Present and seen
Today ... not tomorrow
transforming the church for all ages Book places for the Roadshow
12 Myths of Interfaith Engagement
- a new resource for churches
Be inspired by Baptists bringing church to the heart of their community pages 4, 6, 14, 16, 18, 30, 35 A bi-monthly publication of the Fellowship of Baptists in Britain and Ireland
In this edition Page 3
Editorial: Simeon Baker, Baptist Union of Wales, introduces our theme of ‘present and seen’.
Pages 4 - 6
Present and Seen: BUGB President Chris Duffett considers ‘The Invisible Church’ Sunday lunch in Radnorshire - three rural churches in Wales welcoming the community.
Baptist Events: Find out about what’s going on and how you can get involved: The Today ... not tomorrow Tour - transforming the church for all ages.
Using the Seasons: Special Events in 2013 which make ideal crossingplace opportunities.
Pages 10 - 13 Other Events: Events being run by other organisations of interest to you or others in your church Crossing London 2013, ADVENTurous, LICC Executive Toolbox, ReSource weekends, Think Speak Act conference, Crucible course, Incarnate Pioneering and Church Planting Gathering, ‘Three conferences, One Church’ conference. Pages 14 - 19 Present and seen: Read about how some churches are being ‘present and seen’ in their communities: ‘A Missional Journey’, the New Day 2 Shop, Kahaila: church planting on Brick Lane, London. Pages 20 - 29 Resources: A range of resources to help you and your church in mission 12 Myths of Inter Faith Engagement, Journal of Missional Practice, Question, Get in the Picture, Using Social Media, Information for Enquirers, The Nativity DVD and resources from Bible Society, Resources from Damaris (alongside the new Nativity 2 and Life of Pi films). Pages 30 - 37 Youth, Children and Family Workers: News of events and resources suitable for those working with children, young people and families Prayer Spaces in Schools, Hand in Hand conference, Big Ted’s Christmas Gift, Acadia/EBF Youth Ministry Institute, Reach: BWA Youth conference, Journey out of Darkness, Christmas Labyrinth. Page 38
A final word
Contact details: Get in touch with your local representative on the Fellowship of Baptists in Britain and Ireland
is a bi-monthly publication of the Fellowship of Baptists in Britain and Ireland
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Anyone who sends text messages by mobile phone these days will have come across those annoying abbreviations that only seem to make sense to a generation much younger than me. But here’s one that I doubt most of us will know: ‘SMIDSY’ Bradley Wiggins, the Olympic cyclist, might recognise it after his recent accident and probably other cyclists and motorcyclists out there will know what it stands for. Have you worked it out yet? “Sorry mate I didn’t see you”. It’s a sad reality that the majority of people today hardly notice the church. Whilst there are some great examples of the church ‘present and seen’ in the community, many more are unseen, ignored and self-contained within the confines of their buildings. When we’re open for the weekly hour or so on Sunday, our surrounding streets are quiet. When our local streets are bustling with people in the week, our churches are often shut. In the run-up to Christmas, one thing that would always frustrate me in our suburb of Cardiff would be the turning on of the Christmas lights. With hundreds of people turning out to celebrate the bright lights flashing up and down the high street, guess which building remained in darkness? Ironically, it was the church. The very people with reason to celebrate Jesus ‘light of the world’ who brings people from darkness into light – stood quietly in the shadows.
Earlier this year I spent two weeks in Nepal seeing how the church is engaging with its community. I have to say I came away inspired and impressed by the ways in which local church sought to be good news to the people around them. With such limited resources they were making a real difference and as a result people around them were taking notice. What they do in Nepal won’t be the same as what we need to do here, but the principles are the same; being good news in order to share good news.
Of course it’s not all gloom and doom out there. Lots of our churches are exploring imaginative and creative ways to go beyond the four walls and be seen in the community. Working with schools, toddler groups, serving the older generation through lunch clubs, community shops, youth projects, back to work schemes - are just some of the things churches are doing to be present and seen. And if that list intimidates us, remember we can’t do it all, but we can all do something, even if we think we don’t have very much to work with.
Jesus once said “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” There’s no real excuse for ‘Sorry mate I didn’t see you” when it comes to the Church. The Revd Simeon Baker Director of Mission, Baptist Union of Wales
The invisible church Have you heard the story of the group of mums who were surprised to discover that the parents and toddlers group they had enjoyed for years, actually met in a local Baptist church building and not a community centre? Or have you heard the one where most people in a town thought that the old Baptist chapel had been closed for years, when Sunday services happened twice every week. Or have you heard the tale of the Baptist chapel that the village assumed was an exclusive old age people’s club, like some kind of Saga-freemasons! The stories could go on and on. I have discovered that the church in many parts of the UK has become invisible, either through good works freely given without explanation, or through lack of communicating what happens in their buildings. Yes I know that the church isn’t buildings, yet I believe we desperately need to rediscover how we may become even more visible, literally and figuratively, in our communities. When I started my year as President I declared: ‘Too many of our church buildings are like sex shops and bookies.’ The point being that for an outsider they can’t see in, frosted glass obscures the windows and what happens inside is somewhat of a mystery. I thought I may have received a few emails objecting to my analogy, yet I didn’t receive a single one. Not that I like receiving disgruntled deacons’ correspondence. Rather, I’m sad to say, that no one objected as my observations are painfully true. We are somewhat invisible to those who haven’t got a clue about Jesus; let alone what it means to be a Baptist. For those of you who know me, you may be thinking that these opening paragraphs are somewhat uncharacteristically pessimistic. Yes, you’re right; my article isn’t really all doom and gloom and, surprise surprise, I have some good news. Recently I’ve started collecting stories of how Baptists have been able to be seen in their communities. One lavish way that stands out is how Dormansland Baptist Church has been somewhat ‘in-yer-face’ through taking part in the community’s annual carnival, where they facilitate a community art piece. I don’t mean some pretty canvas, but rather a gigantic creation that over 150 people make. Over the past five years they have created the most impressive pieces, all with some explanation and clear purpose that what is being created is made possible through the local Baptist Church. This not only raises the profile of the Christians in their community but changes impressions of church too. Often any community involvement of the local church is presupposed with a collection for a building fund or fundraiser of some-sort.
So far, half way through my Big Hearted Tour, I have spoken to over 50 different groups, ranging from over 60’s cream teas to youth events. Yet out of all the training and speaking engagements it’s when I manage to drag a gaggle of Baptists to
‘get out there’ in public and among people who wouldn’t consider attending one of our services that the greatest impact on those who take part happens. Not only do we experience plenty of people who are willing to engage with good news we also find people compliment us on our approach! Like a well-rehearsed scripted mini-monologue, a man in Dundee stood among the young people who had a free fruit (of the Spirit) stall and said, ‘I like the way you are sharing what you can get from God. This isn’t in a pushy way, but I get this. Thank you!’ It was if I had paid him £10 to reiterate the teaching I had given beforehand. Being visible isn’t being pushy with the gospel. It’s being ready for people to ask us questions and being present for people to see and feel what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Once a month on a Sunday morning I organise something for the city centre of Peterborough called ‘Saints on the Street.’ (St.St)
The vision for this is that many Baptist congregations up and down the UK may replicate what I do and cancel a few Sunday services a year to meet in public for the benefit of the majority of people who wouldn’t consider going to church. My last St.St experience blew people away. I organised a classical music ensemble called Epiphany to perform in coffee shops and pubs in some of the places you would least expect to encounter church on a Sunday morning. People were stunned by the lavish beautiful music, they asked questions and some commented as to the peace they experienced through the music and the unusual way Epiphany played ‘in the Spirit’ as they ministered to people sipping on their cappuccinos or pints of beer. Perhaps you may feel that this approach to being a visible church is too late. You may be like some Baptists I have met on my travels who believe we should have changed what we did years ago to become more accessible and missional, but seeing as we’ve left it too late we just now need to plod on with the way we do what we do. Indeed, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, but the second best time is today. In what ways may you become even more visible for your community? How may you bring good news in a way that people may be able to respond, ‘I see!’ The Revd Chris Duffett Evangelist with The Light Project and President of The Baptist Union of Great Britain
Sunday Lunch in Radnorshire Church life in rural mid Wales is normally very traditional and Baptist Church life is not usually the exception. But Sunday 23 September 2012 was different for Maesyrhelem, Pound, and Gravel Baptist Churches. These three churches form one pastorate in the ministry of the Revd Haydn Davies. Each Church holds a service most Sundays and will have its own AGM. At its AGM in February, the Secretary of Gravel Church - Mr Keith Williams - raised the idea about hosting a Sunday Lunch. He and his wife Glenys had been to one in the village where they live - Llanddewi - and had been hosted by the local parish church: was it possible for the Baptists to host another in a different village. The Gravel members liked the idea and we began to look at the details. The date – Sunday 23 September – was chosen out of circumstances. A fourth church had been in the group and had originally agreed to host a joint service on that Sunday with no other services planned. That church had pulled out of the group, leaving the Sunday clear of any traditional service. So it was agreed to try that Sunday for this new idea with Keith and Glenys to organise the event.
