Friday, May 23, 2008

Zion - Halesowen

The leaders NET that I referred to in the previous posting was held in Zion, in Halesowen. In the evening the local church came together for the launch of the next chapter in the life of the congregation - a multi million pound building program.

Leon Evans, pictured here with his wife Alison, brought a powerful presentation in word and media that honoured those in the past who been instrumental in the growth of the church. Then, with computer generated 3D modeling, a packed church witnessed the outline plans for the future.

The rest of the evening was devoted to a period of worship and culminated in the message that I brought.

There was a unanimous sense of excitement about the way ahead. I believe that Leon and the team that serves with him is poised to take this great church into a very fruitful future.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Leaders Net - Midlands

Around eighty leaders from a variety of Denominations in the Midlands area meet on a regular basis for fellowship and teaching. On the this occasion the meeting was hosted in Halesowen. I was delighted to accept the invitation to speak at both the two morning sessions.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Greenock - Scotland

There are two fine Elim churches in the town of Greenock which is situated in the west of Scotland beside the river Clyde. On this occasion I was speaking in the original Kelly Street church

Fraser Donaldson, pictured here with his wife Susan, grew up in the Salvation army prior to attending the Greenock Elim church as a member and later progressed to the role of assistant minister. A few months ago, when Iain Waddell moved to London, Fraser was appointed as senior pastor.

I have preached in Greenock several times over the past twenty years and it was great to see, not only longstanding members, but several who have recently joined the church. There is a great atmosphere in the Fellowship and an expectancy that the best days of this church are yet to come. It is evident that Fraser and Susan are the right people in the right place at the right time.

Erskine - Scotland

The church in Erskine was founded ten years ago from the Paisley church which, at that time, was pastored by the late John Seeman. I was present to speak at the Anniversary service.

Derek Chittick, pictured here with his wife Anne, was inducted into the pastorate two years into the life of the new Fellowship and under his leadership the church has grown in strength and depth. Derek was a Church of Scotland minister prior to becoming an Elim Pastor and is a highly respected leader in the area. All of Derek and Anne's five children are involved in ministry in one form or another and one of their sons, Gavin, is on the ministry team of the Elim church in Fraserburgh.

The excellent evening of celebration was led by Erskine's first class Praise band and warm tribute was paid to Derek and Anne's pastoral care.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Coatbridge - Scotland

I have known David and Linda Bell for over twenty years since going to Scotland as regional leader and David, who was then head of an RE department, became the Youth Director for Scotland. At that time their children were very small. Today Audrey, Louise and Shirley all play in the Praise band together with their brother Stephen.

David took on a redundant church building and commenced a congregation from scratch. Saturday morning was spent with his leaders, Saturday night was a Celebration service open to churches in the area and Sunday morning was an opportunity to be with the Coatbridge Elim congregation.

Elim Conference Italy

The Elim Conference in Italy was hosted by Elim's President Giuseppe Piccolo (pictured here with his wife Antonietta) in Palermo, Sicily. This was the third occasion I had spoken at the Conference in recent years and it has become one of my favorite parts of Europe to minister in - not just because of the beauty of the landscape but because of the warmth of the people.

I spoke to the leaders and wives on five occasions during the time I was there and Marilyn spoke to to the women's meeting - a meeting that has such an impact it over-ran the time schedule as there were so many who requested personal ministry subsequently.

Phillip Niblett, who has ministered extensively throughout Italy in recent years, was present for the Conference and spoke with great effect at the Youth service.

On each of my visits my interpreter has been Luciana who is pictured here with me and her husband Giovani-baptiste. Apart from being police inspectors (Luciana is a chief inspector) they also joint pastor an Elim church in the north of Italy.

During the Conference there was a visit from a member of the Italian Government, the newly elected member of Parliament, Alessandro Pagano. He spoke eloquently and extensively about his Christian commitment and the need for a well articulated Christian voice and presence in the life of the country. I have heard many politicians speak during our services and he was by far the most impressive. My message during that service addressed the issue of integrity in church and State and we heard later that the text of it was to be added to his personal web site.

There is very much to be encouraged about in Elim Italy. They have fine leaders with a great hunger for God's best for their lives. I have just received an invitation to the the principle speaker at their Conference next year and am very much looking forward to being with them again.