NECN in Conversation with Pioneer Minister Jane Emson

Revd. Sr. Jane Emson

Middlesbrough CENTRE OF MISSION

About the Centre of Mission

Middlesbrough Centre of Mission is based on the Brambles Farm and Thorntree estates in Middlesbrough, which are in the top 1% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country. – Thorntree is being one of the most deprived areas in the UK (IMD 2019). St Thomas Church (Brambles Farm estate) no longer has a building or congregation and was the last Anglican worship on the estate. The last time the church met there was in October 2006 and their building was demolished in 2007. My role is to start a New Worshiping Community (church plant) focusing on the 20s-40s on the estate.

Lockdown

Lockdown has been really busy. We have been taking up to 60 food parcels out every other week. And in the school summer holidays this has increased to 72 families which means we’re supporting more than 260 people.

The food has been donated from Churches outside the parish and also from Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland who has so generously gave us funding. I not only bought dried food but also fresh fruit and veg and meat which included recipes to cook and online Zoom sessions to help.

We have given out activity packs for over 120 children and run events on Facebook. Activity packs included creating a COVID-19 time-capsule and an Easter colouring competition.

Bramble Farm Foodbank

We have now set up an Eco Shop to address food poverty. People pay £2 for 15 items of food. Food is donated from the local supermarket. Volunteers from local families help to run the shop.

Life before Lockdown

When I first started my role as Lead Evangelist I was told not to really do anything other than get to know the area and to listen to what God is saying for the first 6 months. I understood why and the importance especially as I didn’t know the area its needs or anyone. Anyway, for those who know me this was near on impossible.

So I began by going out with Fr Terry and his Coffee van three mornings a week. It’s where we park the van in different parts of the estates and give out free coffee to people in the local community. With a stamp on the side saying ‘given with God’s love’. In doing this it not only enabled me to be present but also form some good relationships. One in particular was with a guy called L who had recently come out of prison where he told me he had spent most of his life and he told me that he gave his life to Jesus just a few weeks before his release. He said that he would like to help me set up a church and that he wanted to share his faith.

Brambles Farm Coffee Van

I also started to build up good working partnerships and was handed keys to three local community centres and was told I could use them free of charge to set up what groups I felt appropriate, even a church. I was also asked to be one of the trustees at one of the centres.

One of the centres already had a youth club called Tommy’s. However just a few weeks after my arrival the club closed due to lack of attendance. About a month after this I was asked by the Area Dean if I could start it back up. Which I did in November after lots of prayer, a great team and a few changes. We ended up with 142 young people on the register in just a few months.

I find it such an honour and privilege to serve God in Brambles Farm and Thorntree. The people, children and young people are so amazing. They are a beautiful community who are generous and support each other. And whilst being over here I have also met my future husband David. We got engaged on Valentine’s day.

Reverend Sister Jane Anne Emson

Pioneer Minister, Deacon and Church Army Sister

Who’s who @NECN

Introducing Emma Ash – Trustee

Emma Ash

From living in a high-rise building in Hong Kong and travelling back to the U.K. staying with my Mum in her council flat, trying to discern my calling, I ended up writing a piece for the Church Times on the financial barriers that ordination places onto the work-class. Andy Delmege emailed and soon I was invited onto the NECN trustee board.

Three years have now passed, and the majority of that time has been spent in London working for the Church on two different housing estates, one Evangelical and another, Anglo-Catholic. Here new ministries were launched and people came to faith. Ecumenicalism remains at the heart of NECN and I believe  it is vital as we continue to build worshipping communities across England and Wales. I’ve not long completed a year with the Community of St Anselm, Lambeth Palace and have a passion to see more partnerships made for the glory and kingdom of God.

*Photo taken by the Community of St Anselm, Lambeth Palace.

Vacancies: Two Church Planting Catalyst Coaches

Anabaptist Mennonite Logo

 

The Anabaptist Mennonite Network is embarking shortly on a project to plant some new churches with distinctly Anabaptist values and practices.

To develop this project, they want to appoint two people, each on a one-day-a-week basis, as ‘catalyst/coaches’ from the beginning of May. Their role will initially be to recruit a number of pioneers and then to coach and support them.

There’s much more information on the AMN website. If this could be for you visit https://urbanexpression.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=72d6bfab658b1c1c9d8d01151&id=2572695af1&e=d3b06a7d78

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

New Resources from Jesus Shaped People

Many of you will already be aware of the work of Jesus Shaped People, helping people to become focussed on mission and service. They have a new course called Stay Alert to the Spirit.

There are intergenerational materials for both on and off line, or a mix of both. For more information you can get in touch with Dawn or Brendon at JSP.

