Apostolic training for an indigenous ministry?

Estates practitioner and priest, Joe Hasler offers some thoughts around training local people for God’s mission in extracts from his poem below. The whole reflection can be downloaded at the end of this post.

Bristol Estate

Apostolic means ‘Go to’

or ‘being sent’.

An Apostle meaning

‘one sent on a mission’.

  •     We have had the decade for evangelism,
  • a pre-occupation with leadership,
  • and now the emphasis on discipleship.

I hope this means

the direction is getting closer

to listening

to the people on the ground.

 

An important message I have heard in all this is,

“Do we want a ‘Come to’ church

or a ‘Go to’ church.”

Is it desirable to move from maintenance to mission?


So how do the trainers

and their institutions

model God’s mission

in the way we do training?

We have been trying to address these issues in the Northern Ark Mission Initiative in North Bristol.

The pilot period has come to the end of its initial three years.

Some things could have been done better

but we ask

‘Why do people from local council built housing estate congregations in Bristol come forward into growing ministry teams?”

38 people from 4 out of 6 parishes have stepped out so far;

with some to become licensed readers (6),

and some to become ordained priests (3).

Making ministry training

in a mission model

must be one of the driving forces.

But for all the things

we might have done better

here are four things we did well.

  1. Take the training to the people.
  2. Go in twos. (THE INTERVENTIONISTS)
  3. Forming learning communities in the culture.
  4. Practise what we want to preach.

The experience is that the trainers model a ‘go to’ approach

and learning is integrated

with activity in mission.


The beginning

and the end

is in becoming a more self-sufficient congregation

that is more dependent on God.

 

Indigenous is not isolationist.

It is making a stronger contribution to a bigger whole.

But local interventions

can bring the confidence

to let this, happen.

 

I think this is mainly

because the trainers,

no matter how good they are,

‘go to’.

The result is of a local congregation that naturally goes to the wider world and church.

This is what has been modelled in their training.


(More information about the initiative can be found at www.joehasler.co.uk   then find  other stuff and click on drop down menu for northern ark publications.)

To download the whole reflection click Apostolic Training for Ministry and New Pathways

Estates at Advent 2020

Estates at Advent
Weoley Castle, Birmingham

 

We may be locked down but let’s open up the beauty of estate churches. We want to create an Advent Calendar featuring different estates for each day. If you want to take part email christinem@cofebirmingham.com with a photo from your estate or church, the name & town of your estate for #EstatesatAdvent
If you are on Twitter let us know your hashtag and if on Facebook the name of your page so that we can tag you when your photo is posted!
Photos can be autumnal or wintery, feature decorations, crib scenes, estate lights, tattooed Santas – you name it, we’d love to see it. We’d also love to see any funny or happy photos too. Remember, all photos featuring people can only be shown with their consent and adults need to sign a safeguarding form from your church before we can use any photos featuring children.
🕯

 

Ken Leech Memorial Lecture: The Eye of the Storm

The Eye of the Storm

Ken Leech Memorial Lecture 2020 – “Learning from Ken: how to breathe in the tempest “

About this Event

Ken Leech Memorial Lecture 2020 will be given by the Right Reverend Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, on Tuesday 3rd November 2020, at 7.30.

Paul Bayes has been the Bishop of Liverpool since 2014. His ministry is marked by his concern for equality and justice.

The Lecture is held in memory of Father Ken Leech (1939-2015), who spent his whole ministry caring for the marginalised and disadvantaged. He authored many books on theology, pastoral care, and social justice.

To register visit:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ken-leech-memorial-lecture-2020-tickets-126385603743

Reflecting on your estates ministry

Estate churches are fragile communities, especially at the moment in the financial crisis brought on by COVID-19. With regulations and the pandemic situation changing day-by-day now might be a good time to pause and reflect.

How has your church community responded to the pandemic? What has this experience been like for you and for others? What has the experience revealed about inequalities and the structures of our society? Where is God in the experience? How might God be calling us to respond?

