The Beginnings of the Elim Movement
Elim’s birth was extraordinary. The year was 1915. It could hardly have been a less promising time as the nation was feeling the full horrors of the First World War. In Monaghan, Ireland, a small group of young men had invited welsh evangelist George Jeffreys to hold some meetings. Their fervour and faith drew him and, on 7 January 1915, in the Temperance Hall the Elim Evangelistic Band was formed to spread the Christian gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit to Ireland and beyond.
George Jeffreys hailed from Maesteg in South Wales. He had been converted in the 1904 Welsh revival and baptised in the Spirit some three years later. With his older brother Stephen he had begun to preach a “full gospel” message with significant results. God blessed his ministry with many converts and a growing number of people were filled with the Holy Spirit and many were miraculously healed in the meetings. This resulted in George being invited to the popular Sunderland Convention in 1913 where he received the invitation to Ireland.
2015 is Elim’s centenary year and we are calling the Elim movement to a moment – or a series of moments where we can unite together as a family to:
Quickly other men and women gathered to Jeffreys and the emerging Elim work. Many of them were young, some barely out of their teens. Yet they were caught up in what they believed to be a fresh wave of the Holy Spirit which so many had been praying and believing for. With no plan to start a denomination, the Elim Team planned campaigns and outreaches in town after town and city after city. This growing group of Pentecostal believers found fresh identity not just in the exciting brand of meetings and methods with which they had been reached for Christ but in their experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, attested to by speaking in tongues and in the miracles and healings which were a regular feature of so many of their meetings.
George Jeffreys chose the name Elim for the new movement following the practice in his home of Wales of giving churches biblical names and also after the Elim Mission he had visited in Lytham, Lancashire.
The many Elim converts were often not welcome in other churches. The first Elim Church was opened in 1916 in Hunter Street, Belfast in a former laundry. Soon afterwards a more suitable building was found in Melbourne Street, Belfast. This would be the hub of the growing Elim work in Ireland for the next few years. They purchased a large tent to hold evangelistic campaigns, they looked for suitable buildings to gather the new converts and they sought every opportunity to reach people for Christ and pioneer new churches. By 1920 there were 15 Elim Churches in Ireland and 21 recognised Elim ministers. The Elim Evangel, first published in 1919, began to tell the larger story of what God was doing through these Elim pioneers as well as sharing personal testimonies from many who were converted and healed.
During these years Jeffreys regularly preached all over Britain but he did not establish his first church outside Ireland until 1921, at Leigh on Sea, Essex. A number of other churches began to join the Elim movement including independent Pentecostal fellowships in Dowlais, Wales and Vazon, Guernsey. In 1922 George moved to Clapham, London where the Elim Team began to establish a new church and a ministry base. They opened administrative offices and began to look at the growing needs of the increasing numbers of churches and ministers as well as the challenge of evangelising a nation.
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