Over one hundred years ago, the World's Faith Missionary Association (now the ECA) was thirteen years old and offering an alternative to the established denominations by bringing ministers together around the essential doctrines of the faith since 1887.
Rev. C.S. Hanley founded the World's Faith Missionary Association in 1887 in Shenandoah, Iowa. At his death in 1925 there were nearly 400 members throughout the United States.
Though much of the early history of the ECA is lost, it is certain that Hanley had a larger vision for the organization that God birthed. This is stated by his wife, Minnie, in response to a sympathy letter following his death. She wrote, "My darling husband truly had a world vision of bringing Christian leadership into a harmonious relationship to each other. . . The World's Faith Missionary Association was organized and equipped for this purpose."
During these difficult years of reorganizing the work of W.F.M.A., the motion was made during a board meeting that the association be closed. With only two dissenting votes, the motion passed. There were, however, many within the organization that had a desire that the W.F.M.A. continue which gave an opportunity for a reorganization to occur.
Seemingly without any formal cooperation or communication, the W.F.M.A. was established in two locations by separate groups within the organization. Each claiming the blessing of Mrs. Hanley, Rev. C.S. Osterhus organized the W.F.M.A. in Robbinsdale, Minnesota while another portion of membership under the leadership of Dr. Montgomery organized in Webster’s Grove, Missouri. The Webster’s Grove W.F.M.A. incorporated in Missouri on March 28, 1928, and elected Rev. Faye Jackson as their president and Dr. J.I. Montgomery was elected Vice President. In October 1931 the name "Fundamental Ministerial Association" was chosen to reflect the organization's basis of unity and to distinguish the organization from the W.F.M.A. in Minnesota.
On July 21, 1958, during the annual convention at Trinity Seminary and Bible College in Chicago, Illinois, a more comprehensive constitution was created and the name was changed to "The Evangelical Church Alliance.
Today the ECA’s motto continues to be, "In things essential, unity; in things nonessential, liberty; and in all things, charity", and remains committed to the Word of God and to its members who minister throughout the world.