Keith and Glenys Williams - the Church Secretary and his wife - who were responsible for the day
It was agreed that a village community centre be used, as no church hall locally would be big enough, and the village in the middle of the pastorate Llanbister - was chosen. That meant that people would be more likely to come from around the area and that particular hall was a big one. Outside caterers were booked and the price of the tickets was fixed at £11. The choice of meat was beef (Welsh) or chicken with a variety of desserts and cheese and biscuits. The drink with the meal was either water or people brought their own.
At the end of the meal the minister gave an after lunch talk which embraced something of the Christian message. One young farmer who very seldom comes to church commented to the minister that it was a good meal and please can we do it again. Those we turned away asked if we would do it again and please could their names be at the top of the lists for next time.
There were two parish magazines that were used to advertise the event, but most of the 120+ tickets went by word of mouth. There was a wide variety of people present from young children to their great grandparents. Many men who do not normally come to ‘church’ came with their wives and families; other people came with brothers and sisters; others simply came because it was somewhere local to get a three course Sunday lunch. Because we were limited on space we had to turn people away: how many times do we do that on a Sunday?
Those who normally come to church were thrilled that we had so many outsiders present and were also thinking about doing it again. It was worth doing and so we shall have to start planning it again for some other Sunday. The Revd Haydn Davies Minister of Maesyrhelem, Pound, and Gravel Baptist Churches
Through the Today ... not tomorrow tour, churches have the opportunity to hear from resource author Ed Jones (Arise Ministries) about how to use the new resources to encourage discipleship for all ages. Ed will work through the various elements of the Today ... not tomorrow resource during the evening. These events are primarily aimed at church leaders, deacons, youth, children and family workers - but all church members passionate about transforming the church for all ages are welcome. We recommend that at least one person from your group books a ÂŁ16.00 ticket which includes a copy of the resource (to be collected at the roadshow). Other group members can purchase a ticket for ÂŁ6.00, which does not include a copy of the resource.
transforming the church for all ages Today ... not tomorrow is an inter-generational ministry that aims to disciple children and young people in a way which is integrated into the context of the wider church. We aim to celebrate their faith in every way and develop their gifting and skills.
Please note: printed copies of the resource are only available by pre-order when booking for one of the Roadshows and will not be available to purchase at the event.
Wed 6 February
19:30 - 21:30
Clapham Baptist Church, London
Wed 13 February
19:30 - 21:30
Blackley Baptist Church, Huddersfield
Thur 14 February
19:30 - 21:30
West Bridgford Baptist Church, Nottingham
Wed 27 February
19:30 - 21:30
Park Road Baptist Church, Northampton
Tues 5 March
19:45 - 21:45
Croxley Green Baptist Church, Rickmansworth
Wed 6 March
19:30 - 21:30
Crawley Baptist Church, Crawley
Thur 7 March
19:30 - 21:30
Salem Baptist Church, Cheltenham
Mon 11 March
19:30 - 21:30
Andover Baptist Church, Andover
Wed 13 March
19:30 - 21:30
Edward Road Baptist Church, Birmingham
Find out more, and book your place(s) at:
Special Events in 2013 which make ideal crossingplace opportunities
26 January to 3 February Poverty and Homelessness Action Week ‘Can you cast the first stone?’ www.actionweek.org.uk/html/home.html
April is Digital Outreach Month Sunday 21 April Internet Evangelism Day www.internetevangelismday.com
Sunday 27 January Education Sunday 2013 www.educationsunday.org.uk
May Sunday 19 May Pentecost Sunday
Thursday 23 May UEFA Women’s Champions League final - London www.christiansinsport.org.uk Saturday 25 May UEFA Champions League final www.christiansinsport.org.uk 27 May - 2 June National Family Week www.nationalfamilyweek.co.uk
Tuesday 12 February Shrove Tuesday (‘Pancake Day’) www.hopetogether.org.uk/Articles/221872/HOPE/ Resources/Books/HOPE_for_Easter.aspx 13 February - 30 March Lent - beginning on Ash Wednesday www.hopetogether.org.uk/Articles/221872/HOPE/ Resources/Books/HOPE_for_Easter.aspx Thursday 14 February Valentine’s Day www.baptist.org.uk/resources-events/missionfiles/ doc_download/379-sharing-a-message-of-love-onvalentines-day.html 25 February - 10 March Fairtrade Fortnight www.fairtrade.org.uk
June Sunday 2 June The Big Lunch www.thebiglunch.com Sunday 16 June Father’s Day www.baptist.org.uk/resources-events/missionfiles/ doc_download/373-fathers-day.html
March Thursday 7 March World Book Day www.openthebook.net Friday 8 March International Women’s Day www.internationalwomensday.com Sunday 10 March Mothering Sunday www.baptist.org.uk/resources-events/missionfiles/ doc_download/677-mothering-sunday.html Friday 15 March Red Nose Day www.rednoseday.com 24-29 March Holy Week www.hopetogether.org.uk/Articles/221872/HOPE/ Resources/Books/HOPE_for_Easter.aspx Sunday 30 March Easter Sunday
Friday 1 November All Souls Day Remembering loved ones who have died, including through miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death www.careforthefamily.org.uk/article/?article=434
Holiday Clubs for Children
Sunday 10 November Remembrance Sunday
For a range of themes, see www.scriptureunion.org.uk/ HolidayandMidweekClubs/2368.id
Holiday at Home for elderly
Sunday 1 December Advent Sunday www.baptist.org.uk/resources-events/resourcesfor-advent-and-christmas.html?start=1
September / October Harvest www.hopetogether.org.uk www.bmsworldmission.org/resources/video/ harvest
December www.baptist.org.uk/component/docman/doc_ download/790-christmas-crossingplaces.html Get in the Picture www.getinthepicture.org.uk Carol service www.baptist.org.uk/resources-events/resourcesfor-advent-and-christmas.html?start=2 Christingle Service www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/ fundraising-and-appeals/christingle Crib Service www.baptist.org.uk/resources-events/missionfiles/ seasonal-resources/doc_download/372-cribservice.html
Wednesday 25 December Christmas Day
Early September Back to School with God www.prayforschools.org/events/pfs-events/backto-school-with-god September The Big Welcome www.thebigwelcome.org
September / October Harvest Sunday 27 October Bible Sunday Resources from www.biblesociety.org.uk Thursday 31 October Halloween www.scriptureunion.org.uk/Families/Parents/ Talkingabout/Halloween/1198.id
Crossing London 2013 A major missional initiative will be taking place in London during 2013. This is seeking to build on the work done in 2012 where many churches were involved in events around the Olympics. The initiative is called Crossing London 2013 and more information about this can be found at:
The initiative seeks to enable an authentic presentation of gospel that does not separate proclamation from action, but fuses them.
Join us in prayer
In London, there are a number of organisations that are already addressing these issues. It is our aim to draw these together in an association that will resource our churches in integral mission and make a real impact in the city. As with all such initiatives there is a danger that effortsunday can be put into the event and then we all gopray backfor to what we did blessing to be before. Our hope and prayer is that we will and enable upon your church leaders, individual Christians and churches to change its leaders the way they think, living the life of Christ in every place where we are found.
