CRT Magazine | Edition 002

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CRT/NEWS stories and updates from across the HTB Network Edition 2 / Summer 2019

the peter stream Julian Powell shares his journey towards church leadership

Safehaven Women Megan’s story of healing from addiction

From Prison to Purpose How one young man found home in Crawley


Church Revitalisation Trust

Network NEWS 3 network highlights News and updates from across the Network


City Centre Resource Churches Where we are

social transformation 14 holy trinity hastings Safehaven Women: Megan’s story of healing from addiction

16 ST john’s crawley From Prison to Purpose: How Isaiah found home in Crawley

training leaders 18 The Accelerator Programme Archie Coates shares five lessons he’s learnt about church planting


The peter stream ordinand Julian Powell shares his journey towards church leadership

building for mission restoring buildings 22 Bristol, Southampton, Gateshead and Derby undergo a transformation

24 Building a Cathedral of Creativity The new Rector of Hackney Al Gordon is dreaming big

encouragement the last word 27 ‘It’s all about introducing people to Jesus’, describe Nicky and Pippa Gumbel, leaders of HTB


Welcome to the second edition of the CRT Magazine.

Since 1985, HTB has had the privilege of partnering with bishops and dioceses to plant over 85 churches across this country and beyond. In 2017, The Church Revitalisation Trust (CRT) was set up by HTB to be a catalyst for this momentum of church planting and we are delighted to see churches that are empty or closing being brought back to life, introducing people to Jesus and changing lives. We are so excited to be part of a growing network of churches all playing our part in the evangelisation

of the nation, the revitalisation of the Church and the transformation of society. Together, we believe that we can play a part in reversing the tide of church decline and see communities transformed in the name of Jesus. Thank you so much for your support, Love,

Nicky and Pippa Gumbel Vicar of HTB and Chair of CRT

Here at CRT, we are celebrating the end of another brilliant term as our first set of Peter Stream candidates have completed the pilot year, and another dynamic cohort of church planters have graduated from the Accelerator Programme. We’ve loved hearing your stories and seeing what God is doing through the 85 Network churches across the country – we know that we’ve only captured a glimpse of what is going on within these pages, but we hope this edition will be an encouragement to you. We believe that everyone has a vital part to play in seeing the Church alive, reaching out to this generation, therefore we’d love to invite you to become a Friend of CRT. Find out more at Thank you for being part of the adventure. Lots of love, Sarah Jackson CEO of CRT 3

network news

Over 500 leaders attend CRT’s Assemble Network Day In March 2019, church teams from across the HTB Network gathered for a day of best practice sharing and encouragement.

After worship and a keynote session from Nicky Gumbel, the teams spent the rest of the day spread out over 10 streams with outstanding speakers to gain input and work together to develop expertise. The streams this year included: Worship, Youth, Kids, Students, Senior Leaders, Curates & Ordinands, Operations, Relationships and Media.

Seventy-three HTB Network churches joined together from across the country for a day of worship and teaching. Teams travelled to London from Plymouth, Gateshead, Norwich and Nottingham to name a few.

network news

Assemble 2020 will be held on 12th March, at HTB.


Launching 3 new church plants in 3 new cities Over the past 30 years, HTB has been involved in planting churches and equipping them to become City Centre Resource Churches (CCRCs) – hubs for resourcing and equipping within their diocese. In September, three church plants will begin an exciting journey. network news

Preston Minster The historic Preston Minster is undergoing a renovation to become a Resource Church, led by Sam and Hannah Haigh and a newly recruited team. Preston is home to the University of Central Lancaster (with over 24,000 students), Preston Prison and a large Pakistani Urdu speaking community. Before joining HTB in January 2018, Sam worked as an Associate Vicar for Tollington Parish. Sam, Hannah and their five children moved from London to Preston last spring.

St Matthew’s, Exeter Ed and Jess Hodges, along with their two small daughters relocated from HTB in the summer of 2019, to prepare to plant a new CCRC in Exeter in September 2019. Exeter University is home to 22,085 students from more than 130 different countries. Ed began his curacy at HTB in 2015, and Jess has worked as an HTB Kids worker for five years.

St Mary’s Andover At the invitation of the Bishop of Winchester, Chris and Naomi Bradish are relaunching St Mary’s Andover as a Resource Church in the autumn of 2019. Andover is a market town and home to the largest military training base in the UK. Prior to joining HTB, Chris served his curacy in the market town of Alton in the Winchester Diocese and previously worked as a commercial lawyer. Chris and Naomi have three young children.


