BRF’s 100 years of ministry

Communications Officer, Eley McAinsh, shares the charity's journey over the last century.

2022 is BRF’s centenary year, shared with the BBC and Wimbledon Centre Court. For BRF, it’s been a year of reflection, thanksgiving and celebration.

What began as a small, local initiative by a south London vicar, has led, with God’s guidance and generous provision, to a multi-faceted worldwide ministry. From hand-duplicated Bible reading notes, to BRF today, embracing four key ministries, reflecting a wide range of Christian traditions and valued across the denominations, it’s been an extraordinary journey.

Former Bishop of Dorchester, Colin Fletcher, is BRF’s chair of trustees. He first became aware of the charity in the 1950s, when circulation of bible reading notes reached a peak of 500,000.

‘Since then,’ he writes, ‘the Bible notes aspect of our ministry has lessened, as Bible reading and church attendance have diminished in this country. What has not changed, however, is the experience in BRF of seeing God at work in unexpected and dynamic ways. If you read ‘The BRF Story’, written for our 80th Anniversary, you will find no references to Messy Church, Anna Chaplaincy, or Parenting for Faith, for the simple reason that none of them existed 20 years ago.’

Messy Church at St. Andrew’s, Boothstown

Today, along with BRF’s publishing and events ministry, Living Faith, these ministries continue to reflect the vision of founder, Revd Leslie Mannering: to help his people move on spiritually by emphasising the Christian basics of prayer, Bible reading and community.

‘Given the history of BRF, says Bishop Colin, ‘it would be unwise of me to predict what will happen over the next few decades, but what I am certain about is that fulfilling people’s spiritual needs remains central to our vision, and with the continuing prayers and generous giving of our supporters, God may well have a few more surprises in store.’

BRF has given thanks for its recent growth throughout the centenary celebrations, but as its Chief Executive Richard Fisher says, ‘Growth is about so much more than simply increasing numbers. It’s also about depth – putting down deep roots. At the heart of our ministry for the last 100 years has been a passion to help people deepen both their faith and understanding of the Bible, help them to grow as disciples, help them to experience vibrant Christian faith and to share that with others.’

Watch the BRF online centenary service.

Browse BRF’s collection of special centenary publications.

Explore the history and vision of BRF.

To talk to someone about the work of BRF and to find out more about the many ways you can support them email: [email protected] or call: 01865 319700.

BRF is a Body in Association with Churches Together in England.