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.
Over the next thirty years brother Ebi and I assisted the launch of about a dozen churches, mostly Tamil speaking. New pastors were trained locally or joined us from Asia. For example, we invited brother Vasanthakumar to lead a church in Walthamstow; he is a learned man with a large library, and writes Bible commentaries in Tamil. Our colleague, brother Kamalakaran Krishnasamy, was recruited locally, and was trained by Ichthus Christian Fellowship, which is led by Roger and Faith Forster. In 2012 brother Ebi and I retired from the leadership of Immaanuveel, and brother Kamal is now the pastor. Immaanuveel continues to be active in evangelism; one high point of each year is a “camp”, not literally involving camping, but several days away at a conference centre, with invited speakers who can draw people to faith in Christ.
- 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!
WHAT WE BELIEVE
Does it really matter what we believe? People ask us that all the time. Our answer is simple – what you believe affects everything you do. It matters! However, some things have more effect than others. Some things are essential and others are secondary. The danger, of course, is that we get hung up on the negotiables and miss the essentials of our faith. You'll find here the things that we find essential – along with some verses from the Bible that you will find helpful to read. You will find that our beliefs align with those held by many other churches and we are part of Ichthus.
We believe in the one true God who lives eternally in three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The word most commonly used to describe God in this way is 'Trinity'. It's not a word you find in the Bible but it matches the description of God we find there.
References: Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43: 10-11; Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22; 2 Corinthians 13:14
We believe in God the Father, the Almighty, creator of the heavens and the earth. He is perfect in holiness, perfect in love, perfect in judgement, perfect in every way. The Bible says that whilst in no way inferior or less than the Father, the Son and the Spirit proceed from the Father.
References: Genesis 1:1, 17:1; Isaiah 5:16, 6:3, 43:15; Matthew 11:25; John 6:57, 8:42, 14:16-17; Romans 11:17; 1 John 4:16
We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. In human form, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary and is true God and true man yet without sin. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, as a representative and sacrifice in our place. We believe that we are justified (made right with God) by his death and the fact that he achieved this is demonstrated by his literal, bodily resurrection from the dead. We believe that his name and work are our sole means of salvation.
We believe that Jesus ascended to heaven, where he is exalted at the right hand of his Father above every other power and authority. He ministers as our High Priest (one who represents God to us and us to God) and Intercessor (one who prays for us.)
References: Luke 1:35; John 1:2, 14; Acts 1:9-10, 4:12; Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Ephesians 1:7, 20-21; Hebrews 4:14, 7:25; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:1
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who is with the Church forever and who teaches and guides the Church in all truth. The Holy Spirit gives various gifts for the common good of the body of Christ and guides the Church and the individual believer in service toward the world and for the Church.
The Holy Spirit continues to manifest himself through spiritual gifts which he gives to each follower of Jesus. The individual believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, has his life in Christ and final eternal state guaranteed in the Spirit, and is supernaturally empowered by the Holy Spirit.
References: John 1:16, 14:26, 16:7-11; Acts 1:8, 10:19-20, 16:6-7; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:11-12, 4:30
We believe in the sixty-six canonised and commonly recognised books of the Old and New Testaments as inspired by God and inerrant in the original writings. We believe they are the supreme and final authority in faith and life.
References: 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:19-21
SIN & JUDGEMENT
We believe that Man was created in the image of God. However, he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death, which is separation from God. We believe that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, and become sinners in thought, word and deed. We believe that life does not end when we die. We believe that we will all be raised from the dead and will face the judgement seat of God. We all need a Saviour!
References: Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 3:23, 5:14; Ephesians 2:1-3, Matthew 25:45; John 5:28; Revelation 20:11-15
We believe that eternal salvation is solely the gift of God. That all who in sincere contrition turn from their sins, believe the good news about who Jesus is and what he has done and receive the Jesus Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit and become adopted sons of God.
References: John 3:3-5, Acts 2:38, Romans 8:16, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5,
We believe in one universal Church represented on earth by many different local groupings. God has called the believers in various places to join together into local churches as visible expressions of the Church in order to bring the power, the life, the character and the authority of God into the lives of people.
References: 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:19-22, 4:4-6, 5:22-32; 1 Peter 2:5-10
JESUS IS COMING BACK
We believe in the personal, bodily return of Jesus. He will establish a new heaven and a new earth and death, sickness, suffering, pain and sorrow will be no more!
References: Matthew 24:30-31, Thessalonians 4:13-18, Revelation 21-22