Saint Mary’s Southampton hosts ‘Saints in the City’ Over 100 members of Saint Mary’s congregation spent a day gardening, litter picking and serving the community around Southampton.

network news

Teams spread out across the city centre doing DIY jobs and clear outs in people’s homes. Over 200 people joined for a barbecue in the church garden at the end of the day, with a bouncy castle, face painting and football. Jon Finch, leader of Saint Mary’s said: ‘We launched Saint Mary’s with the strong conviction that church was never meant to be contained in a building, it was meant to flow out and permeate all of society. It’s such a privilege to serve our city and get to have so much fun doing it!’

St Margaret’s Nottingham plant into local estate, St John’s Bilborough Two hundred people gathered on Easter Sunday for the re-launch of St John’s Bilborough, a 1960s church on a large council estate on the outskirts of Nottingham.

In the weeks prior to the launch, a team from St Margaret’s removed the pews, fixed the heating and installed a sound system. Since then, a team of eight from five different churches and a congregation of about 50 are meeting, which consists almost entirely of people who are unchurched or de-churched, and over 20 of those have attended the first Alpha Course.


Former nightclub to be transformed into worship centre by St Swithin’s Lincoln St Swithin’s has been out of the church building and ‘on tour’ since Christmas 2017 following issues with the church roof. The former nightclub opposite the church will be renovated to give the church a new home as well as establish a hub from which wider resourcing and church planting can take place. The space will include meeting areas, a café, youth club, worship area and facilities to host a wide range of other community and outreach activities. The worship area will accommodate between 400-500 people; it is also hoped it will be a space to facilitate a social entrepreneur and charity hub. The former Co-op Hall has been vacant for 10 years; the new ‘Salt House’ building will aim to open in early 2020.

Heather Atkinson takes the helm at St Peter’s Bethnal Green Network Church, St Peter’s Bethnal Green was planted from St Paul’s Shadwell in 2010.

The Network is celebrating as Revd Heather Atkinson, Vicar Designate, takes the lead at St Peter’s Bethnal Green. St Peter’s, one of the London Network churches, is located in the heart of Bethnal Green and expresses a variety of worship styles. It has launched open air services, helped start a foodbank, runs Alpha at different times of day and also hosts a Spear centre reaching unemployed young people in the community.


network news

Planning permission has been granted for St Swithin’s to renovate a former Lincoln nightclub to create a resourcing hub in the centre of Lincoln.

international news

Holy Trinity Bukit Bintang: a story of growth and impact

Their weekly congregation has multiplied from 20 to 2,000, and as home to the Alpha Hub (HTBB, Alpha Asia Pacific, Alpha Malaysia, St Paul’s Theological College and Mad Squared Design Agency), HTBB continues to resource churches across the Asia Pacific region. A team member tells us more… A particular highlight this year was training 397 delegates to run Alpha in Sri Lanka, churches from across the board were represented at this conference which included a panel with church leaders from the AOG, Anglican and Catholic churches and

the Salvation Army. This took place only a few weeks before the Easter Sunday attacks yet still 28 Alpha courses have been started following the conference. We also had the privilege of hosting the Leadership Conference for the Asia Pacific region with 1300 delegates from over 22 countries! Revd Miles Toulmin (Vicar, Holy Trinity Bukit Bintang and Executive Director, Alpha Asia Pacific) opened the conference casting the vision for leaders to view their ceilings as the floor for the next generation.


Other teaching explored how leaders can bring change in the workplace and vision for what we can achieve together as the global Church. Following LC19, 600 pastors from the region gathered for ‘Experiencing Alpha’, being inspired and equipped to run Alpha. The week finished with Transforming Parishes, with over 200 Catholic leaders in attendance who were envisioned to learn how Alpha can transform their local churches. We are so thankful to play a small part in all that God is doing throughout Asia and beyond.

Renewal Church, Nairobi launch legal aid project After Bryan Stevenson’s stirring address at LC18, Chris Arnold - Pastor of Renewal Church - felt compelled to respond; AJAR (Africa Justice and Restoration Project) was launched - a para-legal firm to see innocent people released from prison. Here he shares what has begun over the past 12 months.

