Our deaneries are being encouraged to creatively use monies for stipendary posts that have been cut to fit Sheffield figures. One deanery isplanningto appoint a church growth facilitator. Do we know of anyone who has done this around the country? Do email me if so:
Many of you have already signed up for this - for diocesan communications officers and missioners only I'm afraid.
Still room for a few more if this is you - and even if you've signed up, check the details here:
What's in it for me? workshop on engagement with the Olympic & Paralympic Games Thursday April 29, Christ Church Room, St John's Church, Stratford with a coach tour of main Olympic site. 11 am -5 pm (coffee and pastries from 10.30). Allow around half an hour from central London. With fewer than 1,000 days to go before the London Olympic and Paralympic Games take place, every organisation with a stake in the Games is making or delivering plans for engagement with them. This interactive workshop, in the heart of Olympic East London for diocesan missioners and communicators, aims to inform, enthuse and inspire. It will: * Focus on the opportunities which the Games present for local communities throughout England. * Introduce the organisations which are providing the Games. * Drill down into a menu of practical options for active consideration in the local context before, during and after the Games. * Provide a discussion forum. Paul Bayes, our National Mission & Evangelism Adviser, and Duncan Green, our Olympic Executive Co-ordinator, supported by the Christian facilitators More Than Gold, will help us to catch their vision of the potential for the C of E to work in partnership with other denominations and faiths for the good of the people whom we serve.
Organiser Rachel Harden adds:
There have been a number of requests re. timings to help with train bookings.There will be a more detailed programme the week before the Conference. It maybe worth bearing in mind that the coach tour revs up and off at 11.30. Stratford is on the Central Line, Jubilee Line, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground, so for rail enthusiasts an added excitement to the day...
Paul Rush (Bristol) is wanting to know how many of you run courses/schemes to train evangelists in your diocese. The plan is simple - to get together for a consultation some time and pool resources so that we can all improve on what we are currently offering - maybe even move towards a joint course/scheme in which we all participate.
Could you let Paul know what you do in your diocese and whether you'd be interested in the consultation.
Planning a mission-shaped worship service? Help at hand from new DVD-ROM
Putting together a worship service introducing fresh expressions of church and mission-shaped thinking can be a time consuming exercise. Now a new resource from Fresh Expressions is available to help you plan a tailor-made mission-shaped service at the touch of a button.
mission shaped congregations: re-imagining church is an interactive DVD-ROM in which material can be mixed and matched from four different streams - each with its own distinctive style or flavour. It incorporates video clips, a PowerPoint presentation, liturgy in various traditions, prayers, a sermon outline, and a children’s talk. Follow-up material for use in midweek meetings, house groups, church councils or PCC meetings is also provided.
The DVD-ROM requires a PC/Mac DVD drive for full functionality, although the video sequence can be viewed on a standard DVD player. It works in a similar way to a website shopping cart in that items can be selected from the service elements listed on a menu: these include Welcome and introduction, Opening prayer, Praise and adoration, Confession and absolution, Collect, Credal hymn or song, Intercession, and Eucharist.
On selecting an element, a list of items appropriate for it will appear on screen. After making your choice, add it to your plan to include it in the service. The suggested sermon is focused on Acts 19 and 20, ‘God in the old and the new: fresh expressions in the early church and today.’
The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, said: “This is a brilliant resource, providing a great menu of ideas and material to enrich our worship. Every worship leader should have a copy.”
Rev Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church, added: “This is a timely resource. It’s creative, contextual and utterly orthodox.”
Mark Russell, Chief Executive of the Church Army, commented: “A brilliant resource for congregations just beginning to explore new ways of being church – easy to use and crammed full with relevant resources to get your congregation thinking about becoming a mission shaped church.”
Christina Baxter, Principal of St John’s College, Nottingham, welcomed “initiatives which enable people to think creatively about how worship may ‘hold fast to all that is good’ as well as try to relate to contemporary culture.”
