Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Elam ministries

Elam, not to be confused with the name of our own Movement Elim, is one of the most significant Christian organisations in Iran - a hard line Muslim country in which it is an offence to share your faith with other Christians or even to celebrate Christmas.  Direction readers will remember a report on this page of my visit to a country in the Middle East to meet with young Iranian leaders who had suffered persecution, imprisonment and, in a number of cases, torture.

The pictures above relate to a recent meeting organised by Elam and held in St George's church in the centre of Leeds and at which several hundred Iranians now living in the UK attended.  The worship group led songs in English and in Persian and I had the privilege of being invited to be the speaker throughout the day at the first Conference of this nature.

It was wonderful  to witness a number of young Iranians commit their life to Christ at the close of the service.

Braintree Elim Church

Alison and William Atkinson, pictured here with their two sons Iain and Stephen, are both ordained Elim ministers.

For several years William served our Movement with distinction as the Principal of our College before taking up the role of Vive Prinicipal with the London School of Theology.

Alison is the pastor of the Braintree church and is also currently a member of The Bridge - a group of senior leaders that I meet with on two occasions during the year.  The church and gallery was full for the morning service at which I spoke and there were also people in attendance from the Elim church in Maldon.

Cardiff City Temple

When I was a young minister, Cardiff City Temple was a flagship church in the Elim Movement in terms of its size and influence.  The minister at that time was PS Brewster who pastored the church for over thirty years. 

Today the City Temple is far larger than ever it was in those years.  I spoke at the two morning services to around seven hundred people but there were four services during the day.

One of the things that anyone who attends the Cardiff church feels very quickly is the sense of vision and expectancy.  They are great people and the Temple is a great place to be.

One of the elements of building a successful church is creating a great team and that has certainly been accomplished by pastor Steve Ball (second from left) who came into that role after the previous minister Chris Cartwright became a Regional Leader.