AJAR has the specific aim of getting people out of prison who shouldn’t be there and who often have no

resources or access to legal aid. This month we managed to get the first person out of prison who had been framed by corrupt officials for drug possession. He has a very sick daughter and is the sole bread winner, so seeing him reunited with his family after months of waiting in prison was amazing. We are beginning to build a wider team to offer this care. Our hope is to upskill ex-prisoners and reintegrate them into communities, into employment and to introduce them in practical ways to the love of Jesus afresh.

First Roman Catholic Resource Church plants in Vienna After years of collaboration between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and churches in the HTB Network, a new church plant will be launched into the Schubert Church - a traditional parish in the city centre of Vienna. The first Roman Catholic CCRC will launch in September 2019, led by Father Bernhard Messer. Father Messer spent six months in London to learn about church planting with HTB Network Church, St Paul’s Shadwell. This initiative has taken place with the specific encouragement of Cardinal Schönborn and his senior team. Anglican Bishops Ric Thorpe and Sandy Millar were invited to help train some of the leaders,

with many others from Alpha for Catholics and London church leaders involved. Father Messer learnt about starting a new church, building a team and reaching the community during his placement at St Paul’s Shadwell. He explains: ‘our vision is to make disciples, transform communities and to plant churches. We want to see a renewal of young life and the power of the Spirit within Vienna’.

international news

Last May, I sat in the Royal Albert Hall and cried as I listened to Bryan Stevenson talk on Restorative Justice. I returned to Nairobi knowing we had to launch something in the legal aid sector. Little did I know the horrific conditions we would find; people who have been awaiting trial for over ten years, many of whom are not guilty. About 40% of Kenyan inmates (24,000 people) are innocent, but behind bars and unable to access legal aid.

network news highlights Renewal Church Nairobi launch family service

St Clement’s Boscombe reaches recovery community

St Matthias Plymouth’s social action project ‘Serve Day’

The Peter Stream finish year 1

HTBB’s volunteers at LC19

First Spear cohort graduate on Dalgarno Estate

St Nicholas Bristol Students weekend away

Saint Mary’s Southampton Team Celebration

Safehaven Women at St Peter’s Brighton

LC19 Birmingham Hub

network highlights

St Matthew’s Exeter team relocate

Kids’ camp at St George’s Gateshead

LC19 Edinburgh Hub

Arise, encouraging women clergy

Network Drinks at LC19

Sam and Hannah Haigh leave for Preston

Nicky and Sila Lee refilm The Marriage Course

LC19 Brighton Hub

Rose Hudson-Wilkin appointed first black female Bishop

Matt and Beth Redman talk church planting with CRT

Knife Amnesty bin at Hackney Church

Bishop of London celebrates diversity

network highlights

HTB Church Planting Sunday

where we are

UK city centre resource churches City Centre Resource Churches (CCRCs) are thriving churches and resourcing hubs for Alpha and social transformation. They seek to respond to the needs of their city with the love of Jesus and with a vision to plant further churches, particularly targeting areas of social deprivation. HTB Network Churches 85, CCRCs – 20.


1 London 2 brighton 3 norwich 4 bournemouth 5 hastings 6 lincoln 7 birmingham 8 gateshead 9 nottingham 10 plymouth 11 portsmouth 12 coventry 13 crawley 14 derby 15 bristol 16 southampton 17 swindon 18 andover 19 exeter 20 preston

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3 7

12 17 18

15 19 10 12




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where we are around the world

The first plant outside the UK in 2014, Holy Trinity Bukit Bintang (HTBB), now has a worshipping congregation of 2,000 with 4 Sunday services. It is a regional resourcing hub for Alpha, theological training and has a vision to plant a further 5 churches into key cities across SE Asia.


where we are

At the invitation of the local bishop and diocese, CRT is planting, partnering and helping to revitalise the global Church.


Renewal Church Nairobi was planted in 2018 by Chris and Abi Arnold with a team of 30 volunteers. They launched their first Alpha Course with 65 guests and have since launched a family service and AJAR, a legal aid project.

kuala lumpur

city centre resource churches



social transformation

“My life is still not perfect, but I’m free. I’m free of anger, pain, fear and I’ve learnt to forgive.”


