Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA) is going back to its roots in Memphis, Tennessee, to celebrate 25 years of breaking walls between races and denominations to grow and serve together. PCCNA will commemorate the “Memphis Miracle” which founded the organization on the first night of the three-day “Breakthrough Conference.” The service on March 19, which is open to the public at Mason Temple, will commemorate the moment when Don Evans, a young white Assemblies of God pastor, washed the feet of Bishop Ithiel Clemmons of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) on October 18, 1994. Pastor Evans repented to Bishop Clemmons and asked for forgiveness for his white brothers and sisters.
Pastor Evans’ contrition moved COGIC’s Bishop Charles Blake to ask Thomas Trask, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, for forgiveness for any animosity African Americans had harbored toward white brothers and sisters. The Memphis Miracle was a spontaneous capstone of the “Pentecostal Partners: A Reconciliation Strategy for 21st Century Ministry” conference. After the conference, the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America (PFNA), comprised of white leaders, was disbanded and PCCNA was born.
The leaders who brought the races together in Memphis in 1994 were Bishop Ithiel Clemmons of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), and Bishop Bernard E. Underwood of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. With great trust and mutual dedication, these two men were able to lay the groundwork for the 1994 meeting in Memphis.
When Underwood was elected to head the PFNA in 1991, he purposed in his heart to use his term to end the racial divide between the Pentecostal churches. On March 6, 1992, the Board of Administration voted unanimously to pursue the possibility of reconciliation with our African-American brethren.
During the birth of PCCNA, the leaders approved the Racial Reconciliation Manifesto. PCCNA then dramatically expanded membership to denominations, church networks, parachurch ministries, and churches in Canada and Mexico. In 2011, PCCNA led a campaign that sent a million dollars’ worth of insecticide-treated bed nets to protect Africans from the deadly malaria parasite. PCCNA has also captured the stories of the Pentecostal movement in two books, Servants of the Spirit and Miracle Invasion.
PCCNA also launched several commissions aligned with its strategic vision: Church Health/Acts 2, Christian Unity, Communications and Media, Discipleship, Prayer, Race Relations, and Women in Leadership. Reaching next-gen leaders is a priority for PCCNA as well. With that intent, PCCNA kicked off a mentoring program within the NextGen Commission of selected up and coming leaders. For more information about the Breakthrough Conference, please visit the website.