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This branch of Christianity began in Australia in North Melbourne and includes the Assemblies of God (AOG), the CRC Churches International (CRCCI), the Apostolic Church, the Christian City Church (CCC) and independent churches such as Waverley Christian Fellowship in High Street Road, Wantirna South, the largest Pentecostal congregation in Victoria. Pentecostals share the belief that prophecy, healings, tongues and interpretation all occur in our day; that 'baptism in the Holy Spirit' is a spiritual 'filling' experience, distinct and separate from receiving the Spirit upon conversion; and that Spirit baptism is evidenced by the receiver speaking in an unintelligible language.

Janet Lancaster began the first Pentecostal church in Australia in the 'Good News Hall' at 104 Queensberry Street, opened in 1909. Although the hall, which closed in 1935, never joined any Pentecostal denomination, 'Mother' Lancaster's work saw numerous branch churches begin in Victoria and other States.

The AOG is the largest Pentecostal denomination in Australia: by the end of the 20th century it had over 180 churches in Victoria. Its key founder was Melburnian Charles Greenwood, who helped establish the Richmond Temple in 1925 in a disused theatre at 343 Bridge Road, moving to 10 Griffiths Street in 1989. In 1999 and 2000 a number of Pentecostal churches formed and launched the 'Australian Christian Churches' - an umbrella organisation to promote unity and a stronger presence in Australia. It aimed to bring more Christian churches into affiliation and to become a public voice on social and ethical issues. By 2005 it had not grown as hoped, with numerous Pentecostal churches remaining separate. Although Pentecostals number only 1% of the Australian population, they are one of the fastest growing Christian denominations in the country.

Jim Reiher

Hughes, Philip J., The Pentecostals in Australia, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1996. Details