A childhood marked by addiction and abuse resulted in huge challenges for Megan. She turned to alcohol to numb the pain she felt and couldn’t see a way forward. Six years ago, Megan visited Holy Trinity Hastings and discovered hope. She shares her story… I’m 26 years old and I’ve lived in Hastings all my life. My troubles started when I was 5 years old; my Dad is an alcoholic and would often come home drunk and fight with my Mum. He would then disappear for months at a time; he’d come back home and the same thing would happen all over again. My Mum and Dad split up when I was 6; it was a messy and difficult time, but as that trouble came to an end, a new nightmare began when someone I knew started to abuse me. It felt constant and lasted for about four and a half years. At 11, I started secondary school and was already drinking. I’d turn up drunk to lessons and be high on weed. At 16, I became pregnant, I was still drinking heavily and was in and out of toxic relationships with other men.

I had a little girl, but she was put in foster care for 10 months because my drinking was out of control. I fought so hard to get her back – I managed to hide my drinking from social services, but I still drank at every opportunity – it was my only coping mechanism. Before anything could get hard, I would drink to hide my pain or the reality of life itself. I had counselling and an alcohol misuse worker, but nothing worked and nothing helped. I was an angry and bitter person. At 20 I met my now husband and he went to church. We visited Holy Trinity Hastings (HTH) and life began to change for the better. I began going to Safehaven Women. It was a place I could go and be me; no one judged me or criticised me. Instead it was the opposite - a place of calm, rest, safety and love. The people I met at Safehaven just welcomed and loved me.

I started Alpha which was another big step for me; it helped me to learn more about the path I wanted but was frightened of choosing. By the end of Alpha, I had made some lovely friends and learnt how to reach out to God. I am so thankful to HTH - God has been my life-saver through these people’s hands in so many ways. I’ve changed more than I thought possible - I’ve even had the confidence to go to a job interview and now I’m working. Of course, my life is still not perfect, but I’m free. I’m free of anger, pain, fear and I’ve learnt to forgive. I don’t need drink or drugs to cope with life, I can reach out to God and turn to those I trust around me. I know how to love and rejoice. My life is so much better and that is all down to God’s work in me and the people he has put in my life at HTH.

safehaven women Holy Trinity Hastings is in the 13th most deprived part of the country, with high rates of suicide, domestic abuse and drug and alcohol addiction. The unemployment rate is over double the average, 1/3 of children live in poverty and teenage pregnancy is rated highest in the UK. Leader of HTH, Sarah Larkin, describes how they responded and now care for over 30 vulnerable women each week. dignity. A place where they are supported, prayed for and, we pray, a place where they find Jesus and where their lives can be changed and transformed, healed and restored. Each week we have new women referred to us from the local drug and alcohol services, GPs, pharmacists, social workers, Job Centre, refugees, domestic abuse support services, health visitors, St John Ambulance, homeless support services and the list is growing. We have on average four key workers each week from local agencies that meet their clients at SHW and regularly refer their clients to us.

They all said yes and so Savehaven Women was born in April 2014. We set up the room as if we were expecting guests: a clothing bank, M&S sandwiches, home-made cakes, hot food and a nail bar. We went out onto the streets and invited the women in. Some weeks we had no one, some weeks just one or two. We knew that God was saying to us that he was going to bring the women in ‘one by one’.

In the last six months, three women have come to SHW, attended Alpha, given their lives to Jesus and are now part of the HTH family.

Safehaven Women is a safe space where women come and are loved, respected, pampered and are shown

In November 2014 – at the invitation of the Bishop of Chichester - Simon and Sarah Larkin, and a team from St Peter’s Brighton planted into Holy Trinity Hastings.


There are now over 500 people being impacted each week through Sundays, Savehaven Men and Safehaven Women, and the Children’s and Youth programmes.

social transformation

A couple of weeks after we planted into Holy Trinity Hastings, we noticed that there were a number of street drinkers sitting on the steps of HTH church, many of them women. I asked them if we started a drop-in for women only, would they come?

social transformation

‘He’s the best evangelist in Crawley’

from prison to purpose In 2017, ex-Police officers Steve and Liz Burston planted out of St Peter’s Brighton to St John’s in Crawley. Supporting prisoners, ex-offenders and vulnerable members of the community, is one of the many areas that St John’s is involved with. Here Steve tells the story of how he met Isaiah and the journey they’ve been on since. 16

It was at Focus 2017, that I found myself sitting around a campfire late one evening and I noticed the man next to me was crying. I asked him what the matter was: ‘My son’s in prison’, he replied. ‘It’s difficult for me to talk about, but I think he’s discovering a faith and needs help. You’re an ex-policeman and a vicar. Please help him.’

