Steve and Julia Derbyshire (pictured) have pastored the church in Ilford for seventeen years and in the past seven have been in the process of finding suitable premises to house the burgeoning congregation that is now approaching a thousand people. There have been some obstacles along the way but their tenacity, together with that of their people, has meant that they have never given up hope.
The Sunday at which I preached at the two morning services that were packed to capacity coincided with the announcement that the council had voted unanimously to pass their plans for a six million pounds new complex. Needless to say, the atmosphere was electrifying and Steve and Julia received standing ovations for the energy and faithful persistence with which they had led the church over the years that they have been there.
Given that I preach at scores of Elim churches every year its very rare that I would use the adjective 'best' when writing in this column. However, when it comes to congregational singing I have to say that its the only superlative that can be used. The music is lead by one of the country's best worship leaders, Steve Thompson, who in the past has featured in several Spring Harvest programs.
Steve Derbyshire is one of our Movement's finest leaders and he, together with Julia, is doing a ground-breaking job by building one of the nation's most significant churches.