Barbara Glasson – I am Somewhere Else (Gospel Reflections from an Emerging Church)
I know I am probably behind the times as this book was published in 2006 however, I have been reading it with a friend recently. Right from the introduction I felt drawn in from both Barbara’s easy to read style and to the deep reflective telling of the story of ‘Bread Church’. The book draws on the journey taken by an eclectic group of people all seeking something, all gathering glimpses of God.
As Barbara uses the processes of bread making to look deeply at the Gospel message we share in with others and how it moves us all. I have been have had some of my thoughts expressed and questions held I am thoroughly enjoying the book and recommend it.
The Catford (Southend) Team Ministry has a flourishing and varied church life across four churches in a large area of South East London located between Catford and Bromley.
The Catford and Downham Team, a large and diverse interwar estate parish (in the top 7% most deprived parishes according to CUF IMD), in South East London is looking for a new Team Rector.
If you are passionate about leading a team of lay and ordained colleagues from a broad variety of backgrounds and church traditions to share the Good News of Jesus and serve the community, this might be the place God is calling you.
When we talk of coastal towns, for many of us that evokes childhood images of fish and chips, ice-creams, sandy beaches and a paddle in the clear blue sea. What is quickly forgotten is the hours of sitting in traffic on roads not built to cope with the sudden influx of holiday traffic. Perhaps it comes as a surprise to learn that coastal towns are among some of our most deprived communities in the U.K.
These communities suffer from a number of issues that are rooted in the decline of their core industries. Domestic tourism has been hit by cheap package holidays abroad, but also more traditional industries, such as fishing, ship building and port activities, have been in long term decline. This, combined with their location on the margins of the country, with poor infrastructure, leads to a struggling economy and lack of services, such as health and education.
After some initial investigation into coastal communities, through the support of Urban Expression, Sara and I moved to Looe in Cornwall three years ago. As we have got embedded in this community, we have learnt more of the joys and challenges of this community and an insight into other similar towns. I have found that, whilst there are mission agencies supporting pioneers in urban and rural areas, I have not come across any particular support or encouragement for those engaging in coastal communities. The established churches in many of these small coastal towns seem to be in terminal decline, with denominations and networks instead choosing to opt for the easier wins of investing in inland churches in larger towns and cities.
The encouraging news is that I have some funding to explore ‘Coastal Expression’, working to the values and experience of Urban Expression, but contextualising for the coastal towns. It’s early days, but I am hopeful that this could create some awareness and energy to engage with these forgotten communities. Below is a picture of the Looe Community Meals Team, who deliver twice-weekly cooked meals to those who are economically disadvantaged, those who are isolated and suffering from ill-health.
I came back from my break to Lisbon and went into run our regular Place of Welcome on the first Monday in March. The conversation was about one thing – Coronavirus. It soon became apparent a closure was on its way. Well, that’s it then. Ill get laid off I thought. How wrong I was.
Within 4 weeks I was getting to grips with Zoom and running our Places of Welcome as Spaces of Welcome – an online coffee morning. Locally, emergency funding became available and so I started to apply for 6 months’ worth of “doing things differently” – a better laptop that could cope with Zoom, Teams etc, project funding to send people tea, coffee and biscuits. We changed our processes for running our Foodbank and weekly community grocery scheme with Bread and Butter Thing. Many of our regular volunteers were shielding or coping with children being at home so we recruited new volunteers from the local authority neighbourhood team and staff furloughed from Manchester Airport.
We changed our open access holiday breakfast clubs so that we were able to provide a bag of groceries and an activity pack to families. In the first school holiday we supported 40 families. We are about to prepare our Easter packs and we will reach 150 families.
We have core funding to December 2022
Tracey Rawlins CDW March 2021
Look out for NECN in conversation with Tracey coming soon on You Tube
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.
“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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 :)”
At Jericho, we support people, marginalised by society, overcome barriers to become fulfilled at work and in life.
Currently, across our nation, we face rapidly rising levels of unemployment with a massive hit on 16-24 yr olds, huge competition for every job, and increased risk of long-term unemployment for lower-skilled and older job-seekers.
Our Ignition programme aims to help fulfil the growing need for grassroots, community-based employment support. It is delivered through partnerships with local churches and community organisations, where we provide training for volunteers and a comprehensive resources manual that can be used in different settings.
We expect to see high numbers of people requiring extra support to enter or re-enter a shrinking jobs market, along with the need for other support as a growing number of people face the financial, emotional, mental and physical effects of redundancy and unemployment. With all this happening and various levels of restrictions, fewer people will be walking into a job club to seek help at this time, so we need to think differently.
We’re developing employment support guides and workbooks that will give churches the opportunity to offer remote support until things change. These will be ready soon.
Many people will not know where to turn and a timely intervention could make all the difference. A simple, structured conversation could help somebody take stock of their present situation then start to turn things around. A chat could start a life-changing journey.
We are also developing training and resources to provide tools, techniques and resources that will help with the conversation.
If you would like to know more, please call Dave Chapman, Church Partnership Manager, on 07850 603969, or email email@example.com
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.