Welcome to the Free Church of England.
It is the goal of The Free Church of England, to be a branch of the Holy Catholic Church that is Evangelical in zeal for the primacy of the Scriptures and the proclamation of the Gospel, Catholic in the expression of “the faith once delivered to the saints” and orthodox in doctrine and morals. We stand in the Anglican tradition and our worship is based on the historic liturgies of the Church of England.
It is also our apostolic mission, through a well balanced approach to Christian formation, to enable all our people, ordained and lay, and especially our children and young people, to develop into effective ambassadors of Christ in the Church and in the world.
We are committed by our constitution to seek and maintain communion with other Churches and therefore it is our firm desire to seek full sacramental communion and visible unity with other Christians who worship God as Trinity and who hold the Catholic and Apostolic Faith revealed in the Scriptures.
In these times of realignment among Christians in the UK and globally our mission is to offer a home for all orthodox Christians (of Anglican or other backgrounds) who hold “that which was believed everywhere, always, and by all” (Vincent of Lerins), and, by a ministry of Word and Sacrament, to equip them to live and witness for Christ.
That’s where the Free Church of England comes in! We want to transform lives and communities through church planting. Why? We’ll give you 56 million reasons!
WELCOME TO FCE-90, a new day
DOCTRINES OF GRACE:
1. The Fallen Condition of Humanity (Romans 5:12-19) We are all in the same boat – desperately in need of God’s grace. So there is no “finger pointing” necessary. We are ALL sinners. Let’s just be honest about it and move toward the grace of God together.
2. The Loving Initiative of God In His grace, God takes the initiative in establishing relationships with us, reaches down, captures our heart, and invites us into a loving relationship with Himself (John 6:37-39, II Thessalonians 2:13-14).
3. The Effective Work of Jesus In the cross of Jesus Christ, we see the benediction of God to all who would believe: “My child, I love you and have forgiven you.” (I John 4:10, Romans 5:10, Galatians 3:13).
4. The Ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God opens our eyes to the beauty of Jesus Christ (John 6:44-45, Philippians 2:13) and whispers the benediction of his grace and affection to our souls.
5. The Promise of the Gospel (Phil. 1:6). Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God has promised his love for you — and he will keep that promise. No matter your failure, no matter your struggle, he will never let you go.
The Free Church of England has evangelical roots in the eighteenth century Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion. The first congregations to bear the name ‘Free Church of England’ were registered in 1844. The very first was Bridgetown Chapel in the parish of Berry Pomeroy which left the Church of England following the persecution of the Revd James Shore by Bishop Phillpotts of Exeter. By the end of the year other Free Church of England congregations had been founded by people who left the Established Church, convinced that she had departed irretrievably from her Scriptural roots.
As one of the FCE’s early leaders said: ‘The body which we wish to see gathered and grow is the Church of England - that is to say, we will hold her doctrines, liturgy and general outline of government, but all freed from what we consider unscriptural and objectionable.’
Leadership did not initially come from new congregations leaving the Established Church but from those already in positions of leadership and influence in the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion which had long worshipped according to The Book of Common Prayer. The community which had been called into being by the ministry of Whitefield and his associates had now reorganised itself as an alternative to the Established Church.
The Free Church of England expanded and grew until the 1940s. The Second World War weakened the denomination’s structures and after several subsequent decades of faithful holding to the orthodox faith, it is now enthusiastic for revitalisation and growth. Numbers of us are discovering the wisdom of the words penned in 1949 by Bishop Vaughan, when he stated that is was his conviction God was guiding and preserving the Free Church of England, “for some yet unrevealed purpose.”
The purpose is now being revealead... and you could be part of it.
IMAGINE a church that seeks to be true to our Reformation inheritance, has voted to affiliate with GAFCON and is in communion with the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA).
IMAGINE a church that is authentically Anglican: it holds to the supremacy of Scripture, the Articles and the Prayer Book (with provision for modern language services).
IMAGINE a church that unashamedly holds a complementarian view of ministry.
IMAGINE a church with its roots in the Evangelical Revival and the zeal of George Whitefield and wants that Gospel mission to continue today.
THAT CHURCH IS THE FREE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
Some responses to the letter have focussed on the possibility of a new Anglican jurisdiction being formed.
In fact there is nothing new about the idea of an alternative Anglican jurisdiction in the British Isles.
Such a jurisdiction already exists. The Free Church of England has maintained an orthodox Anglican witness here since the 1840s. There is nothing secret about it. The Church of England has had dialogues with us from time to time and recognises our Orders.
The Free Church of England’s witness has recently been augmented by the appointment of the Right Revd Andy Lines as a Missionary Bishop. Andy is a bishop of the Anglican Church in North America, which is in full communion with the Free Church of England and the FCE bishops are in regular contact with him.
Earlier this year the Free Church of England hosted a Forum for Anglicans concerned about developments in the Church of England and Scottish Episcopal Church in particular. That meeting was attended by some who believe it right to continue to witness within the ‘official’ Provinces and those who are either already outside them or are considering taking that step. As the statement says, further meetings are planned. All involved are committed to working together to ensure the continuation of orthodox Anglican jurisdictions. The precise form those jurisdictions might take is one of the areas of discussion. The priority is to ensure that they enable the proclamation of the biblical Gospel within the Anglican patrimony.
+ John Fenwick