George Jeffreys founded Elim in 1915, in Monaghan, Ireland, and since then the Elim Movement has grown to 660 churches in the UK and Ireland, and around 10,000 worldwide.
Although Jeffreys was an outstanding evangelist and church planter, Elim grew rapidly thanks to a move of God characterized by miraculous healing and an explosion in the number of people becoming Christians.
This heritage has guided Elim for a century, with our leaders and churches consistently seeking to:
Commencing on Monday night 31 October 1904, a series of prayer meetings were held at Moriah Chapel, Loughor in which Evan Roberts made urgent appeals to the people to rise and confess Christ publicly. Each night the presence of the Holy Spirit became more powerful and more people confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. As the revival swept across Wales, George and Stephen Jeffreys come to faith in Christ within a couple of weeks.
15 year old George Jeffreys from Nantyffylon, Maesteg, Wales, comes to know Christ in the first throes of the Revival sweeping Wales. George, and his brother Stephen, were converted during the Revival at Shiloh Independent Chapel in Nantyfyllon, Wales on 20 November 1904, under the evangelistic ministry of Glassnant Jones.
One Sunday morning in late summer George was in the Old Duffryn Chapel before the Service when he “began to sing in tongues and magnify the Lord”. This baptism in the Spirit gave him a new found boldness. Soon after he was completely healed of a speech impediment and facial paralysis. He described it “as if his whole body had been connected to a powerful battery".
Pioneer of Pentecost in Britain, Anglican minister Alexander Boddy held annual Conventions in Sunderland from 1908. George Jeffreys was invited as one of the speakers in 1913. Whilst there a young Irishman, William Gillespie was so impressed he invited him to hold meetings in Ireland sending three ten shilling notes for his fare.
George Jeffreys meets with a group of young men in Knox’s Temperance Hall to discuss the best means of reaching Ireland with the full gospel on Pentecostal lines. This meeting resulted in the formation of the Elim Evangelistic Alliance with the aim to conduct evangelistic meetings and open new churches.
After 2 months looking for a building the first Elim Church began in a disused laundry in Hunter Street, in the Donegal Road area of Belfast, with George Jeffreys as pastor. The building was old and decrepit. There was hardly an unbroken pane of glass, and many of the holes were blocked with rags to keep out the wind and rain, as new glass was too expensive for their meagre resources.
In February 1916, George Jeffreys began meetings in a tent in Ballymena. Over a period of five weeks, 120 people were saved and many were baptised in the Holy Spirit. During their time in Ballymena, George Jeffreys and his fellow workers first called themselves The Elim Evangelistic Band. By the end of December 1920 there were 21 workers in 15 churches in Ireland.
FDollie Phillips was the first of the new Elim converts to go overseas as a missionary. With a steely determination and raw passion to take the gospel to those who had never heard, she sailed for Bombay. Dollie’s uncle was E.J.Phillips, Elim’s first Pastor and Secretary General. Her brother was Hubert Cyril Phillips who pioneered the work in South Africa in 1928 now known as Emmanuel Assemblies. Dollie returned to the UK in 1928 to take over from Hubert as Pastor of the Letchworth Church. By 1921 the emerging Elim movement had begun to officially send out missionaries including Adelaide Henderson and Cyril Taylor.
In December the first Elim Evangel is printed by F.B.Phillips in Tamworth to begin to tell the story of what God is doing through Elim. Within a few years this would lead to the establishing of the Elim Publishing House. Initially a quarterly publication, the Evangel became monthly in 1922, then fortnightly and weekly in 1929. It served to unite the emerging movement with a shared sense of identity and mission.
By 1920 Elim had made steady progress across Ireland with 15 churches and 21 ministers and evangelists.
By 1921, Pentecostal assemblies in the Welsh towns of Dowlais and Llaneli, along with Guernsey (Vazon) on the Channel Islands had joined the Elim Pentecostal Alliance. George continued preaching wherever he could in England, even during the war, but he never established any churches. But in 1921 he was asked by butcher George Kingston to hold meetings in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Thus the first Elim work in England was established.
