The building itself has quite an interesting history, but the church is not the building, and this is the history of the church. Suffice it to say that in this day and age, where places of worship are being turned into places of pleasure, it's great to know that a place of pleasure has been turned into a place of worship.

 

HOW WE GOT HERE

1955  THE VISION IS GIVEN

Selwyn Hughes, renowned preacher and author of every day with Jesus, was pastoring a church in South Kirby when he felt the Lord telling him to plant a new church in South Elmsall. He had a vision of a church fronted by a "Palm Lounge" cafe (his own words from 1955), which would have a glass fronted entrance foyer. Unfortunately, Selwyn didn't get the support needed to do the work, but he would one day see the vision fulfilled.

THE VISION TAKES FORM  1993

Ralph Burden and his wife Heather were working in a church in Hemsworth, when they felt the Lord telling them it was time to move on. Ralph believed that the Lord was telling him to plant a church in South Elmsall and, encouraged by Colin Cooper, (the pastor of Huddersfield Christian Fellowship at that time, now the head of MFG), who provided resources and people, Ralph and Heather began the work.

Ralph was a member of the AOG (Assemblies of God) Pentecostal movement and, at that time, they usually called their churches either 'New Life' or 'Pentecostal' Church. Ralph felt very strongly that the church should be called 'Oasis' and that the building should be fronted by a cafe called the Palms Coffee Lounge, which would be a watering hole for the people of South Elmsall. Ralph thought the name 'The Palms Coffee Lounge' would link in well with the name 'Oasis' And so, in 1993, 38 years after the vision was given to Selwyn, Oasis church was planted.

1996  THE VISION BECOMES REALITY

For three years Oasis Church met at the Westfield Lane Bowling Club. During that time the tiny church plant, which started with just seven people, started to grow. In the Autumn of 1996  negotiations began for what was the old Asda non-foods building on Exchange Street.

It was also in 1996 that Ian and Mags Jackson first came to Oasis, sent on sabbatical from Mattersey Hall Bible College. They were supposed to stay for 2 months and ended up staying for over 2 years.

In December of 96 the building was finally bought, but there was a lot of renovation and alteration needed. The roof was leaking, the plaster was crumbling, and the inside had been stripped bare. It was basically just an empty shell with a large hole in the roof.

GOD IS IN THE DETAIL  1997

Work began in earnest on the building in January 1997, and everyone pitched in. For many months the place looked like a builders yard, and the first service was held in the spring. Ian was the first person to preach in the new building, everyone sat amongst piles of bricks, and builders tools, wrapped in their coats to keep warm.

It was at this time that Ralph was made aware of the vision given to Selwyn and how the church would have a Palms Lounge Cafe. The same but separate vision given to Ralph.

1998  GRAND OPENING

The first part of the building to become usable was the current cafe area. We started to meet there in the Summer of 1997. By Christmas the main hall was largely finished except for a carpet. The carpet was in fact the result of another little miracle. We had run out of money, but wanted a carpet in time for a joint Christmas meeting which had been requested by some of the local churches. Only the church elders knew the amount needed for the carpet, but when a special offering was taken, the exact cost of the carpet and fitting (to the very penny) came out of the offering bag!

By the spring of 98 all the finishing touches were done and, on April the 25th 1998, it was the honour and privilege of Oasis Church to have Selwyn Hughes come once again to South Elmsall and speak at our opening ceremony. He was very excited to see the fruition of the vision given 43 years earlier, and his speaking at the opening was his endorsement of that fact.

 

MESSAGE FROM RALPH

Ezekiel 12:28 says, “Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled', declares the Sovereign Lord".
 
The building of the Oasis church in South Elmsall has been a succession of miracles with a divine legacy over many years. Selwyn's original vision of 1955 was held up for 40 years, just like the Israelites were prevented form entering the promised land for 40 years! But God had a plan and it was going to happen. I didn't know anything about it when we moved into the area, but was amazed to eventually discover that the plan we had for the Oasis church was virtually identical to Selwyn's. 
 
I felt that I should not preach the first message in the partly renovated building in 1997, but rather that Ian should do it. Why? Well, I just knew that was what God wanted. Ian and Mags spent some time working as missionaries to the British Armed Forces, but when we moved on in 2003, my wife and I knew immediately that they were the right people to come back and lead the church, and Ian said "yes!" without hesitation because he knew as well. God had a plan of succession which would ensure that the church he originally planned would continue to be a shining light to the community over 60 years later. God is awesome! He is not only interested in nations and cities, he also has a plan for every community and every individual.
 
 
Ralph and Heather now live and pastor a church in Middle-Earth (New Zealand).