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The Pentecostal movement within Christianity was started around 1901 by Charles Fox Parham, a minister of Methodist background. The expansion of the movement started with the Asuza Street Revival, beginning April 9, 1906 at the Los Angeles home of a Mr and Mrs Edward Lee when Mr Lee experienced an episode of glossolalia during a prayer session. The attending pastor, William J. Seymour, was overcome with the Holy Spirit on April 12, 1906. On April 18, 1906, the Los Angeles Times ran a front page story on the movement. By the third week in April, 1906, the small but growing congregation had rented an abandoned AME church at 312 Asuza Street and organized as the Apostolic Faith Mission.

The first decade of Pentecostalism was marked by interracial assemblies,"...Whites and blacks mix in a religious frenzy,..." according to a local newspaper account. Unfortunately, this lasted only until 1924, when the church split along racial lines. In 1994, Pentecostals returned to their roots of racial reconciliation and proposed formal unification of the the major white and black branches of the Pentecostal Church, in a meeting subsequently known as the Memphis Miracle. This unification occurred in 1998, again in Memphis, Tennessee.

The size of the pentecostal church in the US is likely more than 9 million, counting all unaffiliated congregations. Worldwide, estimates range from 100 to approximately 400 million. Pentecostalism is sometimes referred to as the "third force of Christianity".