National Estate Churches Network

11 Oct

This is a sort of live blog from the National Estate Churches Network

Bishop Laurie Green is leading the day.

The title for the day is – Mind the gap

What are the disconnections? – Hilary Russell (emerita Professor, Liverpool John Moores University) talking on a report she has recently written on Resourcing Christian Community Action

Study done in response to the “Big Society” idea.
Study looks into best practice and resources in developing good neighbourhoods, fostering a culture of volunteering ad philanthropy.
Study looks to tell stories of projects going on.
Projects both wide and varied.
Was there anything distinctive about the projects?
Pretty much all projects were clearly underpinned by the Christian faith. Some were implicit, others explicit.
Church’s longevity in an area often very important to projects working.
Stress on quality of relationships.
Inclusion and mutuality very important.
Resources are diminishing while need is increasing.
This can make it hard to remember the reason what the projects are there for in the first place.
Sometimes there are clashes between “numerical mission” and “community mission” (e.g. Diocese growth strategy vs parish community work).
Presence, liberation and justice are key aspects for projects.

Questions/discussion
Finances being scarce is leading to either stopping employing people to a job or making people doing a job already redundant.
Funding can sometimes be made possible by showing what the money will translate into.
Be aware of what you are getting involved in – “Beware of local authorities bearing gifts!”

Website to look at – http://www.how2help.net

Bible study – Lamentation and praise

Lamentations is about asking God where He is in our trials. They call out to God, asking who is to blame, when will it end, why is it happening, does He not know, does He not care. It is raw, it is personal, it is about being real with God about where they were at in their relationship with Him in the context of what they were experiencing.
They are not niggles but a demand for justice.
Lamentations 5:1, 9, 11, 19 & 22 (The Message version)
1 – Addresses God
9&11 – names the trouble
19 – Imploring
19&22 – Salute

We were encouraged to write our own lament for our own estates.

We’re we’re also then asked to think about the things that we are thankful for and want to praise God for, as the Psalms do.
Bishop Laurie got us to call out 3-4 things that we were thankful and we then joined in the refrain “Give thanks to The Lord for He is good, and His mercy endures for ever!”
This was repeated 3 times.

We were introduced to CURBS (Children in URBan Situations) – http://www.curbsproject.org.uk for resources, including Halloween.

We then looked at some case studies.

Case study 1 – Sermon didn’t mention the estate is going to be knocked down.

Case study 2 – The powers that be have their own agenda.

Case study 3 – Worshipping community is really active in the community, but when asked why they are able to answer.

We were to ask the following questions:
– Who needs to change and why?
– How might you assist with change?
– How do we understand God’s story in this place?
– What gospel stories or themes could help?

My group chose to do number 3.
Find ways for them to reflect on why they do what they do.
Are they really doing what they say that they are doing?
Who do they mean by “the community”?
Why do people need affirmation for what they do?
Does the leadership need to change or the church as a whole?
Where are the “Kingdom Values” in the work?
Stories – Mary and Martha (the church is a Martha and needs to become more of a Mary)

We then shared about our own experiences in the areas we were from, in groups of 3.

Contextual Theology Centre – all about asking the question “Why do you do what you do?”

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