Story So Far
Elim had its beginnings near our church, in the town of Monaghan and grew indirectly out of the Welsh Revival at the start of the twentieth century. During that Revival, a young Welshman called George Jeffreys was converted and, shortly afterwards, experienced the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. He began to preach, at first in small places near his home and then, as his reputation grew, further and further afield. While preaching in Sunderland, he was heard by two young brothers from Belfast, George and William Gillespie. They were so impressed that, on their return home, they wrote inviting him to speak at meetings they were organising in Bangor. They thoughtfully enclosed the fare – three ten shilling notes – and George Jeffreys duly arrived in Ireland. Whilst there, he was asked to meet with a group of young men from Monaghan who shared his passion for evangelism and his belief in the power of the Holy Spirit. Those young men had a deep concern for the spiritual welfare of their native land and had been meeting to pray for revival in an old loft over the bottling store of a public house. They resolved that they would band together, under George Jeffreys’ direction, to establish a permanent evangelistic work in Ireland, and would begin by holding a Gospel mission in the town. Though no church was established in Monaghan at that time, George Jeffreys considered those meetings to be the origins of the Elim Movement.
After the Monaghan mission, the focus of the work shifted to Belfast in Hunter Street, and a congregation was formed, with George Jeffreys as pastor. In 1917, George Jeffreys was officially ordained and shortly afterwards, a church constitution was drawn up giving the newly formed fellowship the name Elim. Meanwhile, Elim was reaching into other parts of Northern Ireland. Although it had not originally been George Jeffreys’ intention to establish a denomination, the Elim Movement grew rapidly. By the close of 1920, there were over twenty churches, including those in Armagh, Ballymena, Bangor, Belfast, Cullybackey, Lurgan, Moneyslane and Portadown. In the early 1920s, the decision was made to extend across the Irish Sea to England. Now Elim has some 550 churches throughout the UK and Ireland working in over 40 nations of the world.
Portadown Elim has been at its current location in Clonavon Avenue since 1934. In the 1980’s the church grew rapidly and an extension was made to the building to accommodate those joining the church. Since then the church has continued to see steady growth. We’ve exhausted the space in Clonavon avenue and the decision was made to purchase land in the middle of Portadown on Watson street to build a new multipurpose facility (see our new home).