The church, originally called the Gospel Union Mission Church, has been a presence in Glossop since 1882 and has been in its current building since 1888. It was founded by Richard Howton [1855-1927] a former prize fighter who came to faith in Jesus.
Richard was born in Clowne, Derbyshire, moved to Barlborough, Nottinghamshire, in 1861 with his father and siblings. He married Charlotte Renshaw in 30th August 1881 in Staveley, Derbyshire at St John the Baptist Parish Church.
The church has roots in a theology of healing and of suffering. The conviction that God both heals people today, but also that He does not heal everybody this side of eternity. Instead, He chooses to redeem our suffering by making it purposeful and fruitful in our lives (Romans 5:3-5 | Romans 8:28-30).
Here is a quote from the Elim Evangel (Elim’s magazine) from 15th March 1928 about Church founder Richard Howton:
“He once healed a woman who had a very large tumour growing out the side of her face. The doctors said operating might leave her worse than before. He read to her James 5:14 and then asked her if she had any oil at home. She had some sewing machine oil somewhere. He said, “I suppose that will do,” He prayed for her, anointed her with oil and in about 5 hours the tumour reduced to a small swelling and in 4 days it was entirely gone….
Mr Howton was asked by a minister one day, “Do you heal all the people that come to you?” He replied by asking another question, “Do you get all the people to whom you preach converted?”
His simple yet profound approach, was rooted in a deep trust of God. To trust that sometimes God chooses to heal us and sometimes He doesn’t was central to the early ministry of ECC Glossop and was embodied in her founder Richard Howton. He was a man who prayed with shameless audacity yet restful submissiveness to the will of God.
A relationship began to build between Elim and the Glossop church in the late 1920s/early 1930s and the movement was asked to assist the church, with various ministers coming to lend support. In September 1931 George Jeffreys, one of Elim’s founders (find out more about Elim here), held a convention in Glossop called the “Revival and Healing campaign” with his evangelistic band. The church in Glossop was filled to such an extent that Sunday evening meetings were held in the Empire Theatre.
In November 1931 Pastor Coffin was inducted as the first Elim minister to lead the church, while the church was finally fully integrated into the Elim Four Square Gospel Alliance in 1932. Upon joining the alliance, Elim took on the oversight of the church and also ‘Beth Rapha’ (meaning house of health) which is described in the Elim Evangel as the “famous home of healing”.
A quote from the Elim Evangel from the induction says this, “The prayers of years have been answered in the heaven sent revival. Elim now takes over the Church and Beth Rapha, the famous home of healing. What a joy to look into the faces of the older Christians who have laboured for years in prayer for this revival. There seems it have been rejuvenated, their eyes gleam with delight as they looked upon the answer to prayer and the fruits of their labour. The Glossop people will never forget the visitation of this heaven sent revival.”
During the war years, Elim HQ was brought up to Glossop and stayed for some time until it was deemed safe to return to London. With men at war, various students helped with the pastoral care.
Since then a number of ministers have been involved in the leadership of the church, notably in recent times, Reverend John Hollick oversaw a time of resurgence and renewal in the life of the church from 1984-1991; while Alistair Cole, the leader of Elim’s national prayer ministry, was one of, if not the longest serving minister of Elim Christian Centre Glossop being inducted in 1993 and retiring in April 2019.
We believe the Bible, as originally given, to be without error, the fully inspired and infallible Word of God and the supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
We believe that the Godhead exists co-equally and co-eternally in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and that these three are one God, sovereign in creation, providence and redemption.
We believe in the true and proper deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His real and complete humanity, in His sinless life, in His authoritative teaching, in His substitutionary and atoning sacrifice through His blood shed, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, in His heavenly intercession and His second advent to receive His Church.
We believe in the deity of the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son and the necessity of His work in conviction of sin, repentance, regeneration and sanctification, and that the believer is also promised an enduement of power as the gift of Christ through the baptism in the Holy Spirit with signs following. Through this enduement, the believer is empowered for fuller participation in the ministry of the Church, its worship, evangelism and service.
We believe in the universal sinfulness of all men since the Fall, rendering man subject to God’s wrath and condemnation.
We believe in the necessity for salvation of repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by which the sinner is pardoned and accepted as righteous in God’s sight. This justification is imputed by the grace of God because of the atoning work of Christ, is received by faith alone and is evidenced by the Fruit of the Spirit and a holy life.
We believe in the spiritual unity and the priesthood of all believers in Christ and that these comprise the universal Church, the Body of Christ.
We believe in the ministries that Christ has set in His Church, namely, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers and in the present operation of the manifold Gifts of the Holy Spirit according to the New Testament.
We believe in the baptism of believers in water in obedience to the command of Christ and the commemoration of Christ’s death by the observance of the Lord’s Supper until His return.
We believe that the Gospel embraces the needs of the whole man and that the Church is therefore commissioned to preach the Gospel to the world and to fulfil a ministry of healing and deliverance to the spiritual and physical needs of mankind.
We believe in the personal, physical and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to reign in power and glory.
We believe in the resurrection of the dead and in the final judgement of the world, the eternal conscious bliss of the righteous and the eternal conscious punishment of the wicked.