Soon afterwards, Isaiah discovered that his girlfriend was seeing another man. Furious, he found the man, stole his phone and caused significant injury to him. Isaiah was sentenced to five years imprisonment in a Young Offenders Prison; a tough place that was used to severe acts of violence and riots and Isaiah was badly bullied on the wing.

900 prisons

It was the beginning of recognising that God was there for him. When Isaiah was coming up for release, Liz and I knew we could offer him a stable home. Because we have three daughters, the Probation Service said he couldn’t live at our house, but he could stay in a caravan in our garden and eat dinner with us. The first couple of months were tough. He went out a lot and got back into drugs. We realised it wasn’t working when on one occasion, he went on a three-day bender and we didn’t know where he was. He was consistently breaking every boundary we put in place. When he came back, we made him a roast dinner and hugged him, but said that he couldn’t

Alpha is currently running in more than 900 prisons and secure facilities, in 50 countries.

stay with us unless he changed. He ate his dinner quietly, went back into his caravan and it was there that he met Jesus in an extraordinary way. Normally I couldn’t get him up much before 1pm, but the next day he was up at 7am and has been ever since. We still have ups and downs, but his life is marked by the joy, peace and purpose in Jesus Christ. He’s now a key member of our church family; he’s on the Church Army evangelist scheme and is the best evangelist in Crawley - he’s brought 20 people to Alpha so far! He helps to organise our Caring for Ex-Offenders program, the Recovery Course and serves at our Bridge Café on a Wednesday morning. He wears an apron and makes tea and coffee for the other prisoners coming in. He loves it. It’s been incredible to see how God has moved in and through Isaiah’s life, and walking alongside him in his journey has been one of the best things we’ve ever done.

Steve and Liz Burston planted into St John’s Crawley in September 2017

the bridge café The ‘award winning’ Bridge Café is run by a team from St John’s Crawley and funded by the Police and Probation Service. It’s a safe space for more vulnerable members of the community to meet and receive support, life skills, advice and friendship. Over the course of a week, various groups gather on different mornings for three hours: prisoners, ex-offenders and vulnerable women at risk of being trafficked. The Café have run the Alpha Course, the Identity Course and Recovery Course.

social transformation

I began to visit him in prison and learnt his story: Isaiah was a young man who had left home at the age of 16. Life had been tough after his Mum decided to move out of home and start a new relationship; his behaviour became increasingly rebellious and hard to handle. Drinking and taking Class A drugs led to his Dad asking him to move out.

Isaiah’s Dad began to visit him and gave him some Christian books to read and encouraged him to do Alpha in Prison. It was the beginning of experiencing something of God in his life and Isaiah decided to learn the Psalms off by heart - he repeated them over and over to himself to bring comfort and a sense of protection from some of the other inmates.

training leaders

The Accelerator Programme

training future church planters Healthy leaders are central to the flourishing of healthy churches which is why the CRT Accelerator Programme – a one-year intensive training course – plays a key role in preparing our future church planters. In September 2019, we are looking forward to welcoming nine curates on to the CRT Accelerator Programme. Not only has the number of curates nearly doubled from last year, but the programme has also expanded. The 24 sessions during the year cover a variety of different topics from the Diocese, Marriage and Prayer, to practically writing job

descriptions and planning the first 100 days after your church plant launch. Over the three terms, the planting curates will also do two site visits, one to Hackney and one to Brighton, which will cement all that they have learnt and allow them to see life as a church planter in action! For more information, visit: 18

‘I loved the Accelerator Programme. We heard from people who had done a church plant or who were experts in their field of ministry or operations. We also had time to ask personal and in-depth questions specific to our own church plant.’ Ed Hodges, Leader of new CCRC, St Matthew’s, Exeter

5 ns • 5 ke



key l es • 5 s


ARCHIE’S 5 sons • 5




Since then, St Peter’s has planted five times, twice within Brighton, and further afield to Hastings, Crawley and Portsmouth. Archie is a regular contributor to CRT’s Accelerator Programme. Here he shares five key lessons he’s learnt about church planting. The course combines Leadership Development with both a Ministry and Operational Toolkit.

prioritise people

Planting a church is the ultimate people business. Treat everyone who comes through your doors, as well as chance encounters, email exchanges and meet ups, as potentially someone who God is calling to join you in the vision. Get out of the office and have dozens of coffees with people and train your team to do the same. Try and draw people from the edges into the core as quickly as possible by thinking of a part they can play in the vision.


