Hope Community Witham

Estate Comunity Church

Once again churches and communities are having to dig deep into keeping hold of hope as we start the New Year with a third lockdown.

Today we bring you some good news of an estate church in Witham, Essex, the Hope Community. Their mission is ‘Bringing Hope, Being Community’. You can find their page on Facebook here.

Like many churches since March 2020, Hope Community have had to quickly learn how to put services online and go through a steep learning curve. Services are currently being streamed live every week via Facebook where engagement has grown from 70 views per week to over 500 views. A Zoom Alpha Group has also been set up by Revd Will Abbott for people to explore questions brought up in the uncertainty of this season which are advertised through Facebook and this group is growing.

Goody Bags Hope Community

As well as being flexible in how to worship God and pray, Hope Community have been reaching out to families in need through the Love Where You Live scheme. This scheme was originally set up in Wythenshawe by The Message. During Love Where You Live weeks in Wythenshawe, volunteers have been delivering food parcels, cleaning up rubbish and even sprucing up gardens. You can read more about the Wythenshawe project on https://www.message.org.uk/love-where-you-live-2/

In Witham, volunteers gave out  over 400 goody bags and food over Christmas to families who have been really touched by this act of kindness. Donations for the foodbank are coming in regularly and there is a Just Giving ‘Love Where U Live’ fundraising page to raise money towards outreach projects to support and care for the wider community. A recent appeal has been for funds to buy treats for NHS staff to show appreciation of their frontline work. A link to give a donation to this fund can be found here.

Hope Community have plans in the pipeline to launch their own website later this year as a charitable organisation. In the meantime if you would like some more details about Hope Community which works with St. Nicolas Church, Witham, visit https://www.withamparishchurch.org.uk/

 

Apostolic training for an indigenous ministry?

Estates practitioner and priest, Joe Hasler offers some thoughts around training local people for God’s mission in extracts from his poem below. The whole reflection can be downloaded at the end of this post.

Bristol Estate

Apostolic means ‘Go to’

or ‘being sent’.

An Apostle meaning

‘one sent on a mission’.

  •     We have had the decade for evangelism,
  • a pre-occupation with leadership,
  • and now the emphasis on discipleship.

I hope this means

the direction is getting closer

to listening

to the people on the ground.

 

An important message I have heard in all this is,

“Do we want a ‘Come to’ church

or a ‘Go to’ church.”

Is it desirable to move from maintenance to mission?


So how do the trainers

and their institutions

model God’s mission

in the way we do training?

We have been trying to address these issues in the Northern Ark Mission Initiative in North Bristol.

The pilot period has come to the end of its initial three years.

Some things could have been done better

but we ask

‘Why do people from local council built housing estate congregations in Bristol come forward into growing ministry teams?”

38 people from 4 out of 6 parishes have stepped out so far;

with some to become licensed readers (6),

and some to become ordained priests (3).

Making ministry training

in a mission model

must be one of the driving forces.

But for all the things

we might have done better

here are four things we did well.

  1. Take the training to the people.
  2. Go in twos. (THE INTERVENTIONISTS)
  3. Forming learning communities in the culture.
  4. Practise what we want to preach.

The experience is that the trainers model a ‘go to’ approach

and learning is integrated

with activity in mission.


The beginning

and the end

is in becoming a more self-sufficient congregation

that is more dependent on God.

 

Indigenous is not isolationist.

It is making a stronger contribution to a bigger whole.

But local interventions

can bring the confidence

to let this, happen.

 

I think this is mainly

because the trainers,

no matter how good they are,

‘go to’.

The result is of a local congregation that naturally goes to the wider world and church.

This is what has been modelled in their training.


(More information about the initiative can be found at www.joehasler.co.uk   then find  other stuff and click on drop down menu for northern ark publications.)

To download the whole reflection click Apostolic Training for Ministry and New Pathways

New Resources from Jesus Shaped People

Many of you will already be aware of the work of Jesus Shaped People, helping people to become focussed on mission and service. They have a new course called Stay Alert to the Spirit.

There are intergenerational materials for both on and off line, or a mix of both. For more information you can get in touch with Dawn or Brendon at JSP.

HOPE at Christmas

If you are looking for resources for the run up to Christmas, look no further. Thanks to generous sponsorship, estate practitioners can order this year’s Christmas HOPE magazine free-of-charge.

Why not distribute them door-to-door or via food bank parcels? If you use the code ESTATE20 you will just have to pay postage. Pick them up here.

News from CURBS

CURBS logo

CURBS is a small Christian charity set up in 1996 in response to the need for resources and training for church-linked children’s workers in inner cities and on outer urban estates.

Like many charities we have been hit financially by COVID and they’re currently £8000 short to keep going this year. Because of this they have lauched a 100@5 campaign. They’re asking 100 members of our community to commit to giving just £5 a month to keep CURBS going. Can you help?

CURBS would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has already supported them in their 100@5 campaign. They are currently at 55 regular givers on their way to the target of 100, and your support so far has kept CURBS going through this very difficult time and will continue to do so up till Christmas so thank you!

