Earlier this week I attended a conference held to promote and encourage the work that the Church of England carries out on urban estates throughout the country. Somewhat ironically, the venue for the conference was indeed held in an estate, but one more akin to Downton Abbey than Wythenshawe!! (google Launde Abbey if you are intrigued). Nevertheless, it was an encouraging couple of days, with a lot of passion in the room (and a lot of people saying nice things about Paul Keeble’s book too). When reflecting on the question “What is good news for the estates?”, the point was made that at their inception, housing estates in themselves were viewed as good news by those who moved into them, compared to the slums they had previously inhabited. However, the gloss soon faded.
As I type, I am conscious of all the sounds of demolition and construction around me, as our own estate is in the state of re-modelling. There is optimism and hope for the future, and it is intriguing to contemplate how the estate will look and feel, but again I fear there is more to establishing a successful estate than simply erecting shiny new buildings. Many more aspects are involved and needed, not least a sense of community.
At church last week, we reflected on the fledgling community that Moses led through the wilderness. The good news that the Israelite community received from God, was a code for living, both living together, and living under God. Judith our preacher outlined the gift that God had for His people; they were already saved and chosen, and were now given the chance to outwork their salvation and follow God’s 10 commandments. The relationship with God was to sustain and build them up as they travelled together. As the story in Exodus continues, I hope you will be able to join us this Sunday as we explore more of the nature of God during their journey, as well as play your part in our own supportive community.
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...