I am on the Executive representing the London Baptist Association. Crossing London 2013 has four strands: Encouraging Leaders – seeking to encourage leaders to think afresh about the missional opportunities around them. In the busyness of ministry it is too easy look inward rather than outward. Many would love to be refreshed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, to inspire and enable congregations to reach out to their communities.
pray for Jesus to Andrews be the Geoff centre of CRossinG Regional Minister Team Leader LonDon – Mission 2013 London Baptist Association
Encouraging Christians – so often Christians can lack the confidence and vision to understand that they are disciples in every part of their life. Church life can get separated from work and home life. It is too easy to see our church life as the place where we serve God and forget to see that we serve him in every part of life. Crossing London will seek to encourgage people to live out their faith in Jesus in an authentic way in their day to day lives.
tuesday pray for the formation of Borough and Church Leadership Teams
wednesday pray for strong attendance at the information Borough Briefings
Engaging Communities – by helping churches to demonstrate ‘love in action’ in broken communities where people often feel trapped and isolated. Churches are becoming more aware of their need to engage with communities and there are good examples of this already in place. However, there are still many churches who would value resources that enable them to do this. Crossing London will be addressing this.
thursday pray for inspired plans to mobilise children and youth programmes
Encountering Jesus – by inviting people to hear the Good News simply and thoughtfully explained. We are seeking to organise events where this can be done.
WILL yOU pray for unity among SHARE yOUR Christian leaders fAITH?
saturday pray for all financial needs to be met
Crossing London is an exciting initiative. It builds on a growing understanding among Christians that as disciples we are here to make a difference, to bring the blessings of the future shown to us by Jesus into the present.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Applications are now open for Executive Toolbox 2013 A course from LICC’s Work Forum Three 24-hour modules from January to June equipping you to make a difference in your workplace culture, relationships and leadership. Dates for Executive Toolbox 2013 are: • 18th/19th January 2013
• 21st/22nd March 2013
Saturday 1 December Union Chapel in London
• 20th/21st June 2013 Join a cohort of 36 Christians in mid to senior level positions of influence at St Katharine Conference Centre, described as ‘an oasis in the heart of the city of London’.
ADVENTurous is a one-day festival of ideas, artistry, spoken word and live music imagining how we got to where we are, and how we might move from where we are towards a new place in the future – all through three prisms: faith, ecology and the economy.
You will develop a deeper biblical vision of God’s purposes for work, analyse the culture of your organisation, develop spiritual strategies for change impacting yourself, your team and your organisation and build your confidence and resilience as a Christian leader in the workplace for the long term.
In the midst of struggling global economies, political transition and the end of the world* (apparently, according to the Mayan calendar at least!), the Christian season of Advent can be seen as a sign of new arrivals, a world re-imagined, cultures disrupted and paradigms well and truly shifted.
“The course has broadened my knowledge, deepened my theology and improved my biblical interpretation skills.” George, 2011 Find out more at: www.licc.org.uk/engaging-withwork/executive-toolbox
Bringing together thinkers, activists and artists from different faith traditions (and none) for a day of exploration, debate and wonder, Advent-urous is an event hosted jointly by Greenbelt and Union Chapel, drawing on a number of creative partners from a range of different networks – all with an interest in trying to conspire towards a better tomorrow. Confirmed contributors include Mike Frost, Ann Morisy, Ann Pettifor, Ruth Valerio and Harry Baker, plus art curated by Gavin Mart from Engedi Arts. This event is brought to you through the collaboration of Andy Frost, Matt & Juls Hollidge, Barney Barron, Peter Dominey, Jonny Baker, Paul Northup, Karen Stallard, Phil Smith and Juliet Kilpin. For more information, see: www.adventurous.me.uk
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Saturday 2 February 2013 Carrs Lane Church Centre, Birmingham B4 7SX
ReSource is a Mission Training course to enable you to learn through experience and meet the people out there doing mission. ReSource runs across four weekends in a year and those involved get to hang out in the communities, hear the stories and then learn to think about mission in their own context. You can come for one or more weekends.
A one-day conference of inspiration and practical advice to help join the dots between action, politics and discipleship. Speakers: • The Revd Dr Giles Fraser, priest, writer and broadcaster • The Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church
The weekends run from November 2012 - May 2013 Cost for an individual weekend: £95 The remaining three weekends will be:
Workshops to include: • Preaching and praying for justice • Getting your message across to your local media • Ten top tips for running a campaign • Lies, damned lies and statistics! • What are the needs of my local area? • Praxis: From theology to action using the pastoral cycle • A local politician’s guide to changing your community
• 25-27 Jan: The Space We Inhabit - Leeds • 12-14 Apr: Mission in a Multi Faith Context Birmingham • 10-12 May: To Be Church in a Changing Culture Somerset For any more information and booking please look at www.resourcemission.com or email Rachel Bevan at email@example.com
The cost (£10) includes lunch and coffee. For more details and to book a place go to: http://dotsurvey.me/09bvi0c-0675527
Crucible consists of three intensive training weekends each year to equip Christians to follow Jesus on the margins. To download the 2012-13 brochure, see: www.baptist.org.uk/component/docman/doc_ download/874-crucible-brochure.html
Facilitators and speakers
Along with contributions and facilitation from the Incarnate steering team, there will be two guest speakers: Jonny Baker inspires creative leadership and works with those who have the gift of not fitting in. Jonny established and leads Pioneer Mission Leadership Training for the Church Mission Society. www.about.me/jonnybaker
Tuesday 5 - Thursday 7 March Somersal Cottages, Derbyshire
Jim Barker is a consultant to non-profit organisations and tutor on the CMS Pioneer Leadership Course.
The annual gathering provides a great opportunity to meet with those involved in pioneering, those overseeing it and those simply wanting to find out why this area is so important. The gathering covers church planting and pioneering in general and this year’s theme is on pioneering leadership. It has become known for its three days of friendly conversations, insightful main sessions, collaborative workshops and stories of mission.
Cost: £125 per person including meals, the event and accommodation in shared rooms. Single rooms at a £95 supplement. Book your place at: www.eventbee.com/v/incarnategathering2013
[ONE CHURCH] 10th November 2012: Cambridge Does a Mixed Economy Really Make Sense? Do fresh expressions work practically and theologically?
16th March 2013: Birmingham How not to grow a fresh expression of Church: Common mistakes and how to avoid them JOANNE COX
27th April 2013: Sheffield Moment or Movement: Making fresh expressions sustainable DAVID MALE MICHAEL MOYNAGH
A Missional Journey When Ali Boulton and her family, supported by a core team of three other couples, were the first to move into a brand new housing estate in April 2009, they had no real map as to where this journey was taking them, although they had a calling to be Christ’s presence in the area and to love and serve this new community. we have worked together to form a constituted Community Association and will be running the new community centre. The line between ‘community’ and ‘church’ is blurred. Together we facilitate community events including a coach trip for 125 people to Crealy, a Jubilee party and local Olympics - as well as forming groups that bless, such as a litter-picking group.
We had worked closely with local churches, the Housing Association and the Council during the months of preparation, and for the first year sought to visit everyone who moved in. I welcomed each household with a welcome basket, introduced myself as a Baptist minister who was here to serve people of all faiths and none. The basket contained simple practical gifts and information about how to contact me. I asked for nothing in return.
Recently one of the ways we have shared God’s love and connected with people is through an Empowerment Course. The course came out of a heartfelt prayer nearly two years ago as I walked around our community. I sensed God was calling us to something that would make a real impact on people’s day to day lives, especially those who faced daily challenges: something that would be affirming, and would develop a sense of belonging.
People were friendly and lots got in touch. Some wanted practical information, others had ideas, and we met up to chat and get to know each other. As a core team, we felt that God had said we should be guided by the community and join in with what they wanted rather than impose our own ideas, so this is what we did. The Housing Association partnered us in the first community day and soon ideas were flooding in from the new residents: a community party, parent and toddler group, community rounders, youth club and a community nativity play were some of the first ideas that we were able to help facilitate.
As I prayed I became impressed by the call to bless and empower those who may not feel empowered. As a former teacher I knew something of the positive effects of training in emotional literacy, and through one of those lovely ‘coincidences’ I was able to meet with a specialist in this field.
Alongside this, relationships began to develop and there were the more personal requests of support and friendship from a range of people in different situations, some quite challenging.
