Lucy F. Farrow: The Forgotten Apostle of the Azusa Street Revival
Lucy F. Farrow was Baptized in the Spirit on September 6, 1905 after Parham opened up a month-long meeting in Columbus, Kansas. Lucy F. Farrow was baptized in the Spirit during this month of meetings. In the meantime, Parham was watching events unfold in Zion, Illinois, where John Alexander Dowie was faltering.
Lucy Farrow, niece of renowned black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, was serving as pastor of a holiness church in Houston in 1905 when Charles Parham engaged her to work as a governess in his home. She received the baptism of the Holy Spirit while working for his family. Farrow carried the Pentecostal embers back to Texas, on to Virginia, and later to Liberia. No evidence survives to tell us that she was a good preacher or a sound biblical expositor or even a caring pastor. But her aptitude for igniting the supernatural gifts among others was evident at a 1906 camp meeting near Houston when some 25 seekers stood lined up in a row in front of her. When Farrow “laid hands upon them…many began to speak in tongues at once.”
Although William J. Seymour is acknowledged as the leader of the Azusa Street Revival, it was a black woman, Lucy Farrow, who provided the initial spark that ignited that revival.
No one associated with the little prayer meeting led by Seymour had spoken intongues until Farrow, at Seymour’s request, arrived on the scene and began laying her hands on people and seeing God fill them with the Holy Spirit as in the book of Acts. She also ministered with power across the southern United States and in Liberia in West Africa. She lived out her final years in Los Angeles, where there were reported healings and remarkable answers to prayer through her ministry.
Karen Lucas [03/07/2016 4:12 PM]
Wasn’t it Lucy Farrow who came to help Seymour with his ministry in March 1906? It was my understanding that her testimony and ministry throughout March is what primed the hearts of the first group on Bonnie Brae Street who were baptized in the Spirit on April 9, 1906 — including Seymour, right? I’ve always wondered why that wasn’t pointed out more often.
Troy Day [03/07/2016 5:01 PM]
Story goes, she first noticed Seymour preaching in TX and convinced him to go to Parham’s school. Lucy Farrow was also the connection between Seymour and Julia and actually arranged his pastorate at the Santa Fe mission (for the lack of other name). She apparently had been baptized in the Holy Ghost, spoke in tongues and when prayed for other people to receive the baptism they did. This information was true when she was in TX if not earlier. So when they got kicked out and began praying for the Holy Ghost she came to Bonnie Brae on April 9, 1906 prayed, laid hands and they received the baptism. However, Seymour himself was not baptized till April 12. How sad two men are credited for the start of the revival, when it was not until woman came, prayed, laid hands that the Holy Ghost was received…
Karen Lucas [03/08/2016 6:02 AM]
I think Parham sent her and a man when Seymour sent notice that he needed help. Who was Julia?
Troy Day [03/08/2016 7:51 AM]
Can you give a reference for this pls? It is known that Lucy Farrow and others arrive in LA independently. During early February 1906, William J. Seymour receives an invitation from Mrs. Julia W. Hutchins to serve as pastor of the Holiness Church congregation she has founded in Los Angeles, California. His teacher Charles Parham tries to talk Seymour out of accepting the call, but relents when Seymour persists. Seymour leaves Houston, Texas, before he has finished his course of study and before he has been baptized in the Holy Spirit. During this time in Los Angeles, a few Christian leaders were interested in praying to the Holy Spirit. These leaders included Julia W. Hitchins and pastor Joseph Smale, who had been asked to leave the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles due to this spiritual interest. Pastor Smale founded the new First New Testiment Church while Hutchins and Seymour founded the Azusa Street Revival. These leaders became important colleagues and together significantly influenced the development of the Pentecostal movement. http://www.pentecostaltheology.com/on-march-4-1906-exactly-110-years-ago-seymour-was-locked-out-of-the-church-after-preaching-speaking-in-tongues-was-evidence-of-the-infilling-with-the-holy-ghost/
Karen Lucas [03/08/2016 10:02 AM]
Hey. Sure. Robert Owens briefly references all of this in chapter 3 of “The Century of the Holy Spirit: 100 Years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal.” p. 46-48. According to Owens, Mrs. / Rev. Hutchins did invite Seymour to come to Los Angeles and preach but she was actually so disturbed by his theology of initial evidence that she locked him out of the church. That was the end of her involvement in the story. Her actions left Seymour essentially stranded. He was invited to stay with Owen Lee and ran a prayer meeting out of his home. When they outgrew that home, he was invited to continue the prayer meeting at Richard and Ruth Asbury’s home on Bonnie Brae Street. The Asbury’s were actually Baptist and didn’t necessarily agree with Seymour’s preaching but felt sorry for him after learning what had happened. In March, he received help from Charles Parham in the form of Lucy Farrow and J. A. Warren. Farrow, shared her testimony and prayed in tongues. Warren had not yet been baptized In the Holy Ghost. So, Farrow was described as being the most influential. On April 9th, Seymour had dinner with Mr. Lee and Mr. Lee asked to be prayed for to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The story goes that when he was prayed for, he was baptized in the Holy Spirit and then, they went to Bonnie Brae Street to tell everyone what had happened and this was the start to the revival. Now, when I was at The Bonnie Brae house last July, Sister Sol, who looks after the home, told me that Lucy Farrow was with the two men that night and it was her who laid hands on Mr. Lee and prayed for him to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I haven’t seen that in print yet, though. Sister Sol told me that her primary source of reference for understanding the story and timeline of the revival is Dr. Cecil Robeck.