start Small

Hopefully you have a big vision of what you want God to do. However, momentum is key and is best achieved through the accomplishment of short-term objectives and celebrating them as you go along. Instead of ‘we’re going to have 1000s in church by the end of the year’, how about, ‘we’re going to try a second carol service this year’. Instead of ‘we’re going to wipe homelessness off the streets’, how about, ‘we’re going to run a four-week drop-in next month’. Dream big, but start small.


reach out

Remember, God has asked you to plant a church in your particular location because there are nonchurch goers there who he wants to reach through you. So put a stake in the ground from the start to reach new people. Start Alpha, plan an outreach, do something that God can bring people to. Start as you mean to go on.



grow in your gifts

With so much to do, leaders can end up spending a lot of time and energy on things which are not in our ‘sweet spot’, and then winging it in areas where we’re more gifted. But God will likely grow his church through the gifts he’s given you, so try and focus as much as possible at getting better at what you’re good at and find other people to do what you’re not so good at.


reflect regularly

Planting a church is both exhilarating and excruciating. Use the experience – the highs and lows – to draw you into a closer relationship with Jesus. Even better, make the goal of your life a closer relationship with Jesus, and the church an overflow of that – not the other way round. That way your identity won’t hang or fall on the success of your church. Take time with your planting team to chat about what they are learning through the process, how God is growing them personally. Then the journey itself will be satisfying, and not just the vision.

training leaders

Revd Archie Coates, former Associate Vicar at HTB, led HTB’s first church plant outside London – St Peter’s Brighton – in 2009.


“God has asked you to plant a church in your location because there are people he wants to reach through you.”

training leaders

New training for a new kind of vicar Every year, many gifted young leaders choose not to pursue ordination in the Church of England because they presume they ‘don’t fit the mould’. The Peter Stream was born from a desire to change this, and to raise leaders from under-represented backgrounds, particularly in relation to educational, social or minority ethnic categories. Julian Powell – currently an ordinand on the pilot course at St Mellitus College – shares his story.

‘I left - with a book about what it means to be Anglican feeling overwhelmed and decided it wasn’t for me’. I was born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents who came to live in the UK at a young age. My parents were leaders within the Pentecostal denomination, but as a teenager I began to doubt my faith. I knew I was searching for something but didn’t know what, so I turned to Islam. For six months I explored the faith and loved the community I was part of, but I still knew something was missing. Whilst exploring Islam I decided not to go to University and started full-time work instead.

Turning point

gunpoint by seven men on a packed train. In that moment - surrounded by them and the other passengers, I prayed to God to protect me but also for forgiveness for ignoring His voice. In that moment I heard the audible voice of God; I felt He told me to shake their hands and tell them they are forgiven and loved and then to walk off the train, so I did. They tried to stop me, but somehow I got off unharmed. It was my own Damascus moment when the true revelation of Jesus impacted my life. I knew God was calling me back home and I was changed from that moment.

It was on my way home from work one day that I was robbed at

Later that year I started a youth internship in South London and

worked for an organisation connected to the Church Army. I had always wanted to see young people be the best version of themselves and now I could be a part of making that happen. I spent the next six years working in charities connected to young people. I went on to work as a youth pastor at a church in Hackney – St John’s Hoxton. I spent three years growing a volunteer team, pastoring the youth and building strong relationships with their parents/ carers. The youth of the church tripled in size and during this time numerous people, including the Vicar, asked me if I had considered ordination.

Discerning the future In 2016 I went to a meeting with a DDO but left feeling discouraged about the discernment process. I left, with a book about what it means to be Anglican, feeling overwhelmed and decided it wasn’t for me. I joined HTB as a youth pastor in January 2018, heard about the Peter Stream and began to consider whether there would be a way for me to pursue the call I felt and have support in the process.

The Peter Stream has been a process of transformation and trusting in God that he has the final say in everything we do to follow him. I am not called for the colour of my skin but am called because of the Christ in me. Everyone is welcome at God’s table no matter your education or background. I know God is calling Louise and me to build his Church and I’m excited about that!

THE peter stream

training leaders

The Peter Stream is a partnership between CRT and St Mellitus College, seeking to pioneer an alternative C of E theological training ROUTE with the intention of equipping diverse young dynamic church leaders who are ideally placed to plant into areas of social deprivation.

