In a nutshell
We are a family church made up of people from different nationalities, backgrounds and cultures that has experienced substantial numerical growth in recent years.
Absolutely central to our faith and practice is the person and teachings of Jesus. We firmly believe His words were more than just another message or just another opinion but indeed the true revelation of who God is from one who has been with the Father from eternity, namely the Son of God himself. As such we have made it a personal mission to teach and preach his word passionately, faithfully and uncompromisingly, addressing issues and realities relevant to our day and age in a very practical and honest way.
Our worship is lively, contemporary and geared toward an experience of God and his presence. You will find our people to be warm and friendly, welcoming all not matter who they are, where they come from and what they may or may not have done in the past.
Since 2015, our Church has undergone a number of changes inspired by our new vision to intentionally shine with the light of Christ in the darkest corners of Blackburn and beyond, a vision that is pushing us to invest a lot more into outreach, discipleship and local transformation. Since then, we opened our first Church plant in Shadsworth.
As a Church we may have been around for almost a century, but we have only just begun.
As a church, we are part of Elim, a well established Pentecostal movement birthed during the revival of the pentecostal experience at the beginning of the century, which now counts more than 600 churches throughout the UK.
The name 'Elim' is taken from the book of Exodus (Ex. 15:27) where we read that the Israelites came to an oasis in the Sinai desert, where the weary and exhausted found refreshment. Ever since its birth Elim dedicated its life to reach out to the weary and exhausted with the refreshing of Christ, his word and his presence.
We are also part of the Evangelical Alliance, founded in 1846, the oldest alliance of Evangelical Christians in the world. The alliance is an umbrella group representing one million evangelical Christians in the UK and is made up of member churches drawn from over 30 different denominations, organisations and individuals.
The Christian Church traces its origins back to Jesus Christ's great commission to "go and make disciples of all nations". Although the particular branch of Christianity was formally formed in the early 1900s (both in the US and UK), Pentecostalism is a spiritual movement designed by God to "revive" dying and straying Churches that goes back to the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem on Pentecost day - 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus.
Pentecostalism came to Blackburn through multiple "fires." One such fire was kindled by the 1929 evangelistic campaign of Stephen Jeffries (brother of George Jeffries), who preached the gospel and healed the sick under the power and miraculous signs of the Holy Spirit. Hundreds turned to Jesus and, as a result, the "Bethel Fellowship" was formed. In the late 1930s, the Fellowship purchased a large redundant Congregational Church at the top of Montague Street for the then hefty bill of £1000 - a purchase enabled by a generous private loan which, however, was later withdrawn. Meanwhile, further down that same road, another group of Pentecostals led by Fred Whatson found their home at Zion Chapel - a smaller but still sizeable building purchased at only £450 in 1938. While looking for new premises, the Bethel Fellowship suffered a split over governance which saw the birth of two different congregations. The first moved into a hall in Randal Street, eventually joining the Apostolic Church. The second, purchased a building in Northgate, joining Elim as Elim Church Incorporated in the late 1940s under the leadership of Stanley Beresford. Thus our Church was born - the first Elim Pentecostal Church in the North of England (picture on the right).
The church was financially very poor in those days, as the state of the building suggests, but the gospel was faithfully preached, and the fellowship was rich in spiritual blessing. Although retiring from the pastorate in the early 1980s, Pastor Beresford remained a member of the church until he was called home in 2006. In 1979, due to a redevelopment of Blackburn's town centre, our congregation was vacated and offered a plot of land at its current location on Park Road. Originally, the brand new Church building stood in the heart of a sizeable housing estate but, over the years, houses were progressively replaced by retail - now known as Townsmoor and Blackburn retail parks. While losing direct access to families, our Church found itself at the very centre of Blackburn's hustle and bustle in a very prominent and visible position, catering to a now far more mobile society.
Since then, the Church has seen a roster of remarkable ministers, such as John Reeves Baker, George Wallace and Robert Clarke but it was with the latter, who took the leadership of the Church in 1997, that the church grew to the size of about 200 souls. He retired in February 2015, handing over the reins to Simon Pastorello, who joined him in October 2009. Between 2015 and 2018, the Church underwent significant structural and cultural changes for the effective promotion of the Gospel in the 21st century - including the adoption of its own charitable status and its distinct name: The Beacon. In 2018, after considerable work in the area among young people and children, the Church planted its first Church plant in the estate of Shadsworth. Then 2019 came and, with it, the Pandemic - which caused the Church to embrace online technologies that significantly boosted its reach and impact.
Despite the considerable challenges and setbacks brought by Covid19, the Church is still growing and eager to "intentionally shine with the light of Christ in the darkest corners of Blackburn and beyond."
Sources: "Fire Beneath the Clock: Weaving Pentecost into the Fabric of Lancashire Christianity" by William Counsell