Jesus declared that he will build his Church.
Not a pandemic, not a financial recession, not even the gates of hell will stop it!

If you are involved in church leadership (whether you’re a senior leader, a youth worker or a lay leader) then join us for Ekklesia 2021 as we get under the bonnet of church life to tackle some of the big issues facing church life today. We’ll be looking at ethnic and cultural diversity, the future of youthwork in a post-covid world, engaging with the media, preaching to a hybrid audience and much more!

With a mixture of key notes, TED style talks and interviews, both afternoons will also have the opportunity to break into virtual roundtables to explore the issues raised and how they apply to your context.

Wed 3rd March @2pm – Thu 4th March 2021 @9pm

Streamed Online

In 2021 Ekklesia will be broadcasting from Elim Wimbledon church.

Tickets are required to access the live-stream but our heart for Ekklesia is to serve the church and we don’t want finance to stop people attending. However, there are costs incurred in hosting this event and if you’re able to support Ekklesia by giving a donation for your Virtual Ticket, that would be much appreciated. Suggested donation £20 per person.

Who is Ekklesia for?

The conference is aimed at those involved in church leadership.

Since we started we’ve had vicars and pastors, deacons and elders, youth workers and community workers, lay preachers and mission enablers join us. Some leaders come alone and some come as a team from their local church. This is a great opportunity to learn together!

In 2021, you can attend in the following ways:

  • You can join us online by yourself. (And there will be the option to connect virtually with other leaders from across the country to contextualise and discuss the presentations).
  • You can join us as a group online! Why not think about viewing Ekklesia with others together in your locality in the church building or in someone’s home (where COVID permits).

How will the roundtables work?

The conference will be broadcast via a bespoke platform with virtual roundtables giving you the opportunity to pack the content with other church leaders. Each roundtable will have a facilitator who is also a church leader. Once you have booked in, a link will be sent nearer the time with more details.

Check out some of the feedback from Ekklesia

This page will continue to be updated with contributors as they are confirmed.

Confirmed Contributors

Canon J.John

J.John is described as a creative speaker with an appeal that transcends gender, age, race, culture and occupation. His much-loved art of storytelling helps people to discover spiritual meaning in a way that makes sense of everyday life.

Rev Helen Shannon

In 2010 Helen and her team planted an estates church on the estate where she lives in East Finchley called [email protected] from St Barnabas North London, which she still leads today. She also is one of the founding trustees and Projects Director for Hope North London and is a Bishop of Islington’s Associate, heading up a group that facilitates church plants on estates. Her vision is for there to be a worshipping community on every estate in London. Helen is married to Mark and they have 6 kids and 1 grandchild.

Check out [email protected] celebrating 10 years ebook here.

Rev Les Issac, OBE

Les Isaac is the founder and CEO of Ascension Trust. He pioneered Street Pastors in the UK in 2003. On that first night, 18 volunteers took to the streets of Brixton, London, and since then this initiative has grown to encompass a network of volunteers who engage with people on the streets to care for them, listen to them and help them. To date, Ascension Trust has trained over 14,000 volunteers and has approximately 280 initiatives in the UK as well as projects in several countries around the world. In recognition of the contribution that Les has made to society he was awarded an OBE by her Majesty the Queen and has recently been appointed as an honorary Ecumenical Canon at Southwark Cathedral.

Dr Kate Middleton

Kate is a psychologist with a particular interest in the way our emotions affect us. She’s passionate about helping people keep emotionally healthy in spite of what life throws at them, and making sure they reach their full potential. She’s a director of the Mind and Soul Foundation, church leader, speaker and author. Kate spends a lot of time explaining that she isn’t married to Prince William but enjoys reading about her good dress sense in the newspapers. She lives in Hitchin with her husband and two children.

Sim Dendy

Sim is married to Lottie with four growing children and is the Senior Leader of Freedom Church UK based in Hampshire. He has been a church leader for over twenty years, is a popular presenter and communicator, part of the leadership team for Spring Harvest and author of Simply Church and a co-author of Only the Brave. Sim loves to support the local church through investing in leadership and is committed to training, mentoring and releasing leaders for churches all around the world.

Natalie Williams

Natalie is a former journalist who has worked for local and national newspapers and magazines in the UK and China. She currently works for the national Christian charity Jubilee+, where one of her responsibilities is media engagement. She often contributes to regional and national TV, radio and online media outlets, specifically on issues of poverty and injustice in the UK. Natalie is co-author of three books on poverty in the UK, most recently A Call to Act, which came out in September 2020. She advises churches on proactive media engagement, and often helps local churches when a media crisis hits.

Rev Prof Gina Radford

I am a part time Vicar in rural Devon looking after two villages on the edge of Dartmoor, a job I began in June 2019. Prior to my current role I was Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, which included advising and influencing Ministers, key officials, professionals and the public.

During the current pandemic I have been advising the Church of England nationally on their response to COVID-19; and have been working with government on specific aspects of its response.

When not working my hobbies include walking (and “running” though that is a rather loose description) with my collie dog, riding, being outdoors and reading.

Brandon Thomas

Brandon is the founding and senior pastor of Keystone Church. He is passionate about taking complex issues and presenting them with unique insight and humor. As a visionary leader, Brandon creates an engaging atmosphere that immediately makes you feel at home. He is constantly dreaming of ways Keystone can create environments that inspire and encourage others to celebrate life in Christ. Brandon is the author of Soul Search , a must-read for all believers.

