History of Elim Community Church

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Elim in Carlisle - a look at the past...

Elim in Carlisle - a look at the past...

1926 In December, Principal George Jeffreys commenced an evangelistic crusade in the city.

1927 In April, the newly formed Elim Pentecostal Church moved into it's first building in West Walls.

1939 A disagreement occurred between George Jeffreys and the other Leaders of the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance, resulting in him leaving Elim and forming the Bible Pattern group of Churches. Few of these remain today, and most have become part of the Elim Movement again. In Carlisle, the Church split, resulting in part of the congregation leaving West Walls and forming their own Church, which they called "Elim Free Church", which still meets in Edward Street.

1979 The Elim Church left West Walls, (the old building has since been demolished) and moved into the old Anglican building known as St Paul's, where it has remained.

1994 The Church entered a time of spiritual blessing, as the Holy Spirit began to minister in a powerful way in the meetings. Many received a real touch from God in this move of the Spirit that was elsewhere referred to as the "Toronto Blessing." Alan Meyer came to Carlisle as the new Senior Pastor, with his wife Gail, and their two children.

1996 This was a momentous year for the Church. In September, the Elders went to their first Cell Church Conference to investigate whether or not we should lead the Church in this direction. The first Cells (Community Groups) were formed the following year.

1997 Major alterations to the Church premises began, which started with the development of the new kitchen and coffee shop area. Over the next three years the main hall was also renovated with a new heating system and leveled floor & foyer area. In the September our first 3 Community Groups were formed. The Church offices moved out of St Paul's and into 39 Lonsdale Street, which had been bought some years earlier.

1999 Ian Dunphy and his wife Katrina joined the staff. Ian's role gradually developed from Assistant Minister, and he become the Associate Minister upon his ordination, taking responsibility for the Morton Congregation, which was planted from St Paul's in 2001.

2000 As a result of a prolonged period of prayer and discussion among the Pastors, Elders and Deacons, there was a growing conviction that we should expand our ministry through a renewed emphasis on planting further Community Groups on a geographical basis, and grouping them into separate congregations. Previously we existed as a single congregation, St Paul’s Church, and had been very focussed on evangelism through our Community Groups which had become the main thrust of our ministry over the previous 5 years. There was a clear consensus among the Leaders, confirmed from prophetic words that had been given to the Church over the previous 12 years, that we should reach out into the wider community through planting new congregations.

2001 The name of the Church was changed from "St Paul's Elim Pentecostal Church" to "Elim Community Church, Carlisle." This became the overall name of the Church as a result of planting our second congregation in the Morton area of the city. The two congregations are referred to as "St. Paul's" & "Morton Community Church" respectively.

Jean Ranson, who was already involved in children's ministry in the Church, joined the staff in September, to develop her new role as Children's Minister, taking responsibility for the coordination and development of our children and youth work up to age 14.

A new Community Groups was also commenced to the East of Carlisle, which has since multiplied, to give a basis for our next congregation, which is planned for Brampton in the next few years.

2002 "The Hub" was purchased for our developing Youth work. Fiona Meyer joined the staff as our student Youth Worker, and the offices were re-located from 39, Lonsdale Street, which was sold, to 14 Spencer Street, above "The Hub".

2003 David Whiffen joined the ministry team and although he later stepped down from vocational ministry, he and Ruth have continued as leaders in the church, initially in Morton and later in St Paul’s.

2004 Fiona Meyer completed her degree and took up an appointment as Senior Youth Worker in Brampton while remaining as a volunteer in the church youth work. Rachel Stevens took over as Church Youth Worker.

2005 was a momentous year in the development of the church’s missionary involvement. Alan took an 8 week sabbatical in the Philippines resulting in an ongoing relational link with the Miracle Revival churches of the Philippines (MRCP). The Carlisle church has since had a significant role in the development of the Inter-Tribal Missions Centre in Dupax del Norte. Ian Dunphy, who led the church while Alan was in the Philippines, moved with Katrina to Stafford to lead the church there.  Soon afterwards the Morton Fellowship integrated back into the main fellowship meeting at St Paul's.

