Sunday, June 15, 2014

Winson Green, Elim

More times than I can recount I come away from visiting our churches thankful to God for the men and women that God has gifted to our Movement in Leadership.  My visit to Winson Green, Birmingham was one such occasion.

In the two years since James and Kasia Talbot moved there with their children Gabriela and Jonathan the congregation has grown from the 35 to well over twice that number and much progress has been made on the church building giving it a profile in the vicinity that it had never enjoyed previously

It was a pleasure to preach at such a warm and welcoming congregation and the worship was enthusiastic and powerful.  Marilyn and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Winson Green church family.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A century of service

When anyone thinks of Elim's International centre it is usually in the context of excellent facilities spread over a 32 acre site at the top of the Malvern Hills.

But what really matters in Malvern is the scores of dedicated staff who work loyally and faithfully in all the many departments - Administration, Finance, Missions, Conference Centre, College, Serious4God, Reach and Aspire.

This photo celebrates three of our staff who between them, had given a century to our Movement.

Jenny Locke (centre) has worked for us  for an incredible 40 years and Miriam Loveridge (left) and Cath Symons have served for 30 years respectively.

To make this very special occasion 25 members of staff from their immediate department gathered for a buffet lunch and each received a large bouquet of flowers and the latest edition of the iPad to mark the occasion.

I consider it an immense privilege to serve alongside staff of this calibre and our Movement could not operate without them.

Ground level

Ground Level is a network of churches led by Stuart Bell, a prominent member of what is often referred to as the New Church Movement.  He covers a number of fellowships  from the 'Humber to the Wash' and his own congregation is situated in the heart of the City of Lincoln

I was responding to an invitation to speak to the leaders in his network.  It is always a joy to minister to groups in Streams beyond the borders of own Movement and there is always strength in cross-fertilisation, mutual learning and bridge building.

Selly Oak Elim Church

There are two vibrant Elim churches within a mile of one another in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham.  The one that I was speaking on this occasion is pastored by senior minister Iain Hesketh (pictured here with his wife Rachel) and assistants  Jack and Annie who, by the time that this is published will be a newly married couple.

Marilyn and I have visited this church on several occasions during the time that Maldwyn Jones was the minister and it was great to be there on this occasion and see the continued growth of this fine church.

Iain, apart from his leadership of the local church is also active beyond its walls in a number of Regional and national initiatives.

Lakeside Elim Church

If ever there was a church that lived up to its name it is Lakeside Elim Church situated at the heart of the beautiful northwest coastal resort of Southport and on located by a lake with stunning views.  Not too many church cafes overlook a vista populated by swans.

This vision is the result of the tireless and tenacious efforts of senior minister Malcolm Hathaway (pictured here with his wife Lorna) and associate pastor Richard Vernon (pictured here with is wife George).

The former fitness complex provides some of the best facilities seen in any Elim church and incorporates two squash courts and is surrounded by a car park for 180 cars.  But of course, as great as buildings are, its the people that matter and Marilyn and I so much enjoyed our Sunday with this warm and welcoming congregation.