In 1906, a man who had a mission in Oakland, California, heard of the power falling at Azusa Street in Los Angeles. He had been preaching that the baptism was received at sanctification, but became convinced he was in error. So he wrote to the Azusa ministry, asking them to send someone to fill in for him while he came to Azusa to seek for the Pentecostal experience. Florence Crawford and a team of workers were sent to Oakland to take charge of the meetings during the pastor’s absence. After a time he returned to his post, not having received the experience. However, shortly afterward, while Florence Crawford was still there, he received it.
While in Oakland, Florence Crawford looked up some people in San Francisco who had written to the correspondence office to inquire of the work there in Los Angeles. She arranged to hold cottage meetings in San Francisco, and this became the first mission she established.
Meetings were marked by the power of God, and many souls were converted and became strong pillars in the Gospel work. Among these was a young bricklayer, Newt Lesher, who had come out west after the great earthquake in San Francisco, planning to help in the rebuilding of the city. On a street corner in Oakland, he heard workers singing, “I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest.” The song so captured his attention that he felt as if he were riveted to the sidewalk. He followed the workers to their place of worship, and there he was saved and delivered from sin. Today, his son, and some of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren are members of the headquarters church in Portland.
In 1907, the Oakland group lost their lease on the building where they had been meeting and moved into a canvas tabernacle. There were some doctrinal divisions, moves to various locations, and different ministers sent to lead the group. When the group moved to Harrison Street, they renamed themselves the Apostolic Faith Rescue Mission. In 1914, the Oakland work was moved to San Francisco where Allen Crabtree assumed the leadership. This congregation moved to several other San Francisco locations over the years, the last one being on Sutter Street. In 1995, the congregation again relocated, this time to the east side of the bay, in the Richmond area.
One of the earliest official branch churches of the Apostolic Faith work in the northwest part of the United States was in Chehalis, Washington. A member of a church in Chehalis was going to Portland in 1907 to attend that organization’s camp meeting. On the train she met someone who told her about the Apostolic Faith camp meeting in Portland and invited her to attend. The woman went, felt the Spirit on what Florence Crawford preached, and after returning to Chehalis, she told her pastor, “I am with Florence Crawford.” This statement had impact, and shortly thereafter, the Chehalis church became affiliated with the Apostolic Faith work.
Just prior to Florence Crawford’s arrival in Portland after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Los Angeles, she participated in some services in Salem, Oregon. A group of believers in nearby Dallas, Oregon, had been meeting for prayer. A large delegation of them went to Salem to hear Florence Crawford preach. They returned home and told the others about the meetings.
In 1909, an interdenominational tent meeting was held in a grain field near Dallas. Afterward, those who attended continued to meet in homes as they sought the Lord for the deeper spiritual experiences. Later in the year, some of these people rented a hall on Mill Street, called it the Apostolic Faith, and connected with the Apostolic Faith headquarters in Portland.
The Lord worked and quite a number were saved. Some were sanctified and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, but soon after that, there was a doctrinal division in the group. Some decided that it was not necessary to preach sanctification as a second, definite work of grace and a prerequisite for receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Florence Crawford was asked to come to Dallas to settle the matter, which she did in May of 1910. She challenged the group to make a choice. About nineteen or twenty of the Dallas group determined to uphold the original teachings from Azusa Street, and committed to stand with the teachings of the Apostolic Faith organization in Portland. The Dallas group grew, and in 1928, they dedicated their own church building.