Who’s who @NECN Introducing John Rafferty

 

I was born and brought up in a large council housing estate on the South Side of Glasgow. This was the 1950’s and 60’s when the policy was to move people from the old tenements of the centre to new, modern housing on the periphery of town.  50,000 people moved to Pollok where I was born. The housing was better but there was no youth club or community or sports centre. But there were churches. Being Scotland, these were clearly divided between the Protestant Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church. With a few notable exceptions the two never came together. My family was one of these exceptions. My mother being Protestant sent me to Bible class and my father took me to Mass. These churches provided the only social support in a vast estate  which was to become a designated Area of Deprivation.

I was lucky and was the first member of my family to go to university. A long career in the voluntary and public sectors followed and I hope that experience is of some use to NECN.

When I am in Scotland to see my family, I often go back to the estate where I was born. Our house and many others  have been demolished to release land for new private homes. The row of shops I remember has gone to make way for a new “hypermarket”. Lots has changed but the churches are still there. They have a programme of “Churches Together” activities. The Church of Scotland has a youth and sports club in its grounds. The hall of the Catholic Church houses the welfare rights clinic.

It is clear their ministry still has many challenges but it is also clear to me that the life giving force of Christian faith remains alive despite the difficulties. Estates Ministry needs support. That’s what NECN is here to do and I’m happy to help.

Proximity 2021 Programme

 

Estate
A network looking to serve every estate.

Check out the Proximity website for more information about their packed programme to help mobilise and equip you and your team for urban mission.

Alongside keynote speakers Bob Ekblad, Rachel Gardner, Josh Smedley, Sam Ward, Andy Hawthorne and Sarah Small, there’ll also be testimonies from Eden teams, interviews with Eden members and leaders and worshipping together.

Plus they’ve got a bunch of TED style talks focussing on key topics such as:

  • Working across barriers to reach communities
  • Church planting in urban communities
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Working in developing nations
  • Climate and Community
  • Creatively engaging with your community
  • Raising up local leaders

There will also be an opportunity to join in a Q&A session with our keynote speakers.

For more info please visit: Proximity 2021: Mobilise – The Message

All the sessions will be shown on our Facebook and Youtube pages so please keep an eye on these for regular updates/promo material. If you can share/like any of our posts that would be much appreciated.

Blessings,

Eden Network

 

 

Webinar: C of E vision for the 2020s Monday 26 April, 12.30 – 1.30pm

Church of England Logo

Join Archbishop Stephen Cottrell and panel members to find out more about the emerging vision and strategic priorities for the Church for the next decade.

This is the second in a series of webinars that will explore what it means to be a church that is centred on Jesus Christ and shaped by Jesus Christ – a church that is simpler, humbler, bolder.

In this session, we will be focussing on the strategic priority to be a church where the mixed ecology of many forms of church is the norm. We will be using questions raised in the first of our webinars in this series to inform the content of this session.

As well as hearing from the panel, there will be time for your questions and to find out what the vision and in particular this strategic priority means for you, your church, or diocese.

  • a church of missionary disciples
  • a church which is younger and more diverse
  • a church where the mixed ecology of many forms of church are the norm.

We want to engage with as many people as possible through these webinars. Please forward this invitation to your church networks and colleagues.

Register for the webinar 

“Our vision for being a Jesus Christ centred and Jesus Christ shaped Church will help us focus on what truly matters: the Christ like life of prayer; our worship and our service; the proclamation of God’s good purposes for the world; and how all this is fed and nurtured by word and sacrament, and by our own humble acknowledgment of our need of God’s grace, so that, together, we can build a better, more hopeful future.”
Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell – General Synod, February 2021

Find out more:

 

Introducing Christine McAteer Support Officer of NECN

 

NECN Support Officer
NECN Support Officer

 

Central to my faith journey is being the person God has created me to be. This might sound incredibly selfish. What about serving others, fighting injustice, self-sacrifice and so on?

When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) I don’t think he was asking us to force anyone to become a Christian. I think he was modelling how to be yourself and by being yourself and not some caricature, you will attract others to following Jesus. As Catherine of Siena once said,

“Be who you were meant to be and you will set the whole world on fire.”

It’s about listening to God and listening to others as well as being heard. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “The first service of love one owes to others is listening to them.” The first word of the greatest commandment in Deut 6:4 is שְׁמוֹעַ “Shema” which means “Listen!” “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD God is one.” And following on from that is the command to “Love your neighbour.”

I started my working life teaching RE and taught for 13 years. Although I enjoyed teaching, most of the time, I felt deeply unhappy and restless. One Lent I decided to take up exercise. A friend of mine persuaded me to try karate. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to hit people, but I gave it a go and found that I really enjoyed it! The karate gave me a new lease of life and energy and helped me to reconnect a part of myself that I suppressed. Eventually I found the courage to leave the security of teaching, the year I achieved my first brown belt grade.