In 1922, George moved to London where he pioneered a church in Clapham, London's first Elim church. They were able to acquire a disused former Methodist Free Church in Park Crescent and the headquarters was transferred from Belfast. The first offices were in the minor hall of the church, and then a two storey building was added for the newly established Elim Publishing Company.
In June 1924 George Jeffreys sailed across the Atlantic for what was to be his first and only visit to North America. His brother Stephen, Robert Darragh, James McWhirter and Ernest Boulton, accompanied him. They began ministering in Canada, where George preached at the Conference of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. They then travelled separately to cover more ground while preaching in leading assemblies – before eventually reuniting in Los Angeles, the cradle of modern Pentecost. There they visited Aimee McPherson’s Angelus Temple, where they saw the word ‘Foursquare’ used in the name of the church that was founded by Aimee. Even today, it is an impressive sight for any visitor. The British visitors were so impressed that, not long after their return to England in October, they decided to incorporate the name into the title of their own work. Therefore the full name became the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, which remains the legal name of the Elim Pentecostal Church today. It summed up the fundamental doctrines that proclaimed Jesus Christ as Saviour, Healer, Baptiser in the Holy Spirit and Coming King.
Inaugurated during 1925, the Elim Crusader Movement was established for young people aged 14 to 35 years. Known for it's enthusiastic, evangelical effort, including open air witness, social work, Crusade Choirs and Orchestras, it reached out to the communities, prisons and hospitals around the country. The junior section for 7-14 year olds was known as the Elim Foursquare Cadets.
A small Bible School was started in the minor hall of the Clapham Church in 1925. And when a former convent came onto the market in Clarence Road in Clapham this was acquired and opened in January 1926 as the Elim Bible College with E.J. Phillips as the Dean. The college trained men and women for ministry in the growing number of Elim Churches, with offices built next door and this four-acre site became a centre of activity for the next 39 years.
From 1918, Elim was known as the Elim Pentecostal Alliance and changed to Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance in 1926, incorporating the truth of pentecost within the message of the Fourquare Gospel.
"The City of Liverpool has been powerfully moved by the wonderful Revival Campaign at Windsor Street Chapel, and the large Boxing Stadium. Beginning with a comparatively small congregation of a few dozen the numbers grew rapidly to hundreds and then thousands. True revival fervour was in evidence, with hundreds of souls, over 800 in all were saved, with numbers of sick bodies healed." Elim Evangel - 15 April 1926
Thousands of Elim people gathered at the first historic meetings in the Royal Albert Hall which coincided with a visit of Aimee McPherson. These Easter meetings would become a feature of the Elim Movement for the next 70 years. In 1928 over 1,000 people were batpised in these meetings a portable baptism tank.
George Jeffries saw major spiritual breakthrough in Leeds when within 2 weeks 2,290 professed coming to Christ. James Gregson was a totally transformed man after he was brought to one of these meetings. For more than 5 years, he had suffered intense agony due to a serious injury. So much so, he had to be laid on the floor before the rostrum from which Jeffreys preached. He was healed and gave testimony the next year at the Royal Albert Hall. "When Principal George Jeffreys laid hands on me, the power of God came into my body and I was lifted from the earth and was instantaneously healed."
George Jeffreys and the Revival Team hold 51 nights of meetings in Cardiff seeing over 3,000 converts to Christ, resulting in a church of 1,000 birthed out of the meetings. Moving on to Swansea, the team saw over 2,000 decisions and astonishing healing of Glyn Thomas, the hunchback. A reporter from Daily Express who had interviewed Evan Roberts in the Welsh revival interviews George on what is happening.
George Jeffreys and Team begin meetings in a church near the city centre with a handful of people. Within weeks they were filling the Historic town Hall. The crowds would swell to the point that the only venue big enough was the vast Bingley Halls. Over 15,000 per night packed the Halls and over 10,000 made decisions for Christ and many were healed. As a result numerous Elim churches were planted across the greater Birmingham area for the new converts to attend.
