Welcome everybody. These are the powerpoint slides you need for the #NECN2020 conference presentation by Steve Summers. Don’t worry if this doesn’t make any sense to you yet, they are for the zoom on 1st of July.
lots of love and prayers to you at this time.
As you will know, NECN had planned Conferences in early June. In the light of the lockdown we have made the decision to cancel these.
Instead, we will be having a free Online Conference on Wednesday July 1st. Please save the date.
We will be sticking with the planned theme of leadership. This will enable us to share and deepen learning about some of the really important pilot work going on around the country developing and encouraging local leadership in our Estate Churches.
It will also give us the chance to reflect on the tensions and experiences we are finding in this time of great challenge.
There will be more details soon.
In the meantime, please keep an eye on our website for resources and stories of things that are working in Estate Churches and communities (https://estatechurches.org/covid-19/).
If you have time to let us know anything you would like to share, please send it to us.
One really important thing in all this is that everyone is making it up as they go along. Please don’t feel guilty if you are not able to do the same as some other people. It is an exceptionally testing time. Please look after yourself. Make sure you get adequate rest, and keep your prayer life going.
Some of our Local Groups are meeting online, and have found this really helpful. We have a Zoom account available for this – please contact Christine if you would like to book a slot (email@example.com).
Our friends at Jesus Shaped People (https://www.jesusshapedpeople.net/) are working on some excellent free resources for Estate Churches when we are able to physically come back together. Materials to help us in the missional task of discerning how we are different, what God is calling us to do, and how we can be equipped to do this. More details soon.
with best wishes,
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We are writing to you with prayers and love at this time of crisis.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us very deeply. We know only too well how it is touching us, our communities, our families and our Churches. This is an extremely difficult time, and we know that you are all working really hard trying to work out the best way to be Church when we can’t meet physically, trying to figure out how we can continue to serve our communities, putting in place some mechanisms of care.
At NECN, we are praying for you. We are thinking of ways in which we can offer one another helpful support. If you have time, could you share stories and examples of what is working in your Church and your community? It would be a wonderful resource to get things into each others hands. If you are able to do this, please email Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org or put something on the Facebook page.
We will post things on our website here: https://estatechurches.org/covid-19/
please keep an eye on this page for news.
One really important thing at the moment is that we don’t feel guilty about the things we can’t do. We need to be looking after our own physical, mental and spiritual health so that we can be serving others. And it is increasingly apparent that this will be a marathon and not a sprint. If you can’t livestream your services, don’t worry – just publicise links to churches that are doing this, and work out other ways of keeping in touch with people. We are all making this up as we go along, we are all making mistakes, and this is all very provisional.
Let’s continue to be a community that supports one another. Let us know if you have any particular prayer requests or questions. Please remember that although we might be physically isolated, we are not alone. God is with us and we have each other.
We will be in touch again after Easter, when things have hopefully settled down a little, with some ideas of how NECN can continue to be a family and support Estate Churches through the internet, through our local groups, and through conferences and webinars.
With love and prayers,
Andy, Lynne, Sara and Christine.
I want to bring you up to date with the events we have planned this year. There are also some other opportunities to meet up with other folk from estate churches.
The theme for this year’s National Conferences is local leadership. The Midlands conference will take place at Coventry Cathedral on Thursday 4th June. The Northern conference will take place on Tuesday 9th June at Preston Minster. Bookings for these conferences will be open soon.
London Regional Conference
- Thursday 8th October 2020
- Theme/Title: Ransomed, Healed, Restored, Forgiven… With the subtitle: Reconciling and empowering our congregations for leadership
- Location: St James the Less, Pimlico
NECN has a number of opportunities to get involved:
We are looking for a Volunteer Treasurer, a crucial role in helping us build our work supporting estate churches. for more details of the role please contact me
We are looking for volunteers to serve on our Workstreams – Resources, Partnerships, Finance and Fundraising, Communications and Groups. If you are interested in this, please contact Andy for a chat.
Bookings are now open for two important Estate Church Events:
Leading your Church into Growth are holding this year’s three day estate churches’ conference on 17th – 19th June at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick. To book visit:
The Eden Network are running a two day conference for any Christian seeking to love where they live called Proximity 2020. This will take place on 15th May – 16th May. Visit https://www.message.org.uk/proximity2020/ to book your place.
I hope you will be able to attend one of these events where we can continue to explore how to raise up and resource local leaders on the estates.
