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.
These are extraordinary times for all of us, but what does it mean to be a ‘church on the margins’ and to seek to be attentive to and inclusive of those on margins of society in the current crisis?
We are not offering any answers, but simply a space to reflect together with others on these challenging times, on our own hopes and fears, on the practical and theological issues thrown up by the crisis, and what it means for church, discipleship, ministry and spirituality to be a ‘Church on the Margins’ at this current time.
Each session will start with a short reflection, but mostly be spent in small groups sharing together our own experiences, thoughts and reflections on these questions.
The event will take place via Zoom. You can participate via any internet enabled device with a microphone (laptop, tablet, phone etc) – or simply over the phone. Once you have signed up via Eventbrite, we will send you a link or a phone number that will allow you to take part.
Sign up for one session, or for the whole series. Dip in and give it a go!
Whilst it is possible to participate in Zoom calls from a normal phone, we are also exploring the possibility of holding separate phone-based conversations that could be accessed free of charge from a phone – further details of this in due course.
Are you a church leader, community worker
or mission practitioner wondering what social distancing means for your work?
Are you wondering how others are coping?
If so, here’s an opportunity to connect and reflect together.
On Thursday 26th March at 8pm, we invite you to join us for a ‘Virtual Cuppa’; an online conversation to reflect on our physical, emotional and theological responses to the current Coronavirus situation. We’ll offer some questions to guide discussion and there’ll be opportunity to think about how we might continue to support one another, going forward. Follow the link below to register and don’t forget to bring a brew!
The Coronavirus Charity Help Fund has been set up by Martin Lewis to help those affected by the coronavirus. Small or local charities are able to apply to receive a grant of £5-20K for specific coronavirus poverty relief projects.
We’re especially interested in projects that directly help people affected by the effects of the virus, such as by giving access to food, toiletries, basic necessities, as well as community projects to help people in isolation.
We are looking for projects that can help people now, so will welcome applications for existing projects that could be scaled up with extra money or projects that are in the process of being set up.
Speed is of the essence so we encourage you to highlight your project’s objectives and outcomes concisely – consider using bullet points rather than lengthy answers. Data will only be used for the purpose of giving grants.
The Proximity Network is a network of ministries and missionaries for every disadvantaged neighbourhood in our nation. We have now mapped over 4000 ministries to the poor across the UK but we still have a way to go. We have done this in two phases;
Phase One: Map those ministries and missionaries actively working in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities. These will be categorised in eight different ways based on the governments indices of deprivation statistics released in 2019 – Crime, Education, Housing, Food, Debt, Health, Employment and Community.
Phase Two: Create a web-based platform to seek to achieve three things:
RESOURCE: Offer those on the frontline the means to sustain and advance their ministry by providing relevant resources including blogs, vlogs, Bible reading plans, audio books, best practice application, neighbourhood exegesis resources, inspirational books, webinars and conferences.
RELATE: Provide members with a mechanism to interrelate, cross pollinate, share best practice and support and work more strategically together in partnership.
RELEASE: Establish a list of disadvantaged areas that appear to be under resourced and work strategically to send and support new ministries willing to fill the gaps.
Cinnamon Network has recently been awarded a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to help local churches support their communities.
In Autumn 2020 we’ll be launching an interactive online toolkit and app to help churches develop social action strategies that meet the most pressing needs in their local areas.
In addition, Cinnamon Advisors will be providing personalised support to help a number of churches develop their social action vision and action plan.
If your church wants to do more social action, then we’d love to hear from you.
At Cinnamon, our goal is to make it as easy as possible for local churches to set up sustainable social action projects, find funding and get the right support and training to make a positive impact in their local area.
Whether you’re an established church reviewing its community engagement, or a new church plant stepping out into social action for the first time, then we can help.