These questions are based on the structure of estates practitioner Laurie Green’s Pastoral Cycle:

  • Experience
  • Explore
  • Reflect
  • Respond

You can hear Laurie Green explain more about the process of getting stuck in and doing theology by clicking on the highlighted words above. Doing theological reflection always starts from experience.

A similar cycle of reflection, Gibbs Reflective Cycle, is explained in the video below by a German teacher who reflects on her experience of teaching German in a Spanish school. The starting point is grounded in experience, reflecting upon it, analysing it from different perspectives and coming up with a plan of action. This in turn leads to a new experience, further exploration, further analysis and refining the action plan.

An important point to note is that reflecting on experience involves listening to others as well as oneself, not diving straight into action. Another point to remember is to see the gifts that the people in your community already have, not just the difficulties that your community has to live with.

GRA:CE Project Launch (online)

GRA:CE Project

At a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty, what is the future for the national church? How should it respond to the intensifying social, material, and spiritual needs of the people it exists to serve? How has it adapted to declining levels of religious affiliation?

Drawing on three years of extensive research across the country, the GRA:CE Project – a partnership between Theos, Church Urban Fund, and the Church of England – seeks to address these core issues from a study of the relationship between church growth, discipleship and social action in the Church of England. It considers how the Church’s service to its local communities can enrich congregations, both numerically and in their discipleship. It does this through the distillation of over 300 interviews with clergy, lay people, and community members from over 60 communities across every Anglican diocese in England, as well as new analysis of national statistical data.

Uncovering how Anglican churches of all sizes, contexts, and traditions integrate social action and discipleship in creative and transformative ways, the GRA:CE Project provides critical insights into how churches can meaningfully engage with the needs of their communities, build strong relationships, and see their congregations grow both numerically and spiritually.

Join the GRA:CE Project for the launch of the research findings and recommendations, engage with expert panelists, and participate in this important conversation by clicking here.

Confirmed panelists are:

Dr. Grace Davie: Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Exeter and author of Religion in Britain since 1945: Believing without belonging

Rev Graham Hunter: vicar at St. John’s Hoxton

Rt Revd Philip North: Bishop of Burnley

Hannah Rich: Theos researcher and author of the report

Richard Springer: Rector at St George-in-the-East, Director of the Urban Leadership School at the Centre for Theology and Community, and Dean of Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Ministry for the Stepney Area.

The event will held on Zoom, and there will be opportunity for audience Q&A. Information on how to access the Zoom event will be sent upon registration

The GRA:CE Project has been made possible by the generosity of the Sir Halley Stewart Trust and the Hartham Church Charitable Trust. It is an exciting three-year research programme that is exploring the relationship between social action, discipleship and church growth. To learn more visit https://cuf.org.uk/what-we-do/the-grace-project

Fundraising support for churches during COVID-19 and beyond

Ecclesiastical Insurance

During these difficult times Ecclesiastical Insurance  in collaboration with fundraising specialists, the Philanthropy Company, have put together really helpful advice and support resources to help you to fundraise for your church community.

Top tips

First of all there is a checklist of top tips for how to begin fundraising. A link to this page can be found here. You will also find a link to various databases of funders and emergency grant funders on that page. There is a search function which could help you to identify a potential funder. Some databases are free and others are available if you pay a subscription.

Build your case

Secondly, once you have decided who you are going to apply to for funding you will need to build a strong case in your application form. This will include:

  • a strong vision of what you want to achieve
  • a breakdown of costs
  • a plan of how you are going to monitor and evaluate the impact of your project.

A more comprehensive checklist can be found be found on https://www.ecclesiastical.com/church/fundraising/application-checklist/

There is also a handy guidance sheet that you can use to help you to write your case if you are new to fundraising.

Outputs and outcomes – what’s the difference?

