advent news

Dear Friends,

We are making some changes at NECN to help us increase the amount we can do and to make us more effective.  This post is to update you on this and to ask if you can play a part.

People.  Andy Delmege has stepped aside from our Board and is now our Executive Director.  Our funding from Allchurches Trust means he is able to give two days a week to NECN and is concentrating on building up and supporting a national network of Estates and Urban Groups.

Andy Delmage NECN Exec Director
Andy Delmage NECN Exec Director

Christine McAteer is our half time Support Officer, ensuing that everything happens behind the scenes.

NECN Support Officer
NECN Support Officer


We have a new Chair and Vice Chair.  Lynne Cullens is our Chair.  Lynne is Rector of Stockport & Brinnington and a member of the C of E’s Selection Oversight Group, Estates Evangelism Task Group and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Local Community.  A former CEO, she was born in Ordsall, Salford and blogs on issues of culture and the Church at

Chair of NECN
Lynne Cullens Chair of NECN


Sara Barron is our Vice Chair.  Sara is an accredited Baptist minister and until recently she has had a pioneering ministry on a large council estate near Portsmouth where she lived for 16 years. Sara is a trustee of Incarnate Network, NECN and Estates Evangelism Taskgroup. Sara works half time as development worker for CURBS, which resources, trains and supports children’s workers in urban and estate areas. Having recently moved to Looe in Cornwall Sara is spending a year of missional listening in this new context before embarking on pioneer ministry in Looe. Sara is married to Barney, also a Baptist minister, and they have four children.

Sara Barron CURBS
Sara Barron CURBS



In order to work effectively, NECN is structuring itself around a number of Workstreams.  These are:

Groups; Partnerships; Resources (responsible for conferences, scoping resources, commissioning where there are gaps); Finance and Fundraising; and Communications.

Each one of these will be Chaired by someone who attends NECN Trustee meetings, and will meet several times a year, usually by phone or skype.

Each Workstream will be responsible for deciding how it will contribute to delivering the NECN Vision and Strategy.

In a year, we will review whether we have capacity to open new Workstreams around Children and Young People; Leadership; and Planting and Pioneering.

Playing a Part.

We need people who have estates and estate churches on their hearts, who have experience and skills, and who have time and commitment, to play a part in this.  This is an important role in seeing estates enabled to become fully alive in Christ and in ensuring that there is a thriving, growing, loving church on every significant social housing estate in the country

If you feel drawn to helping NECN in this way, or can recommend someone who can help, please contact Christine on 0121 426 0436 or and please keep us in your prayers.

Other News

Please keep an eye on the website and Facebook and Twitter streams for updates on all things estate church.

If you have any estate church jobs or other news you would like us to share, please email Christine.

We will have news of our National Conferences for 2020 very soon.

If you have time, check out the first in a series of podcasts from the Estates Theology Group on Good News from the Estates


We are in the season of Advent and drawing near to Christmas, with all that brings.  A friend wrote to me this morning:

Safeguard (jealously) those moments when you can go and find the space, time and place to be with God however limited in time you are.

I pray that you may have a blessed time.  Thank you for who you are and all you do.







parish nursing and estate ministry

When we were drawing up our Mission Action Plan (MAP) for St Luke’s Downham we were eager to follow the example of St Luke and include something about health and healing. So it came as an answer to prayer when, entirely unprompted by us, a retired nurse contacted us to introduce Parish Nursing Ministries.

Right from our first meeting with the team from Parish Nursing Ministries UK (PNMUK) we could see how amazing a project this was and the kingdom impact it could have in our parish. St Luke’s is part of the Catford and Downham Team located on the Downham Estate, an inter-war garden estate which is in the top 10% most deprived parishes in the UK. As with many areas affected by poverty there are all sorts of issues with mental health struggles, understanding medication, and accessing services, etc.

We originally explored establishing the project with a volunteer nurse, but our volunteer nurse had to cease due to health issues, so we decided to explore options for a paid nurse and were successful in obtaining funding to recruit for 8 hours a week.

The project launched in April 2019 and our Parish Nurse, Becky, has already become a key member of our team and is seeing a steady stream of people. She is a regular attender at the Front Room Club, our drop in for people who are isolated and struggling with mental health difficulties, and at the Food Bank. The support, encouragement and training from PNMUK has been brilliant and invaluable.

Becky writes the following about her ministry:

“With a background working on inner city estates as a district nursing sister, I was not surprised by either the stark poverty or the warm hospitality of the services users I’ve encountered since starting parish nursing. However, the most rewarding part of the work is the ongoing relationships that can be developed as there is no limitation to number of consultations or sticking to one health problem or condition. This is incredibly rewarding for me and effective for the service user as it enables a holistic view of their health, mental, physical, social and spiritual.

The food bank provides different challenges, including helping people in temporary accommodation struggling to access a GP, people in mental health crisis precipitated by sudden financial hardship or relationship breakdown who don’t know what help is available, as well as help with hospital letters for those with low literacy levels. Many service users are distrustful of the NHS or struggle to keep appointments due to chaotic lives, so my presence provides approachable health advice and signposting in a non-health service context.”

I would not hesitate to recommend a partnership with Parish Nursing Ministries UK to any estate church looking to reach out to and serve their community through health ministry. Funding to set up the project can be obtained from the Cinnamon Trust Micro Grants scheme, amongst other grant making groups.

Rev. Nick Walsh

Team Vicar, St Luke’s and St Mark’s Downham, Diocese of Southwark

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.

small pilgrim place

One of our member Churches, St Michael’s LEP on the Gospel Oak Estate in Hall Green, Birmingham, has become a Small Pilgrim Place.

There are full details of it here , and the Small Pilgrim Places website is here

Are any other Estate Churches places of pilgrimage? (I can think of Penrhys in South Wales).  It would be great to get some pilgrimages going …

estate leadership pilots

As part of the Allchurches Trust Grant to build national support for Estates Ministry, we have two local Leadership Pilots beginning, one in London and one in Birmingham.

The Birmingham Pilot began last night with 17 people from outer estate and inner city anglican parishes gathering for a Learning Group that will Deepen Formation and Leadership.

The London Pilot begins soon – click here for details.

The Pilots are quite different and there will be a deep evaluation of them carried out by Church Army.  We hope that this will be of value to the wider Church, and that all denominations will find ways of enabling people on estates to express all their gifts.

We know that local leadership is one of the key themes for estate churches.  Our National Conferences next year will explore this.  Details of dates and venues coming soon.

Please pray for all those involved in the Learning Pilots.

lives not knives resource pack

Church of England Birmingham and NECN member Pauline Weaver have produced an excellent resource pack to help Churches respond to knife crime, with a request that every Church in Birmingham promotes awareness of knife and violent crime on a Sunday.

You can read and download the pack here.