, Caleb Richard, a teacher from Maine who decided to give up his roots and come to Tallahassee in order to help Pastor Huba feet the school on its feet. What makes this school so special is that it is unlike almost any other private school. This school is catered towards low-income families who otherwise would not be able to send their children to a private school. With many people believing that the public school system is failing, Pastor Huba has teamed up with public corporations in order to help these low-income families fund their children’s education. By doing so these families are able to give their children an education that would otherwise be impossible for them to fund.
The Apostolic faith came from harsh beginnings in a time where all that mattered was the color of your skin and not who you were as a person and what you believed in. Now the faith is in over 200 countries and is thriving and growing on a daily basis. The perseverance shown by the early founders of the faith still shows today in people like Pastor Huba and Principal Caleb Richard. Pastor Huba has made sure to keep the nature of the religion in tact while consistently finding new ways to reach out to different age groups and effectively growing the church to what it has become today.
I would like to thank the following people for helping me gather information on The Apostolic Church of Tallahassee:
Pastor Daniel Huba: Thank you for your knowledge and explanations of what the Apostolic Church of Tallahassee stands for. You helped me grasp a better understanding and you definitely have the church headed in the right direction.
Caleb Richard: Thank you for taking time out of your day to show me around the school campus and the church. I appreciate you talking to me about the apostolic faith as well.
Brandon Anderson: Thank you for answering all my questions and contacting church members to help me gather research on the church.
"About the UPCI." UPCI. UPCI, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
McGee, Gary. "Enrichment Journal - Enriching and Equipping Spirit-filled Ministers." William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival. Enrichment Journal, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.