The roots of Elim Pentecostal Tabernacle as a congregation go back to the very beginning of the Pentecostal denomination in Newfoundland. This new church movement was birthed in the province by an American – Miss Alice Garrigus – who arrived in St. John’s in 1910.
Bethesda Mission and Casey Street
The doors of the first Pentecostal Church – known as the Bethesda Mission – opened its doors on New Gower St. on Easter Sunday in 1911. By 1935, the church had grown substantially, and the congregation, under the leadership of Pastor Harold Snelgrove, decided to build a larger and more modern facility. The new church on Casey St. was opened on January 1st, 1937. The church’s founder – Sister Garrigus – preached the dedication sermon.
Shortly after the move to Casey Street, a Mr. Kenneth Barnes of St. John’s, brought his small, independent congregation, known as the Elim Mission, (named for the Pentecostal movement in England) into the church. Later the assembly became known as Elim Pentecostal Tabernacle and remained at the Casey Street location for 28 years.
The Old, Old Story Begins
Sunday, February 10, 1952 was another special day in the history of of this church. Again, under the dedicated leadership of Pastor Snelgrove, the ‘Old, Old Story’ radio broadcast aired for the first time. It was the first Pentecostal radio broadcast in the province, and is still heard every Sunday by more than 40,000 listeners over the VOCM Network – the longest running church radio program in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ropewalk Lane and Kenmount Road
On May 2, 1965, under the strong leadership of Pastors Graham and Jean Noble – and again having outgrown its building – Elim Tabernacle moved from Casey Street to the corner of Empire Avenue and Ropewalk Lane. For nearly 43 years, Elim remained at this location, a familiar and much-loved landmark in the capital city. However, in April 2008, again prompted by the needs of a growing congregation, Elim moved to a brand new location on Kenmount Road.
A Place of Refreshing
From its humble beginnings nearly a century ago, Elim Tabernacle has grown and prospered under God’s continued blessings. Its solid reputation and love for community has helped it become a spiritual force in the city and throughout the province. Like the Elim of the Old Testament – its ministry represents a refreshing oasis in the midst of an often busy and troubled society.
Under the dynamic leadership of Pastor Russell Bartlett, Elim Tabernacle continues to offer sanctuary and spiritual guidance – and looks forward to continued growth until the return of Christ.