Monday, November 24, 2014

Bakewell, Elim

It only seems a short time ago that I was present for the opening of the fine new building in Asbourne but since that time not only has the church doubled under the leadership of Ben Brown and his team but they have planted out into the pictureque town of Bakewell around twenty miles away.

It was my privilege to be present at the opening of the church.  Though the town is nationally known for its famous Bakewell pudding, the building that now carries the Elim logo is an old chocolate factory.  The small building was full for the first official service with local people and visitors alike sensing that this was the beginning of great things.  Well done Ben and Esther (pictured here with their children) and all involved, for being among the many in our Movement who are rising to the challenge of the 'Big Centenary Ask'' by planting out beyond the boundaries of their locality into the surrounding areas.

Nantwich Elim

When our Bible College moved from Nantwich it had an understandable numerical effect upon the local church as students and faculty no longer attended.  However there has been a dramatic turnround under the leadership of Michelle Nunn who has seen the congregation double in the period of less than four years in which she has been the senior minister. 

Prior to the Sunday service I was taken on a tour of the church and conference centre and it was clear that a massive effort has been made by volunteers to create the improved facilities that now exist on the site.  There was a great sense of appreciation for what Michelle, her husband Brendan (pictured here with their son Dominic) and the team, had accomplished and having been there I have to concur that the best days of the Nantwich are yet to come.

Friday, November 21, 2014

National Leadership Team

This diary page usually relates to only the preaching engagements that I have around the country. It does not cover the remainder of my diary throughout the week.

One of the most valuable inclusions in my calendar is the time I spend with the National Leadership Team - the group of leaders selected by our Conference to give leadership and direction to our Movement throughout the year.

Our meetings take place over three days five times a year.  One of the greatest joys in my role as General Superintendent is the privilege of spending time with people of such high calibre who, apart from being colleagues, have also become close personal friends.  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Elim France

Having spoken in Edinburgh on the Sunday morning (see earlier post) I then flew direct to Paris for the Elim France leaders Conference.

Our churches there are led by an amazing couple - David and Christine Thabot.

I know of no people who have shown more tenacity than they have over the years as they, and the churches that they lead, struggle against the oppressive secular and Islamic opposition that exists in that country against evangelicals.

I spoke at five sessions over the two days.  Elim does not have a strong presence in France but it was a delight to spend time with our leaders and their spouses while I was there.

Edinburgh Elim

Gordon and Heather Allan hale originally from Greenock and ministered latterly in Clydebank.  A little under two tears ago they moved to Edinburgh.  It was great to be with them.

On entering the church one is immediately impressed by the fact that, though it is a traditional church building, it has been sensitively restored and the entrance hall is high-tech with video screens and first class contemporary graphics and branding.

After a meal with the local leadership on the Saturday afternoon I spoke at the church service in the evening and then on the next day on Sunday morning service.  There are usually excellent worship bands in all our churches but I considered Edinburgh to be exceptional.

Rotherham Elim

It was good to be with Paul and Caroline Folland and everyone at Elim Rotherham and witness the development of the church since I was last there.

One of the things I enjoy about my visits to churches as I travel is to hear  the stories and testimonies of members of the congregation who I try and spend as much time as possible with after the service has concluded.  These include those who have served faithfully for many years as well as those who have recently come to faith.

I was surprised on this occasion to meet a wonderful 94 year old man who, when he was a small boy, knew my great grandfather.  How many memories and experiences are contained in every one of our churches.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Scottish Regional Retreat

Elim in Scotland has never been in  better shape than it is at the moment.  This was the clear conclusion that we came to as Marilyn and I attended and spoke at the retreat for pastors and spouses organised by Kevin and Margaret Peat and listened to the testimonies of all the good things that are taking place.  It was good too to hear of the faith-fuelled plans for the centenary celebrations in 2015

Sixteen years of our ministry was spent in Scotland - a period in which we made many friends among leaders and members alike.  One of the exciting things that are evident is not just an awareness of those who have served in Scotland for many years but the new and emerging younger leaders who are set to carry the baton into the future.  Thank you Kevin and Margaret for creating the climate for growth and thanks too to everyone in leadership for your dedication to the harvest into which you continue to sow.