Introducing Laurie Green Founder of NECN

Founder of NECN

A very handy resource for any estate church leader or practitioner is Laurie Lee’s blog on how to do theology. The website is lauriegreen.org.

This way of reflecting theologically on situations starts not with books but with actual experience. It is called the Pastoral Cycle. Below is his diagram outlining the process.

Theological Reflection

Laurie gives a very clear introduction into what this process means in his short video on https://www.lauriegreen.org/theology-1/contextual%20theology.html

He has written a book on this called ‘Lets Do Theology’. Theology is there for all of us to do, not just for academics. God is calling poor people especially to have a go at doing theology because we may not be rich but we have a rich amount of experience to reflect upon and we still have our faith, just like Jesus did when he became incarnate and lived for 30 years before he started preaching.

As you will be well aware coming from an estate does not preclude anyone from being academic.  For those of you who wish to go deeper Laurie provides links to plenty of additional papers to contextual theology on https://www.lauriegreen.org/theology-1/index.html

He also provides links to his summaries of theology books on areas of doctrine, mission, the Bible, the church and theological reflection, especially in the context of ministry on the estates https://www.lauriegreen.org/books/laurie%27s%20library.html 

There are some very useful books on this list but most importantly of all, all of us from estates can all do theology, starting with an open heart and our experience.

‘This estate we’re in’ by Al Barrett

This Estate We're In

From time to time it is good to stimulate  ideas and our own theological reflections on living and working as communities on estates and urban areas. This is especially important at the moment when face-to-face meetings are limited due to COVID-19.

In this section of our blog we hope to signpost you to other excellent blogs by estate churches leaders and practitioners.

Our first estate church leader we’d like to introduce you to is Al Barrett, an Anglican priest and dad who has been living in Hodge Hill on the edge of East Birmingham since 2010.

Al’s blog, ‘This estate we’re in’ is a theological reflection of day-to-day life on an urban outer estate in the West midlands.

It is beautifully crafted and contains  honest thoughts and feelings about our common experience, ideas for praying for the community, even if you are still unable to go out, prayers, poems, artwork from estates and extensive recommended reading where appropriate. Al also helpfully lists other really good blogs he follows which you might find useful for further ideas and future conversations.

Some of the liturgy to pray with have been composed with the aid of Ruth Harley, who is currently training for ordained ministry at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham, with a call to living on estates.

As a taster, have a look at Al’s recent post, Living through liminal times

This post is about living through the wilderness experience of the pandemic, the pain involved and a call to explore new possibilities in these uncertain times. We’re giving away no more spoilers on here…you will just have to check out his blog for yourself!

Virus as Portal

Jesus Shaped People and COVID-19

Jesus Shaped People logo

Jesus Shaped People is a programme to develop the discipleship of small, estate churches and communities from social housing and inner estates.

Sample resources can be downloaded from https://www.jesusshapedpeople.net/ 

Jesus Shaped People have been producing resources for churches now living with the fall-out from COVID-19. A link a video clip explaining more can be found here.

New resources include two short video clips on the themes of ‘Loss’ and ‘Discovery’. These can be downloaded and shared remotely with your church community or a church group that meets for prayer and Bible study. Brendan asks questions to reflect on and pauses after each question so that the video can be paused to allow for group discussion. If you would like to view these videos visit https://www.jesusshapedpeople.net/node/216

Keep up to date with Jesus Shaped People via their Facebook page

Free Webinar for Churches Responding to Homelessness

This is a  call to alms – Zoominar with the Rt Rev Bishop Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington.

Free webinar – Wednesday 3rd June, 3 or 6 pm

For Churches wanting to engage with the homeless in response to COVID-19

To register for this event please visit:

https://www.hopeintoaction.org.uk/a-call-to-alms-zoominar

Why do churches need to be concerned?

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.

Homelessness charity

Ministry and Mission through You Tube and Zoom

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.

Jeremy Fagan


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.

A Message from Canon Andy Delmege

A pastoral message from Canon Andy Delmege, Vicar of St Bede’s Brandwood and Executive Director, National Estate Churches Network.

Andy reflects upon a story from the Book of Daniel and introduces an oft-overlooked ancient prayer #infinitelyloved   #weprayforyou   #SongOfTheThree

Andy can be followed on Twitter @pilgrimpace and @NECNestates

Estates Prayer

Estates Prayer

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.

You can find out more by clicking on this You Tube link to the Neighbourhood Prayer Network.

Urban Presence another tilt

Urban Presence Another Tilt

“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.

To book onto this event click here

Request to find 4 churches

Research Chart

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 on the Margins Greater Manchester Facilitator

CAP Logo

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.

For further information and to download a full application pack visit: https://www.church-poverty.org.uk/vacancy-facilitator/

The application deadline is 5pm on Thursday 23 January.  Interviews will provisionally be on either Thursday 30 January or Tuesday 4 February.