Estates Evangelism Task Group Live Stream!

The Church of England’s Estates Evangelism Task Group (EETG) is gathering representatives from Church of England dioceses and key organisations working with estates churches for a conference next week and we would like you to join us online!

There are three live streamed keynote addresses that will be available to everyone via NECN’s YouTube channel.  Why not head over there and subscribe to the channel and set a reminder for the streams?

Keynote 1: Rosie Hopley – Working on the Margins

Live 2:30pm – 3:45pm Monday 29th November 2021

Rosie will be sharing her story of working with women in the sex trade in Bristol.  She will also be talking about the lessons she has learned about raising leaders up from the margins.

Rosie Hopley is founder and former CEO of the Christian charity Beloved, co founder of a social enterprise LoveWell, and co founder of Bristol prayer gathering Vision for the Vulnerable.

In 2011, Rosie began to research ways that women in indoors prostitution might be supported. Together with a small team of volunteers, they began visits to women in Bristol massage parlours in April 2012. In 2015, Rosie began exploring employment pathways out the sex industry. In 2018, LoveWell held its first workshops with vulnerable women. Most recently, cohorts of women have joined the social enterprise’s six- month Work Well training and employment programme.

Rosie is passionate about gospel transformation and development of people. She enjoys learning about God’s reconciling love and writing. Recent articles have been featured in Woman Alive magazine, as well as blogs for the Church Mission Society and the Unreached Network.  She is currently an MA Theology student with the Church Mission Society, studying African Christianity.

Prior to Beloved, she ran her own communications, PR and research business, mainly working with government bodies, NHS and private healthcare organisations and Universities.

Live stream here.

Keynote 2:  The Archbishop of York, Most Revd Stephen Cottrell

Live 7:15pm – 8:15pm Monday 29th November 2021

Stephen will be talking about the Church of England’s vision for estates churches.

Stephen Cottrell came to faith as a teenager through the work of youth organisations in his local church.  After a brief spell working in the film industry, and at St Christopher’s Hospice in South London, he began training for ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, in 1981. He later studied for an MA with St Mellitus College.

Serving his curacy in Christ Church and St Paul’s, Forest Hill, south London, in the mid-1980s he was priest-in-charge at St Wilfrid’s, in Parklands, a council estate parish in Chichester from 1988 to 1993.

He then moved to West Yorkshire, as Diocesan Missioner and Bishop’s Chaplain for Evangelism in the Diocese of Wakefield and in 1998 he also became a member of Springboard, the Archbishop of York and Canterbury’s team for evangelism. In 2001, he was called south to become Canon Pastor of Peterborough Cathedral and three years later was consecrated as Bishop of Reading. He became Bishop of Chelmsford in 2010 and served there until 2020 when he became the 98th Archbishop of York.

A founding member of the Church of England’s College of Evangelists, he also chairs the Board of Church Army.

Stephen is married to Rebecca who is a potter. They have three sons.

Live stream here.

Keynote 3:  Chris Lane and Hana Amner – Church Planting on Estates

Live 9:00am – 9:45am Tuesday 30th November 2021

Chris Lane is a church leader at Langworthy Community Church in inner city Salford, having planted the church in 2004 after helping to start an Eden Project in partnership with The Message Trust. He is chair of trustees for LifeCentre Salford which is a community hub that works across the city providing essential services for people who are in need. Chris is also a Tutor in Theology at Emmanuel Theological College and has a national role as Tutor for Pioneering and Planting at St Mellitus College. He is the author of Ordinary Miracles, a reflection on the work in Langworthy over the past 20 years, and an upcoming book Not Forgotten, due for release in June 2022.

Chris is married to Esther and they have three children.

Hana, AKA “Creative Priest” is an Artist based in Saltney, Chester. She also lives out her vocation as a Pioneer Priest in the Church of England. She plants creative spaces of welcome for the local community.  As an artist she make art that seeks to provoke thought, discussion and action around faith, society and culture.

Live stream here.

Why not join us online and join in the conversation?

These sessions will be streamed live on NECN’s YouTube channel.  If you can’t join in live, they will be available for later viewing.

Follow #EETG2021 online.

