Undoubtedly, nearly every Apostolic knows the name of Bishop Garfield Thomas Haywood. Bishop Haywood’s early alignment with the Oneness camp during the difficult years when the “New Issue” was dividing the Pentecostal Movement along doctrinal lines, is a well-known chapter in our unique history. He was a revered Bible teacher, apologist, and hymn writer. The church that Bishop Haywood founded and pastored until his death in April 1931, Christ Temple Apostolic Faith Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, was a center of Apostolic revival and was seminal in the establishment of other Oneness Pentecostal churches and ministries throughout Indiana and the entire Midwest.
Bishop Haywood received the baptism of the Holy Ghost on a snowy evening in February 1908. The makeshift church was a converted tin shop and was led by Elder Henry Prentice, who had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost at Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles. In this humble setting, G.T. Haywood and his wife, Ida, were gloriously filled with the Spirit and began the spiritual training that would burgeon into a lifetime of devoted Pentecostal ministry (Tyson 10).
Sis. Haywood was reluctant to accept her husband’s calling into the ministry; but after he was injured in an accident at the foundry where he worked, she acquiesced. In February 1909, only a year after their conversion, the pair began meetings in an empty storeroom at 12th and Lafayette Streets in downtown Indianapolis. A few months later, services were moved to a tent at West 13th and the Canal. Consistently bad weather made the location less than optimal, and a small frame building at 12th and Missouri Streets was secured. Elder Haywood felt led to hold a convention for area Pentecostals, but there was certainly not enough room in their present building. The Peniel Mission at 11th and Senate was rented for the occasion. Many were filled with the Holy Ghost in these meetings, and the church continued to rent the space, which was finally purchased by the growing congregation in 1919 (Dugas 12-13; Tyson 16-17). In the early days of Pentecostalism, churches were not generally named. Pentecostals were determined not to lapse into the formalism of the denominations from which they had emerged, and churches were customarily known only by their location. This was the case with 11th and Senate.
In early spring 1916, Bro. Glenn Cook, an elder from the Azusa Street Mission who had accepted the revelation of the mighty God in Christ and baptism in the Name of Jesus arrived in Indiana and was received by Bishop Haywood and his congregation at 11th and Senate. On 6 March 1916, Bishop Haywood and 465 members of his church were baptized in Jesus’ Name in Eagle Creek, marking the first Apostolic baptisms east of the Mississippi River (Dugas 17). J. Roswell Flower, the General Secretary of the Assemblies of God and a prolific opponent of the Oneness movement, sent a telegram to Haywood warning him of Bro. Cook’s “error.” The message arrived too late, and Bishop Haywood, fully convinced of the veracity of Cook’s message, became one of the most avid and effective proponents and propagators of Oneness theology.
In 1910, Haywood’s church began publishing The Voice in the Wilderness. After 1916, this became one of the most influential Oneness circulars, and was the official organ of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), which followed Bishop Haywood into the Oneness movement. The PAW was formed in 1906, and Bishop Haywood became the first presiding bishop of the organization, when it converted to the episcopal polity in 1925. He served in that capacity until his untimely death in 1931 (Golder 35, 86).
In 1924, construction was completed on Christ Temple, the final edifice undertaken by Bishop Haywood. This church, located on Fall Creek Boulevard, still stands as a beautiful testament to God’s increase and the faithful ministry of Bishop Haywood. The interior includes several original artworks by Bishop Haywood, a talented painter and illustrator. Banners hung on the platform declared: “Jesus Only” and “Jesus is God”, evidence of Christ Temple’s strong commitment to Apostolic truth.
Christ Temple, epitomized many of the original values of the earliest years of Pentecostal revival. The congregation was thoroughly integrated, with whites and blacks worshipping side by side. The church maintained a large degree of interracial unity even after the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World suffered a racial divide in 1924, and convention photographs well into the 1930s depict multiracial crowds.
It is impossible to estimate the number of churches, pastors, bishops, evangelists and missionaries birthed out of Christ Temple. In Indiana alone, men like Bishops Morris E. Golder, James Tyson, and Oscar Sanders, all originally saints of Haywood’s assembly, have left their own indelible marks on Hoosier Pentecostal history, founding dynamic Apostolic ministries. Bishop Haywood and the faithful saints that built Christ Temple have secured their place in Apostolic history, and the church continues today as the oldest Apostolic Church in Indiana and a remarkable piece of our treasured Pentecostal heritage.
Tyson, James L. Before I Sleep: a Narrative and Photographic Biography of Bishop Garfield Thomas Haywood. Indianapolis: Pentecostal Publications, 1976.