History of the Friends and Workers Fellowship

A summary of key events and people in the development of the fellowship that deliberately doesn't take a name, but is known as 'Friends & Workers', 2X2s, etc and has registered in some countries as 'Christian Conventions'.

Further information is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_by_Twos ;xNLx;and https://www.2x2church.info/;xNLx;Use the slider box at the bottom of the page to scroll through 2x2 history.;xNLx;Hover over any partially hidden stories to show them, or click any story to open it completely.;xNLx;Click the spanner/wrench icon at bottom right to change the display style and to zoom in or out.;xNLx;Send corrections or queries to 2x2history@gmail.com

1863-01-07 00:00:00


William Irvine was born in Kilsythe, Scotland. See full bio at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Irvine_(Scottish_evangelist)

1867-02-11 00:00:00


Edward Cooney was born in Enniskillen, Ireland. See full bio at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Cooney

1872-09-15 00:00:00


John Long was born in Burntwood, Cloughjordan, County Tipperary, Ireland. See full bio at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Long_(evangelist)

1883-01-01 00:00:00

Working at Colliery

Irvine became manager of a colliery at age 20

1884-01-01 00:00:00

Temperance pledge

Long signed a temperance pledge which he followed all his life

1884-01-01 14:55:30

Christian Conversion

Cooney converted to Christ age 17.

1884-01-23 14:55:30


Irvine joined Freemasons

1885-01-01 00:00:00

Business Travel and Preaching

Cooney travelled throughout Ireland on behalf of his family's business, and during the 1890s began preaching in the towns which he visited. Although still an active member of the Church of Ireland, he occasionally preached alongside members of other churches.

1886-04-23 12:28:26

Irvine's Illegitimate Son

An illegitimate son was born on April 23, 1886 in Maryhill, Lanark, Scotland to William Irvine's cousin Margaret Helen Grassam. The child was given the name of William Grassam but was subsequently renamed Archibald Grassam Irvine and was raised by William Irvine's parents.

1888-01-01 00:00:00

Episcopal Confirmation

Long confirmed in the Episcopal church

1890-01-01 00:00:00

Professed in Faith Mission

Long decided for Christ at a Faith Mission held by John Govan in the Methodist Church in Cloughjordan.

1893-01-01 00:00:00

Servant to Minister

Long was a servant to (Revd.) O'Sullivan, Episcolpalian minister

1893-01-08 00:00:00

Professed for Christ

Irvine professed through travelling Presbyterian evangelist Rev. John McNeill, D. L. Moody campaign, at Motherwell Town Hall. Resigned from colliery 1st November.

1894-01-01 00:00:00

Bible Study

Irvine studied at Bible Training Institute, Glasgow.

1895-01-01 00:00:00

Methodist Colporteur

Long left Mr. O'Sullivan to devote his life entirely to the "Lord's Work". Appointed to be a Methodist Colporteur.

1895-06-14 00:00:00

Became Faith Mission worker

Isa. 41:15-16 seen by Irvine as his 'Call to Service' . He became a pilgrim or worker with Faith Mission - founded in 1886 at Rothesay, Scotland, with Pilgrims who went out two by two.

1896-01-01 00:00:00

Sent to Northern Ireland

The Faith Mission sent William Irvine to preach in Northern Ireland, where many missions had previously been worked with success by Faith Mission pilgrims. He was working a mission in October 1896 that "that stirred the whole of that country for years to come, as I did in S.W. of Ireland and finally all over Ireland"

1897-01-01 00:00:00

Workers and Saints

Consisted of (1) converts who became recruiters, called "workers" or "servants" and (2) converts who did not become workers, called "saints".

1897-01-01 00:00:00

Worship in Individual Denominations

Until 1902 the first workers and saints continued worshipping in the denominations where they were members. After that, a number met in a room from time to time, to encourage each other to follow Jesus, still attending the same denominations they belonged to.

