After almost 80 years in Quito, English Fellowship Church is increasingly international and intercultural (which we believe includes interdenominational and intergenerational). "EFC" was born in the hearts and minds of D.S. and Erma Clark. They were a British couple from Jamaica who had come to Ecuador with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and played a major role in the founding of HCJB Global.
In 1934, the Clarks began opening their home to the English-speaking community on Sunday afternoons. They wanted to minister to people who were far from home and had a desire and/or a need for Jesus-focused fellowship in their native language. Mrs. Clark also began hosting a weekly tea for women, which grew into weekly Bible studies. Before long, the “Sunday English Fellowship” was meeting in a number of missionary homes.
In 1939 the core fellowship moved into the third floor of the HCJB office building in what was then “downtown” Quito. By the 1950’s, they had moved to the Southern Baptist Church in the same area. In April of 1957, the English Sunday Fellowship began to meet in the Iñaquito Church next door to Hospital Vozandes, just a short walk from EFC’s current location.
In August of 1962, the EFC Board approved construction of a church on the present site – a piece of property owned by HCJB. The move to the new building was made in October of 1963 (the month after our current Lead Pastor was born!). It was officially named the Peggy Lord Memorial Chapel. Peggy was the daughter of D.S. and Erma Clark. She had grown up in Ecuador and wanted to return after graduating from Wheaton College. Rheumatic fever had weakened her heart and changed her plans and left her bedridden the last years of her life. Upon her death, $5,000 was contributed to the church as a memorial – almost half the total cost of construction.
The past few years have seen a significant transformation of the church – both its structure and its Sunday morning atmosphere. We completed a lengthy process of becoming a completely independent church, moving out from under the legal and administrative umbrella of HCJB. We have worked through the structural change of becoming an Elder-led church while also defining church “bylaws” for the first time.
EFC started as a “missionary fellowship” and that was its predominant identity for decades. That led to much concern with the relocation plans of many mission agencies in the mid-90’s. Instead of a drop in attendance, we have watched in wonder as things have gone the other way. By God’s grace, we have seen that happen through an exciting and growing international community in Quito and a common interest in English; a steady flow of college-age folks from North America and Europe; and some new bridges into the diplomatic corps and business sector. The doubly exciting thing is the way a number of long-time missionaries are seeing the church’s renewed vision and are turning here as well!