Below are some of the ways in which leaders on the estates have been reaching out to their congregations during the COVID-19 lockdown.
I’m putting a service online as a Youtube playlist, with my videos interspersed with songs and hymns that are already on there, avoiding copyright issues or anyone having to listen to my singing. I’m finding that the music and the sermon are the two things that people are appreciating. If anyone can’t video, then putting together a Youtube playlist of music may be very much appreciated by congregations.
Much of ministry has now gone online – with Zoom being flavour of the month for most of us. Here in Harlow that means that we are working with other churches a bit more closely – with talk of sharing worship resources through recorded songs and the like.
Pastoral care involves telephone calls, emails or text messages – whatever works for most effectively keeping in touch. And we are drowning in advice, support and resources about effectively going online.
As a plus – perhaps at the end of this some of us may choose not to give up on our online presence. If we have built up a following, perhaps we will continue to live-stream, only this time involving a congregation as well as the solitary service leader in a room.
Virtual meetings, on a more practical note – may be a good way forward for NECN. We could gather people from different parts of the country without the need for any of us to leave our communities. For busy Estate Ministers there is a time for gathering, and being encouraged, but there is also a time for staying put – but maybe still having an hour to fellowship with other Estate Ministers. What about a Zoom fellowship for folk from different parts of the country but similar contexts?
from Darren McIndoe in Harlow
If you have any more ideas of what is working with your church communities please do get in touch, We would love to hear from you.
Reaching the Unreached 2020 Conference summary
Check out the You Tube video of people sharing highlights from this year’s Reaching the Unreachable Conference in London.
Here are some of the things people have said:
Ministry can be hard at times on the estates so it is great to be with people with similar struggles. The focus always needs to be on the Lord Jesus. Asking, “Is it worth it?” is the wrong question. Instead we need to asking, “Is he worth it?”
We need to keep looking to Jesus because he understands.
The size of the church doesn’t matter. God is still there doing God’s work. We are a light in the community.
“I came to faith when I heard the Bible being explained in council estate language.”
There is a fantastic article about Estates Ministry in the parishes of Mixenden and Illingworth in the Church of England Newspaper by our trustee, Robb Sutherland.
You can read it here
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.
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 …
There are at least 40 Parish Nursing Schemes in estate contexts across the country within a range of ecumenical settings.
For more information click on the link below:
Information Pack 10 18
We’ve been running a Café Church in the Parish of the Risen Lord in Preston, a typical inner-city parish, since October 2018. I had arrived as vicar of the parish and was impressed with the weekly Work Club which was hosted by one of our churches, St Matthew’s Mission, and had been run by a group of keen church members for some 5 or 6 years, During that time they had formed some good friendships with many of the clients. The group were keen to introduce these people to Jesus and a few years ago they began a home group with the aim of inviting Work Club clients along. This didn’t really take off and so In June 2018 we discontinued a small Sunday morning congregation at St Matthew’s Mission and launched our mid-week Café Church in the same place where Work Club meets. We thought it would be easier for Work Club clients to come to familiar premises.
Café Church meets at 7pm on a Wednesday evening and is very informal. We start with a meal, move into introductory discussion about some life experience or another which opens up the theme for the evening. The theme has often been the Bible passage which was the basis for the previous Sunday’s sermon or at times we have used the ‘Unlock The Bible’ material. There is no sermon as such, but rather discussion, feedback and summing up by the leader. We tend not to use too much printed material and rely often on the Lumo Gospel Dramas which we download from Youtube. For the first couple of months we had just 2 or 3 work club or fringe members attending, but over the winter these dropped off and for around 6 months almost the only attendees were church members with numbers as low as about 8. We thought that the weather probably was the main deterrent! But we persevered and over the last couple of months numbers have steadily increased to around 14-16 with around half of them non-church people. So, just at the moment we are feeling encouraged as fruit now seems to be coming from this ministry. Please pray for us! Thank you.
– Alastair McHaffie
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
Unlock has a pedigree something like NECN’s. Around for a while, small, working to support and resource Christians who live and work on estates. In our case, we’re for people who know they are speaking a different language from people who live ‘on estates’. Although actually that’s an issue in all sorts of situations. You could say its about middle class v working class language.
The Unlock method is essentially very simple: get people talking about (and listening to!!!) people’s stories of their own lives BEFORE you start telling people what the bible has to say to or about them.
Unlock’s website has lots of resources that many people have developed on these lines. You might start with: have any of you ever been mugged or attacked in a public place? Things get hairy sometimes, but people are remarkably open if you’ve created the right environment. And then you trust God that people will make their own connections to bible stories. Or you might nudge that. And you can work out the obvious bible story that quite a few people know, even if they aren’t into church at all.
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.