The large double-sided placard, at over 2.5 meters high, formed of an oak carcass and pole, with hand pasted and painted black script to both sides on thick parchment paper reading “Special Gospel Meetings Elim Hall, Preacher Mr. W. Hagan” and “God’s Interest in & Concern for You will be the Subject Matter of an Address in Elim Hall Tonight”, each side with a ruby red border and surviving from the second quarter of twentieth century Britain.
There are expected losses and a wonderful aged patina to the thick archive paper as photographed, with the losses being predominantly one side, therefore showing the former pasted advert below. The oak remains fully in-tact and proves tactile. It could be lent in a corner or wall mounted, or even hung from the ceiling.
This sign would have been displayed in either Aberdeen or Kilmarnock which both have Elim Halls and used purely as a one off for that particular evening, on the streets of either City. Elim’s birth itself was in 1915. It could hardly have been a less promising time as the nation was feeling the full horrors of the First World War. In Monaghan, Ireland, a small group of young men had invited welsh evangelist George Jeffreys to hold some meetings. Their fervour and faith drew him and, on 7 January 1915, in the Temperance Hall the Elim Evangelistic Band was formed to spread the Christian gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit to Ireland and beyond.
It had not been easy for these early Elim pioneers. At first they had been moved by their experience of the gospel message and the power of the Holy Spirit. They had launched out with confidence that God would equip them at every stage. Yet they had faced much opposition, not least from liberal churches and fellow Christians who were hostile to the Pentecostal message and experience. Yet, they had see God move in them and through them to the point where there were new Elim churches across the nation. From 1926, Jeffreys and his evangelistic team accelerated their efforts to reach the towns and cities of Britain. Typically they went into a city with little or no advertising and met in a church building or hired public hall. As the meetings progressed people would begin to accept Christ and there would often be a dramatic healing, news would spread fast around the area, numbers would increase and they would move from hall to hall to accommodate the huge crowds. Often the meetings would make the local and even the national papers. In Plymouth, Hull, Southampton, Carlisle, Glasgow, Dundee, Leeds and scores of other centres, thousands upon thousands turned to Christ and strong Elim churches were left behind.
In Birmingham in 1930 the Elim team opened meetings in a church off the city centre with just a handful of people. Yet within weeks they were filling the celebrated Town Hall. Eventually, they would pack the vast Bingley Halls and leave over 10,000 converts.
At the beginning of January 1949, a preacher named T. W. Ball came to Ballywillwill in Ireland for a series of gospel meetings which lasted about fourteen weeks. A large number professed faith in Christ and quite a few were added to the assembly at that time. Some of the other preachers who helped included Mr. W. Hagan, featured on this sign, who preached at Annsborough in 1954.
Not just a unique and fantastically decorative element but a rare historical survivor; Hallelujah!