During COVID-19 the Talking Jesus course created by Hope Together will be free until the end of August 2020.
This is a practical 6 session course which can now be shared with groups online about how to tell others about Jesus. Simply click here and follow the instructions to register your group to the free course. A short video explains how this course gives people confidence to talk to friends and people they know about Jesus.
More about Hope Together
Hope Together is about showing the unconditional love of Jesus in our local communities, whether this be through setting up a food bank or working with local community organisations. Church members are encouraged to invite others to become a follower of Jesus.
The whole ethos of the organisation is grounded in prayer. You can visit https://www.hopetogether.org.uk/Groups/324633/About.aspx to find out more.
Hope Together’s response to COVID-19
Churches in Birmingham have created ‘We are the Church’posters to display in windows and remind people that the church is still present in neighbourhoods, even though we are scattered. You can download a poster by clicking on this link HOPE-Rainbow-Poster
You can also download this folder to share on social media. We_are_Church_Social_Media
You can click here to read about lots of other practical ideas for sharing love in your local community. This includes a short video on how to offer support to someone who is bereaved. There is also a Discover Bible app available which can be read in virtual groups.
The Methodist Children, Youth and Family Team recently partnered with Joint Public Issues Team and Transforming Lives for Good for a Holiday Hunger Focus Week. JPIT’s Paul Morrison wrote the following blog to support it: www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/?s=holiday+hunger
The Trussell Trust has seen an 89% increase in the use of food banks since April 2019. This figure rises to 107% in the numbers of families with children who now require the support of a food bank. A copy of the report from the Trussell Trust can be downloaded on this link:
Trussell Trust Report on Food Banks 2020
Low income families have been hit with the double whammy of schools being closed for two and a half months and a reduction in earnings and/ or redundancies. A survey conducted by the JPIT shows how the lowest earning workers are more likely to lose their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19. See https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/the-effects-of-the-coronavirus-crisis-on-workers/
How can we respond to holiday hunger as Christians?
The Methodist Church has a number of suggestions in its blog https://www.methodist.org.uk/holidayhunger/
Government guidelines and restrictions remain firmly in place whilst COVID-19 is with us for our safety.
As restrictions ease the organisers of Leading your Church onto Growth look forward to being able to offer residential conferences again in October and November. Conferences will be hosted by the Christian Conference Trust (CCT) who will ensure that the conferences will adhere to the current safety guidelines.
If you are interested in finding more please visit https://www.leadingyourchurchintogrowth.org.uk/
More about Leading your Church into Growth
The purpose of LYCiG is encourage and equip local churches to grow spiritually and in numbers. People on the team come from all kinds of churches from urban to rural, high, low, evangelical, Catholic all with a desire to lead more people to Jesus.
Robin Gamble leads the team and gives a very practical, friendly and warm welcome to conferences. You can find out more about the organisation here
Follow LYCiG on Facebook to access free up-to-date resources and to meet members of the team.
From time to time it is good to stimulate ideas and our own theological reflections on living and working as communities on estates and urban areas. This is especially important at the moment when face-to-face meetings are limited due to COVID-19.
In this section of our blog we hope to signpost you to other excellent blogs by estate churches leaders and practitioners.
Our first estate church leader we’d like to introduce you to is Al Barrett, an Anglican priest and dad who has been living in Hodge Hill on the edge of East Birmingham since 2010.
Al’s blog, ‘This estate we’re in’ is a theological reflection of day-to-day life on an urban outer estate in the West midlands.
It is beautifully crafted and contains honest thoughts and feelings about our common experience, ideas for praying for the community, even if you are still unable to go out, prayers, poems, artwork from estates and extensive recommended reading where appropriate. Al also helpfully lists other really good blogs he follows which you might find useful for further ideas and future conversations.
Some of the liturgy to pray with have been composed with the aid of Ruth Harley, who is currently training for ordained ministry at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham, with a call to living on estates.
As a taster, have a look at Al’s recent post, Living through liminal times
This post is about living through the wilderness experience of the pandemic, the pain involved and a call to explore new possibilities in these uncertain times. We’re giving away no more spoilers on here…you will just have to check out his blog for yourself!
Jesus Shaped People is a programme to develop the discipleship of small, estate churches and communities from social housing and inner estates.
Sample resources can be downloaded from https://www.jesusshapedpeople.net/
Jesus Shaped People have been producing resources for churches now living with the fall-out from COVID-19. A link a video clip explaining more can be found here.
New resources include two short video clips on the themes of ‘Loss’ and ‘Discovery’. These can be downloaded and shared remotely with your church community or a church group that meets for prayer and Bible study. Brendan asks questions to reflect on and pauses after each question so that the video can be paused to allow for group discussion. If you would like to view these videos visit https://www.jesusshapedpeople.net/node/216
Keep up to date with Jesus Shaped People via their Facebook page
CURBS is a small charity set up to resource and train children’s workers on outer estates and inner city areas.
