Friday, September 26, 2008

Thonon - France

When Luc Favre commenced the church in Thonon he did so with just a handful of people. Today the church has grown significantly and much work has been done on the building in which they worship.

Marilyn and I ministered at four meetings over the weekend that we were there. Particular tribute must be paid to Luc's wife Rachel who has sacrificed greatly to see this vision come to pass given that she has been the primary income-source into the home during these formative years. I also had the opportunity to spend time with Michel Rimbert who pastors the church in Ambilly.

93 Years Young

On my travels I sometimes take the opportunity to visit the elder-statesmen of Elim who have given very man years to our Movement. Recently I spent some time with Ron Jones subsequent to some treatment he had completed for skin cancer. He had just moved to a new residential home that has been recently built in the south of Bristol. Always the pastor, among the first things that he did was to arrange Sunday services at the complex. Two Sunday's per month are designated 'specials' where visiting speakers and musicians are featured. Astonishingly, he has already attracted around a third of the residents to these meetings. An incredible feat at any time of life but especially at the age of 93!

Evangelical Alliance

The Council meeting of the Evangelical Alliance - better known as EA - represents the 1.25 million Evangelical Christians in the UK. The two-day council meeting held at High Leigh was particularly memorable as it marked the end of twelve years of EA's Director, Rev. Joel Edwards' leadership of the organisation. An evening meal in London celebrated the excellent work that he had done during his period of office. It was attended by council members, friends and family of Joel and the High Commissioner of Jamaica - His Excellency, The Honourable Burchell Whiteman.

Youth for Christ

It has been my privilege to serve for several years on the Council of Reference for British Youth for Christ - an organisation very ably led by Roy Crowne. The Council comprises of around a dozen people and is chaired by the Archchbishop of York, Dr, John Sentamu. Many hundreds of YFC young people are making a vital impact in schools and churches around the country.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Accra - Ghana

I can think of few greater honours I have had, in the nine years since I was elected as general Superintendent, than to be invited to be the main speaker at the farewell celebration of my good friend Dr. Michael Ntumy - Chairman of the Church of Pentecost - which was attended by around 9500 people.

Having completed ten years in office – the maximum permitted under their constitution – Dr Ntumy steps down after a spectacularly successful tenure. Those who attended would be aware that when their Chairman came to office the world membership of COP was a little over 803,000. Ten years later it numbers 1,695,412. The number of churches have grown from 7,109 to 17,418. Several of the highest ranking officials in Government and the Military are members of the Church of Pentecost and the Vice President of Ghana, His Excellency Alhaji Aliu Mahama, was present for the four hour service. He paid warm and glowing tribute to his friend as did several other dignitaries who were present.

Last year the President of Ghana awarded Dr. Ntumy ‘The Order of the Volta’ – the highest honour that can be given to a civilian.

Michael Ntumy was trained at Elim’s Theological College in Nantwich as was his successor as Chairman Apostle Dr. Opoku Onyinah

A major influence on both their lives was Lionel Currie who, with his wife Ruth was also present for the celebrations. Lionel, an Elim minister for forty years and now senior pastor of Bridge Street Church in Leeds, spent nine years in Ghana and was Principal of their college at which most of the senior figures in the Church of Pentecost received training. Understandably Lionel and Ruth are not only greatly respected by the Denomination but greatly loved.

There is no Denomination that is closer to the Elim Pentecostal Churches than the Church of Pentecost. Each year delegates are sent to our respective conferences with full voting rights.

Dr. Michael Ntumy paid the warmst tribute to his wife Martha who has been a major influence upon the women of COP. Their five sons and daughter were present for the celebration service. The Ntumy’s will now move to Germany where they will oversee the work of the church there.

On a personal level I am delighted that Dr. Ntumy will be closer to us here in Europe and I look forward to strengthening my already close links with the new Chairman, Apostle Opoku Onyinah

There are not many churches that I can say I have visited for the first time but this was the first occasion that I had spoken at Asbourne. This eighty year old Elim church is situation in a beautiful Derbyshire town with a population of just seven thousand people. Alex and Susan Prail have pastored the church for the past eleven years and it was good to be able to meet all the leaders and their spouses over lunch. Ashbourne is a warm and friendly family church.