Patrick Sookhdeo was the son of a Hindu father and a Moslem mother. The family migrated from British Guiana, and Patrick became a Christian. At London Bible College he met Rosemary who became his wife. They applied to various missionary societies, but a mixed-race married couple was unacceptable. This was in the early Seventies. Patrick became a missionary to immigrants, leading evangelistic weeks around Britain, witnessing to Asians and West Indians, and resisting the National Front. He was supported by the Evangelical Alliance, and by many Assemblies of Open Brethren, such as Archway.
In 1975 I, Jonathan Eden, became one of a team of young people being trained by Patrick and Rosemary. We went door to door with gospels and booklets in various languages. One Assembly we worked with was Ley Street Chapel in Newbury Park. There I met a Mr Sivasubramaniam at 251 Coventry Road. He was friendly, and invited me and my colleague in. I explained the gospel to him, and he gave me my first introduction to the Tamil community and their political sufferings. Through him I met many other Tamil people. Some were students from Sri Lanka. Others were doctors and accountants from south India. Others were labourers from RN dockyards in Singapore.
In 1982 the team received a big boost with the arrival of Mr and Mrs Ebenezer. ‘Brother Ebi” had been working for the Far East Broadcasting Association in Bangalore, India. He and I, and our wives, started holding Sunday services in Tamil language. We started in Forest Gate, and move to Manor Park Christian Centre in 1985. Tamil immigration rose because of civil warfare in Sri Lanka. People turned to Christ. The church grew. Patrick gave the church its name, Immaanuveel Kiristava Aikiyam, meaning Emmanuel Christian Fellowship. The early members, if not converts from Hinduism, were of traditional denominations, such as Methodist. But the character of the church gradually became more Pentecostal, though very much led from the front, rather than letting the Spirit lead via a variety of worshippers.
- Jonathan Eden
We believe that our primary purpose is to love God because we are loved by Him. From this source flows everything else in life. Knowing God is what we are designed for and relationship with Him and doing everything for Him and through Him makes life worth living.
LOVE THE CHURCH
We also believe that we cannot love God without loving His Church! If Jesus loved His people and gave himself up (to die) for them then what right have we to walk away? Loving, serving, caring and giving to his Church and building genuine community is what loving God really looks like in the flesh. We believe that God has called his Church to be a picture of what His new family looks like, as an example to the world. Whilst she is not perfect, Jesus calls the Church his bride and so no true follower of Christ can ever abandon her!
LOVE THE "CITY"
London is a city;! By loving "the city" we mean that we are called to love the places and people where God has given us influence: a street, a home, a workplace, a school or a nation! The Church was never designed to be a ghetto or a holy bubble. Jesus sent his church out on mission to love, serve, and witness and testify to everyone that God is invading the earth with His kingdom. We believe that God has given us power through his Spirit to back up our words and actions with things that only God can do!