The Rev. Mike Fales ’75, Olivet College director of service learning and campus ministries and assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies and religion, was recently named the Moderator of the International Congregational Fellowship (ICF), the fellowship arm of locally autonomous congregational churches around the world.
Congregationalists trace their beginning to a small group of men and women who gathered in covenant to worship illegally in the home of a postmaster, William Brewster, in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England, in 1606. Today, the ICF facilitates communication, education and friendship between like-minded Christians around the world with the help of the 15 national and regional church bodies that are part of the fellowship. Rev. Fales was elected Moderator-Elect at the ICF Quadrennial Conference in 2017 at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He takes over for Rev. Dr. Bruce Theron, co-founder of Ekklasia, an ecumenical church organization affiliated with the Dutch Reform Church in South Africa, who just completed his four-year term.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected to lead the International Congregational Fellowship at such a pivotal time in the history of the Christian church,” Fales said. “As we have seen church attendance declining and clergy searching for new ways of sharing the Gospel, COVID-19 has forced many of us outside our own comfort zone into technology that was previously seldom used or ever considered. I am confident that the pain of this pandemic will open the eyes of many to innovation and result in a more inclusive, reimagined worship experience for years to come.”
Rev. Fales has worked for over 28 years at Olivet College and is a resident of Olivet. In his work as director of service learning, he has led students on over 100 overnight service trips, including eight Hurricane Katrina disaster relief trips to New Orleans and multiple domestic, week-long flood and hurricane relief trips to Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, New Jersey, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma and, most recently, Puerto Rico. He has also led students on a number of cultural awareness trips to Mexico, Jamaica, United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Costa Rica, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Peru and Japan.
Rev. Fales is currently on the Board of Directors for The Congregational Foundation for Theological Studies. He is a past moderator of the Michigan Conference of Congregational Christian Churches, a past member of the Leadership Council of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, and he represented the Council for Higher Education on the Executive Council of the United Church of Christ 2004-08.
Rev. Fales holds a Bachelor of Arts from Olivet College and continued graduate work in urban planning and historic preservation at The George Washington University. He also holds a M. Div./M. Min. from the Earlham School of Religion.
For more information, contact Rev. Fales at email@example.com or 269-749-7624.