Grant applications followed and the local Housing Association agreed to fund everything from training to the crèche, refreshments and the delivery of the course.
The community grew together, friendships deepened and some members of the core team moved into the area. People were interested in faith and talked to us about it and asked us to talk to their children! The depth of interest in all things spiritual amazed us. There had been so much interest that the first Easter we ran some events to explore Easter, which in turn led to people asking to gather with us to explore faith and worship on a weekly basis in my home. Shortly afterwards the first person came to faith, asked for her children to be blessed and was baptised in our back garden. It was amazing to see people’s lives being transformed. We continued to work alongside the Council, Housing Association and other agencies and seek to listen to God and the community. As residents
We are continuing the journey of walking alongside people sharing life and faith, seeking to bless individuals and families whatever their situation and wherever they are on their journey. It is often challenging, and at times we are unsure what to do in the face of a variety of situations. This week marked a significant mile-stone in the journey. A letter dropped onto the doorstep informing us that the church has been accepted into membership of BUGB! We are aware however that this new church is a fragile green shoot which needs careful nurturing if it is to grow to maturity. Alongside this we still want to focus on blessing and loving the wider community. We thank God for his faithfulness and that he seems to be calling a growing number of people to join us as we continue on this journey.
Nearly two years after that initial prayer, we are rolling out the Empowerment Course and something very special seems to be happening. The group of, mainly, women come because they want to feel more empowered, to take control and to understand themselves and others better. There is a fragility about the group so, as we meet first thing in the morning after school drop off, tea and coffee and croissants help us to connect with one another and build confidence before we sit down to work and share together. As a group we are getting to know each other better and learning about ourselves. I am witnessing the growth of self-confidence and self-worth. The feedback we are getting is surprising and humbling. The course has been described as ‘life changing’. One woman stated:
The Revd Ali Boulton Minister at ‘The Stowe’
‘The Empowerment Course gives me a safe place to learn that I’m not so very different from everyone else, and how to think outside of myself and cope with people I would normally be intimidated by.’ For over three years we have been seeking to bless and serve the community holistically. The weekly gathering of those who want to explore faith and worship - church for the unchurched - has grown too big for my home and we meet in the new school hall. We gather around tea and coffee and cake to share together, worship and explore the bible. With lots of young children, it’s generally quite informal! Amidst this ‘informality’ however, it is encouraging to see new people come to faith, be baptised and join in the vision to serve and bless. Two of the people who we have baptised have recently attended ‘Crucible’ – a course run by Urban Expression which explores following Jesus on the margins. It’s great to see indigenous Christian leaders emerging to serve alongside the original team.
New Day 2 Shop We also felt there would be openings for gospel opportunities.
New Day 2 shop is an outreach from New Day Baptist Church in Morton, rural south Lincolnshire. We use the shop which is part of our premises, just across the road from the church, as a community shop. We sell craft items and secondhand items, including furniture on 20% commission, as well as accepting donated goods. Commission items are left on sale for two months, then returned if unsold which keeps the stock fresh. We don’t sell clothing as the shop is too small, or electrical items due to safety requirements. The shop opens five days a week at times which fit with those going to and returning from school.
The shop has proved so popular that others have tried to copy us commercially, but the profit margins are simply not large enough and they have soon closed. For us it is not about profit margins but the desire to help others and reach out to them with the love of Christ and the gospel.
This year, for the first time, we have offered a different thematic sale each month, such as a book sale, games sale etc. This has brought fresh interest and different people to the shop.
We have found that in these days of economic difficulties, more and more people need to find different opportunities to raise extra funds. Even children and young people have brought items in, with parents’ permission, to help raise funds for themselves. We also trade, both ways, with the local Pre-School and a toddler group in a nearby village helping them to keep their activities fresh.
The shop, which underwent intensive updating a few years ago, was set up to bridge the gap between the church and the community. We wanted it to offer a place where people would come without feeling intimidated and benefit practically.
Many people rely on the money from their sales to take the family out during school holidays, to go towards urgently needed equipment, to help with petrol for a long journey and a whole host of other needs.
We often find that people moving into the area need to buy lowcost items to furnish their new home. Some have moved from challenging situations with nothing much at all and it is our privilege to help them make a home once again. Our customers Rosie Hughes - Shop Manager also include a parent needing a carpet for her daughter’s bedroom and grandparents who buy items for visiting grandchildren. There have been many times when people either buy from us or go without.
We have many opportunities to hand out information about the church and invite people to come along. Sometimes their first visit over the road to church is to attend our toddler group or come for a drink at our coffee morning, or visit our handcrafts club - but these are all useful steps to sharing the gospel and seeing them step inside the church on a Sunday morning where we trust that our services are relevant and inviting. We do have some in regular attendance whose first contact was the shop. One of them attended the Alpha course, made a commitment for the Lord and is growing in her faith. There are many opportunities to witness, pray and chat with people. Many conversations reveal situations like the loss of a job, divorce, bereavement, serious illness, etc - even suicide. It is important therefore that all our staff are members, of New Day Baptist Church and ready to speak and pray. We have four regular volunteers and others who help out when needed.
The news of the shop has spread far and wide. Many who find us, use us to sell items while others simply enjoy browsing the wide variety of goods on offer – including a kitchen sink! People are often surprised to find a shop like ours in a village and this gives us great opportunities to tell them about our Baptist church and why we run the shop.
The Revd David Hughes Minister of New Day Baptist Church, Morton
Listen to David talking about the New Day 2 Shop on the Baptist Union of Great Britain’s YouTube Channel. www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDPv7d-CtNQ
out in cafes, to share their lives and problems, he began to think about planting church as a café on Brick Lane. It would be a place where community could happen - with a faith community at its centre, building relationships with people to build a community together. Through this they would create opportunities to not only share the gospel, but be the gospel to these people.
An exciting new church plant in a multi faith community and a great example of living alongside people of other faiths. Kahaila is a Café Church which has been open for four months on Brick Lane in London. The story began four and a half years ago, as Baptist minister Paul Unsworth came to Brick Lane one Sunday morning. He was amazed by what he saw as he walked up and down Brick Lane and saw about 20,000 people who visit the area for the various Sunday markets. He saw Muslims out on the street evangelising, sharing the ‘true Islam’ rather than what is reported in the media. He saw people doing Tarot card reading. But there was no Christian presence, because Christians were in church on the Sunday morning. So it made Paul think about what it would look like to do church in a place like this.
Knowing that this would be a long and timeconsuming process, Paul left the church at which he was working at the time. He approached Home Mission about obtaining funding, and prayed about whether this was something God wanted, and if so that he would provide the resources needed to make it happen. Although it was a risky project, needing a lot of investment, and with a lot of uncertainty about whether it would succeed or not, within six weeks, Paul had managed to get £60,000 from various groups. This encouraged Paul to know that God was behind the plans. The next thing to do was find suitable premises, and finally – a year and a half later – they found a property on Brick Lane. They had to invest a lot of money in renovating the property, but God provided key people with key skills to do the work needed.
The majority of people in Brick Lane are in their 20s and 30s – the ‘dying generation’ in many churches, and the key people we need to be reaching out to. Recognising that this age-group loves hanging
Having obtained the lease in April 2012, the café opened in June. The aim was to run it as a commercial business making money – recognising that if the business failed, the mission failed. One of the aims was to become one of the top coffee shops in London, so they sourced the best of everything they could – excellent coffee and amazing cake. Immediately the success has been unbelievable. Four months on, they are doing four times the amount of business they had anticipated at this stage. So many people love to come and relax with the coffee, cake, customer service. People are blogging about it online. But they also make it clear they are not just a business, but a group of Christians coming together seeking what God is calling them to do, and engaging with people.
For many people, church is like a red telephone box – part of the British history and culture, but they have no need for it. What Paul is trying to do is make church relevant and accessible to them. Church is about everything we do. Having a conversation in the café at the Friday origami session is as much about being church as having a service on a Wednesday evening. These services on a Wednesday evening include a lot of dialogue – Paul gives a 20 minute sermon, but then people get into groups to talk together about what they’ve just heard, and think about how it applies to their lives.
