with thanks to Jayne Manfredi and Dave Walker
Our friend Gillian Ahlgren, who spoke at the NECN Conferences a few years ago, is posting some excellent reflections on how we can spiritually flourish during this time of difficulty and crisis. Read them here in the Resources for Renewal Blog.
Here is a really helpful resource on helping people in financial crisis produced by Capital Mass and Just Finance Black Country
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We are writing to you with prayers and love at this time of crisis.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us very deeply. We know only too well how it is touching us, our communities, our families and our Churches. This is an extremely difficult time, and we know that you are all working really hard trying to work out the best way to be Church when we can’t meet physically, trying to figure out how we can continue to serve our communities, putting in place some mechanisms of care.
At NECN, we are praying for you. We are thinking of ways in which we can offer one another helpful support. If you have time, could you share stories and examples of what is working in your Church and your community? It would be a wonderful resource to get things into each others hands. If you are able to do this, please email Christine at email@example.com or put something on the Facebook page.
We will post things on our website here: https://estatechurches.org/covid-19/
please keep an eye on this page for news.
One really important thing at the moment is that we don’t feel guilty about the things we can’t do. We need to be looking after our own physical, mental and spiritual health so that we can be serving others. And it is increasingly apparent that this will be a marathon and not a sprint. If you can’t livestream your services, don’t worry – just publicise links to churches that are doing this, and work out other ways of keeping in touch with people. We are all making this up as we go along, we are all making mistakes, and this is all very provisional.
Let’s continue to be a community that supports one another. Let us know if you have any particular prayer requests or questions. Please remember that although we might be physically isolated, we are not alone. God is with us and we have each other.
We will be in touch again after Easter, when things have hopefully settled down a little, with some ideas of how NECN can continue to be a family and support Estate Churches through the internet, through our local groups, and through conferences and webinars.
With love and prayers,
Andy, Lynne, Sara and Christine.
A weekly space for shared reflection in these challenging times
2pm Thursday, for the next 4 weeks (2, 9, 16 and 23 April)
These are extraordinary times for all of us, but what does it mean to be a ‘church on the margins’ and to seek to be attentive to and inclusive of those on margins of society in the current crisis?
We are not offering any answers, but simply a space to reflect together with others on these challenging times, on our own hopes and fears, on the practical and theological issues thrown up by the crisis, and what it means for church, discipleship, ministry and spirituality to be a ‘Church on the Margins’ at this current time.
Each session will start with a short reflection, but mostly be spent in small groups sharing together our own experiences, thoughts and reflections on these questions.
The event will take place via Zoom. You can participate via any internet enabled device with a microphone (laptop, tablet, phone etc) – or simply over the phone. Once you have signed up via Eventbrite, we will send you a link or a phone number that will allow you to take part.
Sign up for one session, or for the whole series. Dip in and give it a go!
Whilst it is possible to participate in Zoom calls from a normal phone, we are also exploring the possibility of holding separate phone-based conversations that could be accessed free of charge from a phone – further details of this in due course.
For information: deadline 25th March
The Coronavirus Charity Help Fund has been set up by Martin Lewis to help those affected by the coronavirus. Small or local charities are able to apply to receive a grant of £5-20K for specific coronavirus poverty relief projects.
We’re especially interested in projects that directly help people affected by the effects of the virus, such as by giving access to food, toiletries, basic necessities, as well as community projects to help people in isolation.
We are looking for projects that can help people now, so will welcome applications for existing projects that could be scaled up with extra money or projects that are in the process of being set up.
Speed is of the essence so we encourage you to highlight your project’s objectives and outcomes concisely – consider using bullet points rather than lengthy answers. Data will only be used for the purpose of giving grants.
I want to bring you up to date with the events we have planned this year. There are also some other opportunities to meet up with other folk from estate churches.
The theme for this year’s National Conferences is local leadership. The Midlands conference will take place at Coventry Cathedral on Thursday 4th June. The Northern conference will take place on Tuesday 9th June at Preston Minster. Bookings for these conferences will be open soon.
London Regional Conference
- Thursday 8th October 2020
- Theme/Title: Ransomed, Healed, Restored, Forgiven… With the subtitle: Reconciling and empowering our congregations for leadership
- Location: St James the Less, Pimlico
NECN has a number of opportunities to get involved:
We are looking for a Volunteer Treasurer, a crucial role in helping us build our work supporting estate churches. for more details of the role please contact me
We are looking for volunteers to serve on our Workstreams – Resources, Partnerships, Finance and Fundraising, Communications and Groups. If you are interested in this, please contact Andy for a chat.
Bookings are now open for two important Estate Church Events:
Leading your Church into Growth are holding this year’s three day estate churches’ conference on 17th – 19th June at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick. To book visit:
The Eden Network are running a two day conference for any Christian seeking to love where they live called Proximity 2020. This will take place on 15th May – 16th May. Visit https://www.message.org.uk/proximity2020/ to book your place.
I hope you will be able to attend one of these events where we can continue to explore how to raise up and resource local leaders on the estates.
If you would like to get occasional mailing like this from NECN direct to your mailbox, please sign up ahttps://estatechurches.org/
With love and prayers,
NECN Chair, Lynne Cullens, writes:
In what ways is the Church being called to transformation by those currently marginalised within its structures, by those on our estates?
Privileged to be part of this podcast discussion ‘Finding the Treasure – Good News from the Estates’, chaired by Jamie Hawkey, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey; this is the culmination of a two year project from the CofE’s Estates Theology Group, pairing up local ministers with academic theologians and helping churches and their neighbours to listen and to reflect on what gifts God has given them to share.
Some sound bites…
“Alternative readings bring out aspects of scripture that couldn’t be seen by others; I would love to put the Bible in the hands of working-class people, of people from estates, and have them teach the Church how to read in the way that they might read” Dr Justin Stratis.
“We are each other’s shining touch; if one of us is down the others will pick us up” Natalie from Rubery
“Another legacy for the Church must be enduring and hot anger at injustice; our listening must never be complacent, we’ve found people living with radical social injustices, we should be angry about that…because in the end we are about transformation” Bishop Philip North.
“The boundary is the place we are transformed…to able to dance on the edges, to learn a new dance together, to be transformed by that participation feels like a necessary and rich thing” Revd Claire Turner
This and the other podcasts in the series are recommended listening for those interested in estates ministry and in the Church’s reorientation to face those currently on its margins.
Huge thanks to Al Barrett for the continued inspiration, as well as for the invitation to take part.
we are just back from an excellent 24 hour retreat with MITE, Mission in the Edges, our Guildford Group.
This is such an excellent idea – we would really commend it to all our Groups.
To find your local Group, click here.