But…

They’re not out the woods quite yet and would so love to reach the target of 100 regular givers giving £5 a month. Just 45 more people supporting CURBS in this way would make CURBS much more sustainable and pay for their development worker’s wage to the end of the financial year.

So if you meant to set up regular giving but never quite got round to it, or if you know someone who would be interested in supporting them please  visit the website

CURBS News

Despite lockdown, tiers and restrictions, the HUBS continue to be busy around the UK, working out different ways of how to connect with children and families during this difficult time. From days of prayer for children, to delivering packs through doors, to patiently meeting up again slowly but surely, they’ve been inspired to hear what people are doing. You can read  Stories from Lockdown here. 


CURBS continues to be an important voice in the conversations happening around how churches are reaching in to estates. It is wonderful to see this topic being more widely talked about and we look forward to seeing where God is taking us.

We thank you for your continued support of CURBS and you’ll hear more about this from us soon!

Transforming Lives for Good relaunch Box of Hope for Winter

Transforming Lives for Good

Since COVID-19 hit the country, TLG has equipped over 200 churches to reach out to some of the most vulnerable families across the UK as part of their Box of Hope project. Over 510,000 emergency parcels have been delivered to families since the start of the pandemic.

As the 2nd lockdown meets winter TLG have relaunched the Box of Hope project. Funding, guidelines and resources which will really equip and release churches in this season can be applied for at

https://www.tlg.org.uk/more/campaigns/box-of-hope

Estates at Advent 2020

Estates at Advent
Weoley Castle, Birmingham

 

We may be locked down but let’s open up the beauty of estate churches. We want to create an Advent Calendar featuring different estates for each day. If you want to take part email christinem@cofebirmingham.com with a photo from your estate or church, the name & town of your estate for #EstatesatAdvent
If you are on Twitter let us know your hashtag and if on Facebook the name of your page so that we can tag you when your photo is posted!
Photos can be autumnal or wintery, feature decorations, crib scenes, estate lights, tattooed Santas – you name it, we’d love to see it. We’d also love to see any funny or happy photos too. Remember, all photos featuring people can only be shown with their consent and adults need to sign a safeguarding form from your church before we can use any photos featuring children.
🕯

 

Managing a changed financial landscape in 2020

CAP logo

2020 has been a year for polarising the rich and the poor. Those who are in well-paid jobs and who are able to work from home saved 8.6% of their income in the first three months of 2020 according to Christians Against Poverty.

Sadly, those who are the lowest earners and the under-30s have been left struggling financially in the wake of COVID-19. From this group 37% say they’ve eaten less than normal, and 31% have reduced the number of showers or baths they’re taking.

The Cap Money Course

Christians Against Poverty are offering free online courses that meet weekly for 6 weeks. These courses aim to teach budgeting skills and help people to face the reality of what is coming into their bank account and what is going out. Having more control over finances can help to prevent debt and encourages people to save where possible.

To find out more visit https://capuk.org/i-want-help/courses/cap-money-course/introduction

The Cinnamon Network and Local Partnerships

 

The Cinnamon Network

If you have not come across the Cinnamon Network yet in your community or church ministry do take a look at their website https://www.cinnamonnetwork.co.uk/

The Cinnamon Network delivers training, advice and small grants to help churches start social action projects in their communities.

They also offer regular free webinars that you can sign up to. The upcoming webinar is on building partnerships with local agencies, other churches ad local authorities next Thursday, 5th November at 11 am. More information, including how to book can be found on https://www.cinnamonnetwork.co.uk/better-together/ 

There is also a wonderful story of how the Cinnamon Network has helped a church in Erdington, a built-up community in Birmingham with significant levels of unemployment, to set up a Job Club through local partnership working:

Erdington – Alive with Hope

Reflecting on your estates ministry

Estate churches are fragile communities, especially at the moment in the financial crisis brought on by COVID-19. With regulations and the pandemic situation changing day-by-day now might be a good time to pause and reflect.

How has your church community responded to the pandemic? What has this experience been like for you and for others? What has the experience revealed about inequalities and the structures of our society? Where is God in the experience? How might God be calling us to respond?

These questions are based on the structure of estates practitioner Laurie Green’s Pastoral Cycle:

  • Experience
  • Explore
  • Reflect
  • Respond

You can hear Laurie Green explain more about the process of getting stuck in and doing theology by clicking on the highlighted words above. Doing theological reflection always starts from experience.

A similar cycle of reflection, Gibbs Reflective Cycle, is explained in the video below by a German teacher who reflects on her experience of teaching German in a Spanish school. The starting point is grounded in experience, reflecting upon it, analysing it from different perspectives and coming up with a plan of action. This in turn leads to a new experience, further exploration, further analysis and refining the action plan.

An important point to note is that reflecting on experience involves listening to others as well as oneself, not diving straight into action. Another point to remember is to see the gifts that the people in your community already have, not just the difficulties that your community has to live with.