I’d also heard an excellent sermon at the start of that academic year by an ex-Anglican priest where he had referred to a talk by JK Rowling to Harvard graduates about the importance of failure and the use of the imagination. I had become too comfortable, even though I was unhappy. I had forgotten how to be bold and daring. It felt like one of several nudges from God. It was time to move on.

Stay Alert to the Spirit

 

Holy Spirit

 

Are you looking for a new course to stay connected with young people in your community? Read all about the ‘Stay Alert to the Spirit’ programme put together by Jesus Shaped People…

Despite our technology, wealth and 21st Century ‘know how’ we’ve been humbled by a virus, like an elite Premier League Football Club knocked out of the FA Cup by a team no one has heard of. How did this happen, how can we get rid of it, when will it end, how is it going to affect my future are legitimate questions. At Jesus Shaped People we felt there is another important question: What is God saying to the churches?

This ‘liminal space’ is a teaching moment and waiting time. The spectre of suffering, death, economic meltdown, loss, sudden change, and acute anxiety has at least temporarily arrested our attention and captured collective imagination.

Young people have been especially hit hard by the pandemic.  ‘Stay Alert to the Spirit’ (SATS) is a 7 week resource that includes material/ideas for worship, small groups, sermons, teaching and intergenerational worship to be used in buildings or on line and offered free of charge.  SATS is not an answer but a tool to help churches gather around this question; ‘What is God saying to the Churches’ and allow voices on the margins to be properly heard and be a part of the future.

For further info contact:

Brendan Bassett   07470136193  brendan@jesusshapedpeople.net   
Or visit our website www.jesusshapedpeople.net

For specific queries about the intergenerational material contact dawn@jesusshapedpeople.net

Proximity Conference 2021

Network for every estate

We wanted to let you know that Proximity is heading back online for 2021!

Running from 7-8 May, Proximity is our annual Urban Mission Conference and it’s totally FREE. We’ll be joined by inspiring and challenging speakers including Bob Ekblad, Rachel Gardner, Josh Smedley, Andy Hawthorne, Sam Ward and Sarah Small who will help each of us explore God’s call to his church to Mobilise.

Over the two days we’ll be digging into the book of Philippians and will be equipped, inspired and challenged for urban mission through teaching, TED-style talks, stories and worship. Whether you’re just exploring the call to mission, or whether you’re in this for the long-haul, it’s time to mobilise!

To book your free tickets and to keep up-to-date with our programme and speakers visit: Proximity 2021: Mobilise – The Message

Please do promote in your churches and networks and share with your friends.

The World of Jesus a New Course from Jesus Shaped People

Jesus Shaped People

A new 8 week online course on Wednesdays from April 7th, 7–9 pm

Gordon Dey from Jesus Shaped People has created an eight-week, Zoom-driven course entitled World of Jesus that draws from his experience of leading pilgrimage groups to Israel and Palestine over the past 30 years.

Gordon is offering the opportunity for people belonging to JSP linked churches to experience World of Jesus on Wednesday evenings from 7pm to 9pm between Easter and Pentecost, beginning on Wednesday April 7th. The course will give insight into the context of Jesus’ ministry—the geography and history, and the way people lived their lives under Herodian and Roman control and influence, using maps, photos and other graphics. Afterwards we’ll explore the impact of this on the church today in small groups and plenary questions.

There is no charge to those taking part, however donations in support of Jesus Shaped People are warmly encouraged! Information of how to do this is provided on the JSP website: www.jesusshapedpeople.net

flyer is also available to download and print on the website that can be used as a poster. If you want to take part please book a place with Gordon: gordon@jesusshapedpeople.net. Your place will then be confirmed and you will be sent more detail about each of the sessions. Later those who book a place will be sent a zoom code.

Places are limited, so ‘first come first served’.

Every blessing for Passiontide and Easter.

Gordon Dey

Jesus Shaped People offers programmes and learning resources especially for smaller inner city, urban and social housing estate churches.

Worship at Home Resources for Holy Week and Easter

Holy Week

This time last year, we were trying to get our heads around not being in the church building for Holy Week and Easter.

Actually, that’s not quite right: we were trying to get our heads around not being able to gather for Holy Week and Easter. In Hodge Hill in recent years, many of the ways we have journeyed together through Holy Week have happened in spaces other than the church building: Palm Sunday has included a raucous, rag-tag ‘procession’ across Hodge Hill Common; Holy Saturday evening has been around a fire-pit in one of the patches of local ‘wasteland’; and we’ve greeted the Easter dawn by walking the Paschal candle through the streets of our estate, yelling ‘Alleluia!’ loudly on street corners. So what we missed, in Holy Week 2020, was even the opportunity to root the story of Jesus’ passion and resurrection, together, in the ground of our neighbourhood.