1897-01-01 00:00:00

Initial Doctrine

Initially the Protestant churches were supportive of Irvine and his revival crusade, but this soon changed. Irvine abhorred the ways in which he perceived that various churches made distinction between the rich and the poor, and this became a frequent subject of his sermons. For the next 3 years, Irvine accepted Faith Mission funds, hospitality and facilities while he fleshed out the framework of his new movement. He wanted to get back to biblical basics and taught that all true ministers must follow Jesus' instructions to the apostles in Matthew 10; leaving their homes, families, property and responsibilities and going out to preach two-by-two. Aside from condemning all other churches, Irvine's doctrine included the rejection of church buildings, damnation of all followers of churches outside the new fellowship, rejection of paid ministry, rejection of collections during services and collection boxes, and the requirement that those seeking to join the ministry "sell all". To a great degree, he copied the Faith Mission's methods and traditions; used their terminology and dress code; duplicated their portable meeting halls and living quarters (baches); black stockings, hats and court-shoes for women; and conventions. He believed he had restored God's "only true way", hence "The Truth" or "the truth as it is in Jesus" came to be used by members to refer to the movement itself.

1897-02-01 00:00:00

Sent to Southern Ireland

1897, February: Pilgrims Irvine and Deathe went to work in the South of Ireland. While preaching in the South of Ireland, Irvine's FIRST convert was Dora Holland. She was converted at a mission Wm. Irvine and Pilgrim Taberner were working in Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland in April-May, 1897. Reportedly, she was his very first convert in Ireland. John Long travelled to Kilrush at this time, specifically for the purpose of meeting and hearing Wm. Irvine.

1897-04-01 00:00:00

John Long meeting at Kilrush Mission

While Irvine was conducting a mission in Kilrush, John Long met him and directed him to Nenagh, where a revival began in August, 1897, which afterwards formed into the Go-Preacher Testimony."

1897-08-01 00:00:00

Arranged Nenagh mission for Irvine

Long met Irvine in the Methodist Church, Kilrush, County Clare, where he was having a mission. Obtained permission from Goodhand Pattison for Irvine to hold a Mission in the Methodist church in Nenagh, N. Tipperary, where the Methodists had very little interest.

1897-08-15 00:00:00

Revival Begins in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

Irvine held a very successful six week mission in Nenagh, resulting in "upwards of thirty persons got converted” (including Jack & May Carroll) and “most of them afterwards gave up all that they had to follow Jesus.”

1897-10-10 00:00:00

2nd Revival Mission

From Nenagh, William Irvine relocated to Rathmolyon in County Meath, about 25 miles Northwest of Dublin, and over 100 miles East of Nenagh, at the invitation of Nenagh businessman John "Jack" Carroll. There he held meetings for the Faith Mission for three weeks, from October 10 to 31, and “forty persons got converted.” All established churches were rejected, and Irvine's new doctrine and method of ministry were set forth. Gills, Carrolls, Hastings and others professed.

1897-11-01 00:00:00

Revival Continues

Further missions including open air missions and street marches

1897-11-01 00:00:00

Irvine Superintendent of Faith Mission in Southern Ireland

After being in Rathmolyon in October 1897 Irvine went to work as superintendent of the Faith MIssion in the south of Ireland from 1898 to 1900

1898-01-01 00:00:00

Revival Spreads

Further missions were held in Roscrea, Cloughjordan, Borrisokane, Finnoe, Templederry, Maryborough, Limerick etc, some including John Long.

1898-02-01 00:00:00

Cooney Meets Irvine

During Cooney's business tours, he met some young converts and being impressed with the genuineness of their testimony was resolved to meet Irvine and have an interview with him. Cooney was profoundly influenced by Irvine's vision of a return to the method of ministry as commanded in Matthew 10 & regarded Irvine as "a prophet raised up by God"

1898-04-11 00:00:00

Irvine converts George Walker

George Walker was 21 years old in March, 1898 when he first heard Wm Irvine preach. He was a Methodist. He made his choice on April 11, 1898 on the platform of a railway station.

1898-06-19 00:00:00

Matthew 10 Study at Kilkee

John Long wrote: "While in Kilkee we had a Bible reading on Matthew 10. It was that Bible reading set me first thinking about going on Faith Lines." (John Long's Journal July, 1898). Their attention was arrested with Matthew 10:8-10: "...freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat."

1898-07-01 00:00:00

Matthew 10 discussion

Cooney turned up the very next day after Irvine and Long's Matthew Ten Bible Study, and enthusiastically entered into the discussion of its meaning for preachers of their day and time.

1898-07-01 00:00:00


"These words "As ye go preach" Matthew 10:7 gave rise to the name "Go-Preacher." (John Long's Journal July, 1898)

1898-11-01 00:00:00

Resigned as Colporteur

John Long resigned as Methodist Colporteur.