Addressing a national conference looking at the way ahead for fresh expressions of church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and General Secretary of the Methodist Church, Rev Dr Martyn Atkins backed the development of regional support teams.
It was the first major Fresh Expressions gathering since the United Reformed Church became a formal partner in the movement last year. URC General Secretary Rev Roberta Rominger also attended the event.
Speaking to more than 450 delegates at the conference in Lincoln, the Archbishop said, “As fresh expressions gets more successful, more widely known, more active and innovative, it’s really important to remember that fresh expressions is not first and foremost about capturing a new market for a product.
“Fresh expressions ought to be, and I hope and pray is, the Church’s way of pushing back against static, infantilising forms of religious belief, pushing back against trivialisation, against the shrinkage of faith and discipleship to boring and manageable dimensions.”
On Friday we announced that we are relocating our offices from Sidcup in Kent to Sheffield.This is a major move, to create an exciting home for Church Army in the centre of Sheffield.We will spend around £2m to refurbish the Wilson Carlile Centre (pictured here) to house our leadership, training, admin, research and xplore gap year, alongside a modern conference facility with 24 bedrooms, and a centre for mission, complete with cafe.This is an excting vision for a dynamic centre of life and mission for Church Army. The building will have a library and be able to be a place for learning, training, retreat and the day to day administration of the movement.The offices will move by the end of 2010, and the project will be self financing, so not taking away from our front line work across the UK and Ireland.The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steve Croft said "I warmly welcome the decision of the Church Army Board to move their offices to Sheffield and create a dynamic centre for mission here. Sheffield is a wonderful, vibrant, welcoming city. Church Army will bring significant gifts, expertise and challenge to the life of the diocese and the region. It has been a delight for me personally to work in close partnership with Church Army for a number of years now, and I look forward to that partnership strengthening and deepening in the years to come"
I am very excited by this announcement, and the vision for an integrated team based in Sheffield, located in a centre of mission itself. To have our offices in a mission centre seems to fit the DNA of Church Army well.However as in all announcements like this, alongside the vision is the very real awareness that many of our talented, gifted and committed staff in the London area will not be able to join us on this move. I am conscious for them this is painful and challenging news, and ask you to join me in praying for them at this time.If you want to read more, our press statement is located HERE
How many of us feel confident about our Christian faith, to the extent that we can explain it to someone who asked us? Certainly the question of ‘confidence’ keeps coming up in the mission network and seems to be a major concern of many at present.
Last September at the CTE Forum Timothy Radcliffe spoke about ‘Confident Christianity’ and said, ‘We need a confident Christian culture, which enables us to see the world in terms of blessing and gratitude, redemption and salvation .. a culture which is open to the questions and insights of our contemporaries of whatever faith or none’. His talk is on the website of Churches Together in England.
This year, a major theme for some churches in England, including Baptists, Methodists and Salvation Army is ‘discipleship’. The strap line for the Baptist Union of Great Britain for example is ‘Encouraging missionary disciples’. They have produced a resource called ‘Confidence in the Gospel’ which you can find on the BUGB website.
The Congregational Federation have also recently produced training material on their website called ‘Growing Disciples’ which aims to ‘explore the nature of discipleship confidently; to identify and celebrate their rich diversity, in order to build up the Body of Christ; and to live their Christian faith publicly’.You can see that material on the Congregational Federation website.
Now confidence must not be confused with power. Five weeks ago Jacques Matthey, the WCC Mission Secretary, said ‘Mission must be in Christ’s way’. He continued, ‘in the sense that it doesn’t prioritise efficiency and success, keeps distance from powerful structures and people in the world and respects the fact that often God calls small, weak, sick and meaningless people to bear God’s message’. How do we equate fragility and confidence? Mother Teresa.
We need to explore the issues, equip our people, and pray for confidence to be a witness in the world. One key issue is having the confidence to explain the ‘hope we have within us’. With this in mind the Churches coordinating group for Evangelisation invited Tracy Cotterell and Neil Hudson from the LICC ‘Imagine’ Project to reflect on their pilot project working 16 ordinary congregations looking at ‘Confident Discipleship’.
