‘Estates Church’: Ministry in financially disadvantaged neighbourhoods

Published: April 30, 2020

The heart of this post is to make available some information and links that may be useful to those ministering in financially disadvantaged contexts.  It follows a zoom conversation on 28 April with  Andy Delmege and Dave Champness, representing the national conversation on ‘estates ministry’, and who had originally been due to be with us in person.  Many thanks to all who participated as well as to Andy and Dave, zooming in from Birmingham and Lancashire.  I should be clear that not all ‘estates ministry’ takes place on estates, and both inner urban and rural material poverty is included in the conversation too.

The website for the National Estates Church Network (NECN) (ecumenical) is here:

The Estates Evangelism Task Group (EETG) here is the specifically Anglican part of the conversation.  Their strategy currently has four headings:

  • Championing the needs of estates parishes in Diocesan and National discussions.
  • Theological aspects and public voice. – You can listen to four podcasts called ‘Finding the Treasure: Good news from the estates’ here
  • Leadership support – especially for local practitioners
  • Resources that work in these contexts.

There is an overall understanding that what works in these contexts is likely to work elsewhere too, so neglecting them does everyone harm, whereas celebrating them and exploring ministry in these contexts is good for everyone.  This quote is taken from the Church of England website:

‘Our broad vision is a very simple one. To have a loving, worshipping, serving Christian community on every significant social housing estate in England. Our conviction is that, if our approaches to mission accidentally or deliberately exclude the poor, we will never see the renewal for which we pray. Every significant renewal movement in Christian history has begun on the margins, and it is our firm belief that the same can happen in our own day.’

There is also a Facebook page here and closed group here.

Some of the other partner organisations working with the EETG are:

This Copy of Gloucester estate parishes (DC April 2020) is a list of those parishes in Gloucester Diocese that fall into the national criteria to be defined as estate parishes (those parishes that have 500 or more social housing homes within them as of the 2011 census).  We had a conversation on zoom about those parishes that fit but won’t be on the list, often when a parish is socially mixed so a context that is sociologically of this kind crosses parish boundaries meaning it doesn’t show in the statistics.  Dave and Andy were clear that a parish can self-identify to join the conversation, so if you are not on the list but feel that this is a fit, then do self-identify and join in.

Missional Youth Church Network : Andy Wilson, our Church Army Centre of Mission lead has contacts with MYCN.  Contact " class="broken_link">Andy for more on this:

We are beginning to explore options about networking those ministering in these kinds of contexts in this Diocese (possibly as a NECN Group).  Now, in the midst of lockdown, isn’t the time to be starting something new of that kind but do keep an eye out for news as we emerge into whatever the new normal will bring.

In the meantime, churches may like to sign up to receive regular mailings with news, updates and resources – sign-up is on the left side panel on the NECN

 

 

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