Bringing the hope of the Gospel to rural Britain
FRom 1893 to 2019
Village Hope was founded in 1919 as the Friends Evangelistic Band (FEB). But our origins go back to the previous century, to a prayer fellowship started in 1893 under the name of the Friends Prayer League.
Through the Prayer League, people were called to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and to obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.
In 1917, members of the League met for a three-day prayer conference in Birmingham. They came away recognising their failure to fulfil the Great Commission and the urgent need for a ‘new evangelism’.
Two years after the Birmingham conference, in 1919, the Friends Evangelistic Band was launched. The work began with horse-drawn caravans travelling around the country with Bible texts on the sides and workers engaging in open-air witness.
Ten years later, the focus began to switch to villages, under the leadership of Percy Tyler.
Through the 1930s and 1940s, from its small beginnings, the Friends Evangelistic Band grew into a missionary organisation, with its own magazine, youth wing, conference and headquarters.
Books and tracts were published, poster campaigns sponsored in railway stations, and letters of encouragement and exhortation were sent through the difficult war years, and continued after. The work of itinerant evangelists flourished, small village churches were founded, and existing ones acquired, as the reputation of FEB grew.
In 1969, our name was changed to the Fellowship for Evangelising Britain’s Villages, but our work continued as before, albeit in a rapidly changing spiritual climate.
In 2012, a new chapter began under the new name of Village Hope. Over several years, the chapels we still owned were gifted to the congregations and Village Hope has embraced a new vision and is taking a new direction, faithful to the heritage we have received from our founders yet relevant to 21C rural Britain.