27 years ago this month, at the Royal Variety Show in London, a young singer had an important life-changing conversation with Tom Jones. Last week, that young singer now archbishop Steven Evans, had a mysterious experience when visiting Graceland the home of the man at the centre of that conversation, Elvis Presley.
As a young man Steven pursued singing after being inspired by Elvis, his career was developing well and whilst singing at the 1996 Royal Variety Show, he met fellow Welshman Tom Jones. Steven and Tom talked in Tom’s dressing room before the show, they chatted about music and especially Elvis. Elvis and Tom were great friends and Elvis used to warm up for his live shows by singing along to Tom’s hit record of Delilah. At one point, Steven asked Tom if he always thought he would be a singer. Steven says that God used Tom’s subsequent answer, to redirect his entire life. Tom said, “You know what it’s like, it’s a calling.” Once Tom said that, Steven felt God confirm deep within him a ‘calling’ which was nagging him for a long time. He knew he was being called to be a minister of the Gospel. That night after the show, as Steve waved goodbye to Tom, he felt that he had embarked on a higher and more important purpose, his God given ‘calling.’ He was more excited than ever and felt that through ministry he could make a deeper, even eternal impact, into peoples lives. Steven explained, “As a singer you might move people during the songs but as a minister you have the opportunity to convey and develop deeper ideas that change entire lives. I believe the highest calling is to be a minister of the Gospel.”
Twenty-seven years later in 2023, he was consecrated as archbishop metropolitan in Texarkana USA. Following the consecration he decided to stay at Graceland to visit the home of Elvis who had so inspired him in life. Like Steven, Elvis had Pentecostal beliefs, he believed in supernatural healing, signs, wonders, and speaking in tongues.
“Lights are forming all over you, there are halos of light!”
On the day of the visit to Graceland, Steven approached the house with several others on the VIP tour. His American assistant on the trip, bishop Steven Bellant, was walking behind him up to the house and began to observe strange lights encompassing the new archbishop. Amazed he called to him saying that, “Lights are forming all over you, there are halos of light!” He then began to take photographs, so the halo light is not a camera lens flare, the lights were actually appearing. It was a spiritual experience which happened outside the home of the one who had first so deeply inspired archbishop Steven to sing. These mysterious halos of light were forming and it was obvious to people that something extraordinary was happening, people were taking photos and capturing this strange event.
Why was this happening, was there a reason for these mysterious events? As a 10 year old boy Steven had wept when his Mother told him that Elvis had died. Clearly there was some connection from his childhood, some unquantifiable possibly even spiritual connection existed. Steven believes that the lights and halo were a confirmation of the importance of the decision he made 27 years ago to the month. “We take what happened as a significant encouragement for several reasons, and that is what our ministry is always attempting to do. We try to give people hope, to show them a better way, a more positive way of living. There is a lot of darkness in the world but Jesus said that, “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” (John 12:36). For me, the mysterious lights are a testimony to our positive ministry. God is shining on us, pleased with our work, that we promote a life of love through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
We try to give people hope, to show them a better way, a more positive way of living.
Another verse within the bible speaks about a glowing halo: ‘All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the LORD looked like to me’ (Ezekiel 1:28). The halo is a symbol of holiness and in the original biblical language means to be set apart, to be ‘called’ for a purpose. This is especially significant because Archbishop Steven 27 years ago was set apart by the ‘call’ of God. This halo represents that ‘call’ and it serves as God’s kind confirmation that whilst at Graceland, that all those years ago, it really was God who spoke and He is pleased at how Steven responded. Steven has remarkable and unique ministry, he is a mentor to many significant ministers. Supernatural events have been a feature of his life. Angels, exorcisms, miracles, signs, and wonders have been a feature of the ministry.
There was also a sense that Graceland was important for another reason. It was the home of a young man who also had the call to ministry. Elvis had recognised a ‘call’ into Christian ministry and his original desire was to be in a Gospel quartet. He won three Grammy Awards for his Gospel music and was a tremendous supporter of full-Gospel ministries. Perhaps he was cheering us on from that Milky White Way that he once sang about. Just sending some encouragement to a younger brother, visiting his old home?