George Jeffreys birthed the Elim Pentecostal denomination and was also the founder of Kensington Temple, indeed it was he that chose its name. George Jeffreys had blazed a revival trail across Britain and beyond since 1915.
Some of the most remarkable miracles and healings this nation has ever experienced flowed out of his ministry. Not only did the crowds flock to his meetings, but he planted churches for the new converts. He was, in the opinion of many, the most effective British Evangelist since the time of Wesley and Whitfield. National and local papers often covered his crusades and the miracles stood the test of time and criticism. George’s brother Stephen, also a successful evangelist, held powerful healing meetings at Horbury Chapel (later Kensington Temple) in 1921.
The Daily Sketch newspaper carried a front-page picture of Stephen Jeffreys together with a lady and child miraculously healed in the meetings. By 1930 George had opened a number of churches in London but was still looking for a `flag ship’ for his work in the city. In that same year he purchased the disused Horbury Chapel and renamed it Kensington Temple.
Our Apostolic Foundation
The launch of Kensington Temple began in 1931 with a two week healing revival campaign, the seating capacity was increased to 1,100 and the crowds began to flock. Miracles and conversions flooded the meetings at the Temple and the apostolic foundation for our present day ministry had begun. The Daily Express on 1st August said this: “Revival in a London street Foursquare Church with tip-up seats”. Hours before the ceremony people had gathered from all parts of London and the ground in front of the Temple was packed with more than a 1,000 people. A short service of thanksgiving was conducted – then the congregation moved inside, sitting and standing in the passages of a church which had “tip-up seats”.
Such crowds attended George Jeffreys meetings right up to his death in 1962 whenever he held campaigns at the Temple. Often George would have to persuade the people to go home at the end of the services so strong and powerful was the anointing.
Albert Edsor was one of the members of George Jeffreys Revival Party he remembers the type of meetings held at KT under George Jeffreys: “He (Jeffreys) had a vision of going out to the lost and bringing them to the Temple to get saved. His ministry at KT and elsewhere was always based on the Foursquare message: Jesus the Saviour, Jesus the Healer, Jesus the Baptiser in the Holy Ghost, and Jesus the Soon Coming King. There was a marvellous atmosphere at the meetings, sometimes during the worship George Jeffreys would go into the middle of the congregation stand on a seat and lead the meeting from there. Sometimes just as a new song was going to begin he would say `Just a minute!’ He sensed the presence of a holy atmosphere coming into the meeting, he knew the presence of the Lord was there to heal”.
Kensington Temple was soon known as the “Church of the Great Physician” due to constant ministry in miraculous healing. Another phrase George would use to indicate a strong healing anointing was “the Master is here”.
Kensington Temple was the apostolic base for George Jeffreys’ world wide ministry. He was never the Pastor but had men to look after the week by week ministry of KT whilst he traveled with the Revival band. Jeffreys would often preach at KT on a Sunday when he was in London, but he mainly used the church for revival healing campaigns, Pentecostal unity conferences, ordination services and deeper spiritual life conferences. Other larger buildings like the Royal Albert Hall, the Crystal Palace and Westminster Central Hall were used year by year by Jeffreys, but Kensington Temple was very much his regular outreach centre in London. He would often hold evangelistic meetings at KT and have packed meetings every night. Many powerful conversions took place under Jeffreys at KT. An example is that of Marjorie Lancaster a famous Polo player from Uruguay who had come to London in 1936. Her Christian mother persuaded her to come to a Revival meeting at KT. Marjorie stood in the balcony. During the service the power of God came upon her and she fell to floor and by the end of the service she was born again. Marjorie went back to Uruguay under George’s covering as a missionary and planted three churches. As in Jeffreys’ time so today we continue to convert people who become missionaries and church planters all over the world.
From 1942 to 1961, Easter time at KT was an especially powerful time. George would be at KT on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. On Easter Monday he would hold powerful meetings at Westminster Central Hall. Jeffreys would invite such speakers to KT as Smith Wigglesworth and Gladys Aylward to minister.
When George Jeffreys died in 1962 his ministry was as powerful as ever. He was planning the Easter Monday meeting at the Westminster Central Hall when he ministered for what would be the last time on earth at Kensington Temple. It was a powerful service, and as usual George made a strong altar call and people were saved. George led the congregation in the hymn `Forgiveness is free’ both in English and Welsh. As he began his ministry so he ended it calling lost sinners to repentance unto new life. Ten days later he died.