Over 45 Estate Church practitioners from across London and the South East gathered at St Thomas, Kensal Green last week for the first of NECN’s London Conferences. Entitled London Estates: Rewriting the Story, we reflected on the range of positive estate church life, within the hard context we live.
Among many other things, Mike Long and Alan Everett told their story of ministering in the aftermath of Grenfell Tower. You can view Mike’s presentation here:
Lis Goddard put together a very beautiful meditation on London Estates here:
One of the great benefits of the day was being part of a Group of people who minister in the same context – people who get it, and who can help share what they do that is imaginative and which works. If you are interested in being part of one of our Groups, or in helping to form new Groups, please contact us.
Here is a reflection by Emma Ash on the day:
Simon Jones, David Martinez, and Joshua White, all have one thing in common: their names are posted high, under the Stations of the Cross at St Thomas’ Church, Kensal Town. Inside, the church the walls are as grey as the day they were plastered, making the black ink on the white paper stand out all the more. The white marble stations blend into the plastered wall, however, these names below, stand vividly, bringing with it a harrowing effect. There, joined with them, are a multitude of other names, all in a vertical line, all designated to a station. Fixated, I intended to find out more. These men, women, and children have all been murdered this year by knife crime. Their names stand as a reminder to the church to pray, to love those effected by knife crime and to work towards a day when no names in black ink will be posted on the grey plastered wall.
I stopped, prayed, and felt my heart give way as I empathised with the families that grieve. Chills ran down my spine and I knew that God had something powerful to tell us as we gathered at the NECN London Conference entitled “Rewriting the Story.” Yet, what is the current story regarding the Church and knife crime?
A few years ago, theft and burglary were the most common types of crime, however, more recently, violence has soared to the top. The Mayor of London’s statistics from 2018 tell us that 64.6% of those who serve less than 12 months in prison, reoffend. As of 2018, 75% of all knife crime murders are committed by black British males, under 25. The average annual cost to send one of these men to prison would be the same as it would be to send them to Eton College. The current story is one where the Church needs to think long and hard about how we reach out to these young men, partnering with organisations that help with rehabilitation.
Recently, the government has appointed a charitable foundation to help deliver a £200m Youth Endowment Fund, tackling serious violent crime. Churches and organisations can apply for grants if they are working with 10-14 year olds. Christian organisations such as XLP and Outbreak Pimlico, who spoke at the conference, are not only offering mentoring in schools but also safe places to meet in the evenings, teaching life skills to young people, helping to tackle the situation. The great idea behind Outbreak Pimlico is that three churches saw a need but couldn’t single-handedly employ a youth worker, coming together they raised the funds and are now reaching hundreds of youth people. You don’t need to be a big church to make a difference.
In terms of prison work, one thing worth highlighting is that the Oasis Community Learning trust, which is based in London, has just been awarded a contract to turn the Medway Secure Training Centre in Kent into a school for young offenders. This gives hope that second chances are possible and that new initiatives are being explored to help solve the current crisis.
“Rewriting the Story” is not easy and the names in black ink are still being added to the grey plastered wall. However, through daily prayer, listening to those effected by knife crime, and partnering with organisations, we can rewrite the story. My hope is that rather than adding new names in black ink onto the grey plastered wall, in the future, there will be new names in red ink of those who have been transformed, no longer involved in knife crime but helping others who are.
We are writing to invite you to a Consultation on Urban Ministry at Bishop’s Lodge on Thursday 3rd October at 10 am finishing with lunch. In recent years, we have had an Estates Group and an Inner City Group. This has worked well, but there is no longer capacity from inner city colleagues to continue convening that Group at the present moment. Also a number of colleagues come to both, and national CofE estates strategy makes no distinction between inner city and outer estate parishes.
Therefore this might be the appropriate and opportune time to merge the two groups. There are obvious benefits in working and gathering together as larger group bringing together as large a number of sharp end parishes as we can. The Consultation will be an opportunity to look at the missional needs and opportunities we face, to think through how best we serve one another, and to build relationships. You are also warmly invited to the following events:
Saturday 28th September, Birmingham Urban Congress, 10am – 4pm, Balsall Heath Church Centre. You can book your place by clicking on this link:
Wednesday 16th October, Birmingham National Estate Churches Network Group, 12.15 – 2.00 pm, St George’s, Newtown.
Wednesday 22nd January – Thursday 23rd January, Urban Residential, Cropthorne.
With prayers and thanks for your ministry,
Fr Douglas Machiridza Canon Andy Delmege
41st Annual Justice and Peace Conference
26-28 July 2019
The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick
National Justice and Peace Network with Church Action on Poverty
Pope Francis calls us to be ‘… a Church which is poor and for the poor’. To be with those on the margins as equal partners, enabling them to find their own solutions to the issues they face.
Conference 2019 will work with Church Action on Poverty who are undertaking a three year project to challenge the Churches about where they put their resources. It will hear from ‘communities of praxis’ who are already involved on the margins, and engage in social analysis and theological reflection from the perspective of those on the margins.
Join us in 2019 to explore mission, theological reflection and social action with people who have been pushed to the margins of society by poverty.
