Welcome to the Family Winter 2023 24

Welcome to the Family (Winter 2023/24)

One of the great encouragements for FIEC at the moment is the number of new churches that are seeking to join the Fellowship.

Not only are more churches joining, but a greater diversity of churches are joining from around the UK. In December 2023, five new churches were affiliated, and we officially recognised three new church plants.

New affliations

Beechwood Chapel

Beechwood Chapel was founded in 1973 on a deprived estate on the outskirts of Birkenhead on the Wirral. It is a Brethren-background church, revitalised with help from Christ Church Liverpool. Jon Norwood is the pastor, and there is a congregation of 55 adults and children.

On joining, Jon told us: “I have been part of the FIEC Pastors’ Network for many years and experienced the benefit. We recognise the value of being associated with a national network of like-minded churches.

“Our hope is that we will be able to offer a helpful voice to the Fellowship, especially in helping other churches look to reach deprived communities near them. We also hope that affiliation will help us be a plausible option for people to come and join our mission.”

The church also belongs to the Northwest Gospel Partnership, Wirral Gospel Partnership, Counties and Medhurst Ministries.

Lyonsdown Church

Lyonsdown Church is a relatively new church in New Barnet, London, formed in March 2021 by a congregation that left the Church of England. Rich Hall is the pastor and he leads the church with four other trustees. The diverse church family comprises about 225 adults and children, and they have seen four professions of faith in the last year.

When asked why they joined, they said: “Although we have left the Church of England, at the same time, we see the value of being part of a wider network. As leaders (and the church family have been very supportive), we are convinced that we are most closely aligned theologically with FIEC.

"Equally, it offers helpful support from ministry staff and Edward Connor Solicitors, support for the leaders and team (through the Pastors’ Network and conferences), and gives opportunities for meaningful expressions of local gospel partnership.”

Quinton Evangelical Church

Quinton Evangelical Church in Birmingham was founded in 1944 when several local families joined for worship. Today, the church is led by Mark Daley with a congregation of around 50 adults and children, half of whom are from an ethnic minority.

Encouragingly, they have seen two professions of faith and three baptisms in the last year. They have recently done a lot of work on the building to get ready for mission and outreach to the community, and they have seen an influx of new attendees after the Covid pandemic.

When they joined, they said: “FIEC embodies the beliefs and values of our church. We would value support and wish to contribute to the ongoing work of the Fellowship. We would value closer ties of fellowship with other FIEC churches and access to training and other resources.”

Sunbridge Road Mission

Sunbridge Road Mission was originally established in 1889 as a church plant within the Methodist church. They have had a consistent mission to reach their community in central Bradford, which has changed considerably over time and now has a large Muslim population.

They are wonderfully multi-ethnic, with a congregation of around 300 adults and children, over a third of whom are from an ethnic minority. They have had twelve baptisms in the last year. The church is led by a team of elders and belongs to Yorkshire Gospel Partnership and Prayer for Bradford.

On joining FIEC, they said: “We think it would be wise for us to be part of a network of churches for several reasons: kingdom perspective; gospel partnership; training; theological anchoring; resources; expertise and accountability. We think FIEC is a good fit because it is a fellowship rather than a denomination, there is good theological alignment, and there are existing connections and relationships.

“We are a very culturally diverse church family and one way we could contribute to the FIEC is around intercultural church and cross-cultural mission.”

Whitton Baptist Church

Whitton Baptist Church in Ipswich was established in 1952. It is currently led by Cole Maynard, who recently joined the church, and two other elders. The church has a congregation of 90 adults and children and celebrated two baptisms in the last year. They are also members of the Grace Baptist Association, the Evangelical Alliance, Affinity, and the Ipswich Partnership of Evangelical Churches.

They joined FIEC for: “Mutual fellowship and support of like-minded, Bible-believing churches, legal advice regarding becoming a CIO, and being part of a national voice.”

New Church Plants

In addition to increased affiliations, it is encouraging that church planting has started again after the inevitable hiatus caused by Covid. Three new church plants have sought recognition and support from FIEC, with the expectation that they will go on to full affiliation when fully Independent.

Grace Church Wroughton is a new church for a village of 8,000 people in northeast Wiltshire, to the south of Swindon, planted by Swindon Evangelical Church and Emmanuel Church Marlborough. It is also supported by Emmanuel Church Chippenham and Calne Free Church.

Riverside Baptist Church is a new church in Horbury, a town of 15000 people near Dewsbury and Wakefield. It was planted by a group who came out of another church after Covid. The leaders are currently working full-time but hope to be able to serve bi-vocationally.

Calvary Baptist Church is a new church in Boston, Lincolnshire - one of 50 places identified some years ago by FIEC as in need of more gospel witness. It was planted by Joshua Booth, who is from the US and previously pastored a church in Manchester. It is supported by the Fenlands Evangelical Network, which now consists of four churches: Bourne Evangelical Church, Calvary Baptist Church Spalding, and Calvary Baptist Church Peterborough.

Church Resignations

In addition to welcoming new churches and plants, some churches have also resigned from FIEC.

  • Westside Fellowship resigned because they did not think FIEC should have amended its doctrinal basis to include marriage.
  • Osborne Square Church resigned and affiliated to EFCC.
  • Winlaton Evangelical Church has become part of Newcastle Reformed Church.
  • Kinmel Bay Church has resigned because they are no longer able to affirm our ethos statement on Women in Ministry.

Whilst we are sad when churches choose to leave us, we respect their decisions as independent churches and pray that they will continue to know the Lord’s blessing.

Join us

We have four formal opportunities each year for churches to affiliate to FIEC, but applications can be made at any time.

If your church would like to consider joining FIEC please get in touch with us: we’d be delighted to share more about our vision to be ‘Independent churches working together to reach Britain for Christ’, how you can be part of it, and what your church might gain from affiliating.

Get in touch

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