The church is very good at drawing people in to take on things and responsibilities on top of the everyday responsibilities. New thinking and resources are needed to turn the church inside out, sending people as confident disciples to pray ‘thy kingdom come’ wherever they spend most of their time. LICC are developing such resources which should be available in the Autumn. In the mean time you can find on the CTE website:
asummary report of our meeting
the LICC PowerPoint presented
information about Bible Fresh and
Other resources re ‘Confident Discipleship
We know that our confidence comes from Christ. What we need to do in this timely discussion is encourage, resource and pray. It is, after all, good news for those who have not yet heard.
Jim Currin is a Church Army evangelist and Secretary for Evangelisation at Churches Together in England.
Churches Will Explore Internet Opportunities on Sunday April 25
Internet Evangelism Day is an annual focus day for churches. This year, it is scheduled for Sunday April 25. It's an opportunity for any church to explore with its members the exciting opportunities for sharing the good news online. Ready-made free downloads PowerPoint, video clips, handouts, drama scripts and music can be easily built into a presentation of five minutes or 50.
2010's focus day will be the sixth to be used by churches around the world since the initiative's launch in 2005. Over this period, digital media have developed dramatically, with the advent of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and the growing use of mobile phones to access online services.
IE Day's website is also a one-stop resource covering many subjects including: how to build a church website that is 'outsider friendly', using Twitter in evangelism, and ideas for effective blogging.
Perhaps surprisingly, you do not need to be technical to share your faith online. And you can volunteer to be an email mentor to inquirers with several large online outreach ministries.
Internet Evangelism Day is an initiative of the Internet Evangelism Coalition, based at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton. It is supported by a wide range of Christian leaders and groups. "I am glad to commend Internet Evangelism Day," says John Stott.
This from Rob Hare at Bible Society; a rare opportunity to hear this hugely influential practical theologian:
Bible Society have a one day conference with author of 'The Divine Conspiracy' Dallas Willard. Dallas will be speaking on themes from his latest book 'Knowing Christ Today' in Swindon on 20th May 2010.
Christian Vision for Men have a new publication, "guaranteed cringe-free" for men. Check it out & see if you agree. They write:
Scorchio Has Arrived!
It's here! Scorchio has arrived, hot off the press - and boy does it look good.
Guaranteed quality, zero-cringe and unbelievable value, we expect every church across the UK to buy up Scorchio! to give away to men. This is a proper magazine with exclusive interviews including Kaka and comments from BBC pundits.
For all those of you who made sure to get your pre-orders in we'll be shipping your copies out to you in the next few days. If you haven't ordered yet you can do so now. We do expect these to shift pretty quickly and with the World Cup just around the corner make sure that you get your order in so you and and your friends don't miss out.
HOPE 08 was a great success and many in the churches asked for the work to continue. Roy Crowne is leading on this and here's a brief update from him. Rachel Jordan is serving on the HOPE leadership team; do contact her or Roy with any queries. Much more to come.
I am excited to let you know that from March, 1st 2010 I will become the Executive Director of Hope. Many of you will remember Hope 08 which ended in 2009. However, since then in discussion with many denominational leaders, church leaders and agencies we have realised that Hope should continue as the appetite for mission in this country has never been this great, and the desire to work together for the sake of those outside the church community found its expression through Hope.
Claire Dalpra has written the latest in the Encounters series. Here are the details:
Stories of church for adults with learning
disabilities are an important reminder that fresh expressions of Church
continue to grow in surprising places, including vulnerable groups within our
Encounters on the
Edge author, Claire Dalpra, was astonished to find when chatting to her
colleagues in Church Army’s research unit, The Sheffield Centre, that almost
everyone had a family, friend or work connection to someone with learning
disabilities. This is perhaps not surprising when you read that Mencap estimate
1.5 million members of the UK population have learning disabilities.
She admits: ‘Within the many and varied types of
mission context in which fresh expressions are being planted, I had identified
the mission context as important but assumed it would be an isolated and
obscure area of research. How wrong I was.’
