Online Talking Jesus course free till end of August 2020

Hope Together

During COVID-19 the Talking Jesus course created by Hope Together will be free until the end of August 2020.

This is a practical 6 session course which can now be shared with groups online about how to tell others about Jesus. Simply click here and follow the instructions to register your group to the free course. A short video explains how this course gives people confidence to talk to friends and people they know about Jesus.

More about Hope Together

Hope Together is about showing the unconditional love of Jesus in our local communities, whether this be through setting up a food bank or working with local community organisations. Church members are encouraged to invite others to become a follower of Jesus.

The whole ethos of the organisation is grounded in prayer. You can visit https://www.hopetogether.org.uk/Groups/324633/About.aspx to find out more.

Hope Together’s response to COVID-19

Churches in Birmingham have created ‘We are the Church’posters to display in windows and remind people that the church is still present in neighbourhoods, even though we are scattered. You can download a poster by clicking on this link HOPE-Rainbow-Poster

You can also download this folder to share on social media. We_are_Church_Social_Media

You can click here to read about lots of other practical ideas for sharing love in your local community. This includes a short video on how to offer support to someone who is bereaved. There is also a Discover Bible app available which can be read in virtual groups.

Introducing Greg Smith Urban Mission & Community Research Consultant

Greg Smith

This week we introduce Greg Smith, who lived and worked for churches in the London Borough of Newham for 27 years.

Greg has recently retired but has generously listed links to his many works and writings on urban mission and 21st century evangelism.

For anyone who would like to reflect more deeply on where God is at work on the estates or how understanding Christian doctrine can be relevant to the lives of working class people in a multi-cultural society, these writings are an excellent resource. You can explore more by clicking here.

Greg’s works are also very useful for anyone training for any form of church ministry who feels especially called to work on the estates or an inner-city context.

For example, a very readable paper entitled ‘Biblical Bases of Socio-Political Action, explains how Christian involvement in social and political issues are linked to key beliefs about God, Creation, the Fall, God’s justice in the Old Testament, the Kingdom of God, Jesus, Salvation and Christian living. Greg writes from an evangelical perspective and as a practitioner who has lived and worked among Christians from different churches and people from other faiths and with no faith.

” …it is out of the experience of mission,
and the awareness that such evils as poverty, racism, unemployment and bad housing
are barriers to the Gospel…”

Greg Smith

We hope that you enjoy exploring the fruits of Greg’s theological research and reflection among the treasure of God’s Kingdom, the people of the urban estates. Much of what  he has written is still highly relevant to today, particularly in the light of increasing poverty during the pandemic and to bring an end to racism highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Faith Pictures – a fresh way to talk about things that matter

Faith Pictures

If you are looking for a gentle, humorous and light-hearted course to run with a small church group we think you will like Faith Pictures.

This 6 week has been designed by the Church Army. You can find out more about it on https://www.churcharmy.org/Groups/266913/Church_Army/ms/Faith_Pictures/Faith_Pictures.aspx

The idea of the course is to help Christians talk to our friends, neighbours and anyone we know about what we believe. There are a couple of short introductory videos on the website which explain a bit about the course.

Resources are free to download though you will need to sign up to access the next 5 sessions.

Whilst it is not possible to meet as groups in church at the moment or in each others’ homes, it would be possible to share this course on the internet if you can access Zoom or a similar on-line platform for sharing.

Introducing Laurie Green Founder of NECN

Founder of NECN

A very handy resource for any estate church leader or practitioner is Laurie Lee’s blog on how to do theology. The website is lauriegreen.org.

This way of reflecting theologically on situations starts not with books but with actual experience. It is called the Pastoral Cycle. Below is his diagram outlining the process.

Theological Reflection

Laurie gives a very clear introduction into what this process means in his short video on https://www.lauriegreen.org/theology-1/contextual%20theology.html

He has written a book on this called ‘Lets Do Theology’. Theology is there for all of us to do, not just for academics. God is calling poor people especially to have a go at doing theology because we may not be rich but we have a rich amount of experience to reflect upon and we still have our faith, just like Jesus did when he became incarnate and lived for 30 years before he started preaching.

As you will be well aware coming from an estate does not preclude anyone from being academic.  For those of you who wish to go deeper Laurie provides links to plenty of additional papers to contextual theology on https://www.lauriegreen.org/theology-1/index.html

He also provides links to his summaries of theology books on areas of doctrine, mission, the Bible, the church and theological reflection, especially in the context of ministry on the estates https://www.lauriegreen.org/books/laurie%27s%20library.html 

There are some very useful books on this list but most importantly of all, all of us from estates can all do theology, starting with an open heart and our experience.