Our church community is well-connected in many ways, but not digitally. Only around 1/3 of our congregation have been able to use Zoom over the past year, and fewer than that are on Facebook. And in line with our ‘guiding principles’ to shape our communal life during COVID, which we first articulated together in May 2020, we have resisted making our ‘core activities’ anything that we were not all able to participate in, in some way. So our default position has been (and remains) ‘worship at home’: a weekly worship pack delivered to doorsteps, and via email / Facebook / Whatsapp for those with access, for us all to use, ‘together, apart’. Soon after Easter, that was complemented by a weekly audio recording of readings and reflections, that could be accessed via a local phone number of downloaded as an MP3 file.

Paschal Candle

The worship packs included relatively simple liturgies on paper, designed to be said by one person or more in a household, but the words were accompanied by physical resources, and suggestions for bodily actions and movement as well. Over the course of Holy Week and Easter, worshippers would have lit candles, held crosses, waved branches, kindled fires, held and decorated stones, and sent text messages or made phone calls to share an Easter greeting of joy and promise. They might have sat at their kitchen table, but also on their balcony or doorstep or in their garden (if they had one) – and gone for walks in our wider neighbourhood. We tried to use lots of pictures, and not too many words (we’d all been bombarded with too many words already, even back then).

We also wanted to recognise that the ‘great interruption’ that has been COVID-19* had done something very strange to our living-through-time. Lent had been interrupted by lockdown, and yet in a sense the deprivations of Lent were enduring well beyond Easter. Good Friday arrived on a particular day, and Easter Day followed two days later, and yet our lives, from the most local to the most global levels, seemed to be wave upon wave of ‘Good Fridays’, seemed often to be stuck in the waiting, grieving space of ‘Holy Saturday’ time, and ‘Easter Day’ was only ever arriving in the faintest, most elusive of ways. And so we offered liturgies for Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Dawn, with exactly the expectation that they would be used both on those particular days, and on days that felt like those days in the weeks and months to come.

Revd Dr Al Barrett, vicar at Hodge Hill and author of the blog  This estate we’re in

To download the worship packs designed by Al for Holy Week and Easter click on the licks below:

Palm Sunday 2020 [home worship version]

Reflective prayers for Maundy Thursday 2020 [worship at home]

FRIDAY – Stations of the Cross (Koeder & O’Tuama)

SATURDAY – Grieving & Waiting [worship at home]

SUNDAY 1 – Greeting the Easter Dawn [worship at home]

SUNDAY 2 – Eastertide booklet 2020 [worship at home]

SUNDAY 3 – Emmaus Road reflection [worship at home]

 

* Ruth Harley and I explore this ‘great interruption’ further in our book, Being Interrupted: Re-imagining the Church’s Mission from the Outside, In (SCM Press, 2020).

NECN in conversation with Andy Greiff

St Aidan's Buttershaw Estate

Buttershaw Estate in Bradford is most famous for the setting of Rita, Sue and Bob Too film and the birth place of its author Andrea Dunbar. This gritty comedy/ drama shows what life can be like on a northern estate, but there are many other stories that paint the picture.
It’s been so encouraging over the past 12 months that those of us who care for the community have worked together to help the great need that exists with donations to the food bank, clothes bank, baby bank etc. Those involved were a mixture; Buttershaw Baptists, the local Catholic Church, Sandale Trust, Bradford Bulls Rugby Club, ourselves at St Aidan’s and St Michael’s, local council officers plus many volunteers. That has been the success story of the last 12 months and nothing demonstrated that better than when we all got together with Santa (the Baptist Minister) on a big truck and slowly rolled around the streets of the estates, carols and Christmas songs blasting out, giving generously donated brand new toys to excited and happy children. Looking forward to the mega Easter Egg hunt in a few weeks.
To find out more about how St. Aidan’s is reaching out on Buttershaw estate watch the interview on You Tube: https://youtu.be/Du1qRw3No70
Foodbank Donations
If you live locally to St. Aidan’s you may wish to donate to the foodbank collection box outside the church. You can also join St. Aidan’s Facebook Group.

Rev Andy Greiff (St Michael’s Shelf with St Aidan’s Buttershaw

Praxis Labs Centre for Hope and Activism

Praxis Labs run courses to help you turn your faith into action. They are starting another one on 8 April. It’s hugely accessible, really inspiring and welcomes all theological perspectives. It’s also ‘pay as you can afford’ and so accessible from a finance perspective too.

Praxis Labs

“As lockdown (hopefully) comes to an end in the next few months, you might be thinking through what activities you’ll do when things open up. Maybe you feel that God wants you to start something new, or revisit some of the things you did pre-covid – or maybe you want to get more engaged in justice and activism but don’t know how to get going. 

If that’s you, can I recommend the Labs course from the Praxis Centre (home of the Hopeful Activists’ Podcast)? It’ll give you space to reflect and plan in light of God’s big story while hearing from some excellent activists and theologians. Starts on 8 April. They’re a great bunch :)”

Rich, Founder of Praxis Labs

Find out more at www.praxiscentre.org/labs.