On the opening night, a man came in during a time of worship and spoke to Paul after the celebration service about how he had felt all ‘tingly’ during the worship. When Paul explained that this was the Holy Spirit, the man said ‘this is my church’. Paul offered to help explore faith issues with him, including studying the Bible together, and four months later he wants to be baptised, and has brought another friend along. So now Paul runs two weekly Bible studies. He is also seeing so many spiritual encounters in the café. One of the local Muslim shop owners came to ask for prayer about some of the issues he was facing. Every Sunday they have a bring and share supper club to help engage with the community. God has shown that creating opportunities to listen to people is key to building relationships. Having built friendships, the discussion often leads to who we are and what we believe, and people are then very receptive to hearing from Christians.
When we think like this, it stresses the importance of being in the community and seeing what is needed in the community. When the Spirit comes in power, it sends us out. We need to get out of our churches a bit more to be where people are, not expect them to come to where we are. To hear Paul Unsworth share the story of setting up Kahaila, go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TomQ-TOmA2I
Baptists to dispel Inter Faith myths with new resource ‘God only works through Christians’, ‘Other faiths only engage in Inter Faith relations to convert us’ and ‘We can’t work alongside people of other faiths’. These are just three of the 12 myths of Inter Faith engagement challenged in a new resource from the Baptist Union of Great Britain launched on 19 November during Inter Faith Week. 12 Myths of Inter Faith Engagement is designed to be used in a small group session to allow for discussion. It is hoped that by working through these myths, Christians will have an increased knowledge of other faiths and a new confidence in how to engage with them. Other myths include ‘Being involved in Inter Faith activity means we have to worship together’, ‘The Inter Faith agenda seeks to make one world religion’ and ‘Muslims are taking over the country…we need to keep them back’. “Our prayer is that 12 Anne Lane, one of the authors of Myths of Inter Faith the resource, with Ian Bunce Engagement might be a resource to inspire and equip the work to which we are all called,” says Ian Bunce, Head of Mission Department at the Baptist Union of Great Britain. “By confronting and overcoming the myths that hold us back, we can become more confident in engaging with our neighbours from different religions and cultures and building good relationships.” 12 Myths of Inter Faith Engagement are available to order through the Baptist Union of Great Britain Online Store (www.baptist.org.uk/resources/bugb-online-store.html) for £3 a copy.
We are excited to introduce The Missional Network’s (TMN) Journal of Missional Practice. The Journal shapes and participates in a focused conversation centred on the convictions of TMN. It is practice driven; however, the conversation is based on deepening theological foundations.
It invites contributions from academics and practitioners and encourages interaction between these communities. This learning community will be shaped by practitioners, students and academics in a renewed engagement between gospel and culture sharing stories, experiments, scholarship and questions. To access the Journal, and submit articles to it, see: http://themissionalnetwork.com/index.php/tmnjournal
The idea for Question came from Baptist minister Jonathan Vaughan-Davies, from Bethel Baptist Church in Cardiff. He tells us: ‘This project is a vision I’ve carried for many years, and to see God bringing it together has been so thrilling. The heart behind this course is simply to offer people a place to explore some questions about God that people often ask early on in their journey of faith. In its basic form the course is based on countless conversations I’ve had with people over the years as I’ve tried to communicate who Jesus is, and the love that He has for them – demonstrated in his sacrificial death on the cross. ‘My prayer is that Question might simply be a resource to inspire and equip you in the work to which we are all called.’
Think about it, talk about it, question... Who am I? What is life about? Why is there so much suffering in the world? If God exists, then what is he like?
Answers don’t come wrapped up and neatly packaged. There are big questions which need examining. Question is a thought-provoking journey to stir up that sense of longing. Each episode connects our everyday experiences with the timeless truths of the Bible, providing direction for the conversation that follows.
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After each of the six talks, the DVD has questions which the group can journey through at their own pace. They are a chance for people to engage with the issues, and will help to guide the discussions.
We’re delighted to be launching Get in the Picture again this year with a brand new image and website. It has been great to see the way in which churches across the country have got involved in the Get in the Picture initiative over the past three years. Get in the Picture took place in 100 towns across the UK last Christmas, enabling churches to connect with their community and make the most of this crossingplace opportunity. Get in the Picture has been developed from an idea shared by BUGB President Chris Duffett, who piloted it through the work of the Light Project in 2008. It’s a clear reminder of the true Christmas story, and offers the opportunity to engage in conversation and invite people to your Christmas services and activities.
This simple idea enables churches to get the Christmas message right onto the streets of their town, village or community – setting up a stable scene in the lead up to Christmas and inviting people to dress up and literally ‘get in the picture’. Posing as figures in a nativity scene they have their photo taken, free of charge, which is then uploaded to the Get in the Picture website ready to be downloaded and sent to family and friends.
This year we have refreshed the Get in the Picture website, with the aim of making it much easier for people to find their pictures. Information for churches wanting to take part is available on the website, along with a simple registration process. There is also an opportunity to share information about the Christmas services taking place in your town.
Start discussing the idea with your church now! Perhaps you could encourage a team of people from local churches to work together to create a stable scene and costumes, and run Get in the Picture in your community this year.
All you need to know is in the leaflet sent to all Baptist churches in August (and available to download from www.baptist.org.uk/component/ docman/doc_download/844-get-in-the-picture-flyer. html) and the Get in the Picture Mission File from getinthepicture.org.uk/about-project/resources
Have a look at the website www.getinthepicture.org.uk to find out more about whatâ€™s involved, and give it a try!
In October, Baptist minister and theology tutor Steve Holmes began a three part series on social media in the Baptist Times. In the first of this series, he explains why churches should be on Facebook and Twitter. On Twitter there is no ‘host’, no dominant voice; everyone can speak equally, and conversation flows naturally. The Web is no longer a sermon; it is afterchurch coffee.
Think of it like this: when it began, the worldwide web was like a newspaper or a book: there were pages other people had published that you could read if you wanted. You could even publish your own pages, with a bit of effort, but essentially someone wrote stuff for other people to read. To change the analogy slightly, the original web was like a traditional sermon, or a speech: content flowed one way only.
This shift, from book to conversation, has been described as a move from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, borrowing the numbers used to indicate versions of software. At the heart of Web 2.0 is interactivity: the Web is now a place to go to meet people and to engage with them, not just a place to go to find information. It is a community, not a library. The Web is now all about social media.
Blogging changed that, particularly with ‘comment’ boxes. We got the question-and-answer session after the speech. People could leave their own thoughts or queries, and could get a reply. But the model was still fairly formal - a presenter who took, and perhaps responded to, questions and comments, but who remained the host of the conversation and the dominant voice within it. With the advent of social media, the web, or a significant chunk of it, has become a conversation.
I hope that your church has caught up with Web 1.0, that you have a website, which is well-designed, kept up-to-date, and includes helpful information for potential visitors.
Social media is a new game entirely, however. Your Web 1.0 presence - your website - offers you great dangers, and some opportunities; in Web 2.0, there are some dangers for the local church, but they come with enormous opportunities. To spell this out: most people today are going to find your church by its website. (Really; they are.) As someone has said ‘a church without a website is like a church without a front door’. A well-designed and up-to-date website will give potential visitors both a sense of what your church is like and enough information (maps, times, ...) to connect with you should they want to. Get this wrong, and you’ve slammed the door in the face of most potential visitors and newcomers; get it right, and you’ve at least created the possibility for people to connect with you, should they like what they see.
On Twitter, by contrast, there is only one space, which is completely public. In theory, the whole world can see anything you tweet. In practice, of course, no one is listening (imagine trying to keep track of every conversation in after-church coffee with 100 million people...).
At the moment, by contrast, getting social media wrong is not going to hurt you that much (unless you say something crashingly stupid in public...); getting it right could help you significantly.
Twitter gets around that in two ways: followers and hashtags. One Twitter user can ‘follow’ another; when she does, she will see everything the other user tweets in her ‘timeline’. Unlike Facebook befriending, Twitter following is not reciprocal. I follow many people on Twitter who don’t follow me, and I don’t follow everyone who does follow me (this week, a number of Swedish theological students have started following me; I’m honoured that they’re interested, of course, but following them back would fill my screen with stuff in Swedish...)
