All Nations Church was established in 1941 by two young sisters from Lancashire – Elsie & Jennie Wood. In 1939 the sisters had gone to the Assemblies of God Bible College in London under the ministry and leadership of some of the great early pioneers in the Assemblies of God denomination, including Howard Carter. After their training, Howard Carter asked them to go to Wolverhampton to plant a church. They were sent with 15 shillings a week for two months to get them started.
Their main aim was to reach the slums, particularly poor children. They looked for the poorest area in Wolverhampton and found a place called Horseley Fields. Many of the fathers were away at war and they found children running around in the streets with no shoes or socks. The sisters opened a Sunday School to reach the children.
To finance this work the Wood sisters did all that they could to earn money, from gardening to potato picking. They should have been called up to work in the factories but they told the labour exchange that they came to serve God and did not want to make instruments for war. They were put on deferred interview and continued in their work.
In the mid 1950s, after 12 years faithfully working in Horseley Fields, they felt that God was telling them to expand and started to look for new premises. They found a former church building on Temple Street which had been used during the war as a factory, but was now up for sale. Elsie went to see the person selling the property. As he looked her up and down he immediately told her she couldn’t buy it. Her immediate response was “all things are possible with God” and the man listened to what she had to say. He allowed them to buy the building in instalments!
The Church continued to expand and by the 1980s ‘Temple Street Pentecostal Church’ had out-grown the building. An extension seating up to 300 people was built and the original building was converted into use as a meeting room, soup kitchen and day centre.
Numbers have grown since Pastor Steve Uppal became senior leader in 2001 and the name was changed to All Nations – it is a prophetic name that speaks of the vision to impact the city and the region which have great ethnic diversity, and also other nations. The church has a number of close relationships in other nations, particularly India and Burma.
In recent years Pastor Steve and his leadership team have sought to develop a culture (“the way things are done around here”) that will attract the Holy Spirit not only to stay but to remain and be present amongst us. This is based on seven statements setting out our values.
The characteristics of the church at the outset – serving the poor, audacious faith and welcoming all people regardless of background – continue to be important in our culture as a church.