Sunday 8th May 2022

On my first free Sunday here in Ecuador, I made my way by Uber to the English Fellowship Church (EFC) in Quito. Independent Evangelical Churches have not been part of my faith tradition, but I do like to hear good bible teaching and sing rousing Christian songs. I did not know what to expect, but it turned out to be a delight.

EFC has a long history, being started in the 1930s by a couple from Jamaica as a “Missionary Fellowship” aimed at serving Missionaries serving in Quito. More recently it has experience a significant change and has become a truly independent Church, serving the needs of English speaking people in Quito. During my visit I met many North Americans living or working in Quito, many with Ecuadorian spouses. There was also a sizeable attendance of Chinese Christians, both in the main service and also attending a service in Chinese that was livestreamed to a meeting room. After the service the Chinese had a bible study in English/Chinese.

The service started with singing and a prayer (in Spanish) from one of the deacons. Next there followed a thank you from the leader of the children’s ministry to the leaders and helpers who served the ministry. It felt like an appeal for other parents to put themselves forward, but this was never said explicitly. Simply a public thank you to the leaders and helpers and an opportunity to recognise them. It was a very positive experience of the ministry of gratitude and affirmation. Then we moved on to the “main event”, which was the continuation of a sermon series on the Kings of Israel. I was really interested as the main text was 2 Samuel 7, which is well known to me. After further singing, some intercessory prayer, and some blessings, the service came to an end. What to do next was not really announced, so I sat down as people started to leave.

I think it is important to mention that this was a young to middle aged congregation with about 100 people attending. There was probably 20-30 children who attended the children’s ministry groups which were divided into three age ranges.

My real reason for attending EFC is that I wanted to meet and catch up with a SAMS missionary, Cameron Vivanco. She has been working in Ecuador for more than 20 years and leads youth projects. She is well connected in the Central Episcopal Diocese, and has been a source of information in my planning for this trip. Her husband Roberto is a Pastor at EFC.

After the service I got to meet with Cameron and with her children. I then discovered where everyone else had gone. They had not left, but made their way into a garden at the back of the Church. So we sat in the shade in the garden, and Cameron and I discussed what is happening in the Episcopal Church in Ecuador. I discovered the excitement which is in the air with the consecration of a new bishop, and something of the youth projects that they are involved in. I was particularly interested to hear of the micro-grant programme that is delivered through the Episcopal parishes to help keep the poorest children in public school by providing the necessities: uniform, notepads, and text books. While public schooling is free in Ecuador, these necessities are not, and so these micro-grants prevent children from being excluded.

Leave a Comment