What does ‘getting it right’ look like? A sustained and valued participation in relevant conversations. You can quickly become known on Twitter particularly - as someone who is helpful, insightful, witty, or all three, and so as someone whom people want to know and to listen to. How about that as a reputation for your church to have? So what is social media, concretely? To begin with there are two platforms that matter: Facebook and Twitter. There are lots of others, but these are the big ones, and so the places to start. They are different. FB is built on reciprocal relationships, has a degree of presumed privacy, and retains a sense of owned spaces. By contrast, no-one owns any space on Twitter; it is almost entirely public; and relationships can be asymmetric.
Hashtags are words or phrases with a ‘hash’ (#) in front - #BaptistTimes - that are added to tweets to provide an easy way to search for tweets from people you might not follow about a particular subject. An event will often publicise a hashtag; I’m just back from the Evangelical Alliance Council meeting, where we used #EACouncil; searching for that on Twitter gives you everything that is being tweeted about the meeting. When a group of us reviewed the Council meeting, one person, who could not attend, commented that she had been following the Twitter response, and was able to give us insight into which sessions had provoked the most reaction and so on.
On Facebook, you connect with people by becoming ‘friends’; generally, only your friends see what you put up, and you only see what your friends put up (in reality it is a little more complicated than that, and you can sometimes see what ‘friends of friends’ have posted). Every FB member has a space of her own, a ‘wall’ which she, and others, can post on; all her friends can see the posts on her wall, and can add comments. FB friendship implies some level of mutual connection and appreciation, and must be agreed to by both sides before it happens.
For a local church, Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with your own people - particularly younger people (who are probably used to organising at least some parts of their lives via Facebook interactions); Twitter is a great way to interact with the wider community. As a Twitter user, you can engage with a broader Christian community, and with others in your own local area (and with other interest groups, if your church is involved - there are significant Twitter communities sharing news around human traffiking or debt counselling or student mission, for instance). You can eavesdrop on these conversations and be informed, or you can contribute. By contributing, you have a chance to become a valued and respected voice in conversations around local matters. Others in the community could come to know your name, and that you are friendly, supportive, sometimes funny, and generally talk sense. You also have a chance to connect more widely - with other Baptists, or with others in an interest group. You will make friends, who will pray for you and ask your prayers, who will be interested in the events of your life, and free - sometimes too free - with advice when you ask for it, about anything from the best Thai restaurant in Edinburgh to who you should work for.
in Next featuring a pornographic image and a Bible verse; he tweeted about it, and others followed; that same afternoon Next apologised and withdrew the garment from sale nationally. (Gareth wrote about this experience here: www.care.org.uk/gareths-blog/ inspiring-lessons-from-the-next-campaign). Microcampaigning like this has been a big part of my Twitter experience this summer, as it happens, and for a while at least it is going to be powerful. If this sounds good, join us in the social media world. You can sign up for Facebook here: www.facebook. com and Twitter here: https://twitter.com. Both are completely free. If you join, be sure to link up with me - Steve Holmes on Facebook; @SteveRHolmes on Twitter - and I’ll try to put you in touch with a few others and point you in some interesting directions.
Social media is a community. It is a place to share and to relate. It is a chance for real-time feedback on events and issues - whether accounts of what God is saying during a BUGB day of prayer or humorous comments over a Paralympic opening ceremony (seriously, it’s the only way to get through the athletes’ parade...). It is, really, a community. (There is an odd social media moment when you meet someone in person who you have laughed with, prayed for, shared hopes and dreams with, and generally become close to, all over the Net.)
This is one article of three on social media. The second predicts where this rapidly-changing world is going and can be found at: www.baptisttimes. co.uk/index.php/comment-opinion/573-the-future-ofsocial-media. The third article, offering a theological account of social media can be found at: www. baptisttimes.co.uk/index.php/comment-opinion/647a-theology-of-social-media
The other thing to say about social media is that - at present - it is a great leveller. All but the biggest names do their own tweeting, and (at least occasionally) read their own tweets. Earlier this week I saw an exchange involving jokes about a trainee minister I know (online - we’ve never met) being invited to preach in the church of the other tweeter, one Rick Warren.
Steve Holmes Baptist minister who teaches theology at the University of St Andrews.
Because people read tweets, there is the possibility of rapid-fire campaigns on Twitter. Last week, Gareth Davies of Care was told about a T-shirt being sold
Steve blogs at www.steverholmes.org.uk/blog
Information for Enquirers The Christian Enquiry Agency provides information for people who want to find out about the Christian faith and Jesus Christ. Two years ago the CEA launched a new website which is an encyclopaedia of what Christians believe. From the privacy of their computer, people can read about Jesus, about faith, about love, death, sex, suffering and enjoying life to the full. Anyone exploring the site is invited to click a button to contact the Christian Enquiry Agency by email. CEA can send them a Gospel, answer a question, pray for them, find them a welcoming church or start an email conversation – whatever they ask for! A mobile version of the site means that people can access immediate information wherever they happen to be.
The ReJesus website also offers people the opportunity to find out more about Jesus.
Why not add a link from your church website (instructions about how to do it in an eye-catching way are at www.christianity.org.uk/link) or write www.christianity.org.uk at the foot of every email, church newsletter or poster?
Based around four sections it covers: Story - 13 modules about Jesus’ life, downloads of the Gospels and a pub quiz to test your knowledge Lives - 16 modules looking at Jesus’ famous followers - from ancient saints to modern-day heroes. Spirituality - 12 modules that aim to help people discover more about prayer and the inner life. Creativity - 16 modules that show how Jesus has been interpreted and explored by artists, writers and film makers. Why not encourage enquirers to explore www.rejesus.co.uk and then arrange a follow-up conversation with them?
The Nativity DVD is a great resource, and the DVD being sold by the Bible Society has some discussion notes to accompany it (accessible from the website). The DVD also includes the public showing licence, so there is no need for churches or schools to obtain an additional licence. If you are looking for ideas to reach your community this Christmas, this may be suitable for you. Copies are available from Bible Society at the discounted price of £11.99. More information about the DVD is available from: http://shop.biblesociety.org.uk/nativity
Resources for Churches, Schools and Community Groups from Damaris Damaris is an educational charity that is growing very fast through partnership with the film industry. They create official community resources to accompany the latest feature films. These resources help a wide range of community groups to engage with the themes and ideas explored in the films. At one time, every parent and child knew all about Nativity plays, but now it’s far less likely that the Nativity story will take centre stage in anybody’s festive calendar. In 2009, the film Nativity! tried to turn this trend around. A comical take on the tradition of the school Nativity play, the film found flustered teacher Mr Maddens attempting to outshine the neighbouring private school by putting on an allsinging, all-dancing extravaganza. However, thanks to the assistance of the over-enthusiastic children and teaching aide Mr Poppy, nothing went quite according to plan. In the midst of havoc, a clear message emerged - Christmas isn’t about getting the things we want, but about making room for the hopes and dreams of others. It’s about the small people: the uncool, the humble and the rejected.
The sparkle and shine of Christmas once again comes to life in Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger – in UK cinemas 23 November. Damaris is producing free resources for schools, community groups and churches, all built around clips from the film. They offer an opportunity for churches to engage with their local school.
This Christmas, the pupils of St Bernadette’s are heading to Wales to compete in the National choir contest; ‘A Song for Christmas’. New supply teacher Mr Peterson (David Tennant) has the unenviable task of trying to curb their hysterical enthusiasm but reluctantly finds himself getting swept along!
All are available at www.damaris.org/nativity2
Searching for Shore
The Damaris Trust hopes to stimulate and guide these conversations with a set of free resources based around the film. Two ‘Thinking Film’ videos address the story’s more complex philosophical questions, while four ‘Reel to Real’ minidocumentaries delve deeper into the spiritual issues. All of these videos are accompanied by leader’s guides, which not only provide discussion questions and extra information, but also recipes and quizzes for a fun evening.
A trip to the cinema should be a wonderful journey into the unknown. And Life of Pi, released on 20 December, certainly is. Piscine ‘Pi’ Patel (Suraj Sharma) grows up in his father’s zoo in Pondicherry, India. When the family decide to move – along with their entire menagerie – to Canada, Pi’s life will be changed forever. A tragic shipwreck leaves him adrift in a dinghy, with no means of rescue, and only a Bengal tiger for company. It looks like the end: but Pi is no ordinary boy, and this is to be no ordinary journey. What follows is a provocative parable about truth, hope and faith.
