Archbishop of Canterbury launches Housing Commission

Archbishop of Canterbury launches Commission on Housing, Church and Community

The housing crisis is to be the subject of a major new Commission launched today by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

Academics, housing experts and theologians are to meet over an 18-month period to examine how the Church of England can build on its own work in housing and contribute to the national debate on policy.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community will explore a Christian perspective on housing policy with a particular focus on providing good homes and promoting thriving communities.

The Commission will be led by Charlie Arbuthnot, an expert in the financing of social housing, and the Bishop of Kensington, Graham Tomlin, an academic theologian who has been active in efforts to support residents following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Other members of the Commission include Rev Lynne Cullens, from the National Estate Churches Network, Sir Robert Devereux, former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and Professor Christine Whitehead, Emeritus Professor of Housing Economics at the LSE.

The Commission has been set up following Archbishop Justin’s book Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope published last year in which he argued that the principal aim of housing should be the creation of community and that good housing is essential to equality and justice.

An independent report from the Centre for Theology and Community and the Church of England will be published at the launch today with seven case studies of church-linked housing projects in rural and urban areas and across different regions of England.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “Britain’s housing crisis is one of the major challenges facing this country – and it is hitting the poorest the hardest. While there is already significant work being done to find solutions, the Church has something unique to contribute.

“Up and down the country we are living out our faith in Jesus Christ by loving and serving those around us. Through food banks, night shelters and many other projects, the Church seeks to bind communities together with bonds of friendship, compassion and mutual support. This teaches us that any way forward must involve building communities, not just houses.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community will consider what else we could and should be doing, as a Church and as a nation. In doing so, I hope it might help reclaim the very purpose of housing – as the basis for community, and a foundation for human flourishing.

The Bishop of Kensington, Graham Tomlin, said: “We hear regularly of the housing crisis in the UK. Many people cannot afford the rent on their homes, live in poor-quality housing or find themselves unable to stay in the communities to which they belong.

“Our hope is that by exploring a Christian vision of housing, home and community we can make a contribution to solving some of these long-standing issues that our society has struggled to resolve over many years.”

Charlie Arbuthnot, chair of the Commission, said: “We hope to bring a distinctive Christian contribution to the work already under way in this area, drawing on the insight the Church of England has through its presence in every community.

“As well as proposing action by the Church of England – at local, regional, and national level – the Commission will explore how, informed by the Christian faith, we can contribute to the national debate.

“We need to build good homes and supportive communities, with the provision of spaces for people to meet, share and celebrate together. We hope to support and inspire all sections of society including public, private and voluntary organisations that share this vision.”

Additional information:

The Archbishop of Canterbury will be visiting the Spencer estate in the west end of Northampton for the launch where he will host a live discussion on housing with the Revd Sue Faulkner, Vicar of St Mary Dallington and St James Northampton and residents.

The Commission will meet regularly to examine key issues related to housing, church and community and listen to people with direct experience of homelessness and insecure housing. The Commission will also receive evidence from churches and dioceses with experience of tackling housing issues.

Members of the Commission:

  • Charlie Arbuthnot, Chair
  • The Rt Revd Dr Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington
  • Dr Stephen Backhouse, Westminster Theological Centre
  • Revd Chris Beales, Durham University
  • Revd Lynne Cullens, National Estate Churches Network
  • Cym D’Souza, Arawak Walton Housing Association
  • Sir Robert Devereux, Former Permanent Secretary, DWP
  • Gill Payne, National Housing Federation
  • Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol
  • Professor Christine Whitehead, London School of Economics

View video introduction here

newsletter here from our Leeds Group:

https://mailchi.mp/df468e245a81/estates-network-531235

Welcome to the Leeds Diocesan Estates Network news letter.  Apologies for the tardiness of some of the information it contains but we want to send out a few really useful updates during the year rather than fill your inbox every week.

In the Growing Churches email from Robin, he says that “here in Leeds Diocese we are now making big moves to re-vitalise and equip our estate churches”.  It is good to see the diocese putting our estates front and centre.

Synod Motion

There has been a lot of movement nationally in support of estates ministry.  The Estates Evangelism Task Group took a motion to General Synod that was supported widely.  There is now a clear mandate for the church to look at growing and supporting estates ministry at a national and local level.  You can check out the motion here.

NECN Conference

This year we are fortunate that our diocese is hosting the National Estates Church Network northern conference.  It takes place at Bradford Cathedral on 18th of June.  As NECN is happening on our doorstep we have decided to plug this as the main event for 2019.  We can then look at having a local event in spring 2020.

‘Always room for one more.’  Children, Young People and Estates; stories of participation and partnering.