 

EETG at the Church of England National Synod

General Synod November 2021

The Church of England has an ongoing commitment to resourcing and planting worshipping communities on social housing estates. To help drive this forward, the Estates Evangelism Task Group (EETG) was formed in 2015 as part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform strategy. Several trustees from NECN are part of that working group and have been working to highlight the need for a commitment from the Church of England leadership to having a vibrant church presence on all estates. In February 2019, synod overwhelmingly backed a motion to see a loving, serving, worshipping Christian community on every significant social housing estate in the country.

Now we find ourselves in 2021 post covid, with a newly elected synod who are keen to see that this commitment is followed through.  Here is a transcript of one question raised:

Mr Adrian Greenwood (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:

Q33 What progress has been made with the implementation of the National Estates Ministry Strategy, which was approved by General Synod in February 2019? And what steps will be taken to ensure that the Strategy is embedded and delivered throughout the term of the new Synod?

The Bishop of Burnley to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of Bishops:

On a national level, the Estates Evangelism Task Group continues to work towards achieving Synod’s goal of a worshipping, loving, serving Christian community on every significant estate in the nation. It is currently reworking its strategy around the goals of the national Vision and Strategy and continues to operate through partnerships, conferences, communications and direct support for some dioceses. However, it is the dioceses themselves who carry the key responsibility for implementing Synod’s motion and so it is important that every diocese develops a strategy for their urban estates, that LICF grants are directed towards the most deprived communities and that, in those dioceses where re-organisations are planned, the impact on estates and low income communities areas is carefully monitored lest it be disproportionate.

Adrian Greenwood:

++Stephen please would you pass on to Bishop Philip our thanks for all his leadership in the area of ministry and mission on social housing estates.

Given the answer that the front line responsibility lies with each diocese, but also given the fresh resolve from the NCIs to serve and equip the local church, may I ask what can the NCIs do and what can this synod do over the next five years to support +Philip in his leadership role and the dioceses as they turn this strategy in to reality?

++Stephen:

First of all we have already discovered that clergy numbers went up in the Church of England last year slightly. We need to be careful about some of the stories we hear and what their truth actually is. Some dioceses find themselves having to cut clergy numbers others are not.

We have an aspiration to grow 10,000 new worshipping communities which some people have scoffed at. The Bishop of Burnley hasn’t. The Bishop of Burnley is getting on with it. With a big vision to plant a church on every estate.

We looked in the mutually and finance report of the league table of diocesan assets and I think we all noticed that only one diocese in the Province of York appeared on the first page of the top 20.

In the parts of the country where I’m privileged to serve there are large estates where we have been unable to create a Christian worshipping witnessing presence, and the work of the Estates Evangelism Task Force, mandated by this synod, is one of the most exciting things we’re doing to actually turn the words on a page of our vision and strategy about wanting to reach out to our nation into actual reality.

I hope that in the triennium working group and other places, we will begin to see our resources and our resource allocation aligned with this synod motion which aligns itself with the vision and strategy and I look forward now that I’m in the north to working very closely with the Bishop of Burnley on making this happen.

As EETG prepare for next week’s conference, bringing those agencies who work predominantly on estates and who equip estates churches, it is greatly heartening to hear synod speaking so clearly of the desire to bring our vision to reality.

finding the treasure

Listen to this very wonderful monthly series of podcasts from the Estates Theology Project, part of NECN’s partners at the Estates Evangelism Task Group.

Click here to hear the first one from Wythenshaw in Manchester: Finding the Treasure – Good News from the Estates

Today a fifth of the Church of England’s 12,500 parishes are estimated to be ‘estates parishes’ meaning that they include at least 500 social housing homes, however, half of these ‘estates’ currently have no Church of England Worship centre within them.

Over the last two years, to try and address this, the “Church of England’s Estates Theology” project has been pairing up local ministers, vicars and priests, with academic theologians. This podcast series is showcasing this work and how the project has helped churches and their neighbours to reflect on what gifts God has given them to share together.