These resources are designed be used by any faith or community group, and will hopefully spark discussion and debate in all kinds of settings. But Church groups wishing to run outreach events based on the film will find a supplementary guide especially for them. This resource ties Life of Pi’s questions into a Christian perspective, offering a chance for the group to reflect on what the Bible says about us, and about God.
The topics which Life of Pi raises are hugely important to everyone, regardless of their beliefs. Is there a God, and if so, what is he like? What does it mean to be human? How can we know what’s true, and why does it matter? It’s unusual to find a major film engaging with so many big questions, and as such the story offers some fantastic opportunities. Whether or not we agree with the conclusions it draws, we should certainly welcome the chance for conversations.
Many people, like Pi, are adrift and searching for a secure shore. Perhaps some will find that their trip to the cinema becomes, not just a fantastical escape, but a chance to navigate towards some lifechanging truths. Life of Pi is released in cinemas on 20 December. For free church and community resources see www.damaris.org/lifeofpi
Prayer Spaces in Schools I don’t know if you have ever had that feeling that you’re taking part in something really special. For me the four days I spent in Ladygrove Park Primary School with the charity Prayer Spaces in Schools has been one of those times. Other than hearing another church member share a little bit about her experiences earlier in the year at Drayton Community Primary School, I knew very little about the organisation. One of the teachers had told me that she had been given the OK by the Headmaster to invite them in and she needed to find people from local churches (four for each morning and afternoon) to help the sessions to run smoothly. That was a bit of a challenge with so many people working or tied up with their own preschool children during the day but with the support of people from the other local churches, I managed to find just enough. And so I turned up on the Tuesday morning.
A closer look showed the four areas to be for: • Thank You Prayers – a space to think what we are grateful for and to make something out of Playdough and/or write/draw on a Post-It Note to express that gratitude. • Please Prayers – a space to think about situations that we would like to see changed. This was the gazebo with the bubble tube. Post It Notes could be stuck on the tube and we could watch the bubbles ascending, imaging that they were our prayers, or we could simply draw something on a huge piece of paper. • Sorry Prayers – a space to think about things we regret saying or doing. We could write or draw in a sand tray and then shake it until the sand was smooth again – a symbol of God’s forgiveness.
Year Six were on their week-long residential so one of their teachers had kindly given over her classroom to Prayer Spaces. And given over it was. The room had been emptied of tables and chairs, all the walls were covered over by plain hangings and the room had been divided into quarters by two large gazebos, one of which had camouflage netting and the other a huge acrylic bubble tube. The rest of the room was lit by beautiful subdued lighting.
• World Prayers – the other gazebo which also had a large map of the world. We had the opportunity to think about people in other parts of the world (perhaps friends or family whom we know) and some of the challenges they face. There was also a space for us to write down a big question that we would like to ask God if we had the chance.
Well, that’s the practical side of Prayer Spaces. But how was it?
The first session was led by Catherine from Prayer Spaces. As the fifteen or so children came in she sat them down, introduced herself and got us to introduce ourselves. Then she talked with them about their understanding of prayer – what it is, how it’s done and where’s it done. Then she explained the four areas before dividing the children up and allocating them to a particular area, each of which was attended by one of the local volunteers who was able to remind the children of the purpose of the particular area and talk with them as they wanted. After 5-6 minutes the children moved to the next space and once they had been to four spaces (and had the opportunity to write down a big question if they wanted) they were gathered together and given the chance to give or write any feedback.
Well, the children loved it with only one saying that it wasn’t really for them as they weren’t ‘religious’. The others spoke of such things as feeling a sense of peace, appreciating the opportunity to stop and think, and valuing the chance to verbalise their emotions. Teachers and TA’s loved it too, with a number of them making use of the break times to revisit the Space without their children, and commenting on the need there is to offer something similar all the time. And it looks like I’ll be looking for volunteers again next year - one of the deputy-heads has already invited us back around Easter when one of the other classrooms is freed up by a residential. But the really big thing for me was to simply be allowed to sit alongside the children and to be invited into their perceptions of the world around them. It was a truly humbling and special experience – holy ground.
Over the four days all the year groups joined us from Nursery to Year 5, with all but Foundation Stage spending 45 minutes with us (they spent 30). While we were all Christians running it, the spaces were sufficiently generic that children of all faiths and belief systems were valued and able to engage with the activities. Similarly children with special needs were able to take part fully in all parts of the experience.
The Revd Hugh Boorman Minister of The Ladygrove Church, Didcot
For other ways to support your local school or college, see the range of Church and School resources available from:
To find out more about Prayer Spaces in Schools, see: www.prayerspacesinschools.com
1 - 3 February, Eastbourne If you are involved in any aspect of children’s, family or schools’ ministry, plan to join with hundreds of other delegates and representatives of organisations serving these ministries for a weekend of learning and worship, resource discovery, spiritual refreshment and possibly meeting up with old friends! There will be plenty for everyone – from the basics of working with children of various ages for folk just starting to help out in their church and lots of
creative and helpful ideas for everyone, to sessions that dive deep into issues of mission driven through children and family ministry. On Friday afternoon there will be ‘Included or Excluded’, an additional forum for people engaged in shaping and resourcing ministry with children who have additional or special needs and this will lead into a stream of sessions over the weekend that will impart a vision and give practical advice for all of us who want to ensure good integration in our churches. To encourage you to bring your Junior Leaders along to the conference for training and inspiration, half price tickets are again being offered for under 21s. In addition to the general sessions, there will be special sessions for Junior Leaders to meet to discuss issues that particularly relate to them and also an area for them to meet up with each other and the Junior Leaders’ designated team. For more information, and to book, see: www.familyministry.co.uk/Group/Group. aspx?ID=195496
Big Ted’s Christmas Gift
Richard Hardy has worked with Toddlers and Children in a church context for several years as a minister. Richard lives in Wales. He has also addressed Parent and Toddler group leaders helping them make the most of their opportunities to support parents and encourage child development. He has led assemblies and taken RS lessons in Primary Schools.
The Entheos Trust is pleased to announce Richard Hardy’s new Christmas story pack for sale online. This is the first in a series of stories to be to be released, and is avaiable to download in English and Welsh. They have been created with Toddler Groups, Services and Assemblies in mind. Ben and Big Ted discover the secret of giving in a magical story for Christmas. Big Ted’s adventures provide a pack of digital resources for use with Toddlers, Nursery, or Foundation level. • • • •
The story script for reading aloud. Digital pictures to print / project. A colouring sheet to print many times! Craft idea: Big Ted’s Christmas Tree salt dough decorations.
Lucy White-Lewis is studying Animation in Wales and has produced a set of delightful original digital images to accompany the story. For more details, see: www.theentheostrust.org/shop
Register now! May 27-31, 2013
Acadia/EBF Youth Ministry Institute
Engaging Youth in the Real World:
Looking at Youth Culture Through Sociological and Theological Eyes “...wonderful, fantastic, leadership based training, centered upon and sustained in my identity in Christ...” Chad The experience and knowledge of the lecturers and new friendships with fellow youth workers was refreshing...” Filip "It was one of the best conferences I have ever been part of...” Pascal “I got to see and experience ministry (and missions) in an entirely new way, making new friends and connections along the way...” Melinda “pushed me to think beyond my narrow worldview and box-sized thinking of how God is building His kingdom on earth...” - Patrick
This Acadia/EBF has been jointly sponsored by the EBF and Acadia University since 2004
Jeff Carter is the youth leadership training coordinator for the European Baptist Federation, international lecturer and researcher in youth ministry.
Malenovice Christian Retreat Center in the beautiful mountains of Moravia, Czech Republic
Come expecting, Leave Refreshed
Promo Video http://youtu.be/sZH4nejfrs8
Limited seats, scholarships available / Reg info: firstname.lastname@example.org
A life-changing experience. Youth strengthened . . . encouraged . . . emboldened
Meet, fellowship & worship with Baptist youth from around the world.