The keynote for the event is Emily McDonald who spoke so eloquently at the Synod Debate.

Emily McDonald speaking to General Synod.
Booking is done through Eventbrite here.  Please do support this event.

Networking

Forming a network of support is so important.  We had a good gathering in Lupset at the beginning of the year and we intend to keep meeting throughout the year.  If you would like to come along to Holy Nativity Church in Mixenden on the 14th of May, we will begin with a short act of worship at noon.  Please bring lunch with you.

Holy Nativity Church
Sunnybank Road
Mixenden
Halifax
HX2 8RX

Social Media

Momentum is building with the estates church movement.  There are lots of ways to join in the conversation.  Our own network in Leeds is on Facebookand Twitter.

Our own Robb Sutherland has been running a social media project to share good news stories at Estates Church on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.  He hopes to record some video logs of good news from estates parishes in the coming months.  If you would like to be involved, send him a message.
NECN have reinvigorated their social media presence and redone their website.

Estates LYCIG

If this isn’t enough for you there is also this year’s estates LYCIG.  Martine and Robb both took church groups to this in 2018 and were very impressed with it.  At a recent meeting Robb said:

“I’ve been to LYCIG twice now and the Estates version is really good.  Sitting with people in similar situations was so much more useful.  No one was suggesting growth strategies that cost thousands of pounds, just simple honest estates practitioners sharing together.  Bringing two people from the church really made it work in our parish!”

Find out more about this year’s conference here.  There are also details for a local meetup of people who went in 2018.

Thanks for persevering with all of this information and getting this far!

There is so much going on in our estates!  We have real momentum to build a church that comprises of people on the margins.

Every blessing as you prepare for Easter!

The Leeds Estates Group

sowing in concrete

I had an excellent day with colleagues from estate churches in Southwark last week with the brilliant title Sowing in Concrete.

We shared stories, resources that work in our churches and communities, pain and passion.

I am really pleased that this has formed into an ongoing Group that will serve and equip churches in South London.  See the Local Groups Page for details of local estate groups.  If you know of a Group that is not listed or would like to help form a Group in your area, please get in touch.

I was inspired to write a parable on the journey there:

The kingdom of God

is like the gardener

who sowed in concrete

 

what looks to be

the least promising

of all the soils

 

yet when the seed grows

it is the strongest

off all the plants

and becomes a tree

where all the people shelter.

Estates LYCIG

Leading Your Church into Growth is an excellent course helping churches to be intentional in their mission and growth.  We are holding one especially for estate churches at Swanwick from 5th – 7th June, 2019.

This is a great event.  Join with people from estate churches from across the country.  The Course is led by a team of women and men who are experienced estate church leaders.

Please book in here.

Contact us for more information

“Last year was fantastic, would highly recommend going” Nick Walsh

“Highly recommend this! Did it last year so good to be with people who get it.” Paul Savage

“Magic!” Jonathan Macy

A global wave of prayer

From 30 May to 9 June 2019, Christians from all denominations are called to join a global wave of prayer for evangelism. Thy Kingdom Come invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ.

The movement started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops’ of Canterbury and York to the Church of England. It has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer.

Individuals and churches are invited to:

  • Commit to pray
  • Host events such as 24-7 prayer, prayer stations and prayer walks
  • Find new confidence to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.

Ideas for individuals, churches and families to take part can be found on the Thy Kingdom Come website.

NECN 2019 Conferences

Do join us at the 2019 NECN national conferences, a great opportunity to meet with others who are passionate about Christian ministry and mission to social housing estates.

Book your tickets for the 18th June Bradford Conference and the 20th June Birmingham Conference

Titled “‘Always room for one more.’  Children, Young People and Estates; stories of participation and partnering”, we will be focusing on participation and partnering in our mission on social housing estates with Children and Young People. What’s working? What resources are available? Who is there to support our ministry? It will be a day of sharing wisdom and stories from Estate Churches and projects around the country.

We are delighted that Jasmine Yeboah, the Methodist Youth President, will be with us and will give an address.

Lynne Norman, NECN Trustee and Children, Youth and Families Development Officer with the Methodist Church writes “Jasmine took up the post of Methodist Youth President in September 2018.  She has spent the last six months encouraging Methodists to be ‘courageous’, her theme for the year.  In her enthusiastic and encouraging style, she will share her experiences of growing up on a Tottenham estate and her hopes for children and young people in the Church”.

Emily McDonald from the Church of England Youth Council, who gave a passionate speech on local leadership in estates at General Synod (view the speech here) will also be with us.

The fee for the day, including a light lunch, will be £25, but if this gets in your way, please contact us.