In the latest edition of the Encounters on the Edge series of booklets – called Hidden
Treasures: Churches for adults with a learning disability – Claire
Dalpra tells two stories of such churches: Fenland Community Church in March,
Cambridgeshire and Focus Service in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
Both are on an intentional journey towards ecclesial
maturity, but what particular opportunities and challenges do they face along
the way? And do their experiences have anything to say to others involved with
fresh expressions of church?
How have both examples been able to fund their work
for over a decade despite a membership who are unable to give financially? And
do these examples match up to our existing definitions of what is church, or do
they challenge them?
Claire Dalpra went to find out…
Encounters on the Edge 44, Hidden Treasures: Churches for adults with a
learning disability, is now available and is priced £4.00. To order, contact
the Sheffield Centre on 0114 272 7451, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
or click the 'Order Encounters' link at www.encountersontheedge.org.uk
Andrew Roberts sends this update from the training wing of the Cray gang:
With Spring approaching, four
more mission shaped ministry (msm) courses
are ready to burst into life. The Diocese of Bath and Wells and the Plymouth
and Exeter District are partnering to present a course in Minehead starting on
In April, courses will get
underway in Muswell Hill (London), Bromyard (Herefordshire) and Okehampton in Devon.
Speakers at Muswell Hill include Martyn Atkins, John Coles and Bob and Mary
Hopkins. At Bromyard, Graham Cray, Lucy Moore, Pete Atkins and Andrew Roberts
will be joining Martyn Atkins on the speaking team. Meanwhile at Okehampton,
the local ecumenical team are preparing for their sixth course.
From Plymouth to Inverness, msm continues to spread across the UK
with a further 20 courses at various stages of preparation. Itis being delivered in all manner of
contexts from small rural towns to city centres.
To make the course even more
suitable for a range of learning styles, msm
team members have been working with creative partners to prune and refresh the
units on offer. Those partners have included Ian Adams, Ruth Poch, Mark Berry,
Sue Wallace, Cris Acher and Ben Edson.
The response to the units that
have been revised so far has been very positive.
I’ve just read through the new values unit for the
msm course. I’m really impressed; it’s a lot tighter and gets to the heart of
how we understand our values.
Jeff Reynolds Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury
District Mission Enabler
The life and work of msm is now overseen by a Board
established by Fresh Expressions. Chaired by Howard Mellor, the Board also
includes Graham Cray, John Drane, Joanna Cox, Esther Shreeve, Jonny Baker, Ian
Mobsby, Janet Wootton and representatives of local msm centres and msm
How do we build bridges and witness effectively to people of other faiths? A growing number of South Asian Christians are first generation believers from Hindu, Muslim and Sikh backgrounds. They have developed different forms of church, some reflecting traditional Christian groupings from the sub-continent, others attempting 'fresh expressions' like 'satsang' (religious gathering with music, discussion and teaching), or 'followers of Isa Al-Masih'. Some argue that the church must be multi-cultural from the beginning.
This on-going debate is the focus of a major conference from 25 to 27 June, 'Which Way the UK Asian Church?'The conference is organised every two years by Jewels in His Crown, a consortium of church and mission agencies (www.jewelsinhiscrown.co.uk ). Speakers this year include Pastor G I Ebenezer of the large and growing Tamil, Immanuel Christian Fellowship in East London, Clive Thorne, co-leader of Lighthouse International Church in Southampton, and Kumar Rajagopalan of the London Baptist Association. The conference will try to address the question by sharing case studies of different models, hearing Biblical perspectives and celebrating what God is already doing.
South Asian Evangelical Alliance (www.eauk.org/saea) supports the JIHC conference as a key resource for unity and equipping for mission. Krish Kandiah, EA's Executive Director Churches in Mission, and a former speaker at the conference, believes that theology, evangelism and the practice of the church must always be closely connected. So "it is vital that this conference explores the shape and direction of the church, not just for Asians but for all of us."