Singapore 17-21 July 2013 Baptist World Alliance www.bwanet.org Next year the Baptist World Alliance will be hosting the World Youth Conference and BUGB is hoping to lead a party from the UK to Singapore for this event. This is an exciting event aimed at those between the ages of 18 – 25. The cost per person is expected to be in the region of £1800, depending on how many people go, but we really need people to commit to this before we are able to book and confirm flights with the travel agency. We need to hear from you by the end of DECEMBER with a firm commitment and will then require a deposit to secure the flights by the end of January 2013. Please register your interest by emailing email@example.com
Over the last few years, SGM Lifewords has produced a number of different Christmas resources for younger children, such as A Little Story About Something BigSuntec or Expect the Unexpected. The older age group is harder to reach, and this Singapore International year they wanted to Centre focus on creating something that gets their attention and will Convention & Exhibition get them reading a small portion of the Bible story for themselves.
Singapore July 17–21, 2013
Journey out of Darkness will be useful in schools and youth work and is aimed at Baptist World Alliance 10-14 year olds. SGM Lifewords will provide you with as many copies as you need to share the Christmas story with the young people with whom you work. w w w. b w a n e t . o r g For more information, and an online preview of the comic, see: www.sgmlifewords.com/uk/journey-out-of-darkness
The Christmas Labyrinth Christmas is a time that for many is both familiar and busy. We are familiar with the Christmas story - you know the one where Jesus was born in that manger thing and ended up having loads of uninvited guests turn up as well as a load of animals too! But we are also busy at this time of year getting ourselves ready for all that Christmas has to bring and offer.
a bit of creative flare added in. Last year - the Census year - we called the Labyrinth ‘Count me in’ and explored what it meant to be counted into God’s story, and reflected on the people that were counted in or out during the Christmas narrative. As people journeyed round the labyrinth they entered different parts of the story. For example, it all began with a very normal Christmas scene - trees and presents - starting people off in the present before transporting them back 2000 years to a star-gazing scene where we meet the wise men and their decision to be part of the story and to travel miles to find Jesus. Our story continued with scenes representing Mary and Joseph and their responses to the angelic visits. We looked at the Census that caused them to travel to Bethlehem before finding ourselves with the shepherds also being counted in to the story. We obviously included the Nativity Scene that we used with the ‘Get in the Picture’ which families loved. Our final two scenes looked at the wise men’s gifts and finally a chance to respond and be counted into God’s story by making paper chain decorations.
For the last four years at Croxley Green Baptist Church we have attempted to take a fresh look at the Christmas story and allow a space for people to come and rest in the midst of their busy lives in the wonderful presence of Jesus. It began as a prayer idea that soon evolved into a multisensory experience for all ages that we call the Labyrinth. Labyrinths have often been used for spiritual journeys to help focus the mind and spirit, and we use them here for that purpose; but we also use them to tell a story. For two weeks in the run-up to Christmas we transform our worship space into a walk-around labyrinth that contains lots of spaces that are set up to tell a story - scenes from the bible with
The great thing about these Labyrinths is that they work on several levels. For adults they act as both an introduction to the story, and as a reflective journey or prayer experience for those who know the story well. A guide book takes adults round on a journey that they control and set the pace. As they enter each room or space, the guide book gives them information about the scene before them and questions to reflect on. In some spaces there are things to do to respond - like completing a community census, considering what present you might bring, or thinking about the outcasts in our community. We also make use of the Labyrinth as part of our Sunday worship experience with a brunch-style service taking place in the hall, and then people can go round the labyrinth in their own time. At various times during the two weeks it is open to the general public, again encouraging them to engage with the story and respond to it in some way. The labyrinth also opens up opportunities for our other regular activities, like Brigades, our toddler group and our community lunch, to experience it too.
We have also discovered that the local Primary schools absolutely love coming round and experiencing the Labyrinth. It is an ideal place for the local school to come and see the Christmas story and see why Christmas is so important to Christians. For this we have tour guides and actors who help tell the story for and with the children. Over the two weeks we have about 200 children who come - sometimes just one class of 30, sometimes up to three classes of 30. This is a bit of a logistical nightmare, but great fun. The groups of children are divided up into small groups of between 10 and 15 and they get taken round the labyrinth by their guide, who retells the story using the scenes and actors they come across and ask the children questions as they go. They also answer a lot of questions too as the children have a never-ending stream of them! While they are waiting to go round, or once they have finished, there is a themed activity book with puzzles, colouring, word searches and games that link to the Christmas story they are visiting.
Each child is also given a bag as they go round to collect take-home items to remind them of the story. Itâ€™s something that can be used in class as part of the curriculum or simply to show the parents what they have been doing. We often find that the children then bring their parents along to see the labyrinth at one of our public open times.
It is a large undertaking, but it is something that can be easily scaled up or down depending on each churchâ€™s time, energy, resources and volunteers! We also run this event along the same lines at Easter and have found that again this is very popular with the local community and schools especially when we use the Baptism pool for a tomb! If you would like to know more, download some resources - or even come and visit - details are available on our website at: www.croxleybaptist.org/labyrinth The Revd Jon Bishop Associate Minister: Children and Youth, Croxley Green Baptist Church, Rickmansworth
At the recent Baptist Union Council meetings, a recommendation in a paper entitled ‘Mission and the decline of the church’ was ‘That every church and member sees the Great Commission as a lifestyle choice and not a spare time activity’. This statement was made in the context of seeking more whole-life discipleship, where Jesus shaped the way we lived, spoke and acted in our everyday, normal lives - which in turn made Christ able to be both present and seen. He is present, by the very fact that we are present, the living presence of Christ wherever we go. He is seen, because as followers of Jesus, seeking to be whole-life disciples, we are shaping the environment, changing the culture and praying for the places where we spend our everyday lives. I hope that in this edition of missionscene you have been inspired, equipped and challenged to continue to engage in the mission of God. As we enter the Advent season, with all the hope, anticipation and awe of the coming King, we will again be inspired to truly believe that God has called us, and can use us, wherever we are in our every day lives, our crossingplaces. Ian Bunce BUGB Mission Department
HOPE is collecting local stories For a major publication next year, HOPE are asking local churches that have engaged in a dynamic outreach at Easter or Harvest to share their story. If you’d like to share your story, please contact HOPE through their website www.hopetogether.org.uk 38
Fellowship of Baptists in Britain and Ireland Baptist Union of Scotland Judy White 07875 644672 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scottish Baptist College Principal - Jim Gordon 0141 848 3988 email@example.com
Northern Paul Revill 01661 843710 firstname.lastname@example.org
North Western Sandra Crawford 01942 221595 email@example.com
Northern Community Learning Network
Glen Marshall 0161 249 2520 firstname.lastname@example.org Yorkshire Jane Day 0113 278 4954 email@example.com
3 2 4 4
Baptist Union of Wales Simeon Baker 5 01267 245660 firstname.lastname@example.org
Y Coleg Gwyn (North Wales Baptist College) Elfryn Jones 5 01248 362608 email@example.com
South Wales Andy Hughes 029 2049 1366
Bristol Baptist College Principal - Stephen Finamore 0117 946 7050 firstname.lastname@example.org
London David Shosanya 0208 543 6447
Spurgeonâ€™s Baptist College Roger Standing 12 020 8653 0850 ex228 email@example.com South West Barbara Carpenter 01823 490195
Central Helen Wordsworth 10 01788 817292 firstname.lastname@example.org Eastern Richard Lewis 01842 754953
Peter Dunn (Director for Mission) 01235 517648 email@example.com
South Wales Baptist College Principal - Peter Stevenson 8 029 2025 6066 firstname.lastname@example.org West of England Alisdair Longwill 01453 883308 email@example.com
Heart of England Adrian Argile 6 0121 472 4986 firstname.lastname@example.org East Midland Mike Fegredo 07972 350242 email@example.com
Southern Counties Colin Norris 07725 039943 firstname.lastname@example.org Regentâ€™s Park Baptist College Nick Wood 01865 288129 email@example.com South Eastern Stuart Davison 01444 253163 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mat Wilson (IMC Team Leader) 0121 683 7948
www.bmsworldmission.org Irish Baptist Networks Stephen Adams email@example.com www.ibnetworks.org
BUGB Mission Department Ian Bunce 01235 517716 firstname.lastname@example.org
15 December 2012