It began as an Urban Expression church planting team 15 years ago in London's East End but became E1 Community Church (E1CC) after the merger of three Urban Expression church plants (including Cable Street Community Church). Phil Warburton and Alex Alexander are Baptist ministers who lead the church and they explain more.
Things have changed a great deal since the original Cable Street Community Church was featured on expressions: the dvd – 1. E1CC now covers the south west of the Borough of Tower Hamlets and is based in Shadwell and Stepney.
Originally led by Jim and Juliet Kilpin, we were a small team on a steep learning curve made up of a group of people trying to figure out together how to follow Jesus and love our neighbours.
We remain a small church that struggles in many ways with the seeming chaos of life and messiness of church but there is also a lot of joy along the way and much hope for the future. Today E1CC covers the same geographical area and includes Sunday meetings in the homes of two families from the church and Wednesdays at 6pm in the hall of St Mary's Church on Cable Street. Once a month we have celebrations which are all-age, messy church, café-style, with a meal to finish. We have active children's and youth groups too, who bring us much joy and often speak nuggets of truth to us 'grown-ups'! You will rarely hear a sermon here but we hope, pray and trust that people will hear plenty of what God is saying.
Alex Alexander was called to lead the church alongside Phil in July 2009. Along with other churches in Tower Hamlets, we have set up a Mission House initiative to encourage and enable people with a heart for the inner city to live and minister here. Four local churches are part of the Mission House at the moment and each church has a volunteer who joins in with the life of the church and the local community. Rachel Fergusson joined us a year ago as part of this initiative and it is great working with a team of people passionate about the community and church of Shadwell and Stepney.
What are we about? E1 Community Church have five key distinctives. We are a Jesus-centred church; worshipping and following Jesus together in our daily lives. We are a church at the edge, seeking to be a church of people who have too little rather than have too much and of those who often feel marginalized by society and sometimes by the church. We are made up of people who live in the local neighbourhood and our worship, discipleship and decision-making aim to be relevant to the area in which we live. We aim to be multi-voiced in order to discover together what God might be saying to us. We believe passionately in being people of peace and we try to work at this both within church and within our community.
Each year we have a focus on a particular topic and we work on getting funds together for a charity specialising in that particular field. This year we are focusing on the Olympics to highlight issues of justice, inequality, disability and human trafficking. We are using the Baptist Missionary Society's Undefeated resources.
We are also involved with other churches in Tower Hamlets to run a winter Night Shelter and Foodbank based in various locations through Tower Hamlets, as well as youth and children's work both within church and in our neighbourhood. We are really excited about what God is doing in Tower Hamlets and we want to continue to join in with bringing his kingdom here!