2006 Following a year of prayer and planning, we entered into a partnership with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to provide a free debt counselling service in Carlisle. Paul and Joanna Arthur briefly joined the staff for a period of training before returning to their home church in Crawley as part of the ministry team.

2007 A team of 6 people went with Alan to Manila and Oyao in the Philippines for the opening of the Inter-Tribal Missions Centre and to strengthen links with MRCP. Ruth Whiffen was appointed as Alan’s PA and has continued to organise him ever since!!!

2008 saw the involvement of Gary and Sonya Redfern Price as Assistant Ministers responsible for our youth work as Rachel McDonough (formerly Stevens) stepped down from the ministry team in preparation for her move to Paraguay.

2009 was a further development of our missionary work as we released John & Rachel McDonough to serve the Lord for 9 months in Paraguay before returning home on furlough just before Christmas. Early in the year Alan went on a third missionary trip to the Philippines with 2 other Elim ministers and saw the establishment of new churches in the Sierra Madre region. Gary & Sonya moved on and 2 new staff members were appointed in the summer. Peter Wright, who had visited the Philippines with Alan earlier in the year, and just been ordained at the Elim Conference, became the new Associate Pastor. Jill Wheatley took over the management of our CAP Centre later in the year. This was also a year when our vision was reviewed and further developed to give us a renewed sense of direction for the next 5 years.

2010 John & Rachel McDonough returned early in the year to South America to develop youth work with the Elim churches in Honduras. The early part of this year saw a number of babies born to members of the church in addition to those born in 2009 to further lower the average age of the congregation! We really have become a church where every generation is well represented from 0 to 90! Zoe Lebourgeois stepped down from being an elder in July as she, Fabien and the children relocated to Lolif in France at the end of July. 

In 2011 we re-structured our cell groups and made them connect groups in order to re-emphasize our vision and values as a church. In addition, the congregation were encouraged to form ‘TiE groups – groups of 2 or 3 people meeting for prayer and to hold each other accountable. 

Lewis Powell was appointed as an Elder at the Annual Fellowship meeting in 2012 and ‘Sunday Night Live’ was launched in May of the same year, in Starbucks, Scotch Street. Along with our regular Connect Group social and outreach activites, this proved to be very popular with many who are not involved directly in the worship of the church and we plan to develop and review these activities in the near future.

In the period 2012 - 2014 we have continued to develop our cell groups and our partnership with CAP.  In 2014 we developed our CAP Release groups and CAP drop-in centre to work alongside the existing debt centre and money course activities.  Also preparations were made to open the CAP Job Club which commenced early 2015.

September 2014 also saw the start of the 'Discovery Group' led by Peter & Julie Wright, which aims to build relationships with students who come to study in Carlisle alongside our own 16 - 25 year olds.

2015 In February our monthly Prayer & Praise meetings commenced as we sought to increase prayer within the church.  A number of prophetic words were also received regarding how God wants to take our church forward. In May we had a church weekend at Ratlingate Scout Camp which was very much enjoyed by all who were there. Alan Meyer also became a Debt Coach alongside Jill as the Debt Centre continued to develop and expand.  A number of people went on short term missions to the Philippines and Africa and we continued to work in partnership with the Living Epistle Christian Family Church in Quezon City in the Philippines.  In September we had a mission weekend with Gary Gibbs and saw a number of people give their lives to Christ as well as some being healed.  A number attended a Celebration in Glasgow in October to celebrate Elim's Centenary.

2016 At the Annual Fellowship Meeting in January, Claire Wamsley was appointed as an Elder and the new church vision was launched. New Cell Groups were also formed and a slightly new structure was introduced, which included 5 weeks of training a couple of times a year to equip the church for effective service and encourage the ongoing growth of disciples. We also saw the return of Watoto Children's choir who performed both in the church and in 2 local schools.

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Telephone: 01228 523991



Offices: 14 Spencer Street, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA1 1BG

Church: St Paul's Church, St Paul's Square, Carlisle (Postcode for SatNav CA1 1AE)