Also, regarding Julia Hutchins, in his Introduction to “Azusa Street: The Roots of Modern-day Pentecost – An Eyewitness Account by Frank Bartleman.” Dr. Vinson Synan also mentioned on pages xvi, xvii that Mrs. Hutchins did call Seymour to Los Angeles but also locked him out of the church after hearing his theology. Synan describes Hutchins’ church as a black Nazarene church.
The way I understand it, Hutchins was connected with Smale through their involvement with 2nd Baptist Church. Hutchins had a spin off congregation from 2nd Baptist who were seeking for a second blessing and Smale had traveled to Europe to attend the revival in Wales that was led by Evan Roberts. According to Bartleman’s account in chapter 2 of the previously mentioned book, when Smale returned, he shared his testimony from Wales, preached about revival and had prayer meetings at his church, First Baptist church. Prayer meeting spread throughout Los Angeles as a result. They were, in essence, tarrying.
Troy Day [03/08/2016 11:09 AM]
Just a couple of clarifications the way I understand it. Lucy Farrow and J.A. Warren travelled independently from Seymore to L.A. Her involvement began apparently in April 1906 after they were kicked out and not in March. Julia’s role did not stop with just padlocking the church door. She referred the case to the South Californian Holiness Association of which her church was a member at the time. The association’s board tired Seymore’s case of theology on March 7, 1906 (yesterday 110 years ago) after which he was disallowed to preach in any of their churches and moved meetings to 214 Bonnie Brae street. There, Lucy Farrow was also part of the prayer and laying hands along with Seymore on April 9th, when Lee received the baptism. Actually, she was the only one there that was baptized in the Spirit. Seymore was not baptized until April 12 – also after Lucy Farrow prayed and laid hands.
Hutchins’ church was a black Nazarene church. That is correct but we have not been able to find any picture neither of her nor of her church or congregation. Actually, we don’t even know the exact name of her church and is often listed as no-name church in various resources. I have asked the group administrators or anyone else to help find a picture of any of these if possible. Also, could you check your sources and let us know who do they cite as original source for the information that Parham personally sent Lucy Farrow to help Seymore? This part to be further examined and confirmed.
Vinson Synan [03/08/2016 11:23 AM]
It was not a Nazarene church, but an independent Holiness church. The NAzarenes have proved this. We learned this later after I published my first book.
Troy Day [03/08/2016 11:31 AM]
Thanks for the correction Dr. Synan. Any chance for a picture of Hutchins, her congregation or church building as founded by Phineas Bresee
Karen Lucas [03/08/2016 1:06 PM]
Thanks, Dr. Vinson Synan. Right Troy on Lucy Farrow being involved. I was not aware Hutchins continued any positive involvement after locking Seymour out. It’s interesting to hear about further details on the trial. That’s encouraging. Makes Hutchins come across a little less rash. Maybe we will hear more from Owens or someone else to clarify the cause for Farrow and Warren to arrive on the scene in March but Owen clearly says that it was because Seymour had reached out to Parham for help because he was continuing to preach the doctrine but there was not yet any evidence.
At any rate, I love the story of Lucy Farrow and her involvement.
Ed Toler [03/08/2016 10:07 PM]
Ed Toler liked this on Facebook.
John Kissinger [03/16/2016 3:52 PM]