Martin Saunders

Martin is the Deputy CEO of Youthscape, one of the UK’s leading youth ministry organisations. He is also the founder and director of Satellites, a new movement helping young people to put God at the centre of their lives, which includes an annual summer festival at the East of England showground. He’s the author of a number of books including The Man You’re Made to Be and We Are Satellites, and is the youth minister at St Mary’s Reigate, in Surrey. He’s married to Jo and they have four children.

Rev Dr. Joel Edwards, CBE

Rev. Dr Joel Edwards is a writer, coach, Bible teacher and international inspirational speaker covering issues of social justice, leadership, faith and society. In 2019 he was awarded a Doctorate in Theology and Ministry (DThM), St John’s College, Durham where he is also visiting fellow. He is also on the team of the International Institute of Religious Freedom (IIRF).
Joel’s wide range of experiences include over 15 years as a freelance broadcaster with the BBC, 11 years as general director of the Evangelical Alliance UK and 10 years leadership in Micah Challenge International – a global faith-based response to extreme poverty. For 10 years Joel was a local pastor in the East End of London and more recently he worked with Christian Solidarity Worldwide as strategic advisor and director of
He was awarded a CBE in the Queens Honour’s List in 2019 and he is married to Carol and they have two children and six grandchildren.

Rev Dr Girma Bishaw

Girma presently serves as the director of Gratitude Initiative, a charity that exists to promote the sharing of gratitude to change the social imagination that leads to relational transformation. Dr Girma is also the founding director of Life Festival Enterprise (LiFE) a charity which endeavours to galvanise local churches to respond collectively and creatively to the missional opportunity created by migration in the UK. Girma has a degree in Theology and Christian ministry from Regents Theological College, a Master’s degree in theological education from University of London (King’s College London) and completed his doctoral studies at Asbury Theological Seminary, Kentucky, USA. Girma is married to Yodit, and together they have a son and a daughter. Girma enjoys good food, a good book and good company.

Jon Featherstone

Jon Featherstone is the Senior Pastor of Elim Wimbledon. Jon is married to Lucisha with 3 children. He trained for ministry at the Brownsville Revival School of ministry in Pensacola Florida. He ministers both across the UK and Internationally with recent events in Brazil and Sri Lanka. Jon’s passion is to raise up an end time army of believers who know His presence and move in His power.

Andy Frost

Ekklesia Host

Andy Frost has been the Director of Share Jesus International since 2008. He presently heads up the London Mission Collective; works with Care for the Family on the Kitchen Table Project and Gather on church unity and mission.

Chris Frost

Ekklesia Host

Chris is the team leader at Gateway church, Leeds and part of the ChristCentral churches  apostolic team. He loves to encourage others to share their faith through resources such as

Caroline Millar

Ekklesia Host

Caroline is director of recently established Chalk Lab, seeking to help churches grow in unity and diversity, reaching out with the gospel and positively impacting their communities. She works with City to City and the Evangelical Alliance on the Being Human project. Previously she was Church Development & Partnerships Director for London City Mission and worked on Commercial Partnerships and City Operations for London 2012 for the Mayor of London.

Mark Waterfield

Ekklesia Host

Mark leads Hope Church Newham a diverse and growing church in East London, where he is a gifted preacher. He heads up Stratford Church Leaders – a multi-denominational gathering focusing on transforming the community it serves.

Mark, along with Andy Frost, has pioneered Church leader round tables in London and the Ekklesia Conference

Lucy Grimble

Worship leader

Lucy has been leading worship and writing songs for over 10 years, both as a solo artist and with her talented band of musicians and singers. Her heart in worship is simply to create a space for people to encounter the love of God. In her worship expression and the songs she writes, she wants to create a sound that unites people and ignites hearts to love God, love themselves and love one another more.

‘Leaders need to keep growing and keep healthy, and leaders must stay learners. Ekklesia is a great way to do this.’

Wolfgang Ecklebew (Every Nation)

‘Five Star Rating. This excellent church leaders conference was run with smooth efficiency. Speakers were passionate, well informed and left us aglow with renewal passion and vision and hunger to spread the Gospel.’

Dr Taiwo Okun
(Christ Nissi Family Resource Church)

‘Ekklesia has inspired and encouraged me in leadership. Learning from and sharing with other church leaders from many denominations has been so valuable. Listening to key-note speakers and then having the chance to together is a great balance. It has been thought provoking, refreshing and needed!”

Rev Sharon Lovelock (Methodist)

‘Ekklesia is a great chance to get away from the pressures of ministry for a time of practical tailored input and sharing and prayer ministry.’

Dave Simms (Congregational)

The Vision

For almost 2,000 years, groups of Christians have gathered in many different  spaces, from people’s homes to ornate cathedrals to underground caves. There is something vital about gathering together as followers of Jesus.

Ekklesia is an overnight conference for church leaders, to explore together, the power of the gathered community.

This is a space for the raw and the real – a space to unpack some of the thinking and the practical ideas that help us effectively bring about Kingdom change.

Watch the 2020 Conference Content

Watch the 2019 Conference Content

Stay in touch

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