Meet the pastors

Glen Podd – Senior Pastor

Pastor Glen Podd is the senior pastor of Romford Elim Church

Tell us about yourself

I was born in 1958 in Basseterre, St Kitts, West Indies, as the youngest of six children. My family moved to England when I was two years old. Having built up a life in the UK I became a committed Christian at the age of 19.

Once graduated from Leeds Polytechnic with an HND in Business Studies in 1979 I started working as a Company Secretary in retail clothing and during this time I began attending my local Elim Church in Leeds. It was here that I met Gill; we married in 1985 and now have three gorgeous daughters: Hannah, Sarah and Rachel.

For my full biography click here.

How did you end up in your current role at the church?

In 1988 God called us to attend Elim Bible College, where I completed three years of study before becoming Assistant Pastor at the Elim Church in Ilford. Ten years later we moved on for me to become Senior Minister to Romford Elim Church.  

What do you love doing in your spare time?

Like most people, I love watching movies. Having an ever so slightly nerdy side to me as well, I also happen to be an avid collector of Marvel Comics and Napoleonic military figures, and find history fascinating! 

Music is my passion. I do gospel song writing and have produced two albums to share the good news of Jesus Christ. To me there is nothing better than sharing gospel truth through song in churches, bars and coffee shops…basically whenever the opportunity arises.

What is your favourite song, bible verse or quote?

Matthew 6:33"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." It was the key verse in my conversion, believing that if I put God first then the rest of my life would fall into place...and it has!  

My favourite quote is "keep doing what is right"!

 


Gill Podd – Senior Pastor's wife

Gill Podd is Pastor Glen Podd's wife. She is instrumental in the running of the church and the glue to our Christian community

Tell us about yourself

I was born in Leeds in 1963 to Dennis and Beatrice Rawnsley, and have two sisters and one brother.

After finishing school I became an office junior for a Solicitors firm, eventually working my way up to become a Secretary for one of the Solicitors. I then moved on to Yorkshire Bank to work in a typing pool.

Although I wasn’t brought up in a Christian family I attended Sunday School at Sunshine Corner in Bridge Street, Leeds because the Church would send buses around the estate on a Sunday and a Wednesday. I became a Christian at the age of 14 at an Elim Conference at Clacton. I joined the youth group and served on the youth team for a number of years – here I also met Glen.  

How did you end up in your current role at the church?

In 1988 Glen and I left Leeds for him to study at Elim Bible College in Nantwich, Cheshire while I worked for three years. Since 1991 we have been serving within the Elim movement, starting in Ilford, London, where Glen assisted for seven years, and then in Romford Elim, Essex, until today.

What do you love doing in your spare time?

I love cleaning and keeping the house in order. My favourite social activities include eating out and shopping!

What is your favourite song, bible verse or quote?

One of my favourite songs is Dance Again. After going through breast cancer in 2014 this song became very special to me because no matter what you go through you can still praise God in your situation. Your tears will dry, your heart will mend and you will dance again.

One of my favourite verses is Jeremiah 29:11"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." It was this verse that was very instrumental in leading Glen and I to Bible College.

 


Michael Gana – Associate Pastor

Pastor Mike is Pastor Glen's second hand man. He often preaches but also leads a lot of the youth church

Tell us about yourself

I was born in 1978 in Northern Nigeria. My Mum ran a local Sunday School in her home every Sunday morning. At the age of eight, I was introduced to Jesus through my Mum, and was baptised when I was nine years old. At the age of 12 I had a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ, and it was at this time that I knew I would be called to Christian ministry.

My family moved to the UK in 1994, and in 2000 with the support of my local church at the time – Southport Elim Church (now known as Lakeside Christian Centre) – I confirmed my call to Christian ministry and enrolled at the Elim Bible College. It was at the Elim Bible College where I met Ellie, whom I would later marry. We now have four children together, Joshua, Zoe, Zara and Reuben.

