The Board of Trustees of NECN are delighted to announce the appointment of our new Executive Director, the Revd Sara Barron. Sara comes to NECN as a former trustee and Vice-Chair and brings with her a wealth of experience of, and passion for, estates ministry. She introduces herself below and she will take up her role in January 2021.
As a Board, we are very much looking forward to Sara leading us in this next phase of NECN’s life and development, and we continue to be grateful to Allchurches Trust for their generous funding which enables us to develop our work in supporting estate churches, practitioners and evangelism nationally.
I am excited to introduce myself as the new Executive Director of NECN. I am looking forward to getting to know lots of you but here is a little bit about me.
I am married to Barney, we have four children and are both Baptist ministers. We moved to Cornwall 2 years ago to a missional listening role in the economically poorest county in England. However, previous to that I lived and worked for 16 years in a large estate of 33,000 called Leigh Park, close to the city of Portsmouth. Here we started ‘Café Church’, a place for those who had no experience of church to come and explore the gospel story. The last few years in the estate, having established the church, I worked as a pioneer for the Diocese of Portsmouth to grow new and different work with the local schools and addressing food poverty, amongst other things.
Alongside that for the last 5 years I have worked for Curbs project (Children in URBan Situations), a small charity which resources, trains, and supports those working in urban and estates ministry with children and families. During my time in Leigh Park, I got involved with NECN and became a trustee and later Vice Chair. This gave me an opportunity to be involved with the Estates Evangelism Task Group as it forged a strategic plan to encourage flourishing Christian presence on every estate. I am excited about NECN’s role in supporting and encouraging those called to serve in our countries’ housing estates.
Please be in touch if you would like to share your story of estate ministry or join one of our many local support groups around the country. I look forward to sharing my love and passion for estates ministry.
CURBS is a small Christian charity set up in 1996 in response to the need for resources and training for church-linked children’s workers in inner cities and on outer urban estates.
Like many charities we have been hit financially by COVID and they’re currently £8000 short to keep going this year. Because of this they have lauched a 100@5 campaign. They’re asking 100 members of our community to commit to giving just £5 a month to keep CURBS going. Can you help?
CURBS would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has already supported them in their 100@5 campaign. They are currently at 55 regular givers on their way to the target of 100, and your support so far has kept CURBS going through this very difficult time and will continue to do so up till Christmas so thank you!
They’re not out the woods quite yet and would so love to reach the target of 100 regular givers giving £5 a month. Just 45 more people supporting CURBS in this way would make CURBS much more sustainable and pay for their development worker’s wage to the end of the financial year.
So if you meant to set up regular giving but never quite got round to it, or if you know someone who would be interested in supporting them please visit the website
Despite lockdown, tiers and restrictions, the HUBS continue to be busy around the UK, working out different ways of how to connect with children and families during this difficult time. From days of prayer for children, to delivering packs through doors, to patiently meeting up again slowly but surely, they’ve been inspired to hear what people are doing. You can read Stories from Lockdown here.
CURBS continues to be an important voice in the conversations happening around how churches are reaching in to estates. It is wonderful to see this topic being more widely talked about and we look forward to seeing where God is taking us.
We thank you for your continued support of CURBS and you’ll hear more about this from us soon!
Since COVID-19 hit the country, TLG has equipped over 200 churches to reach out to some of the most vulnerable families across the UK as part of their Box of Hope project. Over 510,000 emergency parcels have been delivered to families since the start of the pandemic.
As the 2nd lockdown meets winter TLG have relaunched the Box of Hope project. Funding, guidelines and resources which will really equip and release churches in this season can be applied for at
The Methodist Children, Youth and Family Team recently partnered with Joint Public Issues Team and Transforming Lives for Good for a Holiday Hunger Focus Week. JPIT’s Paul Morrison wrote the following blog to support it: www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/?s=holiday+hunger
The Trussell Trust has seen an 89% increase in the use of food banks since April 2019. This figure rises to 107% in the numbers of families with children who now require the support of a food bank. A copy of the report from the Trussell Trust can be downloaded on this link:
Trussell Trust Report on Food Banks 2020
Low income families have been hit with the double whammy of schools being closed for two and a half months and a reduction in earnings and/ or redundancies. A survey conducted by the JPIT shows how the lowest earning workers are more likely to lose their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19. See https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/the-effects-of-the-coronavirus-crisis-on-workers/
How can we respond to holiday hunger as Christians?
