The PAW traces its origins to the Azusa Street Revival of Los Angeles, California which marked the beginning of the Pentecostal movement.
J.J. Frazee founded the PAW in 1906 and was its first General Superintendent. At its founding it was a Charismatic movement with everyone enjoying the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Oneness Pentecostal doctrine and liturgy of water baptism in Jesus Name was not yet adopted.
Early in the history of the Pentecostal movement a ‘new issue’ arose which caused the movement to divide between the Trinitarians and the Oneness or Jesus' Name believers. Oneness believers reached the conclusion that the singular name in Matthew 28:19 was Jesus Christ and that the one true God who revealed himself as the Father in creation, as the Son for redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in the church was none other than Jesus. Thousands of Pentecostals began to be re-baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Ephesians did in Acts 19 instead of repeating the titles, Father, Son and Holy Ghost referred to in Matthew 28:19.As they searched the scriptures, they discovered that the early church believers in the book of Acts were all baptised in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 2:38, Acts 8:12-17, Acts 10:44-48 and Acts 22. They received their confirmation in Acts 4:12. With this revelation, there was a division of the Oneness believers who baptised using the name of Jesus and the Trinitarians who continued using the Roman Catholic formula of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
In 1916, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World was reorganised in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the Christ Temple Assembly of the Apostolic Faith, where Bishop G. T. Haywood was the pastor. Bishop Haywood became the organisation's first Presiding Bishop. During that meeting, the organisation's headquarters were established in Portland, Oregon. In 1918, a merger between the PAW and the General Assembly of Apostolic Assemblies under the chairmanship of J.J. Frazee occurred in St. Louis, MO. This merger retained the name Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. At this time, the PAW was the largest Oneness Pentecostal organisation. On January 25, 1919, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World headquarters moved from Portland to Indianapolis, and formally incorporated in the state of Indiana. The head of the organisation held the title of General Elder or General Overseer until 1925, when it was changed to Presiding Bishop. At the same time, it established a Board of Bishops with five members. Of the five members, one of them, G. T. Haywood, was elected Presiding Bishop.
In 1932, the PAW was reorganised. The following is a list of the Presiding Bishops for the PAW:
Our leader, the honorable Bishop Theodore L. Brooks, Sr. serves as the Senior Pastor of Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church in New Haven, Connecticut, with his partner in life and in ministry, First Lady L. Janice Brooks. Bishop Brooks is also the Presiding Bishop of The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. (P.A.W.) and Diocesan of the 20th Episcopal District (CT District Council) of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. (P.A.W., Inc.).
In August 2018, Bishop Theodore L. Brooks, Sr. was elected the Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. (P.A.W. Inc.), a 1.5-million-member international organization. He serves on the Executive Bishops’ Council of the Board of Bishops, and has served as Diocesan of the 20th Episcopal District (Connecticut District Council) since 2008. Prior to his appointment over the CT District Council, Bishop and Lady Brooks laboured to develop a work in the country of Brazil for the P.A.W. for over 10 years. They served as spiritual leaders for over 100 churches throughout that country.
The leadership of the PAW consists of a Presiding Bishop and a Board of Bishops. The board also includes lay-directors from various regions of the United States and emeritus bishops who once served but are either semi or fully retired. Under the oversight of the Board of Bishops are geographical units called councils, or dioceses. Councils correspond to state or national boundaries. Each council is headed by a diocesan bishop, who is appointed by the Board of Bishops. A diocesan bishop can have as many as three assistants, called suffragan bishops. These suffragan bishops hold only the authority given them by the diocesan bishop. Typically they will have authority over a region or part of a state.
In 1987, our diocesan bishop and founding pastor of Faith Chapel, the late Honourable Bishop Benjamin A Pitt, recommended that the leadership of the PAW churches in Europe be transferred to the then District Elder Norman L. Wagner, while he retained the bishopric over the PAW churches in the United Kingdom (UK). The new European diocese became known as the Continental European Council (CEC) and the UK diocese as the England District Council. In 1994, seemingly having caught sight of the fact that the Lord was shortly to call him home, Bishop Pitt decided to become bishop emeritus (a retired bishop) and recommended to the PAW Board of Bishops that the leadership of the PAW churches in the UK be transferred to Bishop Wagner. The reunited diocese became known as the European Council of Nations (ECN).
Following Bishop Wagner’s reassignment by the PAW Board to the Texas State Council, in August 2009 the ECN became two separate dioceses, ECN East and ECN West. The ECN East is comprised of the churches in Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe, including Russia and the Ukraine. The ECN West is comprised of the UK and Ireland, France and Belgium. Bishop Michael D. Franklin, who formerly served as a suffragan bishop of the ECN, was elevated to the office of bishop in August 2009 and is currently the diocesan of the ECN East.
Bishop C. Wayne Brantley, who formerly served as a suffragan bishop of the ECN, was also elevated to the office of bishop in August 2009 and is currently our diocesan, over the ECN West. Bishop Brantley first came to the UK in August 1984, when he accompanied his pastor, the late Honourable Bishop Norman L. Wagner, who was the guest speaker for the PAW National Convocation at Faith Chapel in London. Little did he know that his life was to be inextricably entwined with the saints from the UK from that time onwards. Bishop Brantley has served both the CEC and the ECN faithfully over the years, never having missed a Council meeting for over 20 years. The ECN West currently has one suffragan bishop; Suffragan Bishop Lloyd G. Thomas, pastor of Faith Chapel Ministries in London. He is the highest ranking PAW authority resident in the UK, assisting and acting on behalf of our diocesan bishop. ECN West currently has 10 churches in the UK, one in Ireland, two in France and one in Belgium.