Jesus Shaped People and COVID-19

Jesus Shaped People logo

Jesus Shaped People is a programme to develop the discipleship of small, estate churches and communities from social housing and inner estates.

Sample resources can be downloaded from https://www.jesusshapedpeople.net/ 

Jesus Shaped People have been producing resources for churches now living with the fall-out from COVID-19. A link a video clip explaining more can be found here.

New resources include two short video clips on the themes of ‘Loss’ and ‘Discovery’. These can be downloaded and shared remotely with your church community or a church group that meets for prayer and Bible study. Brendan asks questions to reflect on and pauses after each question so that the video can be paused to allow for group discussion. If you would like to view these videos visit https://www.jesusshapedpeople.net/node/216

Keep up to date with Jesus Shaped People via their Facebook page

New ‘Mission on the Margins’ Training

StHild_011_A5 Leaflet_MISSION ON THE MARGINS

I am pleased to let you know about a new Mission on the Margins Practitioner track. Urban Life have been developing this with St Hild and we will commence accepting students in September.

Mission on the Margins is designed for people who are involved in mission and ministry in marginal contexts and with marginalised communities. We offer a wide range of modules and a flexibility that enables participants to discover the best learning path for them. Participants can be accredited at MA, postgraduate and graduate level or you can follow a non-accredited path. Modules are taught through a mixture of online seminars, further reading and in person sessions at St Hild’s Sheffield and Mirfield centres. I’ve attached a flyer that gives you more information or you can visit www.sthild.org/practitioner-tracks.

We believe that the training we are offering will enable participants to engage in learning that will increase their understanding of their practice. If you have any questions, then please feel free to ask.

 

Mentoring for People Going Through the Discernment Process

Vocation Mentors

God calls people from all walks of life, and our ministers should reflect the society we are part of.

“We are working hard to support those from deprived backgrounds who are going through the discernment process by offering mentoring (https://www.churchofengland.org/mentors).

Feedback suggests that mentoring has built confidence amongst those from underrepresented groups.  But we need more mentors in order to make this as widely available as possible.  If anyone (ordained or lay but with some understanding of the discernment process) would be willing to volunteer for this role, we have training sessions available in March, May, July and September and a Mentor gathering with ++Justin at Lambeth Palace in November.

We would dearly love to have more mentors with estates experience to add to our resource here.  Any help you can offer would be invaluable”

If you are interested in becoming a mentor please visit https://www.churchofengland.org/mentoring 

This link will give details of mentor training days around the country and there is a contact form to complete.

Urban Presence another tilt

Urban Presence Another Tilt

“Urban Mission, another tilt” will be a joint day with the Nazarene Theological College looking at aspects of urban mission and ministry, such as calling, context and training. In its 24 years Urban Presence has seen many encouraging new initiatives and ministries with the “high’hanging fruit” of our inner-urban and outer estate areas of deprivation.

But, there remains a basic inequality of where God’s people are located in relation to where most of the people of our cities live.

Are we missing something or doing something wrong?

This day is for church leaders, activists, trainers and educators to look again at the specifics of this context, the nature of calling to these areas and appropriate practical training for those who seek to serve there.

Free, but advance booking only. Lunch and refreshments included.

To book onto this event click here

Request to find 4 churches

Research Chart

After years of working with churches in disadvantaged communities (on housing estates, with Church Urban Fund and currently with St Martin in the Fields) I’m doing research into the response of C-of-E churches to need. C-of-E churches are busy doing all kinds of work in a context of social change, cuts to public services and increased need. I want to understand this important activity more.

My research focuses on four C-of-E churches in varied contexts, that each use different approaches to respond to need. I will spend between 5 to 10 weeks with each, help out with activity as a participant and then interviewing some of those involved, generating a case study of each.

Can you help? I need to find four C-of-E churches to participate in this research. To help find the four, I’ve adapted a social work model that summarises four essential ‘types’ of response to need. It’s not perfect – however, it’s a useful start for talking about responses to need. I’m looking for a C-of-E church for each of those four types.

It might be you think your church is responding as one ‘type’ and could be involved – please do be in touch.

Andy Turner –

Centre for Community Engagement Research | Faiths and Civil Society Unit
Department for Social Therapeutic and Community Studies,
Goldsmiths, University of London | New Cross, London, SE14 6NW | UK
Or maybe there’s a church you know of, that you think could be worth approaching? Please contact us if you can help and we will put you in touch with Andy Turner.