We're on the Move!
During the Bank Holiday week at the end of August, we will be moving house. John Stevens gives thanks for God’s generous provision – not just for a new building, but for his generosity to FIEC over many years.
2022 will see the 100th anniversary of FIEC. As we look back over a century of supporting and serving independent churches, we are immensely thankful to God for all the ways that he has met our needs and provided for our ministry.
In the last ten years, as the work of FIEC has expanded, we have experienced numerous examples of God’s unexpected generosity. We have been able to recruit gifted new staff to serve our vision to be “independent churches working together to reach Britain for Christ” and our churches have significantly increased their annual donations to meet this cost. We have been given over £1.5m to support our training fund, which has helped to provide gospel workers for our churches, and a generous gift last year means that we have some £800,000 to distribute to our churches to support their mission initiatives.
I am delighted to report that we have also enjoyed God’s wonderful providence in the provision of a new office for the FIEC staff in Market Harborough.
This has been a pressing need for some time, as our current office premises have been inadequate to meet the need of the central staff team. FIEC purchased its current office at 39 The Point when it moved from Croydon in 2005. When I joined FIEC in 2010 there were nine staff based in the office. Over the last decade the FIEC staff team has increased, and law firm Edward Connor Solicitors – set up by FIEC in 2018 – is also rapidly growing. There are now 21 staff based in Market Harborough, and others who use the office on a regular basis.
We were able to solve our space shortage by renting a small unit on the same business park, but this meant that the team was divided, and we have outgrown even this additional capacity.
Whilst the need for a new office was pressing, we were very conscious of not wanting to ask our churches for considerable additional money. Our priority is to invest in gospel ministry, not premises. After many months of searching it also seemed that there were no suitable premises available in Market Harborough, except for the option of a new-build office which would have been a huge cost of some £1.5m.
We had been praying for some time and should not have been surprised when an ideal office came on to the market which is almost adjacent to our current office, but twice the size. The price was reasonable, and the Lord provided a generous donor who was prepared to loan the additional money we needed for the purchase at a low interest rate. We were able to secure the property the day it came on the market, and after extensive renovation work FIEC will be moving into its new office at 41 The Point at the end of August.
We are deeply thankful to God for this amazing provision. It will enable the FIEC team, both ministry and support staff, to be based in the same building for the first time in four years. We are confident that this will bring significant benefits to our team dynamics and enable us to work more efficiently together.
The growing team at Edward Connor Solicitors will be able to take over the lease of our smaller office and we can sell 39 The Point to enable us to repay most of the loan we have received without having to increase church donations for this purpose. Even after the final refurbishments are completed, the total cost of our new building will be in the order of £850,000 – far lower than a new-build alternative.
The Building Challenge
We are encouraged that many FIEC churches are growing and facing the challenges of buildings that are too small. When the Lord provides a new building, it enables the ministry to grow. This is exactly what we have experienced at FIEC, and we are thankful that the Lord has done more than we could have asked or imagined.
We are very conscious that it is our churches that fund our work through their donations, and we remain committed to ensuring tight control of our central costs. The vast majority of church donations fund the salaries of our staff, and I am glad that this new office will not detract from our frontline support of your gospel work.
Please do join with us in thanking God for our new office, and pray that we might be good stewards of it for the service of the gospel in our nation.
We look forward to welcoming you to our new home in Market Harborough.