ECWA at a Glance
Early History – From Origin (SIM).
What is known today as Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) started with the story of Mrs. Margaret (Craig) Gowans who had a burden for the unreached communities in the then Sudan. She carried this burden for years in prayers for the redemption of the people of the African continent.
Mrs. Gowans believed that except someone takes a step and the courage to come to the Sudan, popularly regarded then as the ‘Whiteman’s grave’, and share the gospel message, the people may not hear the message of salvation.
In what could be described as an answer to the fervent prayers of Mrs. Gowans, her biological son, Walter answered the call of God to go and serve as a missionary to the Sudan. Walter embarked on this trip with two other young men, Thomas Kent and Rowland Bingham.
The three forerunners: Walter Gowans – a Scottish Canadian, Thomas Kent – an American and Rowland Bingham – an English Canadian had a strong faith in the missionary vision they had received. All their effort to raise support for the work of mission was not fruitful hence they ended up working to earn money and raise enough funds to sponsor their trip to Nigeria.
They arrived Badagry, Lagos on December 4, 1893 with only about thirty British pounds left on them. On arrival, they met an older Western missionary who inquired about their mission. They replied that they were in Nigeria to take the gospel to the hinter land. The missionary said to them, “You will never see the Sudan, your children will never see the Sudan, (perhaps) your grandchildren may.”
The three young men were not discouraged despite the predictions of death and illness. They continued because they were committed to their vision. Their concern, deep love, burden and compassion for the lost became the driving force through the thick, dark and deadly African tropical forest.
Within a year of their arrival, they were confronted with death of Gowans and Kent. Walter Gowans died on November 7, 1894 and was buried at Girku in present day Kaduna State, Northwestern Nigeria. Though there isn’t much information as to how he was buried, it is however, known that Gowans’ faithful Liberian helper was with him until he died.
It was this young man who made the trip to Ogbomosho to convey what was left of Gowans’ belonging to Mr. Bingham. Thomas Kent died on December 8, 1894 and was buried in Bida, present day Niger State, Northcentral Nigeria.
Rowland Bingham, the only survivor nearly died from a serious malaria attack. Returning home, he visited Mrs. Gowans in Canada with late Walter’s belongings.
The efforts of these three young men since 1893 gave birth to the organization called Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) now known as Serving in Missions.
The second attempt to enter the Sudan in 1900 led by Bingham along with Albert Taylor and A.J Moline was also unsuccessful, even though without any loss of human life, ill-health and discouragement kept the mission from a successful entry into the Sudan.
The third attempt was however successful. Between 1901 – 1910, the following stations were established: Patigi, Bida, Wushishi, Egbe, Paiko, Kpada, Kwoi, and Karu. Other stations were established thereafter.
Period of Mission Indigenization Policy and Birth of ECWA
The desire to make local churches self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating made the SIM to put in place a mission indigenization policy. Series of meetings and reforms embarked upon from 1950 led to the founding of an Indigenous Church called The Association of Evangelical Churches of West Africa.
In January 1954, during a conference in Kagoro present day Kaduna State Nigeria, a constitution and the name Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) was approved. The first General Church Assembly (GCA), now General Church Council (GCC) took place from 18th to 20th May 1954 at Egbe present day Kogi State, Nigeria.
ECWA then became independent from SIM but was to work closely in partnership with the parent mission and choose overseers for the various Districts.
As it is today, ECWA changed her name from the Evangelical Church of West Africa to Evangelical Church winning All maintaining her acronym ECWA.
God in his fulness has grown the Church to a total number of about 10 million worshippers spread across all the 36 states of the federation including the FCT with 91 District Church Councils (DCCs). There are 18 departments for ease of operation.
Our Core Values
The following are ECWA Core Values:
Love and care for one another
Hard work and productivity
Humility and service
Justice and fairness
Orderliness in worship
Sound doctrine and teaching
Sanctity of human life
Equality and creative potential of all mankind
Mission and evangelism