How can we build churches that……….
We will also hear inspiring and challenging stories from churches and groups that are living out the vision of a ‘church for the poor’ – being church on the margins of our society.
Revd Deirdre Brower Latz: has worked as a pastor in urban/marginalised communities in Bristol and Manchester and lectures at the Nazarene Theological College in Manchester.
Professor Anthony Reddie: the leading scholar in the practice of Black theology in grassroots communities of faithful practice.
We will also hear inspiring and challenging stories from churches and groups that are living out the vision of a ‘church of the poor’ – being church on the margins of our society. (Speakers and chair for this session to be confirmed )
John Battle, former Labour MP, Chair of Leeds Justice & Peace Commission
There will be workshops from a range of organisations and speakers, all looking creatively at how our churches can be more open to people on the margins.
Children and young people
Children and young people are a vital part of the NJPN conference. There will be a crèche for children under 5 and a programme of activities for 5–11-year-olds. 12–18-year-olds will explore the conference theme in an active and thought-provoking weekend.
NJPN is committed to the protection of children, young people and vulnerable people. People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to attend conference. Our rates for children and people on low incomes are subsidised. We count on the generous donations of those who can afford a little extra to make that possible
Conference booking forms
For email bookings:
For printing out and booking by post;
An opportunity to hear the results of Ellie Bloxham’s research into Messy Churches on urban estates and to discuss it with other people who are involved in Messy Churches on urban estates.
Click here to book a place
Programme for the day
10.00am Registration and Coffee
10.30am Welcome and Act of Worship, followed by an update from Andy Delmege on the NECN national Scene
11.15am Alan Everett and Mike Long – Responding to tragedy in our community (Grenfell)
12.00 Noon Comfort break
12:15pm Testimonies and Snapshots from Estate Churches
12:45pm Lunch (please bring your own or buy locally)
13:45pm ‘How Can Churches Rewrite the Story of Excluded Young People’
2:30pm Snapshots and Panel with questions
3:30pm Final Response
4.00pm Depart or Stay to Network (Evening Prayer and Mass at 5pm)
Tea, coffee and water available throughout the day
To Book Your Ticket and for further details click here
Our June Conferences are almost upon us – if you haven’t booked your ticket yet, click here to get yours.
We have a great range of workshops across the two conferences to help us in our work with children and young people. These include:
Lynne Cullens, our Vice-Chair, and a member of the Archbishop’s Housing Commission will also be leading a consultation on how estate churches can be involved in this.
Anna Morris, our web-designer, will be offering a digital workshop.
At the Birmingham Conference, our Trustee, Wayne Simmonds, will facilitate a workshop on engaging with refugee children and families. Wayne writes:
Who are refugees and asylum seekers?
The forced displacement of hope and its consequences – the global refugee crisis- is unquestionably the most exigent social issue of our times. At the end of 2017 there were approximately 69 million refugees worldwide. Most of these refugees are from Syria (6.3 million), Afghanistan (2.6 million), South Sudan (2.4 million), Myanmar (1.2 million) and Somalia (986,400).
The 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees defines as “someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence, and have well-founded fear of persecution for the reasons of race, religion, nationality political opinion or membership in a particular social group”
An asylum seeker is someone who has arrived in a country and asked for asylum. Until they receive a decision as to whether or not they are refugee they are known as an asylum seeker.
At the end of 2017 there were approximately 121, 837 refugees and 40, 365 asylum seekers. Refugees are allowed to work, and have largely the same rights as British citizens.
Common barriers faced by Refugees and Asylum Seekers include:
a lack of a Holistic Integration Programme, lack of adequate housing, confusion over how to access the NHS, lack of Written and Spoken English and high unemployment.
One can find refugees and asylum seekers living on almost every estate in the UK. What role can the National Estate Churches Network play in helping these refugees and seekers to overcome these barriers?
I am really excited about these Conferences. Whether you are seeking to build from a small base, are looking to make a difference to the lives of children and families on your estate, or want to help your project or church step up further, this Conference will encourage and equip you – and we are all learners together: your experiences and insights will help others.
See you there!
with love and prayers
News from our friends at CURBS:
Exciting news! This year’s National Estate Churches Network Conference is all about Children and Young People! So, if you work with Children and Young People, you have some in your church or none. Come hear the voice of young people speaking about their experience of church and their relationship with God.
Followed by practitioners workshops to aid your community in growth and flourishing.
Curbs a small charity that supports, trains, and resources estate ministry with Children and Families, will be running one of the workshops. We will be thinking about the joys and challenges that estate children face and what hope the kingdom of God brings.
Look forward to seeing you Bradford on 18th June or Birmingham on the 20th June. Click here to book your ticket.
CURBS are an excellent partner, with wonderful resources and support for churches seeking to work with children on estates. Check out their website here.
This Thursday 16th May 2019
William Temple Church, Wythenshawe M22 0BU
Keynote Speaker: Rt Rev’d Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster
With Canon Andy Delmege (National Estate Churches Network)
FREE Event though donations welcome on the day towards costs.
Visit https://mcrestates.weebly.com/events.html for more details and for parking/directions information.