Like many other charities CURBS have taken a financial hit from COVID-19. They are facing a shortfall of around £8,000 for the year. Could you support their 100@5 campaign? They are asking for 100 members to commit to giving £5 a month to keep them going. Your prayers are also essential, even if you can’t give.
To find out more visit https://curbsproject.org.uk/
In the meantime members of CURBS have continued to produce some brilliant resources and reflections to help families and church workers to get through this challenging time.
Rachel, a pioneer minister on the Whiteway estate in Bath, has set up a ministry of using chalk and a battery operated bubble blower to connect with children and families on her estate. You can read more about her ministry here.
The Friday Club Plaistow, Newham, East London has created an audiovisual of the Upside Down Kingdom which can be downloaded for free from https://curbsproject.org.uk/upside-down-kingdom-chapter-10-downside-up/
Messy Churches are being as creative as ever during these strange times. Ideas range from on-line craft sessions on Zoom and Facebook Live to creating Messy Church in a Bag for families to collect and take home. More information and guidance can be found on https://www.messychurch.org.uk/covid-19
Messy Church through the Bible Reading Fellowship have Facebook Live sessions every Wednesday at 9.00 am or 8.00 pm UK time for sharing companionship, ideas, encouragement and prayer. This can be found on this link: https://www.facebook.com/messychurchBRF/
This is a great place to look for recommendations for child-friendly Bibles, particularly for children with special educational needs.
Another recommendation from Messy Church is to create a Social Story. Creating Social Stories are a way of helping autistic children to understand what to expect in certain social situations and why. This is especially important when teaching children how to keep themselves and others safe during the pandemic. The terms ‘social story’ and ‘social stories’ are terms owned and originated by Karen Gray. Further information can be found at https://www.autism.org.uk/
Lots more brilliant resources for crafts, prayer, baking and blogs sharing experience from parents and carers from Messy Church can be found on https://www.pinterest.co.uk/MessyChurchBRF/messy-church-at-home/
Kick Start is the response from Christians Against Poverty to the needs we know will exist in communities all over the UK as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is designed to equip local churches to easily help people get their lives moving along following the impact of the crisis.
Covering areas such as job searching and living well on a budget, Kick Start also acknowledges the emotional impact of what we’re all living through. Sessions on dealing with worry and coping with loss also feature.
Kick Start consists of a flexible menu of nine video sessions. The entire resource will be available to all churches for free via download.
For more information about the sessions please download the PDF file from the link below:
Kick Start promotional information
The National Anglican Community of Pioneers are hosting 2 events in July to support those engaged in mission and ministry to think through what this might look like in their context beyond lockdown. It will offer opportunity to discuss how to navigate this journey as much as exploring possible destinations. These are repeat sessions and are aimed at leaders who wouldn’t consider themselves to be ‘pioneers’ (listening to their community, serving and journeying with them and forming a new expression of church around them – beyond the walls of existing church) but would like to draw on the wisdom of those who are. It will be an opportunity to meet with experienced pioneer practitioners and to be part of the conversation through guided breakout rooms.
Book now via Eventbrite as places will be limited to ensure an interactive experience. These sessions are repeat sessions.
Thursday 9th July 10.30am-12pm https://july9conversation.eventbrite.co.uk
Tuesday 14th July 7.45pm-9.15pm https://july14conversation.eventbrite.co.uk
For more information email email@example.com
The National Anglican Community of Pioneers supports all those who are exploring a pioneer approach to mission and ministry in the Church of England – whether that’s full time, part time, spare time, paid, unpaid, lay or ordained. Its aim is to connect and support pioneers through an online community and by regular digital and physical meet ups, often with guest speakers. It also seeks to advocate for key pioneer issues within the Anglican Church.
If you would like to find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org stating whether you would like to receive information about Community Membership (intentionally and actively pioneering in some way) or General Events/Information.
You may have already heard of the difference that TLG ‘Boxes of Hope’ are making across the UK – over 30,000 meals already provided to families struggling to eat at this time. Within the chaos of the corona virus, God continues to call local churches to support their community and spread His hope.
These care packages contain both food and activity ideas for children; they aim to meet families’ physical and emotional needs in such a challenging time. We have guidelines, resources to include, ways of tracking impact and start-up funding of £200 to help churches launch.
If you would like the opportunity to join Boxes of Hope, click below on the weblink with more info:
We hope it could really equip churches in their support to families over the summer.
We will soon be running an additional project to support the local church: Emotional First Aid. Emotional First Aid will be a FREE and easy to understand online training and resource that equips people to support those struggling with their emotional and mental health as a result of this pandemic. These webinars will help individuals and organisation to see and understand emotional signals, and know how to respond to them effectively.
Head of Church Partnership TLG