The church commenced in 1920 when the renowned evangelist George Jeffries conducted a mission in Armagh. Many people came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, folk were healed, and baptised in the Holy Spirit. Such was the miraculous move of God that an Elim Pentecostal Church was birthed at “The Seven Houses” in English Street.
As it grew in numbers it moved to College Street to a building vacated by the Congregational Church, which was later purchased. God richly blessed over the following years and a Sunday school was formed in 1968 under the Pastorate of Hugh McGowan and Billy McCandless.
The first Sunday School Superintendent was Jim Atkinson. A youth fellowship commenced around the same time under the leadership of Norman Wylie. During the 1970s and 1980s the building suffered extensive bomb damage. Car parking was problemtic.Norman was reading from Luke5v4 “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” believing this to be Gods will for the Assembly in Armagh he brought the vision of a new build with car parking facilities, out the Portadown Road, before the Elim Executive, who approved the project.
William Wylie an elder in the church approached the owner of the field where the Church is now situated, and agreed the purchase contract. The new building was opened on 22nd November 1986 by elder William Wylie and dedicated by Irish Superintendent Eric McComb.
The year was 1915. It could hardly have been a less promising time — the full horrors of the First World War were being realised. But in Monaghan, Ireland, a new fellowship of Christians was springing up.
A young Christian from Maesteg in South Wales, George Jeffreys, was welcomed into the area and here Elim began, as a small group called the Elim Evangelistic Band. The band preached, founded churches, spreading first through the north of Ireland and then to England in the Essex area and London.
Things were moving steadily, but not spectacularly, when suddenly God answered the prayers of those early pioneers in a big way. Miraculous healings became almost commonplace instead of occasional, and the number of people becoming Christians exploded. The meetings hit the headlines, and from 1924 to 1934 Principal George Jeffreys (as he became known) and his team became household names as they toured the country.
When, for instance, George Jeffreys went to Cardiff, there were only a dozen people in his first meeting in a large public hall. But two were healed of cancer, the news spread, and from then on it was difficult to control the crowds who wanted to get into the hall! Cardiff City Temple, the Elim church that resulted from that campaign, is still a flourishing Elim church today.
So why did this happen? Well, the Elim leaders held the same beliefs as other Christians, but with one important difference. They believed that God’s promises in the Bible about the Holy Spirit and healing were for Christians today. In other words, miracles didn’t stop after the Bible was written. The Elim pioneers had rediscovered God’s power, promised in the Bible to all who would completely commit their lives to following Jesus. It was a ‘re-discovery’, not a discovery because it was nothing new. God had worked in power through different Christians throughout the centuries, right back to the dramatic miracles of the early Church so frequently mentioned in the Bible.
The foursquare teaching highlighted this rediscovery: it stated that Jesus is the Saviour, the Healer, the Baptiser in the Holy Spirit and the Coming King.
Such ‘Pentecostal’ beliefs raised a lot of opposition from some traditional church leaders at the time because miracles are always controversial. But the pioneers were just getting back to what Jesus had taught in the first place – after all, Jesus himself healed many people and had promised the Holy Spirit to his followers.
Elim took God at his Word and so God honoured that by delivering on his promises in the Bible. And he is still doing the same today!
But the vision wasn’t confined to this country. Today, Elim comprises over 550 churches in the UK and Ireland, but we are also linked to over 4,367 Elim churches in other countries. Elim is also in co-operative fellowship with thousands of Pentecostal churches around the world and has missions work in over 40 countries.
It is our belief that Elim has a significant part to play in the world today, and we are confidently looking forward to what God will do in the future.
For more info go to www.elim.org.uk
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