Welcome to the Family (Spring 2023)
There is no doubt that the Covid crisis has had a very significant impact on churches, but not perhaps in the way that we might have expected.
Our experience over the last year at FIEC has been that some smaller churches have closed, with the crisis expediting what would likely have happened anyway. Many of our existing churches have grown, both by more conversions and by people moving churches in search of faithful biblical ministry.
As we have emerged from the Covid crisis we have seen an increase in the number of churches seeking to join FIEC, either because they have seen the value of belonging to a larger group of churches or because they are leaving denominations that have comprised over same-sex marriage.
We are delighted that eleven new churches were affiliated to FIEC at the meetings of our National Recognition Team meetings in January and March.
New FIEC churches
Emmanuel Church Northstowe
Emmanuel Church Northstowe was planted in 2018 to reach a new town near Cambridge which is planned to have 10,000 homes. The plant was supported by five Cambridge churches, including FIEC, Anglican and Presbyterian. It is led by Josh Montero and has a regular congregation of about 125.
Their reasons for joining FIEC were: “We wish to benefit from fellowship with other gospel churches, so that we together stand firm and hold out the good news of Jesus to a dying world. We want to share in mission around the UK and be supported in our own mission”
Grace Community Church Loftus
Grace Community Church Loftus in North Yorkshire was planted in 2014 by pastor Robin Singleton, previously the pastor of a Baptist Union church in Marske By The Sea. The church has a congregation of about 40 people and have been an active part of FIEC as a recognised church plant for the last 6 years.
Their reasons for advancing to full affiliation were: “To share mutual encouragement and support.”
They are also a member of Medhurst Ministries, which supports churches in more deprived communities.
Ardgowan Square Evangelical Church
Ardgowan Square Evangelical Church is a Brethren church that was established in Greenock, West Scotland, in 1871. It has a regular congregation of 40 adults and 10 children, about a quarter of whom are from an ethnic minority group. They are led by pastor Dan Alcantara and a team of elders.
Their reasons for joining FIEC were: “Help and support. Help with resources. FIEC has been very supportive to us in recent days. Things like advice as well as very practical help with risk assessments. Strength in numbers.”
Centre Church Droitwich
Centre Church was planted by Woodgreen Church, Worcester, in this spa town to the southwest of Birmingham in 2022. It is led by Ben Putt and already has a congregation of 65 adults and 23 children. They have held a first baptism last year.
Their reasons for joining FIEC were: “Being independent in a society increasingly hostile to the gospel can be a lonely place. Therefore, we want to be interdependent and partner with like-minded churches. Having been planted from an existing FIEC church we know the value of joining, and being encouraged by other churches who wish to see Britain won for Christ.”
Grace Church Brighton
Grace Church Brighton is a new church planted in 2022 and led by David Skull and Julian Rebera. It was supported by the Grace Baptist Fund and incorporates New Life Church Moulsecombe, which was an FIEC church plant. It currently has a congregation of around 40 people. Their vision is to make disciples in Brighton and plant new churches in areas where there is little gospel witness.
Their reasons for joining FIEC were: “The church is aligned with the FIEC Statement of Faith, values, ethos and vision. Our hope is that we will be an encouragement and strength to other FIEC churches whenever, wherever, and however we can, locally, regionally, and nationally, believing fellowship between gospel churches is essential for the sake of the gospel.
“We will therefore participate in FIEC conferences, local fraternals etc. as attendees and actively support whenever we can. We are willing to serve other churches and already do. We hope FIEC will also be able to support our mission in terms of encouragement, training, financially supporting, and helping to place leaders we raise up, and where possible support future church planting and revitalisation endeavours.’
They are also a member of the Association of Grace Baptist Churches South-East, and the Sussex Gospel Partnership.
Redeemer Church Leeds
Redeemer Church was planted in 2011 and is part of the Acts 29 network. They have a congregation of about 150 people, including a good number of students, and have strong relationships with other evangelical churches in the city. They have seen two professions of faith in the last year.