We can provide: – one-to-one and group support with Cinnamon Advisors – peer support and shared learning opportunities with other churches – an opportunity to help us develop our interactive toolkit and have first access to this new resource – access to our Cinnamon Leadership Training programme – access to a bespoke training programmes both online and in person to support various aspects of church, community and civic engagement
We’re looking to work with churches in urban, rural and coastal communities.
If your church is interested in receiving support, then please get in touch with the Jonny Gios, the Cinnamon Advisor in your region at Jonnygios@cinnamonnetwork.co.uk
If you would like to download a copy of this information please click on the link below:
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.
It all began with the school run. Having dropped my eldest son off at school, the short journey to work would take me past the grounds of another local school. Day after day, I observed weary parents waiting dejectedly on the asphalt as they were battered by the elements. Each time I passed, I was amazed that no one was really talking to one another. That didn’t seem quite right to me.
Over time, I to brew an idea; if anything could bring these parents together, it’s the good old British cuppa. I arranged a meeting with the Headteacher and shared my observations and idea – a team of volunteers from the church and community working with a key worker to give out hot drinks on the playground before or after school, Pop Up Cuppa was born.
The vision for Pop Up Cuppa has always been about relationships – facilitating relationships within the community, building relationships between the church and community and developing great relationships between the schools and the church.
With the simplicity and the efficacy of the initiative, we were armed with little more than a couple of flasks of hot water, a bumper pack of teabags and packets of biscuits, this small team of volunteers are being used powerfully by God to transform their community, simply by engaging and putting relationships first.
I recall one of the parents who have begun to engage with other church activities and gain the confidence to take on leadership roles. The story of one parent who, through the relationship that began over a cuppa, has felt empowered to return to education.
The team began with one local primary school, once a month. 18 months on, we now pop up in three schools once every three weeks or so. The schools have been enthusiastic about the impact of Pop Up Cuppa, with one noting how there has been no fighting between parents on the playground since the project began; fighting among parents had previously been a particular challenge to the school. Another of the schools have even approached us for the church’s help with pastoral support for some of the parents and pupils.
Inarguably, Pop Up Cuppa is having a hugely positive impact on the community and it strikes me that it is a hugely replicable project; We would love to see parishes across Church of England Birmingham pulling out their urns for the sake of the gospel.
If you are interested in having a go in your parish here are a few tips:
Always have a key worker from the school with you. It is a joint project and this helps foster buy-in from the school. Make this part of your initial arrangement with the school.
Recruit volunteers who are great conversationalists. Remember this is primarily about relationships. It is essential to have team members who won’t shy away from a good chat with parents and pupils (although, being able to make a cracking cuppa helps too).
Seek engagement from the wider community. In which ways can people and business locally support the project. We never has to pay for the drinks or biscuits, these are funded by a local funeral directors, whose manager has caught the vision.
Be ready for people to engage with other church activities. Don’t sit back and wait for hundreds of families to flood into your Sunday morning service; this is unlikely to be the next logical step for those showing a deeper interest in involvement. What will you be inviting people to next?
Get your hands on a gazebo if you can – it will really help when the weather is less desirable. Failing that look for somewhere with a bit of shelter.
Andi Thomas is a pioneer minister at St Andrew’s Church in Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham. To find out more click here.
We regularly receive many enquiries about activities for older members of the local community and we now have an exciting opportunity to develop and deliver something new to meet this growing demand. To enable this, we are seeking to employ a development worker.
This new role will bring local people aged 50+ together to develop or maintain a happy, healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. The successful candidate will facilitate good relationships with the local community and establish a welcoming place where people can participate in locally grown participant-led activities.
This post is 10 hours per week; salary £12 – 14.50 per hour depending upon experience (£6,240 – £7,540 per annum)
The successful candidate will have sympathy with the aims and ethos of St Thomas’ church and community project and will be subject to references and an advanced DBS check. For further information or to request our application form please contact our Church Office on 0121 743 7040 or email: email@example.com
Closing date for applications : 5 p.m. on 14th February 2020