George Jeffreys at the Boxing Stadium, Liverpool
George Jeffreys was born in Maestag in the Welsh Valleys in 1889, the sixth of eight sons. Four of his brothers, one sister and his father died at a young age and he himself suffered from poor health, as well as a speech impediment and showed the beginnings of facial paralysis. It was in November 1904 that he and his brothers Stephen and William were converted at the height of the Welsh revival. They very soon afterwards gave themselves to open air witnessing in the streets of the Welsh villages.
Following on from this the emerging Pentecostal movement swept across the UK. George at first spoke out against this, but when he saw the positive effect that it had on his nephew Edward, he became more open and then fully embraced it. He later testified to a personal healing from his facial paralysis and speech impediment. In 1912 he went to Bible College, but was there for three months only when his brother Stephen called for him to help him in a mission near Swansea where many people were being converted. The meetings lasted several weeks and following on from that invitations flooded in for the brothers to minister across Wales. When George was invited to preach at the Sunderland Convention in 1913 he saw great blessing and was invited to minister in Northern Ireland. It was here that the Elim Evangelistic Church was birthed and George subsequently embarked on an evangelistic ministry that would occupy the rest of his life. The years between 1925 and 1934 were particularly productive and he saw a great harvest as he took crusades throughout the UK, filling to capacity auditoriums in every town were he preached. It was in 1925 that he arrived for his first crusade in Liverpool.
The first crusade
The crusade commenced on Sunday 14th March 1926 at the newly established Elim church in Windsor Street, Liverpool. Very soon God's blessing began to fall on the services and in the Elim Evangel dated 1st April 1926 it carried the following report:
"Revival Fires are burning in Liverpool. Although the campaign only started on Sunday 14th March, by the middle of the week the church was packed out. Hundreds have been saved and there have been many remarkable healings."
It was not long before the secular press began to report what was happening in these meetings, including the Yorkshire Observer, which referred to "the extraordinary scenes being reported at a disused Liverpool Chapel." The Daily Despatch of 18th March carried the following report:
"Remarkable scenes of religious fervour are being witnessed at the little chapel in Windsor Street. Several remarkable 'cures' have been claimed by sick and maimed people who have been anointed with oil during the campaign. Several of the patients whom the pastor described as being under the power of God, swooned and lay trembling for some moments."
The Daily Despatch went on to list some of the healings that had already taken place including a five year old girl suffering from Infantile Paralysis, a woman healed of deafness, a man from heart disease, and two people from paralysis. On the following day (19th March), five days after the commencement, the Daily Despatch carried the following report:
"Hundreds of people had to be turned away from yesterday's services. Queues began to assemble outside the chapel two hours before the meeting commenced. As soon as the doors were open crowds began to clamour for admission, choking the aisles and every available inch of space. A crowd just as large could not gain admission and had to remain outside, while a few yards along the street other evangelists conducted open-air services until long after ten o'clock. So great was the pressure inside that the pastor was unable to anoint any of the people with oil and the service was terminated prematurely. Nevertheless a number of people testified to healing including a woman who had been dumb for many years, and two women healed of deafness."
In the Elim Evangel dated 1st May 1926 the following report was given of a Children's Healing Service held which I presume from the context must have occurred at Windsor Street:
"'Come to me, darling, it's now time to get ready for the children's diving healing service. Cheer up, my sweetheart. There will be no more sleepless nights, no more will your little body be racked by pain; Jesus is going to hear and answer prayer, and you will return from the meeting healed.' And so from all parts of the great city of Liverpool comes a stream of little children, carried by loving mothers and friends - some wheeled in carriages, some brought in motorcars.
Here they come! Every little child has been told they are coming to Jesus. The hall is packed - pews and aisles. What a sight. Tears begin to flow down the cheeks of those on the platform as they look into the little, pale, sad, upturned faces, but faces full of expectancy."
