In the late 1920’s Ray Cornell and his wife Ruth relocated their family from Mishawaka Indiana to Cleveland, Ohio. The Cornell’s were from a former United Brethren congregation that had become part of the Apostolic Faith and subsequent Pentecostal movements.
Their home church was Greater Midway Gospel Tabernacle (later changed to Apostolic Temple) in Mishawaka, Indiana. Here the late Bishop Glen Beecher (G. B.) Rowe1 was pastor. Bishop G. B. Rowe was a contemporary of the leaders of the early Pentecostal movement and a fixture in the original Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW).
The PAW was organized in 1906 in Los Angeles California at the Apostolic Faith Mission (part of Charles Parham’s original Apostolic Faith movement) and is considered, along with the Apostolic Faith movement, the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) as the oldest of the Pentecostal groups.
Bishop G. B. Rowe was part of the PAW at the time of other renowned figures such as Bishop G. T. Haywood, S. R. Hanby, Andrew Urshan, and R.N. Hancock. From this original PAW came a plethora of other ministerial associations including the PAJC, UPC, PAW, ALJC, ACOJC, a reorganized PAW in the 1930’s and the ICOF. The Pentecostal Movement in general and in particular the Apostolic Faith Church of God traces their beginnings through the Apostolic Faith movement championed by Charles F. Parham in 1901. Parham is considered the father of both the Apostolic Faith movement and the Pentecostal movement.
In the late 1920’s there was division between the white ministers and the black. Some chose to leave and form their own groups. The ones who sought to continue regardless of race formed the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ (PA of JC). Bishop G. B. Rowe served on the Board of Presbyters of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ in the 1930’s and Bishop R.O. Cornell served as a District Elder in the same group. During this time Bishop Ray Oscar and Ruth Cornell (1932) organized the Apostolic Faith Church of God in Cleveland, Ohio. This church grew to a large regionally recognized ministry and was active in planting a plethora of daughter works. Several of these continue today. Among these are Abundant Life Church in Elyria Ohio, International House of Prayer in Columbia Station Ohio, 1st United Pentecostal in Parma Ohio and other area churches.
From these humble beginning the ministry of that original church has expanded around the world. In 1955 Bishop R. O. Cornell, Bishop C. B. Gillespie and Bishop Carl Angle formally re-organized the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ (PAJC) as a multicultural ministerial fellowship. Throughout those crucial years the late Bishop George A. Wade served as assistant pastor to the Apostolic Faith Church of God and Secretary to the PAJC ministerial group.
Bishop George A. Wade’s son, Bishop Sanford L. Wade continued the legacy founding churches in 3 states, and his grandson Dr. Bernie L. Wade became the first Presiding Bishop when the ministry reorganized in 2001 as International Circle of Faith (ICOF).
From those early days of the PAJC there was a focus on unity. Quoting from the first manual (circa 1950) “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
In the 1950’s, while many other groups adopted measures that would hinder minorities (especially black brethren) the key leadership responded to the need for a truly multi-cultural fellowship and continued the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ (PA of JC) as a global fellowship of ministers, churches and more.
In those early days there was a strong emphasis on missions with missionaries in South America, Europe, Japan, the Philippines, Africa and more. International conventions for the PA of JC (PAJC) were held annually in Cleveland Ohio at the headquarters at 2050 W. 55th Street. These generally attracted a capacity crowd to the 2500 seat church.
Times have certainly changed but God remains the same. After more than 80 years of leading the way in ministry the original vision of Bishop Cornell and the saints of the Apostolic Faith movement continues to bring Unity to the body of Christ.
Using the historic foundation of this ministry the International Circle of Faith Apostolic Churches (ICOF) was organized in 2001 at a now historic meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. The vision of a global multi-cultural body of believers began by our forefathers has been realized in the International Circle of Faith’s more than 25 Million constituents that includes representation in every country in the world.
The focus on the restoration and continuation of the Apostles doctrine (those things believed by the Apostles and the New Testament church) remains.
We believe the Apostles of Jesus Christ were given the charge of the New Testament church. Their doctrine as outlined first by mandate to them from Jesus Christ:
Today, five generations later, the Presbytery of the International Circle of Faith (ICOF) is pleased to be the caretakers of the vision of these men of God.