2:19 grew out of the ministry experiences of founders, David and Maura Baldwin. On returning to the UK in 2007 after eleven years working as missionaries in Ethiopia, David and Maura began working as International Workers for Carey Baptist Church in Reading.
During this time, they saw a growing desire within UK churches to reach out to their increasingly diverse ethnic and cultural communities. But this desire was often accompanied by the questions, ‘How are we going to get started; how do we welcome and integrate speakers of other languages in our churches?’
The model of church-based English conversation classes (‘Bridges’), started at this time, sought to provide high-quality conversational English to serve a real need in the community for improving English speaking skills, as well as providing the opportunity to build genuine relationships and share the gospel of Jesus.
As interest in English as a Second Language (ESL) outreach grew, 2:19 was birthed in 2013, and came under the umbrella of Serving in Mission UK. Their vision was to help more and more churches connect with the international communities around them, sharing the ‘Bridges’ model and their experience of using English as a way to serve and to share the gospel.
2:19 refers to Ephesians 2:19: ‘Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household’. This is a much loved verse, as it expresses the unity that the gospel alone brings between people from every nation, a unity we are committed to seeing in more and more of our churches.
Seeing a need for high-quality resources for busy churches to use in their English outreach, 2:19 began work in 2017 with experienced ESL teachers and cross-cultural workers to produce English conversation class resources (So to Speak and Start to Speak) and a Bible overview course (So Lord, Speak 1 & 2).
After five fruitful years in partnership with Serving in Mission UK, 2:19 made the decision to become an independent charity with its own Trustees and Leadership team. During those initial five years the Lord helped the team grow, taking it from two to four part-time workers, and recently enabling us to take on a full-time employee and a secondment position. In the autumn of 2020, by God’s grace, 2:19 was registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales as: two:nineteen (No.1191288)
While our status may have changed, our vision is the same: to help churches use English conversation classes to reach out with the gospel for all nations.