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Hope Community Witham

Estate Comunity Church

Once again churches and communities are having to dig deep into keeping hold of hope as we start the New Year with a third lockdown.

Today we bring you some good news of an estate church in Witham, Essex, the Hope Community. Their mission is ‘Bringing Hope, Being Community’. You can find their page on Facebook here.

Like many churches since March 2020, Hope Community have had to quickly learn how to put services online and go through a steep learning curve. Services are currently being streamed live every week via Facebook where engagement has grown from 70 views per week to over 500 views. A Zoom Alpha Group has also been set up by Revd Will Abbott for people to explore questions brought up in the uncertainty of this season which are advertised through Facebook and this group is growing.

Goody Bags Hope Community

As well as being flexible in how to worship God and pray, Hope Community have been reaching out to families in need through the Love Where You Live scheme. This scheme was originally set up in Wythenshawe by The Message. During Love Where You Live weeks in Wythenshawe, volunteers have been delivering food parcels, cleaning up rubbish and even sprucing up gardens. You can read more about the Wythenshawe project on https://www.message.org.uk/love-where-you-live-2/

In Witham, volunteers gave out  over 400 goody bags and food over Christmas to families who have been really touched by this act of kindness. Donations for the foodbank are coming in regularly and there is a Just Giving ‘Love Where U Live’ fundraising page to raise money towards outreach projects to support and care for the wider community. A recent appeal has been for funds to buy treats for NHS staff to show appreciation of their frontline work. A link to give a donation to this fund can be found here.

Hope Community have plans in the pipeline to launch their own website later this year as a charitable organisation. In the meantime if you would like some more details about Hope Community which works with St. Nicolas Church, Witham, visit https://www.withamparishchurch.org.uk/

 

Apostolic training for an indigenous ministry?

Estates practitioner and priest, Joe Hasler offers some thoughts around training local people for God’s mission in extracts from his poem below. The whole reflection can be downloaded at the end of this post.

Bristol Estate

Apostolic means ‘Go to’

or ‘being sent’.

An Apostle meaning

‘one sent on a mission’.

  •     We have had the decade for evangelism,
  • a pre-occupation with leadership,
  • and now the emphasis on discipleship.

I hope this means

the direction is getting closer

to listening

to the people on the ground.

 

An important message I have heard in all this is,

“Do we want a ‘Come to’ church

or a ‘Go to’ church.”

Is it desirable to move from maintenance to mission?


So how do the trainers

and their institutions

model God’s mission

in the way we do training?

We have been trying to address these issues in the Northern Ark Mission Initiative in North Bristol.

The pilot period has come to the end of its initial three years.

Some things could have been done better

but we ask

‘Why do people from local council built housing estate congregations in Bristol come forward into growing ministry teams?”

38 people from 4 out of 6 parishes have stepped out so far;

with some to become licensed readers (6),

and some to become ordained priests (3).

Making ministry training

in a mission model

must be one of the driving forces.

But for all the things

we might have done better

here are four things we did well.

  1. Take the training to the people.
  2. Go in twos. (THE INTERVENTIONISTS)
  3. Forming learning communities in the culture.
  4. Practise what we want to preach.

The experience is that the trainers model a ‘go to’ approach

and learning is integrated

with activity in mission.


The beginning

and the end

is in becoming a more self-sufficient congregation

that is more dependent on God.

 

Indigenous is not isolationist.

It is making a stronger contribution to a bigger whole.

But local interventions

can bring the confidence

to let this, happen.

 

I think this is mainly

because the trainers,

no matter how good they are,

‘go to’.

The result is of a local congregation that naturally goes to the wider world and church.

This is what has been modelled in their training.


(More information about the initiative can be found at www.joehasler.co.uk   then find  other stuff and click on drop down menu for northern ark publications.)

To download the whole reflection click Apostolic Training for Ministry and New Pathways

New Resources from Jesus Shaped People

Many of you will already be aware of the work of Jesus Shaped People, helping people to become focussed on mission and service. They have a new course called Stay Alert to the Spirit.

There are intergenerational materials for both on and off line, or a mix of both. For more information you can get in touch with Dawn or Brendon at JSP.

Sara Barron NECN Executive Director

The Board of Trustees of NECN are delighted to announce the appointment of our new Executive Director, the Revd Sara Barron.  Sara comes to NECN as a former trustee and Vice-Chair and brings with her a wealth of experience of, and passion for, estates ministry.  She introduces herself below and she will take up her role in January 2021.