One hundred and fifty men and women were plunged in a tank of cold water at the Crystal Palace, London on Saturday, while something like 15,000 sat watching in a state of almost hysterical happiness. The congregation was a mixture of young and old, rich and poor, crippled and healed, but every one shared in the religious fervour. Daily Express, September 14 1931
In 1934 the constitution was revised and a Deed Poll agreed to, and an Executive Council of nine men was appointed to govern the Movement. George Jeffreys and E J Phillips remained in office while George Jeffreys, as the founder and addressed as Principal, was allowed three nominees. The ministers elected four others.
The 21st Anniversary of the Elim Movement takes place at London’s vast Crystal Palace with 15,000 Elim members plus choirs, orchestras and bands travelling from churches all over the nation. The iconic Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire later that year.
Elim ministers and churches commit to renewed evangelism and mission against the backdrop of war, suffering and great sacrifice. Thousands come to faith through Elim’s efforts in the War Years.
An Evangelistic Committee is formed to spearhead fresh waves of outreach to the nation. P.S.Brewster begins with a tent mission in Wigan in 1945. Over the next few years P.S and others like John Woodhead, as well as a young scot Alex Tee lead the way back to pioneer church planting.
After the war, Pastor Percy Brewster, who had begun on his own initiative in Neath ten years earlier, got a new era going with a tent in Wigan in July 1945. During seven weeks of meetings at the site of an old coal shaft, over 600 people came to faith.
Coming out of the austerity of the 1950’s, Britain is being rebuilt and Elim’s leaders look to the new towns and conurbations to open new churches.
After 40 years in Clapham, the elim Bible college moved to a former mansion in Capel, Surrey in 1965. These new faciltities gave tremendous opportunity for Elim to train more leaders, developing and extending its courses.
In 1968, Elim's administration offices relocate to Cheltenham, alongside the newly built Cheltenham Elim Church.
Friday 23 June 1978 is the darkest day in Elim’s history. Twelve Elim missionaries (including 5 children) were slaughtered at the Elim Mission Station and Secondary School in the Vumba Mountains in Northern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Another would die a week later from her injuries. The sheer brutality of the massacre shocked the world. TV Cameras were present at Cheltenham Elim that Sunday as worshippers prayed. Remarkably, one of the men who committed the massacre would go on to accept Christ as Saviour.
Over the next decade KT would grow from 500 to 5,000 people and would begin to plant many churches all over London. KT’s experience of breaking many growth and cultural barriers would release many other churches to follow both in the capital and beyond.
Elim's Bible College moves to Nantwich in 1987, where it was renamed, Regent's Theological College.
Direction Magazine was launched as a high quality monthly magazine providing inspiration, vision and teaching for everyone in Elim and beyond. In 2000, it was rebranded and is now produced by New Life Publishing on behalf of Elim. Available for purchase in local Elim churches, delivery direct to homes by subscription and also now in digital format for PCs, tablets and large format smartphones.
John Glass took on the responsibility of leading Elim into the new century, with a strong mandate to lead Elim forward, identifying and releasing the ministries and methods which would lead to even greater fruitfulness. From the very beginning, John began to emphasize the need for Elim to not simply look for numerical growth, but to build and develop a culture with Elim churches of 'Building Bigger People'.
Mark Pugh brought a vision to the National Leadership Team, along with a burdern for re-establishing an Elim Youth Department. This resulted in the launch of Serious4God, a new national youth ministry with Mark as the Director empowered to envision and inspire churches to reach young people and to raise up dynamic youth ministry across the nation. In January 2014, Tim Alford took on the leadership of S4G.
Nigel Tween is appointed Elim's first National Training Director. The new training department incorporated the bible college (Regent's Theological College), as well as a broader remit to develop a comprehensive training programme and culture across the Elim movement. In January 2015, Dave Newton took over this important role.
In Spring 2007, Elim’s evangelism department was rebranded as ‘REACH’. It’s remit is to facilitate local church evangelism and church planting throughout the Elim movement.
Aspire is Elim's National Women's Ministry and was birthed in 2007. It is the first national women's ministry in the 100 year history of Elim. It cares for and connects with women to encourage them to be all that God has called them to be and to equip them to fulfil His purposes.