If you would like to get occasional mailing like this from NECN direct to your mailbox, please sign up ahttps://estatechurches.org/
With love and prayers,
NECN Chair, Lynne Cullens, writes:
In what ways is the Church being called to transformation by those currently marginalised within its structures, by those on our estates?
Privileged to be part of this podcast discussion ‘Finding the Treasure – Good News from the Estates’, chaired by Jamie Hawkey, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey; this is the culmination of a two year project from the CofE’s Estates Theology Group, pairing up local ministers with academic theologians and helping churches and their neighbours to listen and to reflect on what gifts God has given them to share.
Some sound bites…
“Alternative readings bring out aspects of scripture that couldn’t be seen by others; I would love to put the Bible in the hands of working-class people, of people from estates, and have them teach the Church how to read in the way that they might read” Dr Justin Stratis.
“We are each other’s shining touch; if one of us is down the others will pick us up” Natalie from Rubery
“Another legacy for the Church must be enduring and hot anger at injustice; our listening must never be complacent, we’ve found people living with radical social injustices, we should be angry about that…because in the end we are about transformation” Bishop Philip North.
“The boundary is the place we are transformed…to able to dance on the edges, to learn a new dance together, to be transformed by that participation feels like a necessary and rich thing” Revd Claire Turner
This and the other podcasts in the series are recommended listening for those interested in estates ministry and in the Church’s reorientation to face those currently on its margins.
Huge thanks to Al Barrett for the continued inspiration, as well as for the invitation to take part.
we are just back from an excellent 24 hour retreat with MITE, Mission in the Edges, our Guildford Group.
This is such an excellent idea – we would really commend it to all our Groups.
To find your local Group, click here.
A couple of bits of news from our Groups. The Birmingham Group (pictured) has just had 24 hours away. A lot of fun and fellowship, with some deep reflection on how Matthew’s teaching helps us to flourish as Estate Churches. We are very grateful to Stephen Edwards for facilitating this.
The Leeds Group have just put out their January Mailing.
Before you read it, there are now about 20 Estate Church or Urban Church Groups around the country which are part of the NECN family. Please get in touch if you would like help getting one going in your area.
At this busiest and most pressured time of year, we would like to thank you for your work as Estate Church leaders.
It is banal to speak of this ‘business-end of Advent’ as being so full as we dash about fulfilling Church and community duties, while also trying to find space for God, for ourselves, and for our friends and families, but it is so true.
We pray that Christmas is good for you. But also wonder what this might mean? For many of us it will not be the ‘success’ of hundreds of people through the doors of our churches at multiple services that we see shared so often on social media this week (our advice would be to sit very lightly to Facebook and Twitter the next few days).
We give thanks for so much faithful and good work done by estate churches. I think of the huge difference we make in so many ways. The physical hunger that is now, disgracefully, such a part of British urban life. When we work with primary schools at Christmas, we have to be so careful in what we say – not now to be the minister who ends up in the newspaper as saying something unwise about Santa Claus – but remembering that Christmas is such a bad time for so many families. We might think of the utter joy on a mother’s face as she is given a few carrier bags of tinned food from a vestry cupboard.
If we are looking for the meaning of Christmas it is here. It is in the many overlooked and humble acts of love that Estate Churches make. If we look carefully, it is here that we might glimpse the face of Jesus.
Fritz Eichenberg, Christ of the Soup Line
Our communities are so often in what Thomas Merton called the time of no room. Thank you for making the space that matters. Space for God. Space for those who he truly loves.
We are reminded of Fr Joe Williamson remembering a childhood in poverty a hundred years ago:
My first day at school stands out clearly in my mind. A crust of bread and a kiss was my breakfast as I ran across the road to St Saviour’s, at the age of five. When I got to school, there was placed before me a white mug of hot milk and a bun; it looked very big. I couldn’t believe it was for me. I looked up, and there was a big fat man in black, with a funny hat looking down at me. He had a big face with a double chin; he was smiling; it was a lovely face. The man put his hand on my head and said, simply: ‘Eat.’ That was Father Dolling, and I think I have felt that touch ever since.
– Father Joe, The Autobiography of Joseph Williamson of Poplar and Stepney
We need those smiles, that deep, practical love that shows the Face of the Lord. May you experience that love of God this Christmas. May you pass it to others.
With love and prayers from all at NECN
Lynne, Sara and Andy
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
Try Praying is a resource for people who are not religious and don’t go to church.
If you click on the caption to the above image you can download a free booklet. Alternatively you can visit https://www.trypraying.co.uk/ to find out more.