Wednesday, March 27, 2013


It hardly seems four years since Simon Foster (pictured) became the senior leader of Elim@Bristol.  The long established congregation, formerly known as the City Temple, has always been a strong church but it has never been stronger, in size and depth, than it is today.

I spoke at the two morning services.  The first was well attended and in the second the main auditorium and the balcony was packed.  The guest worship leader for the day was Noel Robinson one the primary Christian singer/song writers in the UK.

Simon is a member of Elim's National Leadership Team and has built a great team of leaders around him in Bristol - a church that is leading the way in 'The Big centenary Ask' by planting three other churches out of this strong and exciting Bristol base.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Archbishop of Canterbury

The installation of Rev. Justin Welby in Canterbury Cathedral was a remarkable event.  The then Bishop of Durham had not been likely a choice for a number of reasons not least because he had only been a bishop for a comparatively short period of time.  Dr. Welby is clearly an evangelical and this was reflected not only in the poignant address that he brought but also in the choice of hymns which included “And Can be that I should gain and interest in the Saviours blood”.  And, as the congregation sang a piece written by Tim Hughes, Steve Clifford (leader of the Evangelical Alliance) and I turned to one another and expressed the same thought, “Who would have thought that the inauguration of anew Archbishop would include music written by the worship leader of a charismatic Anglican Church such as HTB.  Later that evening in at a celebratory meal in Canterbury the Dr. Welby was to publicly refer to Nicky Gumble as his ‘mentors’. 
I have long advocated our Movement’s involvement with Christians from traditions other than our own.  My position on the Council of the Evangelical Alliance and other similar groups remains an expression of this. 
In a letter responding to my good wishes on his election , and prior to my invitation as the first General Superintendent of Elim to be invited to Canterbury for such an occasion, the new Archbishop had kindly written that he had been “much blessed by Elim” over the years.
We pray God’s riches blessing on him as he commences this new and challenging role in leading the many millions of Anglicans around the world.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Birkenhead, Elim

I would not know what the average length of a time a minister  commits to one single congregation but forty years is outstanding by any standard.  And that is the period of ministry that Paul and Evelyn Epton have accomplished in Birkenhead.  

Starting from a handful of people in the most modest of accommodation the three hundred strong church now exists at multiple sites in the town.  It is a tribute to a long and faithful ministry.  

However, Paul's ministry has not been limited to any geographical area - though the Wirral has always been where his heart lies.  As one of Elim's foremost evangelists over the years his ministry has taken him all over the world and, at the special service to mark the occasion at which I was the speaker, there folk who had come from as far away as Nigeria - for the event.

Apart from a very from a very full church, there was a strong representation of ministers who had been assistants during Paul's tenure and who now were pastoring significant churches of their own.  One of them Simon Foster, lead pastor of Elim at Bristol and NLT member, preached at the Sunday services as the anniversary continued over the weekend.

The service was ably convened by Greg Epton, Paul and Evelyn's son, who will be continuing to lead the congregation after Paul's retirement as senior pastor

Monday, March 18, 2013

Newcastle, Elim

An increasing number of Elim churches that I visit have needed to move to two morning services in order to accommodate their growth and this is true of our congregation in Newcastle whose senior pastor is Simon Lawton (pictured here with his wife Julia and daughter Amy)

It was two years since I was last in Newcastle and it was a joy to see the growth in size and overall influence of the church.

Newcastle people are by nature warm and welcoming and this is very much reflected in the style and the atmosphere of the church.  The worship was led by accomplished musician and song-writer, Sarah White.  I thoroughly enjoyed my most  recent visit to this great Fellowship.

New Wine Conference

'New Wine' is  a group of mainly Anglican Charismatic churches and it was pleasure to participate as a speaker in their recent Conference held in Ealing, London.  The two venues used were the local Anglican church, St Pauls, led by Mark Melluish and Ealing Christian Centre (Elim) which is just a few hundred yards away.  

It was also good to share fellowship with Mark Bailey, another New Wine coordinator, who is senior minister of Trinity Cheltenham - the second largest Anglican Church in the UK after Holy Trinity Brompton.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Leicester Elim

It had been forty years since I had last preached at Leicester Elim and I was told by some members who could still remember the visit that I brought with me a worship leader in his late teens who they described as 'Noel Richards' before he was Noel Richards.  I knew what they meant as the young man who accompanied me was later to become one of the best known Christian singer song-writers in the country.

The church now was in a totally different venue since those days and their relatively new pastor Ian Nicholson, pictured here with his wife Liz, is already having a very positive effect on this fine congregation.  Ian has a faithful track record in our Movement and is a wise leader with a great pastoral heart.  Thank you Leicester for your warm welcome.  I very much enjoyed my time with you.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Ambilly & Thonon

I can remember the earliest days in which Luke and Rachel Favre pioneered a church in Thonon, France. 

During my five visits overt the years I have witnessed its growth and development as they have worked sacrificially to make the dream a reality.

In my latest visit I ministered at the church on Friday and Saturday night and on Sunday morning.

On the Saturday morning I spoke at a men's breakfast meeting at a second church that Luke now leads - over the border in Ambilly, Switzerland - a congregation that Rachel's father pioneered twenty five years ago.

It was a joy to spend time with such exemplary young leaders.

OneChurch, Gloucester

The majority of my weekend speaking engagements revolve around the invitations that I receive from within our own Movement.

A recent exception to that was my visit to One Church, a dynamic and growing congregation pastored by Simon Jarvis (pictured here with his wife Ally and children Jack and Abigail.)

OneChurch is part of Elim's sister fellowship, the Assemblies of God, and over the past few years I have had an ongoing connection with it.
When Simon Jarvis took over the senior leadership it had already been an established Pentecostal Church for many years and numbered around 150 people.  Today the congregation is around four times that size with two morning services to accommodate the increasing numbers.  While there are no sure-fire 'secrets of success' for any church, one of the hallmarks of OneChurch is the vibrancy of its meetings, the culture of 'team' and affirmation within in the church and its prioritising engagement and commitment to the City itself.