During 2009, Elim International Offices and Regent's Theological College relocated to the new Elim International Centre, West Malvern, set in 32 acres of land this site provides Elim with an incredible facility to spearhead ministry and training for years to come.
6,700 young people gathered from around the nation for Serious4God's Gathering Max at the NEC Arena in Birmingham. The event featured The Gathering Band, Delirious?, 29th Chapter, Luv Esther, and Mark Ritchie, and was broadcast live. On the day, 1,137 young people come to Christ in an unforgettable moment of response.
In a church scene richly blessed by a number of worship organisations, four men from the Elim Movement recognised the need for a collective praise identity within the Elim movement. Birthed in 2009 by worship leaders Sam Blake, Stephen Gibson, Joel Pridmore and Ian Yates, Elim Sound came about as a result of this need and, with the launch of their Kingsway-released debut album 'Fresh Mercy' in 2011 and the follow up album 'Sound of Hope' in 2012.
GS John Glass issues a strategic challenge to every Elim leader and every Elim church to plant numerous new Christian communities, churches and ministries in the lead up to Elim’s Centenary in 2015 and beyond. This includes exploring ways that they can plant a new church, a campus or a fresh missional expression of church in their community.
99 years since the birth of Elim, churches join together for a day of prayer and fasting on 7 January 2013, prior to the Elim LIFTUP year of prayer throughout 2014. In 2015, LIFTUP plans two months of dedicated prayer in January and September.
The initial Centenary plans for 2015 were announced at Elim Bible Week that include events over 3 parts of the year, a documentary and a book capturing pictures from the past century.
MPOWER is the process whereby one generation empowers the rising generations of sons, brothers and fathers in Elim to be authentic men in Christ, in life and in church. Engaging men of all ages, by exploring the potential to mentor a generation of radical disciples. The result? Men resourced and equipped to impact the future. Addressing the unique challenges of manhood and masculinity, helping forge a plan and a purpose for future generations. MPOWER encourages the masculine journey into true wholeness for the future. Find out more at http://www.mpower.zone
On the anniversary of the formation of the Elim Evangelistic Band, Elim ministers met together to begin the Centenary Year with a day of Consecration and Commissioning. This was a “holy convocation” praying together for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on each minister, leader, church and community.
Capturing the first 100 years of Elim, Defining Moments is a new 176 page photographic book that charts the history of Elim from its beginnings in 1915 with Welsh evangelist George Jeffreys and a committed band of young men and women determined to reach Ireland with the gospel, to the formation of a Pentecostal movement of churches and ministries which swept the towns and cities of the British Isles. If you have enjoyed reading some of Elim's history in this timeline, you can read a more detailed version in this exicting new book. http://www.elim100.org/book
The Leaders Summit brought together Elim Church leadership teams from across the nation, and provided opportunities for encounters with God that ignited prophetic thinking, inspired compelling vision and propel fired-up disciples into mission. As we shared together we received challenging ministry, teaching and provoking leadership talks, we are trusting God that this defining leaders summit will refresh and reinvigorate each leader with a new level of courage to embrace all that’s in store for the coming years.
Elim’s early years were marked by outstanding gatherings in the largest and most iconic halls in the nation. We are calling thousands of people from all our Elim Churches to come together at one of six national celebrations to discover what God requires of us for this next century. These are planned for September to November 2015. More details at http://www.elim100.org/celebrations
Following nomination by Elim's National Leadership Team and a subsequent postal ballot by the Elim Conference, Chris Cartwright has been elected to lead the Movement as General Superintendent. He will assume his role at the forthcoming Elim Leaders Summit in May 2016.
Chris began his ministry in the late 1980's at Kensington Temple where he was respectively Worship Pastor, Director of the IBIOL and Associate Minister. He was was ordained in 1993.
In 1997, Chris became the senior pastor of the City Temple in Cardiff, and in 2010 he became the Regional Leader for Wales and the Southern Region. He is married to Annie and they have three children.
Current General Superintendent, John Glass, commenting on the election said, "Chris is a high integrity spiritual leader, and he and Annie can be assured of my continual prayers, warmest wishes and fullest support as they seek to take Elim into everything that God has for our Movement in the years that lie ahead."