Beginning in Wales

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Welsh Revival swept across Wales in 1904 and 1905, profoundly changing the culture of chapels and churches while directly impacting the wider society.

Within six months of the outbreak of revival on 31 October 1904 in the community of Loughor, near Swansea, more than 100,000 decisions to follow Christ had been recorded in Wales.

The stories of these dramatic changed lives and communities travelled around the world. Among them were two brothers, Stephen and George Jeffreys from Maesteg, just a short distance from Bridgend in South Wales.

Stephen was a miner in the local pit, and one Sunday, while at Shiloh Chapel in November, he decided to follow Christ along with his 15-year-old younger brother George. Immediately, the brothers launched themselves into helping the work of the chapel and growing in their newfound faith.


George Jeffreys

An awakening

As the Welsh Revival drew to an end, thousands of miles away, a new movement centred on the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles was just beginning. Soon the news spread of a fresh Holy Spirit outpouring with many Christian receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Shortly the Pentecostal experience and 'the full gospel message' was being proclaimed all over the world.

When the Pentecostal message and manifestations first came to Wales, George and Stephen were initially sceptical. Yet in the summer of 1910, Stephen's son Edward returned from holiday having 'received a definite baptism of the Holy Spirit and begun to speak in other tongues as the Spirit.' Promptly, both George and Stephen were also baptised in the Spirit.

The calling of George Jeffreys

Though his minister had seen something of the call of God upon his life, young George Jeffreys did not seem an obvious choice for the ministry.

He suffered from poor health, and his general physical weakness was compounded by a severe stammer and facial paralysis that pulled his muscles to one side.

One Sunday morning, while he was praying, he received complete and total healing. Healed and newly filled with the Holy Spirit, George began to set his heart on following his growing sense of the call of God.

In his book Healing Rays, George Jeffreys explained:

We were kneeling in prayer one Sunday morning. It was exactly nine o'clock when the power of God came upon me, and I received such an inflow of divine life that I can only liken the experience to being charged with electricity.

It seemed as if my head were connected to a most powerful electric battery. My whole body from head to foot was quickened by the Spirit of God, and I was healed.

From that day, I have never had the least symptoms of the old trouble. Many times since then, I have relied upon the Spirit's quickening power for my body.

polhill and group 1920

Speakers at the Sunderland Convention in 1913. George Jeffreys (back row, far left), Cecil Polhill (front row standing on far left) and Alexander Boddy (standing far right)

Training at Bible School

George's Pentecostal experience closed the door to the denominational colleges for theological training, yet, with the encouragement of Cecil Polhill, he applied to the Council of the Pentecostal Missionary Union (PMU) in September 1912.

They recommended that he go to study at their Bible School in Preston, which Thomas Myerscough led. So George began his studies in November with his fees paid by the wealthy Polhill.

The PMU Bible School began to attract young men eager to take the gospel to the nations in the power of the Holy Spirit. George's classmates included William F.P. Burton, the pioneer missionary to the Congo who would pastor the Elim Mission at Lytham before setting sail for Africa.

Here he met Ernest Darragh from Bangor, County Down, who would become his closest friend for almost 40 years and Ernest John Phillips from Bedford who would work alongside him in forming and developing the Elim Movement.

The students who enrolled at the PMU Bible School had set their sights on overseas missionary work. They were heading for the nations. Yet, George believed that he received a clear sense of God's call to the United Kingdom, which to some would be a dramatic departure from the purpose and focus of his training. But for George and evangelism in the United Kingdom, it was to be a significant moment.

The Beginnings of the Elim Movement
Elim's 100-year timeline
Elim advancing today

George Jeffreys Sermonettes

Listen to these short sermonettes by George Jeffreys, the founder of Elim the Movement.

Listen to The Foursquare Gospel

Listen to A Vital Question

Listen to Lift Up Your Heads

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