As part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform strategy a steering group has been set up to look again at how we fund, encourage, and support Christian presence on estates.
This week the Bishop of Burnley brought together some of the evangelistic and charitable agencies who are already doing exactly that to find out how we might do it better and closer together.
UTU was pleased to be invited to be part of this conversation and vision. For too long ministry in estates has been underfunded and un
dermined in many places.
At the end of the two days together we committed ourselves to act; each delegate pledged their actions on a prayer card which was placed on the chapel altar. Our conversation also turned to the question of “Who isn’t in the room that should be?”. If your organisation is the answer to that question, please let us know.
Below is a summary of the actions we pledged to take up; we hope you can join us in this new vision for estate ministry that raises up leaders from within communities, supports those who move into new contexts, and celebrates the call to find Christ in marginalised places.
Estates Evangelism – A Commitment to Action
Jesus comes to proclaim Good News to the poor (Luke 4, 16). As His disciples, of different denominations but united by our shared desire to listen prayerfully to His call, we commit ourselves afresh though presence, service and proclamation to the ministry of evangelism on our nation’s urban estates by:
Strand 1: Championing Estates Ministry
- a) Challenging the Churches at every level to ensure that people from estates are represented in every tier of our structures
- b) Fostering and encouraging fresh and emerging forms of church life on the estates
- c) Developing an effective communications strategy to raise the profile of estates ministry and ensure that good news stories are celebrated
- d) Working together as ecumenical partners
Strand 2: Theology and the Public Voice
- a) Developing our apologetics and reflecting on the content of the Gospel we proclaim to answer the question: ‘What is the Good News on the estates?’
- b) Creating rich dialogue between theologians and estates practitioners to create a contemporary theological foundation for estates ministry and evangelism, exploring themes such as repentance, lament, cross and glory.
- c) Defining effective evangelism. What is it? What are the indicators? What constitutes success on the estates?
- d) Understanding the changing socio-economic and demographic context of estates ministry
- e) Engaging with Government and structures of power
Strand 3: Leadership
- a) Calling, developing and training local lay leadership
- b) Forming ordained leaders from and for the urban estates
- c) Offering support and high quality training to current leaders
- d) Challenging the selection and training pathways for licensed ministries and developing new forms of recognised lay ministry
- e) Ensuring sustainable patterns of deployment and support for Estates clergy
Strand 4: Resources
- a) Ensuring that appropriate financial resources are available to estates churches and that these resources are not wasted
- b) Helping local churches to find practical solutions to issues around buildings, administration and finance
- c) Signposting to contextually appropriate resources for evangelism, discipleship and ministry to Youth and children
- d) Working with partners to developing new resources where there is a recognised need
- e) Passing on good practice and inspiration through models, research, stories and toolkits