Emmanuel in Exeter

Emmanuel in Exeter

A brand-new Independent church is going to be launched in Exeter this year.

Emmanuel Church Exeter will be the first FIEC church in this cathedral city and will start meeting in summer 2024.

It will be led by Jonathan Worsley, previously a pastor in London, who has most recently been serving with a church in Nashville, USA. A core team of between 7-11 people will begin the work, and Emmanuel will be supported by FIEC as a Recognised Church Plant.

A gospel church in a secular city

Exeter was established by the Romans in the first century but is now famed for its secularism with almost half of residents (48.5%) reporting “no religion” in the latest census, up from 34.7% in 2011. Less than 40% would describe themselves (even nominally) as Christian.

The launch team have been engaging with other local church leaders to discuss their plans, and they have funding in place to cover the work and ministry for their first two years of meeting together.

“Having spoken to numerous UK church leaders, it is clear that there is great gospel need across the far southwest of England,” Jonathan said. “Exeter is a rapidly growing university city, and although we will not be the only church in Exeter seeking to reach the lost with the good news of Christ, there is a clear need for more churches.”

“Religiously speaking, new age spirituality and a liberal Methodism are comparatively popular in this region. However, compared to the rest of the UK there are far fewer gospel-preaching churches of any evangelical denomination in the south-west.”

Planning for launch

Lord willing, Jonathan’s family will move to Exeter in May to put everything in place for this new ministry to begin over the summer and have already been building links with FIEC churches around the UK who are seeing students move to Exeter to study in 2024.

“We are excited to plant the first FIEC church in Exeter,” Jonathan added. “Please pray for us amid all the planning and prayer that goes into planting a new church.

“We will be called Emmanuel as we are very aware that we desperately need the Lord’s help in this gospel venture. Please pray Psalm 127:1 with us: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.’”

John Stevens, National Director of FIEC added: “We are thrilled that Emmanuel Church will be planted in Exeter, a fast-growing city - without an FIEC church - that needs more faithful gospel witness. Jonathan has the tested gifts and experience to lead this new work, and we are glad that he is being encouraged by other churches in the city.

“We pray that the Lord would bless this new initiative and that many people would come to know the Lord Jesus through the preaching of his word over the years to come.”

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