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Welcome to the Family (Nov 2017)

During the AGM at our Leaders’ Conference last week we prayed for the new churches and plants that have joined the FIEC family in the last 12 months. They include those John Stevens introduces to us here.

Welcome to the Family (Nov 2017) primary image

The diversity of FIEC is essential if we are to realise our vision to see a thriving gospel proclaiming church in every community of Great Britain. In many towns and cities there is a need for multiple gospel churches to reach the population as a whole: each can have a different character.

Our diversity is encapsulated by the five new churches that affiliated to FIEC in the autumn, and the new church plants that have been recognised.

New Affiliations

Calvary Baptist Church, Spalding

Calvary Baptist Church was founded in 1985 in the market town of Spalding in Lincolnshire, which has a population of just under 30,000, and serves the South Holland District which has a population of 88,000.

The church is led by Pastor Kevin Cowdrey, who is from Northern Ireland, and meets in the former building of Spalding Evangelical Church, an FIEC church that closed in 2010. The church has a regular attendance of 60, including seven children. The church uses the Authorised/NKJV/MEV Versions of the Bible and holds to a pre-millennial eschatology.

Calvary Baptist Church, Spalding

They are active in seeking to reach the local community with the gospel, and run a coffee morning, mums’ and toddlers group and nursing home ministry. In the last year they have held six baptisms and have seen five professions of faith. They are also support the work of the gospel in Romania and Armenia.

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

“to enlarge our network of like-minded churches as well as having a larger support network behind us.”


They also value the opportunity to get advice from FIEC Practical Services, and to be part of a network that stands on biblical truth in a generation that has become increasingly secular.

Living Hope Christian Church, Hull

Living Hope was founded in 1902 from a mission to fishermen in the city of Hull, which has a population of 260,000 and is in great gospel need.

In recent years the church has begun to form strategic links with other evangelical churches in the city. It has been led by Pastor Jonathan Jolly since 2016 and has recently expanded its ministry and outreach through the purchase of a pub building next door to the church, which is now used as a community centre.

Living Hope

The church has a regular attendance of 53 people, including eight children. More than a third of congregation are from an ethnic background. They also host a Romanian fellowship on a Sunday afternoon. 

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

“For support as an independent evangelical church. To foster a real sense of interdependency. To support mission in the UK.”

The Gate Church, Birmingham

The Gate Church was planted in 2014 as a congregation of Grace Church Dell Road, an FIEC church in Birmingham, to reach a redeveloped inner city estate that is a mix of social and private housing with relatively high levels of deprivation.

In its early stages the plant was recognised and supported by FIEC, and now that it has been constituted and established it has migrated to full affiliation this year. The church is led by Jonny Richards and has a regular attendance of 40, including seven children. A good proportion of participants in the church are from an ethnic minority background, reflecting the mixed nature of the community.

A baptism at The Gate Church

It is hugely encouraging that they have held ten baptisms and seen five new professions of faith since they launched. They are also members of Acts 29 and have been supported by the Birmingham 2020 church planting initiative.

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

“We have been planted out of Grace Church Dell Road, which is an FIEC church, so as a church family we have long been a part of the Fellowship. We want to continue our fellowship with other independent churches locally and nationally.”

The Globe Church, London

The Globe Church was planted in 2015 by a group of FIEC churches in London as a result of a consultation that had identified the lack of FIEC churches in the central London area. It was decided to plant on the South Bank, which would enable the church to reach the growing artistic community and also the student community at local universities.

The plant was a joint project with Co:Mission. The Globe was recognised as an FIEC church plant, and FIEC Practical Services helped the church to formally constitute as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. It is led by Jonty Allcock, while Trevor Archer is one of the other elders. Mike Sohn, who was part of the original plant leadership, is now training at Oak Hill Theological College with support from the FIEC Training Fund, and Phil Tinker is the Assistant Pastor. They also partner with London City Mission.

The Globe Church

The church meets at 4pm in the afternoon and has a regular attendance of 120 adults, and has recently moved to a building on Guy’s Hospital campus. Over 30% of the congregation are from an ethnic minority background and there have been three professions of faith and baptisms in the last year.

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

“The aim is that the Globe Church serves FIEC churches by providing a training and discipling environment for Christians in London who will serve the wider gospel needs of the nation.”

Tyneside Church Central

Tyneside Church Central was planted in Gateshead, a town with a population of 120,000, in 2013. It is led by Dan Martin, who first came to the North East as a medical student, with a vision to reach the huge unchurched population in Gateshead.

Tyneside Church Central logo

They have a congregation of 25 adults and 17 children, and have just bought a former Brethren Hall which will give them a permanent base. They also belong to Acts 29 and the North East Gospel Partnership. They have a number of “gospel community” groups which place an emphasis on relationships and life rather than programmes.

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

“We wish to share together with like-minded churches in the UK. We want to partner with like-minded churches for gospel multiplication – church planting and church revitalisation especially.”

New Gatherings and Church Plant Recognitions

Alongside new affiliations, a number of FIEC churches have begun new gatherings and congregations, which may in due course become Independent churches.

Bury Street Community Church is a new gathering from Enfield EFC, and is led by Dougie Affleck. Redeemer Church Nottingham is a church plant from Cornerstone Church in Nottingham that launched in June and is led by Pete Brown. Radford Community Church is a church plant from Bethel Church in Coventry.

We have also recognised a new plant planned by Grace Church Cambridge. Northstowe is a new town of 10,000 homes on the A14 to the north of the city. It will be led by Josh Montero, who is gathering a planting team which will choose a name for the church. Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

“We are planting from an FIEC church, and recognise that value of gospel partnership between churches. We want to be part of a national fellowship of gospel proclaiming churches, and to benefit from the wisdom and encouragement of others.  We are applying at this early stage to seek the benefits of advice on issues like constitution and charity law.”

Resignations

Whilst it is encouraging to welcome new churches, plants and gatherings to FIEC, there are also a number of churches that have chosen to leave the Fellowship. The essence of Independency is that churches can leave the FIEC at any time they choose, and all our churches are required to reconfirm their commitment to our doctrinal standards and ethos statements on an annual basis.   

  • West Ewell Church have resigned because they are now worshipping together with Generation Church.
  • New Life Church Dorking, which was the result of a merger between an FIEC church and a New Frontiers church, has resigned because they have their primary relationships with New Frontiers.
  • Vale of Evesham Christian Centre have decided that they fit better with the Salt & Light group of churches.
  • High Barnet Baptist Church have not renewed their affiliation because they do not think that FIEC should have ethos statements on issues such as Women in Ministry.
  • Hitherfield Road Baptist Church have not renewed their affiliation.

What about your church?

If you would like to consider FIEC affiliation, or becoming a recognised church plant, you can find more information on our website. We will be considering the next raft of applications next week.

John Stevens photo
John Stevens - FIEC National Director

John is FIEC's National Director. He's married to Ursula and they have four children. He loves books. John blogs regularly – and at length – over at www.john-stevens.com


Follow John Stevens on Twitter – @_JohnStevens