On Monday 15 June, about 120 people gathered in Southwark, London, to mark the opening of a new evangelical church in a very needy area.
Globe Church, pastored by Jonty Allcock, has been planted in partnership between the capital’s Co-Mission network of evangelical churches, headed by Richard Coekin, and several churches who are members of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC).
The evening kicked off with an informal time of refreshments, Borough Market-style, while guests mingled. It was lovely to see so many friends and supporters, including pastors and representatives from FIEC churches across north and south London, including Selhurst Evangelical Church, Sanderstead Evangelical Church and East Street, Camberwell.
After this, there was a brief introductory video, outlining why the church had been planted on the Southbank — an area of huge cultural and artistic distinction as well as a high level of social housing and immigrant workers.
One of the members of the new church, which is meeting in a modern, rented building called Bankside Space (complete with its own catering space), said Globe Church was situated alongside this part of the Thames, to ‘tell the story of Jesus, of love, redemption and the only hope for a dying world’.
He emphasised that, although the Globe Church’s name reflects that of the Globe Theatre, which is on its doorstep, there is a need to tell the globe about the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ.
Another church member, Josh, worshipped with a song that expressed gratitude to God, ‘You do all things well’. Pastor Allcock then stood to talk about the mission to ‘make people fishers of men’. He said, ‘We always talk about the Great Commission, when Jesus said “Go”, but his first command was “Come, and I will make you fishers of men”.
‘We are so busy putting together a perfect life for ourselves, and then along comes Jesus and we try to fit him into our life’s jigsaw. But when he calls us to come, to follow, to go, he means us to leave behind our jigsaw, our dreams, our ambitions and do what he desires.
‘This is what God is doing and it is exciting to hear him tell us to “leave behind your small ambitions and get involved in what I am doing”.’
Fishers of men
Pastor Allcock said the vision of the Globe Church was to be fishers of men in an area replete with students, tourists, migrant workers, social housing, high culture, artists and writers.
‘The Southbank is an extraordinary area of music and art and creativity. We want to engage with this and proclaim Christ. We will train up workers to send them out into other places. This is not a popularity contest. We do not want to build a massive church on the Southbank. We want to share, be generous and give people away’.
John Stevens, national director of the FIEC, spoke of his desire to see the gospel grow in London. He said, ‘There are tens of thousands of people in this area who need to hear Christ. We need more gospel churches in the centre of London. This is hugely important for the work of the gospel in this nation’.
Richard Coekin said that Co-Mission was committed to planting churches in London and within the M25. He said, ‘Every new church glorifies God in the heavenly realms. God is just as present when there are small numbers gathered, as he is when the church is big.
‘We also want to see a strong FIEC London church training leaders of the future. We want to develop our partnership with the FIEC and this Globe Church will be one of many that we can launch in this city. That said, the Bible must be at the heart of any gospel ministry in London, with an evangelistic heart, being committed to reaching the lost’.
One of the founding members of the Globe Church, Trevor Archer, told guests he ‘coveted our prayers’, adding that finances would also be a key need as the church grew. The meeting concluded in prayer and further fellowship.
Currently, about 20 people attend services on Sunday afternoons, with a vision to build on this when the church launches officially on 20 September. Perhaps as a sign that Globe Church will one day have a global impact, we met two American tourists who had passed by Bankside Space by accident and decided to come in and see what was going on.
Both evangelical Christians from New York, they were thrilled to have been led ‘by a wonderful surprise’ to attend this event while visiting various attractions along the Southbank.