In this episode, presenter Liza Ward travels to the Wythenshawe estate in Manchester to to learn how a new project brought William Temple Church closer to those in their local community.

stories of transformation – st james, rounds green

Here is a really beautiful story of a transformed estate church and transformed lives:

Jill MacDonald, Minister-in-Charge of St James’ Church Rounds Green, on the Lion Farm estate, Dudley

JILL MACDONALD AT THE REFURBISHED ST JAMES CHURCH, LION FARM ESTATE, BIRMINGHAM. PHOTO BY CLARE KENDALL. 29/8/19.

‘People thought that the place was shut for years. The grass wasn’t mowed. The glass in the doors had been broken so many times that they were boarded up. The windows were opaque glass with wire over them. However much we cleaned, it looked grotty. It was vile.

They know it’s open now! I mow the grass every week and that enables me to say “hi” to everybody as they go past.

We have always been a church with absolutely no money. We had £1,000 in the bank. We took out a loan to redecorate and applied for lots of grants. Painting the church has made such a difference. The whole feel of the place lifted people’s spirits. I’ve even put pink chandeliers in the toilets, and you don’t see that often. They’re a real talking point.

It’s a hard patch. There’s a lot of apathy, drug abuse, financial problems. But now we have a friendly face and there are people coming in. The hall is booked every night.

We will never be a massive, humungous church, but we have grown. There used to be a time when I thought, “Why would I invite anyone to come?” But now I don’t mind inviting people.

We used to get lots of graffiti and broken windows on a regular basis, and dog muck on the grass. That’s very rare now. It’s almost like God has put angels round it. People have seen that it’s cared for and looked after, and they have responded.

The church has a future that I could never have imagined. The fellowship here have a confidence in sharing their faith. We take the love of God to those around us in whatever way we can.’

Barbara, member of the congregation

JILL MACDONALD AND BARBARA HUNT AT ST JAMES CHURCH, LION FARM ESTATE, BIRMINGHAM. PHOTO BY CLARE KENDALL. 29/8/19.

‘When I first came to St James’, I was a heavy drinker and gambler and I was getting loans every week for my drinking and gambling, but I couldn’t afford the loans. I had big debts: hundreds and hundreds of pounds from door-to-door loans.

Drink blocked out memories. The more I drank, the more it blocked them out. But I’d been to Sunday School as a child. Later in life, one of my twin daughters died. The vicar who did her funeral was very nice. I realised that this [church] was where I belonged. So, I turned up one Sunday and thought I’d sit at the back, do the service and go. But people opened up their arms to me. It was “wow”.

When I first came, I had long uncombed hair, and everything I wore was black. I never knew how to dress. I never knew about hygiene.

My family are worse than you can dream. This is my family now. This is where I’m happy. I’m not scared any more. I don’t need the booze now. I thought I was nothing, but I’m as important to God as the next person.’

Andy Delmege, Urban Estates Missioner

ST JAMES CHURCH, LION FARM ESTATE, BIRMINGHAM STORY. ANDY DELMEGE. PHOTO CLARE KENDALL. 29/8/19.

‘The estates are one of the more socially and economically challenged part of the country and if we are not present in vital ways in the estates, then we have lost the gospel of Jesus’ heart for people in situations in poverty, which was so much at the heart of his life and message.

It is vital that people on estates such as Lion Farm realise their worth in Christ. Everybody is our sister and brother, especially those who are in more challenging situations. So it is important that the church is there, helping people.’

Read more of this story by clicking here.

Bishop Philip North’s address to Synod

When the early apostles set out of fulfil their task of growing the church, they started with the hungry and the widowed and the slaves. When St Francis set about rebuilding the church in the twelfth century, his first move was to go and live with a colony of people with leprosy. When St Vincent de Paul felt his call to renew a tired and corrupt French church in a deeply hierarchized society, he began with galley slaves and prisoners. I could go on but already the lesson is clear. Anyone who is serious about the proclamation of the Gospel starts with the poor.

If we want to see a nation coming back to Christ, it will begin amongst the poor.

