FIEC Celebrates 100 Years
by Joel Murray
Amidst protests about climate change and football fans heading to Wembley Stadium, church leaders, FIEC staff past and present, and other friends of FIEC gathered in London on a Saturday afternoon in April to celebrate the Fellowship’s centenary.
It’s been 100 years since Edward J Poole-Connor formed an ‘association of mutual helpfulness’ for Independent churches, which we now know as FIEC: the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. From the original 17 congregations, the Fellowship has grown today to more than 630.
A lunch and service were held at Westminster Chapel in the centre of London to give thanks to God for his faithfulness through 100 years of work and ministry in FIEC.
The lunch was attended by current and former staff, past Presidents and General Secretaries of FIEC, Trust Board members, and other gospel partners for a time to catch up, reminisce about the past, and celebrate God’s work through the Fellowship.
This was followed by a service of thanksgiving with sung worship, prayers, and interviews to give God thanks for the past and to ask for help for the future. Ian Jones, current FIEC Trust Board Chairman, preached from Luke 24 on the ascension of Christ, encouraging listeners of the joy of church ministry.
There was also a reminder of Pray for One Hundred, an initiative to mark 100 years of FIEC by collating 100 mission projects at FIEC churches across the country for foster prayer, support, and inspiration into the future.
John Stevens, National Director for FIEC, said: “It was a joy to be joined by so many who have given their time and energy sacrificially to FIEC. As the current staff entrusted with the work of the Fellowship, we know that we stand on the shoulders of those who went before us and honour them for their faithfulness.
“We were also delighted to be joined by many of the evangelical organisations who serve the gospel alongside us and are grateful for our partnership together. We know that there is a massive spiritual need in our nation, and so we committed ourselves once again to our missionary task and the grace of God.’”
Carl Knightley, Director of Church Networks for London City Mission, said: “It was an honour to be invited to attend the FIEC 100th anniversary service and I greatly enjoyed meeting old friends and making new ones. The highlight was the service itself and it was a privilege to represent London City Mission. I was greatly encouraged by the heritage of the FIEC as we heard stories of God’s faithfulness over the years.”
Independent evangelical churches and there are now more than 50,000 people who are part of churches affiliated to FIEC.