A History of the Churches Group for Evangelisation
This is a brief history of the Churches Group for Evangelisation, or 'GfE' as it has been known, up until the time when the present Secretary came in to post in 2005.
These notes are based on a history provided by the previous Secretary, Rev Roger Whitehead, who served the group from the foundation to 2005.
The Group for Evangelisation was brought together by Revd Dr Donald English in 1988 when he was General Secretary of the Home Mission Division of the Methodist Church. The vision was for the national evangelism officers of the main denominations in England to meet around the table.
Dr English invited Rev Roger Whitehead to co-ordinate the work for the Group.
Roger served as the only previous Executive Secretary, whilst also being a part time local URC Minister in Harrold, Bedfordshire. He retired from GfE in 2005.
Roger writes, 'Originally the Group started off as a three times a year meeting of Donald English and his equivalents in the other major denominations, but when Churches Together in England was formed in 1990, the Group expanded to include smaller denominations and evangelistic agencies.
Initially, the Group's main function was to share information, but when the Decade of Evangelism started the Group began to plan together and then to work together. Today, the churches are in the position that no one major denomination would undertake new work without prior consultation with the others, and usually with active involvement of them too.
During the Decade of Evangelism the Group initiated or Co-ordinated major initiatives including:
• On Fire (Oassis Trust 1994)
• Open Book (Bible Society 1996)
• Churches Information on Mission - Church Life Profile (2001 ... and for which Roger is still the contact person for information)
• Churches Millennium preparations (1994-2000)
• 20 from 10 (Assessment of the Decade: cf Articles page)
• Rejesus.co.uk website (2002)
Roger says, 'On occasion it seemed right for the Group to do work on behalf of the churches, but usually the work was to co-ordinate what the churches were wanting to do together'.
Before Jim Currin was appointed by the Group, Roger Whitehead had overseen and co-ordinated the major project 'Evangelising Contemporary Spiritualities' which gave rise to the major tour and book 'Equipping your Church in a Spiritual Age' which is still available from the current Secretary (see Spiritual Age).
For anyone further interested in the history contact the Secretary, or Roger Whitehead who is now the minister of Dawlish United Reformed Church.