Vacancy: Church Leader (Estate Church Plant) Barton Community Church

Christian Vocations

 

Barton Community Church are looking for a woman or man to move into Barton to lead our 10-year-old church plant and help the experienced team make the most of the mission opportunities ahead. Good character and proven leadership skills are essential, being an accredited minister is not.

Salary: £35.5k
Location: Barton estate, Oxford

Find out more about Barton Community Church at https://www.bartoncommunitychurch.org/

For details about what the role involves, who they are looking for and how to apply visit https://globalconnections.org.uk/vocations/uk-jobs/83384

 

 

Vacancy: Ordained Lead Evangelist, North Sutton Centre of Mission and Vicar of St. Helier

Diocese of Southwark Logo

St Helier Estate is in Carshalton and Morden and straddles the London Boroughs of Sutton and Merton.  It is home to about 30000 people of whom about two thirds live in the parish of St Helier. It is a diverse estate with many young families as well as older residents. About half of the residents own their homes and approximately 38% of all households are social rented. The estate is currently recognised as having high levels of deprivation, unemployment, single parents, elderly people and people with long term disabling illness. 31% of all households with children are lone-parent households. Large parts of the parish are amongst the 20% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country

Bishop Andrewes’ and St Peter’s are small but committed congregations.  We believe in the transforming love of God in Jesus, and we seek to share his love with our community, so people may have life in all its fullness. We are aiming to make “Jesus the heart of the community”.

Post Introduction

This role has been created in partnership between the Diocese of Southwark and Church Army to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the St Helier Estate and to transform the community in His name.  Centres of Mission are small teams of evangelists living and working with local people especially those disconnected from church, seeking to unlock God’s potential within them and to grow new worshipping communities amongst them.  The Lead Evangelist will lead the North Sutton Centre of Mission, recruiting a Pioneer Evangelist to work alongside them, and will also be the Vicar of St Helier.  Members of the two congregations are enthusiastic about this appointment and the Centre of Mission and ready to volunteer to support it.

Further information about the post can be found at https://www.cofepathways.org/members/modules/job/detail.php?record=2818

If you feel this is where God may be leading you a Job Description pack can be downloaded on  St Helier – Job Description and profile Final with pics

You can also download the Vision Statement for Southwark Diocese on Diocesan Vision Statement 2017-2025

Stories from Strategic Development Fund projects

Strategic Development Fund

The Strategic Development Unit are hosting a series of interviews on Zoom with practitioners from some of the Strategic Development Funding projects to share some of the stories of those involved. (Agi is also circulating details via Mission Network News.)

The first interview was held last Thursday 17 September. My colleague Tom Conway talked to Rob Fowler and Russel Baylis about their experiences of leading and supporting a church plant in Whitleigh, in Plymouth, as part of the outer estates planting SDF programme in Exeter diocese. If you were unable to join us for this interview, it is now available to watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GcnT-1X5xk

Later in the series, we will be featuring projects in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham dioceses.

A full list of future interviews, with the links to enable you to register live to watch the webinars (at which there will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions), is below.

Thursday 8 October at 12.30pm  

This webinar will feature Manchester diocese’s project to establish small church plants in areas where there have been very low levels of engagement with the Church.

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/5416003570133/WN_rrquTRwwQM-8d4MiIHHDkA

Thursday 15 October at 12.30pm

Tim Montgomery will talk about Liverpool diocese’s project to turn around mission and financial strength in Wigan.   https://zoom.us/webinar/register/6816003579899/WN_gFDrqFeISHCUEH7HyEWF7Q

Thursday 22 October at 12.30pm

Liz Dumain will talk about building intergenerational worship in Birmingham diocese

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/8216003583738/WN_8RRPRV6mTFGNHHve_dQhSw

All of these interviews will be recorded and available for you to watch at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMwCFR_zx1Lsx1pp5ffRM4A .

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

Church Plant Interview Series starting Thursday 17th Sept

Church of England Logo

The Church of England Strategic Development Funding supports projects which make a significant difference to the mission of its diocese.

They are hosting a series of Zoom interviews with some of the practitioners from Strategic Development Funding projects on Thursday lunchtimes throughout September and October. The first of these is on Thursday 17th September at 12.30pm and will be a conversation with Rob Fowler about his experiences of leading a church plant in Whitleigh, in Plymouth. Whitleigh is an estate parish and Rob’s experiences will include the highlights and challenges of working on an estate.

To register to watch live, where you’ll be able to submit questions, please click here:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/4515996685509/WN_xi_vMkdCT7SDQffZSEQBKQ

The session will be recorded to watch afterwards. Some of the future conversations will also be with estate parish ministers and we can share the information if you are interested.