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Wirral Christian Centre


The Wirral Christian Centre (sometimes known as Gateway Church Wirral) is an Elim Pentecostal Church based in Birkenhead. It has been run for much of its entire history by the Rev. Paul Epton who likes to refer to himself as an "International Evangelist, Church Planter, Teacher, Author and Senior Minister" who has "reached millions of people around the world." These rather lofty claims could be overlooked if the truth about Pastor Paul Epton and the Wirral Christian Centre were less worrisome.

The Wirral Christian Centre has been operating for more than 35 years. In that time Pastor Paul Epton has claimed to have received many "visions from God" including one promising a five thousand seater church with numerous community outreach and social programs.

A later vision had Pastor Paul Epton overseeing house groups more than twice the size of the promised five thousand seater church. Neither vision ever came to fruition and today as he enjoys semi-retirement the Wirral Christian Centre continues to struggle with an unusually high congregation turnover.


An obvious question one might ask is why did Pastor Paul Epton's visions from God never come to pass? Were they indeed visions from God? If they were then what prevented them from coming to fruition? Ironically the answer might lie in something Paul Epton himself once wrote:
"Do not be ambitious which will lead to a Godless pursuit of power and position, but do be open to the call of God in your life and He will open the door to His gift and call in you. He will close the door to vain ambition."


A great many people have attended and left the Wirral Christian Centre over the years. Repeated controversies have contributed to an unusually high congregational turnover. The sheer number of such incidents are enough to raise alarm, but individuals have always tended to choose not to proceed with complaints, especially given the fact that Elim themselves are unwilling to get involved and have even described themselves as "powerless" to intervene.

Because of this, the leadership of the Wirral Christian Centre has remained unchallenged in their behaviour, repeating the same patterns, of what some have called abuse, year after year, controversy after controversy.


Today the church is leed by Paul Epton's son, Greg. It's fair to suggest that under Greg's leadership the church is different now. The authoritarian style of his father is simply out-of-date today and people respond better to guidance than constant rebuking in the style his father was well known for.


In his 1988 book 'Love In Action' Rev. Paul Epton wrote, "We are going to build a Christian community of such integrity, such quality, such authority, that society will have to take notice of it." — There's nothing wrong with lofty aspirations, but under the leadership of Pastor Paul Epton the Wirral Christian Centre gained notoriety yet accomplished little.