That is the contention of this motion. The Estates Evangelism Task Group is not trying to start a competition. We are not saying that urban estates matter more than the suburbs or the countryside. We are not denigrating any areas of ministry because, of course, we need the church in every place and for every person. We are not a social policy or campaigning group. Our interest is evangelism. And as such we want to remind the church of a truth which is firmly rooted in the scriptures and the tradition. If we want to see a nation coming back to Christ, it will begin amongst the poor. And where today do we find the places of greatest deprivation? Our urban estates.

Those estates were built with great optimism and the first generation of residents were overjoyed at what was being provided. In many ways they are still joyful places to live and to minister. My years working on estates, especially in the north-east, were the happiest of my ministry.

For many estates residents, life is hard and getting harder.

But today, for many estates residents, life is hard and getting harder. What must seem like the modern day four horsemen of the apocalypse – universal credit, low-paid work, food poverty and austerity – plague many lives. Too often services, voluntary organisations and traditional forms of association have been closed down or privatised and along with them have gone the places that form local leaders. Just like austerity, the UK’s departure from the European Union is likely to have a disproportionate impact on urban estates, especially in the short-term. And the church’s response? Bit by bit, almost unseen we have been pulling away, closing churches, withdrawing clergy. We invest far less in ministry on the estates than in any other context. The harvest is rich, but the labourers have been redeployed.

Here’s the vision. It’s a very simple one. To have a loving, serving, worshipping Christian community on every significant social housing estate in the nation.

So here’s the vision. It’s a very simple one. To have a loving, serving, worshipping Christian community on every significant social housing estate in the nation. To plant back in the estates we have abandoned, to better support our presence in the places where we’re struggling. If we can do that, the impact on church and nation will be transformative. As Christians we will be seen to be doing what we are called to do which is to share good news with the poor. We will release unlikely leaders and evangelists who will speak the Gospel in a language that people can understand. We will develop evangelistic resources and approaches that will work anywhere. We will for once be working with the grain of cultural transference, because history shows that if you start with the poor, eventually the rich catch on.

The evidence is that joyful, relationship-based evangelism rooted in belonging can grow incredibly precious Christian communities.

And don’t think this is an impossible pipe dream. In recent years I have been blown away by some of the work taking place on our estates. The evidence is that joyful, relationship-based evangelism rooted in belonging can grow incredibly precious Christian communities. Some Dioceses are committing significant time and effort to this and the Strategic Development Fund has put resource behind imagination.

So the question we need to answer today is a simple one. Are you prepared to buy into the vision that lies behind this motion – a church on the side of the poor, a Christian community on every estate? And please I urge you, don’t vote yes if you mean no. Because there are challenging implications.

Voting yes will impact every single parish because many parishes contain forgotten estates, others will want to twin with an estates parish and most will feel financial implications. It will affect every Deanery because all too often the conclusion of Deanery Plans has been that the post or parish that can disappear is the one that serves the outer estate. It will affect every Diocese because the motion asks Dioceses to build estates into their strategic plans and vision. It will present personal challenges to clergy because we need our best priests to be spending at least part of their ministry in areas of deprivation. It will affect this Synod, a place where estates voices are rarely heard with the consequence that our policy decisions can adversely impact the poor. It will affect those who select and train clergy and lay ministers because those from non-professional or unlikely backgrounds have for too long been systematically excluded from leadership in the Church. It will present awkward challenges to those sitting on historic assets because it will require a spirit of generosity within and between dioceses. If you’re not up for these implications, just vote no.

The paper in front of you lays out as clearly as possible how the Estates Evangelism Task Group is seeking to go about its work. But what brings change is not policy decisions and papers but transformed hearts. The details of strategy matter less than the big picture.

The renewal of Christian life in our nation is not just possible, it is inevitable. That renewal will begin (as it always does) with the poor, with the marginalised, with the forgotten and the oppressed and the broken

Because I am utterly convinced of two things. First, that the renewal of Christian life in our nation is not just possible, it is inevitable. I don’t know how, I don’t know when. But I know it is inevitable because Jesus is Lord, and since he is Lord a distracted nation will one day discover anew his beauty and his truth. And second, that renewal will begin (as it always does) with the poor, with the marginalised, with the forgotten and the oppressed and the broken. That is where the Holy Spirit will one day move, and move with power. The only question left is this. Will the Church of England be there to join in?

+Philip Burnley