1899-01-01 00:00:00

Started on Faith Lines

John Long started on "the new Lines of Faith in God. Faith Lines is a preacher going forth without any fixed or stated salary, neither any public collections at meetings, but just trusting in God to put it into the hearts of God's people to give to the support of them who ministered in Spiritual things."

1899-01-01 00:00:00

First 'Conference' held in Ireland

All-Day Conference of about 40 people held in the Rathmolyon School Room

1900-01-01 00:00:00

12 New Workers start under Irvine

9 males: Willie Gill, Albert Quinn, Irvine Weir, John Sullivan, Ben Boles, John Hardie, Matt Wilson, William Cleland, A. Alexander 3 females: Emma Gill, her sister Jennie Gill, and Sara Rogers

1900-03-01 00:00:00

Irvine reduces contact with Faith Mission

Faith Mission leader J G Govan noted that "Pilgrim Irvine is in the south of Ireland. We have not had regular reports from him lately."

1900-07-01 01:00:00

Rathmolyon Worker convention

Rathmolyon convention attended by John Long, Wm Irvine and about 40 workers, included Robert Todd as a speaker

1901-01-01 00:00:00

10 new workers under Irvine

10 more workers entered the work; nine (9) brothers and one (1) sister worker (Mattie McGivern) making a cumulative total of 28 workers; or 4 sisters and 24 brothers, including Irvine. The new brothers were: Edward Cooney, Willie Abercrombie, John Cavanagh, Jack Jackson, Jack Little, Donald McKay, Andrew Robb, Ed Rooney, Noble Stinson.

1901-06-01 00:00:00

Cooney Becomes Tramp Preacher

Cooney gave up his job, donated 1300 pounds to the fellowship and became a Tramp preacher. He went fully on the Lord's work, and became a great advocate of preachers going without a stated salary.

1901-06-01 00:00:00

Dublin Conference

Cooney organised a conference in Dublin but William Irvine refused to attend

1901-08-01 00:00:00

Irvine Works Independently of Faith Mission

In the August 1901 Faith Mission magazine issue Mr. Govan wrote: "When in Ireland, I came into close contact with a movement that has been going on for a year or two. A number of young people are going out on quite independent lines.. while there may be much that is good in the devotion and earnestness of those who thus leave all.. .a number of the features of this movement do not commend themselves to us... some have mistaken them for pilgrims, so we find it necessary to say that the Faith Mission is not responsible for this movement." In September, 1901, he wrote in the Faith Mission Magazine: "During the year several have dropped out of our list of workers. Pilgrim Irvine has been working on independent lines, chiefly in Ireland. Then quite recently Pilgrim Kelly has resigned, and also aligned himself with these independent workers."

1901-12-01 00:00:00

Faith Mission confirms Irvine/Cooney acting independently

Around the end of 1901, a small leaflet was issued titled "To Correct Misunderstandings." It included the following comment: "As we continue to receive word that certain itinerant workers (associated with Mr. Irvine and Mr. Cooney) frequently pass under the title of "Pilgrims" or "Faith Workers", we wish it to be observed that the name "Pilgrim" was adopted for our evangelists from the formation of the Faith Mission in 1886, and that the workers of this new association differ very widely..in aims, principles, and methods from those of our Mission".

1902-01-01 00:00:00

Sunday Meetings started

Sunday fellowship meetings started, modelled after weekly Prayer Union meetings held by the Faith Mission

1902-06-01 00:00:00

Portadown Worker Conference

About sixty workers met at Portadown to consider missions, doctrines, companions, etc

1902-07-01 00:00:00

Nicknamed 'Dippers'

Known as 'Dippers' after public full immersion baptism was commenced

1902-07-01 00:00:00

Rebaptism for New Converts

Rebaptism commenced

1902-07-01 00:00:00

1st Baptisms

Baptism commenced at Portadown convention by full immersion outdoors for converts who had not previously been baptised.

1903-04-01 00:00:00

Irvine considers his future

Irvine paid John Long a visit, to get his advice as to whether he should abandon the group as leader and just “labour for God independently in a new district; as he shrank back from forming a new mission or sect; and the work and workers at that time were very scattered and disorganized.” John Long urged him to get things organized; to call a convention; and “get the workers united together; and form the young converts into assemblies where they could get spiritual food, but to be open and unsectarian in attitude towardhttp://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/124167/2x2-History/#s all other sects, missions and persons.”

History of the Friends and Workers Fellowship

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