How did you end up in your current role at the church?

I graduated from the Bible College in 2003, and was posted to the Romford Elim Church as the Youth and Children’s worker.  In 2012 I was appointed as Pastoral Assistant and was ordained as a Minister in June 2016.

What do you love doing in your spare time? 

I spend my free time playing the guitar, reading and engaging in any and all conversations about Jesus whenever I can.

What is your favourite song, bible verse or quote?

My favourite Bible verse is Joshua 1:8“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

This verse was prophetically spoken over me as confirmation of my call to ministry, and was instrumental in my decision to apply to the Elim Bible College. It is also the reason we called my first born son "Joshua".


Mervyn Tilley – Elder

Elder Mervyn Tilley is a retired Elim Pastor. Today he shares his knowledge about the bible as an elder in Romford Elim Church.

Tell us about yourself

I was born in Somerset in 1940. At the age of 13 I was saved, through the ministry of Principal George Jeffreys, who was the founder of Elim. The Elim movement became a huge part of my life. I attended the Elim Bible College from 1959-1961, served at several Elim churches around the country and also spent time as an Elim Regional Superintendent for the Metropolitan Region and nine years as a member of Elim's National Leadership Team.

Assigned to my first church at Aldershot in 1961 I served there for 23 years. I then met my wife Edna at Aldershot and we went on to have four children, Mark, Andrew, Stephen and Rachel. When we left Aldershot in 1984 we moved to Leyton, where I served as Senior Pastor for over 27 years. 

During my ministerial service I have also been dedicated to other tasks, including working on five building projects and being involved in ministry to Israel for almost 40 years. I continue to serve as Chairman of Focus on Israel (a ministry to Israel and the Jewish people) until this day and take regular tours to Israel, having visited the country 95 times. 

How did you end up in your current role at the church? 

Although my wife and I retired in February 2011 and relocated to Harold Hill, we linked up with our local church, Romford Elim Church, where I was then asked to become an elder.

What do you love doing in your spare time? 

In my spare time I enjoy sports, particularly football and cricket. I also have "green fingers" and love gardening, and like to expand my life experience through reading and travelling.

What is your favourite song, bible verse or quote?

I have many favourite songs but probably top of the list at the moment would be Faithful One, so unchanging.

Again, there are so many parts of the Bible that mean a lot to me, but if I had to choose one it would be Isaiah 42:6"I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations," the verse I was given at my water baptism at the age of 15.
 


Babs Sanya – Elder

Elder Babs has been serving faithfully in Romford Elim Church for many years

Tell us about yourself

I was born in 1965 in Lewisham into an Anglican Christian family. My parents, Mr & Mrs O. O. Sanya, were studying in the UK at the time; Dad was a trainee psychiatric nurse and Mum was studying for her BSc in Botany & Zoology. Our family relocated back to Nigeria in 1968 after their studies; I was just over three years old at the time.

Although born into a Christian family, my real choice and commitment to live for Christ occurred in the autumn of 1993, when we joined Glory Bible Church and started committing to regular church attendance. I attended bible college, obtaining a diploma in Charismatic Christianity from Green Pastures Christian Ministry. It was around this time that I started serving at Glory Bible Church, Leyton as a deacon, responsible for administration. I've learnt, forgotten and often relearnt many lessons in life; the key one for me is that the trust that we place in God is always justified; it shows our God to be worthy and trustworthy. I love the fact that even when we are unfaithful to Him (and I have been), He remains faithful and patient with us (me); and quite often this show of God's love is quite humbling.

I grew up in Lagos, graduating from the University of Lagos in 1987 with a degree in Zoology. I met my wife Funmi in 1988 during national service (NYSC, which was a year long programme that was mandatory for all university graduates at the time in Nigeria). We were posted to Sokoto State in the Northwestern part of the country. I returned back to the UK in February 1989 and reconnected with Funmi in the UK in the summer of 1989 and subsequently got married in June 1990. We are blessed with four children, Dolapo, Tommy, Femi and Esther, and a mixed breed dog (German Shepherd and something else). It is not a quiet household!

