William Howard Hoople organized the original Association of Pentecostal Churches of America in December 1895. It consisted initially of three holiness congregations in Brooklyn, New York. In November 1896, it merged with the Central Evangelical Holiness Association. The united group adopted the name used originally only for Hoople’s wing. The term “Pentecostal” suggests a special emphasis in the denomination’s theology of the Holy Spirit, but this denomination should not be confused with later ones springing from the Azusa Street revival, which propagated the practice of glossolalia, or tongues speaking.
The churches of the Association were congregational in polity. Each had its own local church manual or discipline. The Association pursued overseas mission work, entering India in 1898 and the Cape Verde Islands in 1901. In October 1907, the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America united with the Church of the Nazarene, based in Los Angeles, to form the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene. At that time, the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America had 45 congregations and 2,407 members, scattered from Iowa to Nova Scotia.