ICF International Congregational Fellowship
ICF International Congregational Fellowship

International Congregational Fellowship History

General History and Key Characteristics

Congregational churches have been around for well over 400 years but many would assert that they date right back to the beginning of Christianity.


 In terms of doctrine our churches are in the reformed tradition.  We seek to follow the scripture and be led by the Holy Spirit.  We are essentially Christ-centred.


Here are some key characteristics:

  • Each local church is autonomous and its congregation is free to manage its own affairs and determine its own mission strategy.
  • In each church every member is of equal importance regardless of age, gender or standing in society.
  • Each church is governed by its members under the headship of Jesus Christ, respecting the authority of scripture and seeking to be led by the Holy Spirit.
  • Our ministers or pastors, though usually well trained, do not act as priests or exercise authority over the congregation.

Specifically ICF

In 1975 Congregationalists from various parts of the world gathered at Chiselhurst in the UK to explore the need and potential for some kind of global fellowship.  In 1977 the Inaugural Conference was held and the work has grown on from there.

 

One of the driving factors was concern that many who had formally held to Congregational principles had felt it right to respond to the ecumenical concerns in the 1960s and early 1970s and had formed unions with other denominations.  In the process they had abandoned the principles that had informed the particular ecclesiology. 

 

Tragically, in the process those who chose to continue in the Congregational Way found precious links of fellowship were lost, or at best reduced.  The International Congregational Fellowship has restored that balance.

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