Welcome to the family jan 2020

Welcome to the Family (January 2020)

Meet the churches that were welcomed into our Fellowship back in September.

One of the great encouragements within FIEC is that new churches are continuing to apply to join us. I am especially delighted that FIEC is growing in Scotland, Wales and the North East, where we have been historically underrepresented.

Three of the four churches that were affiliated at the September meeting of our National Recognition Team meeting were from these nations and region. We long for true national coverage so as to advance our vision to be “Independent churches working together to reach Britain for Christ.”

Calvary Christian Fellowship

Calvary CF was established in Silksworth, a former pit village on the outskirts of Sunderland, in 1982. It was founded by local families who came out of a local Methodist Church.

The church now has a regular congregation of over 100 adults and children, and is led by five elders, including Andrew Crane who is the pastor. They seek to engage and reach the community through a variety of groups and events and have seen three professions of faith in the last year.

They have got to know other local FIEC churches through the North East Gospel Partnership, and they pray regularly with Duncan Woods, pastor of Trinity Church Sunderland, and share training events together.

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

"We want to join with like-minded congregations for fellowship and support and be able to benefit from this so we can equip and train others to proclaim the gospel. We see the benefit of being part of a national body and thus having a stronger voice for the gospel in the North East. We want to play our part in supporting and helping other FIEC congregations fulfil their work for God’s kingdom."

Crickhowell Evangelical Church

Crickhowell EC was established in a historic market town within the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales in 1976. It is led by pastor James Sercombe and has a congregation of 60 adults and children.

Many members of the church are actively involved in the life of the local community, and in the last year they have held three baptisms. The church is strongly connected to the AECW (Associating Evangelical Churches of Wales) and heavily involved in the Evangelical Movement of Wales, and see FIEC as enabling them to also fulfil a wider responsibility to reach Britain for Christ, alongside their mission to Wales.

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

"To be considered part of a larger family of churches that will play its part in reaching Britain for Christ."

Verwood Road Evangelical Chapel

Verwood Road Evangelical Chapel was founded in 1934 and is in the small Dorset village of Three Legged Cross, about 10 miles north of Bournemouth. The village has a population of around 1,500. The church has Brethren roots, and in the 1950s it planted another church in the next village.

It is led by Pastor Jeremy Andrews, who will be retiring in June 2020, and the church is seeking to appoint a new pastor. They have a congregation of 35 adults and a small number of children. As it is a mainly elderly congregation, one of the challenges for the future is to draw in younger people and families. They run a parents’ and toddlers’ group on Thursdays. The church has other weekly/monthly activities and it hosts various events through the year, often with food and a special presentation, all with an evangelistic aim.

The church has good links with other FIEC churches, particularly Hope Church, Ferndown, and New Milton Evangelical Church.

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

“We recognise the need for a wider support network, particularly as our Pastor will retire in 2020. As a smaller (and older) congregation we also recognise that we may need help in ‘revitalisation’.”

Wester Hailes Baptist Church

Wester Hailes BC was founded in 1973 on a housing scheme (council estate) on the South West of Edinburgh, which has a population of 10,000 and a high proportion of social housing (58%).

It originated as an outreach from Charlotte Chapel in the 1940s. They have a regular congregation of 120 adults and children, and the church is led by Pastor Daniel Ralph and a team of elders. They have held two baptisms in the last year and have reformed convictions.

Their reasons for joining FIEC were:

"Wester Hailes Baptist Church was planted by Charlotte Chapel and soon established itself and since then has remained independent. We believe that by joining the FIEC we are demonstrating that we share the same convictions and that this will prove instrumental in the appointment of new elders and future pastors. It will also show our desire to be in fellowship with like-minded churches.

We believe that FIEC has good leadership, solid foundations and governance, and that membership would enhance our witness, and we have no concerns for the future regarding theological positions. We would gain from the training opportunities, the support network for the pastors and leaders, and having access to legal and practical support. We would hope to contribute positively to the network, particularly locally as we engage in outreach and mutual encouragement."

Church Plant Recognition

Alongside these four new affiliations, we have recognised a new church plant in South East London under the working name of Beckenham Church. This is a replant of what was formerly known as Park Langley Church, which was reabsorbed for a period into its mother church, Christchurch Bromley. The new church will also be part of Co-Mission and the South East Gospel Partnership.

Church Closures and Resignations

Sadly, two churches have closed, Tobermory Evangelical Church and Newton Heath Evangelical Church (Manchester). However, we are pleased that Newton Heath EC will be relaunched in the future by City Church Manchester.

St Augustine’s Church Isle of Man, which was a recognised church plant, has withdrawn from FIEC to seek episcopal oversight from Bishop Gavin Ashenden. The church was a result of a split from the Anglican church on the island, and whilst we have been pleased to support them as they established themselves, we are glad that they have found a home which more closely reflects their theological convictions.

More to come

These new affiliations mean that there are now 615 FIEC churches and recognised plants. I am thrilled that six more churches were affiliated at our meeting in December and we will report on them in the coming weeks.

If you are an independent church and share our theological convictions and desire to see Britain reached with the gospel, we’d love you to join us. Find out more about joining FIEC.

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