What do you love doing in your spare time?

In my spare time I love spending time with Funmi and the children, whether it is watching the TV, walking the dog, taking the boys to rugby or on the occasional holiday trip outside the UK; spending time with family is something I enjoy and look forward to.

I also enjoy cycling; I joined the Hornchurch Cycling Club a few years ago and enjoy going out with them for club rides. I’m one of the slowest in the group, but I do enjoy being out on my bike, listening to some gospel music and gradually clocking up the miles.

What is your favourite song, bible verse or quote?

Favourite songs and bible quote? The choice is hard. I love many of the worship songs from the Hillsong choir and was incredibly blessed to have worshipped with them a few times in Australia a couple of years back. What an experience, what a blessing.

My favourite songs would have to be from the Anglican hymns that I was raised on. One that stands out is: How great thou art. The words of the song have such a deep meaning to me, and always remind me of how much my Lord has done for me. It is also a song I love to sing. Then sings my soul!!

One of my favourite bible verses is Psalm 90:12, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." In fact there are many beautiful psalms, it's really hard to choose one...I would definitely recommend you check out Psalms 23, 91, 121 and 139 as well.

 


Joy Afoke – Sunday School Superintendent

Joy is the leader of our church Sunday school for children in the Romford community

Tell us about yourself

I grew up in a Catholic household with my mother and stepfather. My parents had divorced when I was three years old. At the age of 14 I went to live with my father, who immediately took me to an Anglican church. This caused a lot of confusion for me and I began to speak with God at an early age for Him to show me His way.

When I was 19 I visited a church that I thought was "the one" because it was "lively" and had a lot of dancing, I was there for about an hour when God sent one of the members of the church to tell me that God said He knew I was searching for Him and He wanted me to know that He was not in that particular church. So, I went back to the Anglican Church, where I stayed until I married my husband Bo. 

I felt I was safer in the Anglican Church. The only other option I felt I had at that time was this new breed of "born again Christians" who wore no make-up, jewellery and frowned on everything fun. I then met a friend who wore makeup and danced to non-Christian music played at my wedding. I asked if I could try her born again church. I visited my first pentecostal church and gave my life to Jesus on my first visit to her church, this was in July 1993. The following words swayed me, "Do you want to have a relationship with Jesus?" and immediately I knew that was what was missing in my life and what I had been searching for. I had always gone to church, prayed and read my Bible, but I still felt there was something missing. Suddenly everything changed, my emphasis changed from church attendance to a relationship with God. My husband agreed to come with me to this new church for our first wedding anniversary a month later. He became a Christian six weeks later.

My husband and I have three children: Tito, Tiffany and Toni. Seun, our nephew, also lives with us.

How did you end up in your current role at the church?

I ended up in my current role because there was a plea for teachers at the church. I had no formal training in teaching children but felt I could make a difference, especially since I had three children and wanted them taught in Sunday School. I have been teaching Sunday School now for about 21 years and have been the Superintendent for about 13 years. I have come to enjoy the role and love to see the children grow in the Lord. 

What do you love doing in your spare time?

In my spare time I love watching football and I’m an avid follower of Manchester United Football Club. I also love reading and cooking. 

What is your favourite song, bible verse or quote?

My favourite verse is Philippians 4:6-7,  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I feel we worry about so much nowadays, which robs us of peace and ultimately our health. I endeavour to pray about everything and thank God for everything regularly so I can have peace at all times. With this peace I can hear from God clearly and spend my time working for the kingdom of God instead of worrying about all the things going on around me.

It is difficult to choose a favourite song but if pressed it would have to be His Eye is on the Sparrow, as it reminds me that God is always watching over me.




Romford Christian Fellowship, an Elim Pentecostal Church. Registered charity 251549 (England) Website by Church Edit