As a Board, we are very much looking forward to Sara leading us in this next phase of NECN’s life and development, and we continue to be grateful to Allchurches Trust for their generous funding which enables us to develop our work in supporting estate churches, practitioners and evangelism nationally.

New Executive Director for NECN

I am excited to introduce myself as the new Executive Director of NECN. I am looking forward to getting to know lots of you but here is a little bit about me.

I am married to Barney, we have four children and are both Baptist ministers. We moved to Cornwall 2 years ago to a missional listening role in the economically poorest county in England. However, previous to that I lived and worked for 16 years in a large estate of 33,000 called Leigh Park, close to the city of Portsmouth. Here we started ‘Café Church’, a place for those who had no experience of church to come and explore the gospel story. The last few years in the estate, having established the church, I worked as a pioneer for the Diocese of Portsmouth to grow new and different work with the local schools and addressing food poverty, amongst other things.

Alongside that for the last 5 years I have worked for Curbs project (Children in URBan Situations), a small charity which resources, trains, and supports those working in urban and estates ministry with children and families. During my time in Leigh Park, I got involved with NECN and became a trustee and later Vice Chair. This gave me an opportunity to be involved with the Estates Evangelism Task Group as it forged a strategic plan to encourage flourishing Christian presence on every estate. I am excited about NECN’s role in supporting and encouraging those called to serve in our countries’ housing estates.

Please be in touch if you would like to share your story of estate ministry or join one of our many local support groups around the country. I look forward to sharing my love and passion for estates ministry.

 

HOPE at Christmas

If you are looking for resources for the run up to Christmas, look no further. Thanks to generous sponsorship, estate practitioners can order this year’s Christmas HOPE magazine free-of-charge.

Why not distribute them door-to-door or via food bank parcels? If you use the code ESTATE20 you will just have to pay postage. Pick them up here.

News from CURBS

CURBS logo

CURBS is a small Christian charity set up in 1996 in response to the need for resources and training for church-linked children’s workers in inner cities and on outer urban estates.

Like many charities we have been hit financially by COVID and they’re currently £8000 short to keep going this year. Because of this they have lauched a 100@5 campaign. They’re asking 100 members of our community to commit to giving just £5 a month to keep CURBS going. Can you help?

CURBS would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has already supported them in their 100@5 campaign. They are currently at 55 regular givers on their way to the target of 100, and your support so far has kept CURBS going through this very difficult time and will continue to do so up till Christmas so thank you!

But…

They’re not out the woods quite yet and would so love to reach the target of 100 regular givers giving £5 a month. Just 45 more people supporting CURBS in this way would make CURBS much more sustainable and pay for their development worker’s wage to the end of the financial year.

So if you meant to set up regular giving but never quite got round to it, or if you know someone who would be interested in supporting them please  visit the website

CURBS News

Despite lockdown, tiers and restrictions, the HUBS continue to be busy around the UK, working out different ways of how to connect with children and families during this difficult time. From days of prayer for children, to delivering packs through doors, to patiently meeting up again slowly but surely, they’ve been inspired to hear what people are doing. You can read  Stories from Lockdown here. 


CURBS continues to be an important voice in the conversations happening around how churches are reaching in to estates. It is wonderful to see this topic being more widely talked about and we look forward to seeing where God is taking us.

We thank you for your continued support of CURBS and you’ll hear more about this from us soon!

The Church @ Five Story

There is a little heard real life story that refutes the popular image of Christianity in decline. Church@Five is that story. Through the tremendous efforts of a committed group of activists, led by Helen Shannon, something remarkable has happened on the Strawberry Vale estate over the last ten years. Jesus Christ has come to a North London estate located just off the north-circular road breaking in to numerous lives and bringing transformation. Where many live their lives in aimless drifting, Helen and her team resolved to live intentionally missional lifestyles, daily reaching out to others with the love of Jesus. The magnetic effect of simply loving people has proved irresistible. Through blood, sweat, toil and tears, Jesus has won the hearts of many in the community.

The team have produced an e-book that charts the story of Church@five and some of those whose lives have been changed since 2010. Check it out here.

Transforming Lives for Good relaunch Box of Hope for Winter

Transforming Lives for Good

Since COVID-19 hit the country, TLG has equipped over 200 churches to reach out to some of the most vulnerable families across the UK as part of their Box of Hope project. Over 510,000 emergency parcels have been delivered to families since the start of the pandemic.

As the 2nd lockdown meets winter TLG have relaunched the Box of Hope project. Funding, guidelines and resources which will really equip and release churches in this season can be applied for at

https://www.tlg.org.uk/more/campaigns/box-of-hope