Tuesday 03 December 2019

Press release

Believing for an integrated, ethnically diverse church

In a landmark book published by the Evangelical Alliance, outgoing general director Steve Clifford and director of the One People Commission, Yemi Adedeji, set out their vision and hope for an ethnically diverse church in the UK.

The [Im]possible Dreamis the culmination of years of work by the Evangelical Alliance’s One People Commission to pursue the dream of a unified church. The inspiration for the book stems from Jesus’ words in John 17, when He prayed that his followers would be one so that the world would know God’s love and then believe.

Steve Clifford and Rev Canon Yemi Adedeji both serve as part of the One People Commission at the Evangelical Alliance. Their work together developed from friendship and mutual respect. They have consistently chosen to be intentional about integration despite being ethnically and culturally different. This book explores their journey to integration as two friends and as leaders.

A wide range of contributors offer case studies and stories to illustrate their own personal experience of the journey to integration. Key figures in the UK church including Joe Aldred, Roy Crowne, Celia Apeagyei Collins, Les Isaac, Manoj Raithatha and Dr Tani Omideyi who also serves as the chair of the board of the Evangelical Alliance.

In the foreword to the resource book Pastor Agu Irukwu writes: “As we strive for greater ethnic unity, I hope and pray that the book will have the breath of God on it. I pray it brings healing to those who have suffered as a result of what was, and there are many who did. I pray it brings encouragement as we see what the Lord has done. I pray it helps us overcome the hindrances that stop us from moving towards ethnic unity and ignites in us the desire to go for it, knowing that there will be a cost involved.”

Their stories demonstrate how these leaders are not satisfied with the status quo and that they have committed themselves to learn and to change.

Yemi Adedeji said: “Embracing diversity is like inviting people to the party; inclusion is inviting them to dance, but integration means we host the party together.”

Steve Clifford said: “Throughout my time as general director of the Evangelical Alliance, I have frequently spoken from the John 17 prayer of Jesus. I couldn’t get away from this prayer – it’s as though I had been ambushed by this amazing prayer and the challenge it brought to us as an alliance.

“The challenge before the church is not just in agreeing with the call of Jesus for us to be unified, but in doing something about it. That’s why we’ve written this book, to help Christians grasp the call of Jesus and work to make it a reality in their churches today.”

Each chapter of The [Im]possible Dream includes questions to consider as individuals, churches and ministries; questions that challenge the way we do things and test the extent of our desire for integration. The aim is to provide resources to enable churches to demonstrate to the world how the impossible dream of ethnic integration can become a possible dream as Christians learn to love each other.

The [Im]possible Dreamis available to buy now at: https://www.eauk.org/resources/what-we-offer/reports/the-impossible-dream/buy-the-impossible-dream

Media enquiries

Danny Webster
Email: d.webster@eauk.org
Phone: 020 7520 3862
Mobile: 07766 444 650

Notes to editors

Steve Clifford and Yemi Adedeji are available for interview.

One People Commission

We want to reflect, celebrate and serve the ethnic diversity of the church in the UK by helping to reshape the focus and the feel of the Evangelical Alliance and its membership.

The One People Commission exists to:

  • Acknowledge the ethnic diversity and individuality that exists within the UK church, but by highlighting the importance of coming together as one
  • Promote and profile the message of unity through the Evangelical Alliance’s channels and to national leaders
  • Help the Evangelical Alliance relate more widely and encouraging others to do the same
  • Ensuring the Evangelical Alliance’s Board, Council, staff, national offices and Theology Advisory Group (TAG) better reflect the ethnic diversity of the UK church
  • Encourage the Evangelical Alliance to speak out on new issues with new voices
  • Help to enlarge the Evangelical Alliance’s membership with a greater ethnic diversity

About the Evangelical Alliance

We are the Evangelical Alliance. We join together hundreds of organisations, thousands of churches and tens of thousands of individuals for the sake of the gospel. Representing our members since 1846, the Evangelical Alliance is the oldest and largest evangelical unity movement in the UK.

We love Jesus and we want everyone in the UK to be given an opportunity to know Him.

We love His church, and we will do all we can to unite evangelicals, building confidence in the gospel and speaking as a trusted voice into society to see it changed for Him.

Working across the UK, with offices in London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast, our members come together from across denominations, locations, age groups and ethnicities, all sharing a passion to know Jesus and make Him known.

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