Their reasons for joining FIEC were: “As an independent evangelical church we are seeking to be part of a bigger body of churches – especially in light of many current concerns around accountability. We also will benefit from more fellowship with other churches. We believe that FIEC will give good opportunities for our emerging leaders to hear more of people in different contexts. We would want to be a source of prayer, encouragement, and practical support where possible.’
Ridley Community Church
Ridley Community Church was first established in Forest Gate, East London, by London City Mission in 1893 and began to transition to becoming and independent local church in 2017 in partnership with East London Tabernacle Baptist Church. It is in a predominantly Asian community and is led by Pastor Martin Oriakhi. The church has a congregation of around 30, half of whom are from an ethnic minority group. They have seen two professions of faith and baptisms in the last year.
Their reasons for joining FIEC were: “Accountability. Belonging to a body that believes in the same thing and is nationally represented. Connecting with churches with same values”
Servant’s Church Norwich
Servant’s Church Norwich is a charismatic church that was planted in 2006, growing from a homegroup meeting in the house of pastor John Brown to a congregation of 200 people meeting in two locations. They were part of the Calvary Chapel network. They have recently joined the Norfolk Gospel Partnership and have good relations with City Gates Church, another FIEC church in Norwich.
Their reasons for joining FIEC were: “We hope to gain a more clearly British identity. Having been planted by an American pastor, supported by American churches, we think this is the healthy way forwards.”
Southam Road Evangelical Church
Southam Road Evangelical Church is an independent church that was established in the 1930s on an estate on the outskirts of the Oxfordshire town of Banbury. They are led by David Shepherd and are looking to appoint a new minister. They have a regular congregation of about 32 adults from a wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. They are members of the Evangelical Alliance and Partnership.
Their reasons for joining FIEC were: “To become part of a wider group of similar minded churches, for material support and encouragement. Help with recruitment and appointment of a new pastor.”
West Denton Community Church, Newcastle
West Denton Community Church was formerly a URC church in a deprived area in the West End of Newcastle. It decided to leave the denomination in 2022. The church is now being revitalised with the help of Christ Church Newcastle, another FIEC church in the city, who sent Luke Parker as pastor together with a group who have joined the church. The church now has a congregation of around 90 people.
Their reasons for joining FIEC were: “Partly so that people coming across us can quickly identify what kind of church we are. For partnership and support beyond our own congregation. Provide external reference for those in our congregation.”
They are also members of the North East Gospel Partnership and the Evangelical Alliance.
Upton Baptist Church
Upton Baptist Church is a Grace Baptist church in Chester that was established in 1871. They have good relationships with other FIEC churches in the area and support the Christian Union at Chester University. The church is led by pastor Dave Stott. They have a regular congregation of around 110 and have seen two professions of faith in the last year.
Their reasons for joining FIEC were: “To identify, stand with, partner, and work together with likeminded gospel churches for fellowship, sharing resources and mission. To stand together on Biblical issues and convictions. To help support other churches. To take advantage of practical advice. For support in ministry."
Some members of the church were apparently surprised to discover that they were not already affiliated to FIEC!
We are thrilled that these churches have joined FIEC because they share our gospel convictions and want to be part of our vision to be ‘Independent churches working together to reach Britain for Christ.’ They reflect the growing diversity of FIEC in geography, context, size, ministry style and ethnicity.
Over the same period the following churches have sadly either closed or left FIEC:
- Cranfield Baptist Church (resigned)
- Jubilee Christian Centre (resigned because they became egalitarian)
- Bethel Church Coventry (resigned)
- New Life Church Roehampton (resigned)
- New Life Church Brighton (merged with Grace Church Brighton)
FIEC now has 639 churches. We are anticipating that another 11 churches will be considered for affiliation in June.
You can find out more about joining FIEC here on our Join Us page.