After singing a well known children's hymn and George Jeffreys had spoken to the children and had given an alter call, it continued:
"The children come and file past. Each one is anointed and prayed for, according to James v 14 and the Lord works. Leg steels and braces are taken off. Glasses are dispensed with. Cries come from the lips of mothers, 'Oh, my little girl can walk' - 'Darling, can you really see?' - 'My precious one, you can hear me speak for the first time' - 'Oh, this is wonderful'. And so the place resounds with shouts of joy, hands are clapped with delight. Hallelujahs come from hearts and lips. Surely the scriptures are being enacted again - 'And they brought young children to Him that He should touch them' - and, bless Him He did'. "
The Boxing Stadium
It was not long before it was realised that the church building was far too small to hold the crowds that were wishing to come to the meetings, with many being unable to gain admittance. A step of faith was, therefore, taken to hire the 5000 seater Boxing Stadium for five days from Wednesday 24th March to Sunday 28th March. This step of faith was amply rewarded, because as can be seen from the above photo taken from one of the services, the Stadium was well filled. The Elim Evangel of 15th April 1926 carried the following report:
"The City of Liverpool has been powerfully moved by the wonderful Revival Campaign at Windsor Street Chapel, and the large Boxing Stadium. Beginning with a comparatively small congregation of a few dozen the numbers grew rapidly to hundreds and then thousands. True revival fervour was in evidence, with hundreds of souls, over 800 in all were saved, with numbers of sick bodies healed."
Both the Daily Despatch and the Daily Post & Mercury, respectively, carried reports of the Boxing Stadium Services, as follows:
"Using the roped enclosure of the Boxing Stadium as his pulpit Pastor George Jeffreys, whose Revival and Healing Campaign has been attracting immense crowds at Liverpool recently, conducted two immense services in the Boxing Stadium yesterday. The evening service was attended by close on 3000 people and the same enthusiasm which marked the services in the small chapel in Windsor Street where many remarkable 'cures' have been claimed was manifested last night. Over 100 men, women and children spoke of their individual 'cures'." (Daily Despatch).
"Last night the campaign closed to the singing of many hymns by a very large congregation, who sometimes waved their hymn papers in the air as they sang, so that the Stadium looked like a place where a distinguished visitor was being greeted by a waving of flags. Those who later came forward to testify that they had benefited from the healing service included:
These testimonies were punctuated with cries of 'Allelujah' from the audience." (Daily Post & Mercury).
The departure scene of the Pastor from Liverpool was quite moving and numbers turned out to wish him God-speed. One young man gave his heart to the Lord and many shed tears freely as they said goodbye to the man that, in God's hands had touched a tender chord in their heart, had won them for the Master, had healed their sick bodies and had restored many a backslider to the Lord and had brought happiness into the lives and homes of so many (Elim Evangel 15/4/26).
The effect of this crusade was an enduring one as will be seen from the following report from the Elim Church three months later:
"The work is steadily progressing in Liverpool. Hundreds of those who have been delivered from the chain of darkness are rejoicing in the Lord and drinking in the Word of life. Souls are being added almost daily to this living Church, where instead of darkness and gloom, the True Light now shineth, and the high praises of God are heard. Many burdened ones are still able to find relief to their burdened souls and diseased bodies. Among those who have recently felt the touch of the nail pierced hand, is a little boy who was going to have an operation on his knee. After being prayed for in the Name of Jesus, he needed no operation, and is now able to walk, the splints being removed. Others having rheumatism, heart trouble, growth, etc, have been instantly delivered, are now enjoying liberty in soul and body, having proved the faithfulness of God to His Word. To God be the praise." (Elim Evangel 1/7/26)
The Everton Crusade
Liverpool was very much blessed by having a return visit of George Jeffreys in July 1926. This time a large tent was erected in Lower Breck Road in Everton. It was not long before the tent was packed with crowds of people unable to gain admittance and it was therefore necessary for the sides of the tent to be lifted to enable those outside to take part in the service. The people of the neighbourhood were drawn by the enthusiastic singing of the congregation and many passers-by stopped to listen to the burst of praise coming from the tent. The following photos gives an idea of how well attended the meetings where.