Finally, you will need to have a clear understanding on some of the key terms used by funders when you apply and when you report back on how the funds have helped your target group. This includes understanding the difference between an output ( the resources used by your church to help others e.g. a new youth worker) and an outcome ( e.g. young people are less isolated). Ecclesiastical Insurance explain this brilliantly on https://www.ecclesiastical.com/church/fundraising/outputs-outcomes/

A free webinar which lasts for around 30 minutes which goes over these points can be viewed on https://www.ecclesiastical.com/church/fundraising/fundraising-webinar/

A final word…

Funders like to see collaboration and partnership. Before you get going on your fundraising make sure that no one else is already doing something similar in your area. Or, if you come across other organisations working with a similar group of people, can you offer something different to that fills a gap? For example, if you want to reduce the isolation of older people can you work in local partnership with other denominations or organisations to complement each other’s work?

 

 

Prayer from the Estates

Prayer for NECN

This beautiful prayer has been written by Revd Sophie Cowan, as she has reflected on the sense of constant waiting whilst living on and ministering on estates. She has also journeyed alongside people who have experienced poverty in other contexts.

The prayer speaks of the void when people don’t stick around, and the disappointment when they do stay but fail to notice how much people living on estates have to offer the wider church, not least the prophetic voice.

God of course fills those gaps, and this we can witness to.

The image has been designed by Xu Haiwei on Unsplash.

**STOP PRESS – New Jesus Shaped People Resource**

Jesus Shaped People logo

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, the spectre of suffering, death, economic meltdown, loss, and acute anxiety has at least temporarily arrested our attention and captured collective imagination. To try and help churches we have created a resource that is not an answer, but rather a tool to gather around this question; ‘What is God saying to the Churches?

 ‘Stay Alert to the Spirit’ (SATS) is a 7 week resource that includes material/ideas for worship, small groups, sermons, and intergenerational worship and teaching. It can be used in buildings or on line and offered free of charge.

For further info contact: Brendan Bassett   07470136193 brendan@jesusshapedpeople.net

Making Space for All God’s Children – a reflection by Joe Hasler

Parish Priest
Joe Hasler an estate church priest

 

Joe Hasler is a priest and former community worker who has lived and worked on estates for many years. He blogs about his experience and has created resources on his website http://www.joehasler.co.uk/

Joe has written a reflection  paper to indicate his desire to be engaged in a social evangelisation, alongside his desire for a prayerful and contemplative life.

He also reflects on the way COVID-19 has shaped church communities, discipleship and leadership.

The paper is entitled ‘Making Space for all God’s Children’.

If you would like to read Joe’s thoughts the link is:

http://www.joehasler.co.uk/?page_id=272

Welcome to MITE – Mission in the Edges

Diocese of Guildford Logo

What is MITE?

MITE stands for Mission In The Edges – it is a deliberate play on the story of the Widows mite from Luke’s Gospel:

As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’

Widow's mite

We are a group of Clergy in the diocese of Guildford who meet together 3-4 times a year to share the joys and sorrows of working in and with more deprived communities in the diocese around Surrey and Hampshire.

Sometimes it may feel like we have little to offer and yet we have a huge contribution to make to the life of the diocese – in presence and prophetically reminding that we must take the poor seriously.

We talk about all kinds of topics that affect us from encouraging vocations and making diocesan training more accessible to people with differing levels of education, to what works in services when you have no one to help or do any children’s work and what version of the bible is best understood. How to be resourceful with little.

We share resources that we find useful and helpful and try to learn from each other what things make a difference in our ministries. We connect with different diocesan departments and try to keep the hidden poor in Surrey and Hampshire visible and heard.

We celebrate together the joys of church where you never quite know what the day will bring and the frustration at the systems and injustices that keep people in poverty. We encourage each other to keep on going because our successes and triumphs can be fragile – hard won and easily lost.

One key thing we have been working on after our diocesan conference  with Bishop Phillip North, is trying to find ways to enable wealthier churches to join in with us in ways that will enrich both parties – and to this end we hope that we will be able to feed some of this work – a manifesto if you like into the diocese- born out of our experience.

We are also Part of the National Estate Churches Network. https://estatechurches.org/

If your parish covers an area that has 500 units of social housing and we can help you in any way please do get in touch.

Our Diocesan contact is Danny Wignall  in the PDE dept. Danny.Wignall@cofeguildford.org.uk

Or Kirsten Rosslyn-Smith Vicar St Peter’s Shared Church  kirsten.rs@btinternet.com