history of the church
“The nineteenth century came to an end with many Christians around the world crying out to God for revival. Taking seriously the verse from Joel 2:28 where God declares he will pour out His spirit on all people, growing numbers of believers became convinced that unless God was to empower the church with the Holy Spirit as at the dawn of the church in the book of Acts, they could not reach the world for Christ. They needed and cried out for another Pentecost.”
Taken from ‘Defining Moments – 100 years of the Elim Pentecostal Church’
Three significant events took place at the turn of the 19th century that signalled that a new Pentecost had indeed come:
In January 1901, after earnestly and diligently seeking God in prayer, twelve students at a Bible School in Kansas, USA, began to speak in ‘tongues’.
The Welsh Revivals of 1904 and 1905 saw many become Christians with the baptism of the Holy Spirit emphasised and many gifts of the Spirit evidenced.
Across the Atlantic at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, 1906, revival was also happening with many testimonies of miraculous healings.
Welsh evangelist, George Jeffreys was invited to Monaghan, Ireland in 1915 to hold a series of meetings sharing the ‘full gospel’ – including baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Elim Evangelistic Band was formed, not to start a denomination but with the aim of travelling across Ireland and eventually the UK holding evangelistic outreach meetings. As people came to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and experienced the power and presence of the Holy Spirit they were often not welcome in other more conservative churches. As a result the Elim Evangelistic Band began to pioneer new churches and thus the Elim movement began.
The name 'Elim' is taken from the name of the place recorded in the bible (Exodus 15:27) where the Israelites set up camp when they were in the wilderness. Specifically, Elim was an oasis - a place of refreshing from the harsh environment of the desert.
JEFFREYS VISITS BATH
Led by Rev. W.G. Channon and meeting in the Assembly Rooms, Bath Elim church was birthed as a direct result of the visit of George Jeffrey’s.
‘Pastor William George Channon, who is in charge of the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, native of Plymouth, he has long been associated with Pastor Jeffreys in his various campaigns about the country. Nine months ago he came to Bath and took up the work Pastor Jeffreys had started. Hitherto the meetings have been held at the Assembly Rooms, where the card-room is filled on Sunday nights and three-parts filled on Tuesdays and Thursdays.’
Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, 15th June 1929
FIRST BAPTISM SERVICE BY FULL IMMERSION
‘There was an unique scene for Bath at the Cleveland open-air baths on Sunday afternoon. The central figure was Pastor W. L. Taylor, the Elim Foursquare minister, in clerical dress, standing waist-deep in the water. He baptised, by total immersion, three dozen Bathonians.’
Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, 2nd August 1930
DOLEMEADS MISSION HALL IS PURCHASED
After gathering in the Assembly Rooms and then the Old Post Office building there was much delight when the church was able to buy a place to call ‘home’. Although Dolemeads Misson Hall had been extensively damaged in the Blitz during World War 2, the War Damage Commission had repaired the building and offered it to the Bath Elim Tabernacle (as it was then known) for £432.
PURCHASE PERCY CHAPEL
With the Dolemead Mission Hall too small for the growing congregation, Percy Chapel was purchased. Percy Chapel, originally a non-conformist Chapel built for Percy Congregational Church, had lain empty for 7 years after it’s congregation had amalgamated with Argyle Chapel.
This gives a simple snapshot of the life of Bath Elim Church.
However Bath Elim Church since its birth in 1928 has been about loving God and loving people. It has been about seeing ordinary people’s lives transformed by an extraordinary God who made a way for us to be reconciled to him through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus.