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The “United Apostolic Faith Church”, denomination was founded at a time of the new Pentecostal awakening in the early 20th century. James Brooke was a London City Missioner pastoring a south coast Baptist church when he received the baptism of the Spirit. He worked at first with the fledgling Apostolic Church of Great Britain (from which root came a significant swathe of apostolic work around the world). Later, following a successful stint as a missionary in South Africa, he returned to the UK and set up the United Apostolic Faith Church.

The UAFC was of course characterised by a strong Pentecostal distinctive, but also by a strong teaching emphasis. James Brooke, and subsequently his sons Percy and Leonard, were brilliant Bible expositors. Leonard moved to South Africa, where the UAFC work blossomed and today includes many thousands of congregations throughout the southern African region (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana etc). The work in England however has always been small.

Here in the UK in recent times the UAFC recognised the need for change and had to wrestle with their raison d’etre – reason for being. The Pentecostal experience is no longer a unique distinctive and they no longer majored on doctrinal difference, especially as the Holy Spirit has been strongly emphasising unity and a spirit of co-operation rather than competition across the Body.  

Part of the response to this was to move away from a controlling, denominational structure in which local congregations served a central vision, and embark on a radical journey towards a relational network in which the central sought to serve the vision and purpose of the local.

Out of this process Harvest Community Network was born and we laid particular stress on relationship, grace, unity and community. This change was far more than a change of name and included releasing church buildings and manses into the ownership of local trusts, and encouraging local congregations to pursue God’s vision and purpose for themselves within their local context. Head office was no longer a source of central control, but a covering that would encourage, equip and resource local congregations through leadership retreats, annual conferences, promotion of certain books and ministries and pastoral and preaching visits.

The Network is a new work for a new generation, but the UAFC was birthed with a pioneering, prophetic and reforming spirit, and we believe that in the new thing God is doing we are being called once again to move in that same spirit. It’s difficult turning an oil tanker or cruise liner around. But smaller vessels have greater manoeuvrability and in HCN we are well placed to pioneer and transition - to explore and express such radical concepts as organic church planting and mission shaped communities.

So how do we do it? We’re told in Galatians 6:7 that God is not mocked – that whatsoever a man sows, that will he reap. Jesus asked in Matt 7:16 “do men gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles?” James says (3:12) can a fig tree bear olive berries or a vine, figs? 

Put simply, we want to sow the following three seeds as the core of our HCN vision: 

1. Work towards every church member becoming a kingdom  builder.
2. Actively seek to build a mission-shaped presence
3. Our church buildings become mission resource centres.