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An "Instant Church" in Oak Grove
by
Sister Gaye Bush

Ecclesiastes 3:1 declares "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven". In the late fall of 1970, a group of people were moved on to begin a UPC church in the Oak Grove area. The idea wasn't exactly new as others had thought about it but nothing actually materialized. After much thought, many prayers, several phone calls and meeting with the appropriate officials we were really "moving".
Brother Mike and Sister Sharon Chance met with fifteen excited people to discuss the building of a church and "their" pastorate at that church in Oak Grove. An old store front building called the "Stroud Building" was rented and services were held there while preparations were being made for a new church building. The old store front with all of its inadequacies didn't put the damper on the spirits of those four or five families who desired a place in Oak Grove to worship. Nor did it quench the Spirit of God. His blessings flowed freely. A parcel of land was donated by a local businessman, Mr. Joe Kelly. A building contractor, who was a friend indeed, contracted to build the church building for $5.00 a square foot.
From our first meeting of 15 people we had a record breaking Sunday School attendance of 129 just five months after the new Oak Grove Church began. Also, approximately 50-55 people had received the Holy Ghost in our regular services. Our new church was carpeted throughout and would seat approximately 300 on our beautiful new pews. Also, we were able to purchase a new piano and organ. The first Sunday night service in our new church building produced 3 new souls for God's Kingdom. And that was not the end - but just the beginning. God continued to bless under the leadership of Brother and Sister Chance.
God saw fit to remove the Chances from Oak Grove and place them in another area with the UPC Outreach Program. So the next few years were under the capable leadership of a dedicated and loyal couple. Brother and Sister J. M. Griffin came in June of 1972. After attending Camp Meeting in Tioga in July, they returned to Oak Grove and the building of a parsonage was begun. For 15 years the church was blessed with the pastorate of the Griffins. A kitchen and fellowship hall were added to the church and more dinners and peanut brittle were cooked and sold. Also, more people came to church and Sunday School and as a result they found God.
In 1987 another capable team, Brother and Sister Zale Lewis became pastors of the First United Pentecostal Church of Oak Grove.





Several years have passed since Sister Bush wrote the history above.
Pastor Lewis oversaw the the extensive remodeling of the church in 1992, and the foyer extension in 1999. He was called to DeRidder, Louisiana in 1999, and then Reverend Keith Riley became our pastor. The parsonage was extensively remodeled for him in 1999-2000.
Brother Terry Jordan became pastor in 2007.

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Our Movement and Organization


The United Pentecostal Church International can trace its roots back to the formation of the General Counsel of the Assemblies of God in 1914. The chart to the left illustrates the path taken to arrive at its present form. The initial split from the Assemblies of God in 1916 happened because of differences in doctrine. We believe in the oneness of the Godhead and baptism in Jesus’ name. The split of 1925 occurred, sadly, not for doctrinal reasons but because of racial differences; however, as the chart shows, those fences were mended by 1945.
Many authorities date the specific origin of the Pentecostal movement to January 1, 1901, when Agnes Ozman received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas. Chapter 2 of Acts tells us that on the day of Pentecost (a Jewish traditional holiday feast occurring fifty days after Passover), the Holy Spirit overwhelmed the followers of Jesus and they spoke in tongues they hadn't known before, which astonished the foreigners in the street whose languages they were speaking.
Although God's children have been experiencing glossolalia (speaking in tongues) for millennia, the realization was made in Topeka that it was a direct sign of the infilling of the Holy Ghost, a revelation that ignited a spark of great revival.
The fires of God's revival spread quickly, and in 1906 it led directly to one of the most famous and pivotal events in Pentecostal history, the three-year-long revival at the Apostolic Faith Mission, 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles. The revival was led by Reverend William J. Seymour, who was born in 1870 to former slaves in Centerville, Louisiana.
By 1914, ministers in the movement saw the need for a united national organization, and the roots of the UPCI were born. Today the United Pentecostal Church International lists over 25,000 churches and meeting places around the world, with a constituency of over 2.6 million people.

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2003 First United Pentecostal Church of Oak Grove, Louisiana