Thousands of ‘rough-sleepers’ have been moved off the streets into hotels. But where will they go next? Night-shelters may not be deemed safe to re-open. Additionally unemployment is up by over 1 million. Domestic violence up.
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.
The Bishop of Burnley, the Right Reverend Philip North has written a prayer for the estates. On Saturday 22nd February people will be saying this prayer for the estates across the country. This will be the first anniversary of the Church of England Synod motion to have a loving Christian community on every urban estate in the nation.
Can we encourage you to join us. You might want to do a prayer walk for your neighbourhood or your street.
“Urban Mission, another tilt” will be a joint day with the Nazarene Theological College looking at aspects of urban mission and ministry, such as calling, context and training. In its 24 years Urban Presence has seen many encouraging new initiatives and ministries with the “high’hanging fruit” of our inner-urban and outer estate areas of deprivation.
But, there remains a basic inequality of where God’s people are located in relation to where most of the people of our cities live.
Are we missing something or doing something wrong?
This day is for church leaders, activists, trainers and educators to look again at the specifics of this context, the nature of calling to these areas and appropriate practical training for those who seek to serve there.
Free, but advance booking only. Lunch and refreshments included.
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.
Church Action on Poverty are looking for an experienced practitioner to facilitate peer learning amongst churches in Greater Manchester.
£27,905 – £32,029 pro rata, 7 hours per week, to be worked flexibly
25 days’ annual leave pro rata plus generous employer pension contribution
Based at Church Action on Poverty office, Salford. Working across Greater Manchester and occasional travel nationally. Subject to negotiation, the work could also be carried out on a freelance basis, paid on an appropriate daily rate, equivalent to the gross cost of a paid staff member.
Our new Church on the Margins programme in Greater Manchester seeks to promote the idea of a ‘Church of the Poor/Church on the Margins’: a church of justice, inclusivity and welcome. The Church on the Margins programme will be delivered in conjunction with the Methodist Manchester and Stockport District, the Centre for Theology and Justice based at Luther King House and other ecumenical partners. It will develop a network for people who are involved in church activism, estate ministry, people from church congregations, inclusive church, alternative church and those who want to make church a more welcoming place for all.
Over the next three years we will establish and facilitate a series of peer learning sets, to bring together groups of churches and projects across Greater Manchester, to explore together what it means to be a ‘church of the poor’, how to respond lovingly to their local context, and how to fully engage in Christian within marginalised communities. They will share stories of how their faith informs their action, and their action deepens their faith.
The facilitator will work alongside other members of the programme team in facilitating peer learning sets, participatory theological reflection and wider learning on what it means to be a ‘Church on the Margins’ within Greater Manchester.
Are you looking for resources for and insights into estate ministry? Joe Hasler is a parish priest with 25 years’ of experience of living and working on estates. He has also worked for 17 years as a community development worker.
Some of his work can be downloaded from the list below:
Urban Life is a Christian organisation that has developed learning programmes to help groups reflect more deeply on their mission. The programmes are designed for people who work in urban areas and on the estates.
Groups meet to learn and reflect theologically on their practice and the encounters they have had. A Masters Degree programme is also available.
Urban life currently have spaces available on Experiments in Mission in the East Midlands with a taster session on the 13th February 2020 and a full start in March. Please click here for more details.