Much in Common
Affinity is a collection of churches, evangelical agencies and individual Christians – and FIEC is one of Affinity’s largest members. Recently Affinity had one of their biannual Council meetings and Peter Milsom (Director of Affinity) gives us a short report back.
Affinity exists to declare and demonstrate the unity of Christ’s Church for the advancement of his Kingdom through gospel partnership, public engagement, theological advocacy and a world focus. Alongside FIEC, 20 other church groups are also affiliated to Affinity, making a total of around 1200 churches. In addition there are 31 Christian agencies who are part of Affinity, as well as individual churches and Christians.
The Affinity Council meeting on 17th-18th September continued to strengthen and develop the network. The Council provides a forum for evangelical church leaders from all parts of the UK, and FIEC’s John Stevens and Richard Underwood are both on the Council.
One focus for the Council is engaging with leaders from other evangelical church groupings and networks. At this meeting the Council welcomed Tope Koleoso, who leads the Jubilee Church in Enfield. The church belongs to the Newfrontiers network. Tope’s congregation of more than 1000 people brings together people from more than 40 nations. The Council also welcomed William Taylor, Rector of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate in the City of London. William’s church runs an extensive training programme and has planted a number of new congregations. St Helen’s maintains a strong evangelical witness within the Church of England.
Keith Walker, Director of SIM-UK, spoke on the changing church scene in the UK under the title of “Reflecting on Diversity, Diaspora and Integration in the UK”. Keith identified some key issues facing our mainly mono-cultural churches in an increasingly multi-cultural society. How can we facilitate diversity and integration in our churches and develop contextualised ministries? How can we partner with mission sending churches in the Global South and facilitate integration in ministry for Christians who are coming to the UK? How can we mobilise multicultural teams to plant culturally diverse churches? The Affinity Council and Teams will be reflecting on the issues discussed and exploring ways of responding to these challenges.
Ralph Cunnington from Aigburth Community Church, Liverpool, is now the Editor of Foundations, Affinity’s theological journal. The first issue under his editorship will be published online in November and will focus on Baptism. Bookings are coming in for the Affinity Theological Study Conference on 16th-18th January 2013 at High Leigh. The subject of the conference is “Using the Bible Ethically – the Bible and Ethics”. Speakers include Jonathan Burnside, Joshua Hordern, Gordon Wenham, Andrew Hartropp, Paul Helm and Leonardo De Chirico. Booking forms are available here.
As a network of gospel churches Affinity is committed to establishing a strong and effective partnership between member churches and agencies to strengthen our united gospel witness to the people of the UK and Ireland. We encourage Christians to become personal members of Affinity and churches to become actively involved in the network. The Affinity website provides a growing range of helpful information and resources including our monthly Prayer Calendar. Why not visit www.affinity.org.uk or follow us on Twitter (@affinitytweets)?