The Methodist Church has a number of suggestions in its blog https://www.methodist.org.uk/holidayhunger/
CURBS is a small charity set up to resource and train children’s workers on outer estates and inner city areas.
Like many other charities CURBS have taken a financial hit from COVID-19. They are facing a shortfall of around £8,000 for the year. Could you support their 100@5 campaign? They are asking for 100 members to commit to giving £5 a month to keep them going. Your prayers are also essential, even if you can’t give.
To find out more visit https://curbsproject.org.uk/
In the meantime members of CURBS have continued to produce some brilliant resources and reflections to help families and church workers to get through this challenging time.
Rachel, a pioneer minister on the Whiteway estate in Bath, has set up a ministry of using chalk and a battery operated bubble blower to connect with children and families on her estate. You can read more about her ministry here.
The Friday Club Plaistow, Newham, East London has created an audiovisual of the Upside Down Kingdom which can be downloaded for free from https://curbsproject.org.uk/upside-down-kingdom-chapter-10-downside-up/
Messy Churches are being as creative as ever during these strange times. Ideas range from on-line craft sessions on Zoom and Facebook Live to creating Messy Church in a Bag for families to collect and take home. More information and guidance can be found on https://www.messychurch.org.uk/covid-19
Messy Church through the Bible Reading Fellowship have Facebook Live sessions every Wednesday at 9.00 am or 8.00 pm UK time for sharing companionship, ideas, encouragement and prayer. This can be found on this link: https://www.facebook.com/messychurchBRF/
This is a great place to look for recommendations for child-friendly Bibles, particularly for children with special educational needs.
Another recommendation from Messy Church is to create a Social Story. Creating Social Stories are a way of helping autistic children to understand what to expect in certain social situations and why. This is especially important when teaching children how to keep themselves and others safe during the pandemic. The terms ‘social story’ and ‘social stories’ are terms owned and originated by Karen Gray. Further information can be found at https://www.autism.org.uk/
Lots more brilliant resources for crafts, prayer, baking and blogs sharing experience from parents and carers from Messy Church can be found on https://www.pinterest.co.uk/MessyChurchBRF/messy-church-at-home/
Are you looking for inspiration for children’s sermons or an all-age service? Pastor John Stevens from Zion Lutheran Church, Oregon has some great ideas on hos blog Dollar Store Children Sermons .
Each week Pastor John shares a video clip of his ideas around the Sunday readings. Sometimes he has a fully developed story which can simply be reused. On other days he is offering lots of different suggestions as a springboard for you to go away with and come up with your own idea.
Each dollar sermon comes with suggestions for props you might use with children and a main ‘Take Away’ for the message.
Pastor John is warm, enthusiastic and fun! The ideas he shares can be used in your own home if you have a young family or for you to film yourself for a virtual service or reflection. They can be adapted to fit a range of situations and contexts, even a global pandemic.
Diddy Disciples has produced some more lovely resources to help babies, toddlers and young children worship God during Lockdown.
To check these out visit https://www.diddydisciples.org/ and have a look at the Church at Home page. Resources include prayers, podcasts and ideas for creating your own worship at home.
Do you need some new ideas for children’s sermons and reflections? Sermon 4 Kids make loads of great activities, lessons, colouring pages, games and crafts which are free to download.
Each week https://sermons4kids.com/ features a different Bible story with video recordings so do check it out!
Many children’s and youth leaders use Roots resources to help them to get to know the Bible. There are also some free resources in response to COVID-19.
To download these visit https://www.rootsontheweb.com/about-roots/children-young-people-resources