An afternoon service at the tent showing the crowds on one side
Inside the tent
The crusade commenced on Wednesday 14th July 1926 and was scheduled to last for a week. At one of the first meetings there was a time of testimony at which many people told of how they were healed and blessed during the previous crusade. On the Friday 16th July the Liverpool Post and Mercury carried the following report:
"Considerable enthusiasm prevails in the neighbourhood of Lower Breck Road, where Pastor Jeffreys is conducting a revival and healing campaign, which commenced on Wednesday, and is to continue for seven days. The tent in which the meetings are held has a seating capacity for something like 1,000, and is fully occupied, while hundreds unable to get in take part in the singing and can both see and hear the speaker. Invalids in bathchairs are placed where they can hear what is going on. Speaking yesterday of his own personal experience, Pastor Jeffreys said he was never expected to live when in his teens, but came in touch with the Divine, and had been so ever since. Remarkable scenes were witnessed when several who desired prayer fell prostate the moment Pastor Jeffreys laid his hands upon them. Mrs Matthews, suffering from neuritis and rheumatism, declared she was healed, and Miss Gee said she was cured of swollen feet and ankles. Both were at last night's meeting, and appeared remarkably well. Among those who were healed in the earlier part of the year were Miss Phyllis Law, who had suffered from paralysis, Mrs Parry, and Eva Kidd, aged seven all of who expressed gratitude for restoration to health. Mrs Parry claims that her sight was restored after having to be led about for twelve years."
The following is an account of the crusade meetings taken from the Elim Evangel dated 16th August 1926. It occupied the front page with the heading 'Soul Stirring Scenes of Revival & Healing.'
"Faithful prayer warriors for weeks past had been pulling the bell ropes of Heaven, and when Pastor Jeffreys arrived, faces were upturned in expectation for the answer - and down it came. Everton was hit by a revival of soul saving and healing power. From the first meeting the atmosphere was charged, and one would not have been surprised at anything happening. The large tent was packed each meeting and the sides had to be lowered to let the outside congregation take part in the service. How the people sang. At the close of each meeting hands were raised all over the tent, as well as outside by those who were receiving Jesus as their Saviour. During the meetings people were weeping, laughing, praying and praising God as they witnessed the Lord Jesus destroying the work of the devil. People were being healed of a huge number of ailments including blindness, deafness, double rupture, high blood pressure, diabetes, skin disease, ulcers, bladder trouble, kidney disease, liver trouble, and hip joint disease. The enthusiastic send off on the closing night will never be forgotten. Outside the tent as the Pastor and workers endeavoured and struggled to get to the waiting car, the crowd swayed to and fro like the billows of an ocean and it was a strange scene that was witnessed as the police took control."
It appears that this crusade must have been extended because in the same edition of the Elim Evangel there was a report of a dedication service for another church in Coulsdon at which Pastor Jeffreys was to have been present but it stated that he had been detained 'at the Liverpool revival.'
The church in Windsor Street continued in much blessing after that, with numbers of people being saved and healed; with remarkable testimonies of people being healed of blindness, neuritis, skin disease and a tumour. Thirty-six people were baptised in one meeting the following month and a further 40 people after that. God's blessing continued in that church with a report of 34 people being baptised a year later.
The church building in Windsor Street is no longer there but the Elim movement is today still strong in Merseyside with several churches on both sides of the water.
Instantly healed of growth in throat -
at the opening of Liverpool Tabernacle
The following testimony appeared in a book entitled "In defence of His Word" published by Elim Publishing Company in 1932 by R E Darragh, described as "being of a number of selected testimonies of dire suffering healed by the power of Christ, under the ministry of Principal George Jeffreys."
"When Principal George Jeffreys conducted the opening services at the Elim Tabernacle, Liverpool, I was prayed for and anointed with oil, and was miraculously and instantaneously healed of a growth in the throat. To the Saviour, Healer, Baptiser, and Coming King of kings be all the glory and praise."