“3.4% of clergy are from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds, and only 1.9% currently in training are BAME. That doesn’t sound like the Kingdom of God to me, but that narrative is only going to be reversed if we are intentional about it, and that’s why this stream is so wonderful!” Ryan Rodriges, 1st year ordinand, Peter Stream


restoring buildings restoring buildings

CRT works in partnership with the diocese to identify a centrally located, ‘iconic’ building which can be adapted to fit the needs of 21st century worship and mission. See some of the buildings that have been brought back to life.

St Nicholas Bristol There is a written record of a church building on the St Nicholas site going back to 1154. After numerous incarnations, St Nicholas as we know it today was finally closed in the 1950s after sustaining bomb damage during WW2. Leased to Bristol City Council the building was used variously as a tourist information centre, museum and city archive. After lengthy negotiations, the Diocese of Bristol regained the lease; a substantial refurbishment followed. Finally, after a 65 year hiatus, St Nicholas Bristol reopened in late 2018.

Saint Mary’s Southampton Bombed during WW2, Saint Mary’s continued to act as the main civic church in Southampton, even at one point holding services without a roof. Repairs were made in the 1950s, but in recent years the congregation dwindled and in 2018 the Diocese decided to embark on an ambitious programme to refurbish the building and relaunch St Mary’s. With great celebration and support from churches of all denominations across the city, St Mary’s was relaunched in September 2018.

St George’s Gateshead

St Werburgh’s Derby In the early 1980s, after years of declining congregations, St Werburgh’s was finally closed. The building was deconsecrated and sold for development. In the intervening years the building saw life as an indoor market, shopping mall and eventually a Chinese restaurant (‘Wokmania’). None of these ventures were to last however and the building lay empty for seven years, falling into a state of dereliction. With support from CRT the building was purchased and restored to its intended use as a church. Relaunched in 2017, and having survived their first winter with no heating, St Werburgh’s is now a thriving city centre church serving the people of Derby.

restoring buildings

When Rich and Louise Grant and their team moved to Gateshead in 2016, the congregation had dwindled to such an extent that Sunday services were being held in the vestry. Building on the faithfulness of those steadfast worshippers and with a new injection of energy from the team, St George’s has seen remarkable transformation. Church membership has grown to over 250 people with vibrant Sunday services and Alpha Courses, Connect Groups and other ministries operating throughout the week. Behind the scenes an ongoing programme of works is steadily upgrading the building as time and finances allow.

restoring buildings

Building a Cathedral of Creativity

The new Rector of Hackney has a bold vision: to restore hope to the heart of Hackney, reach young people and share the gospel message that will impact London for generations to come. But first – a £5.95 million restoration project. Hackney Church is at the heart of fast-growing East London, home to 1m people and the epicentre of the creative industries. It’s a huge area of social need, with 36% of children living below the poverty line and an epidemic of knife violence and crime. Al and Liv Gordon – previously based at HTB – moved to Hackney in 2016 and are rethinking a model of church for an urban environment with the potential to impact the culture around them. Al describes it simply: they are building a ‘cathedral of creativity’, a church that finds creative ways to do

mission, creative ways to resource mission, creative ways to plant churches and creative ways to connect with culture. The vision is to connect social need to business ventures, not only to create buzzing hubs of young entrepreneurs and creative communities around the life of the church – but in order to ensure that the church’s impact is to be financially sustainable – the target is to achieve this by 2022. Every social impact project and venture is being designed to pay for itself – or generate an income – rather than becoming

dependant on regular handouts. A model which seems particularly important in an area like Hackney. They started by asking the question: How can the church be catalytic in helping to join the dots between the best bits of the culture and the worst bits of the culture? A beautiful front runner in answering this question is the leading restaurant, Moro - local to Hackney - whose chefs now volunteer to cook for over 100 of Hackney Church’s homeless visitors each week at their Lighthouse Project.

“The church needs to find creative ways to do mission; creative ways to resource mission; creative ways to plant churches and creative ways to connect with culture.” 24

The Brewery is another such venture: whilst street drinkers line the pavements of Hackney, young professionals are investing in the renaissance of the craft ale scene.

The congregation has grown from 150 in 2016, to over 500 in 2019 and the church currently supports over 800 people each week through a range of different social projects, including a food bank, homeless shelter and work with gangs and young people.

Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Robbie Williams are among the line-up of recent artists to perform at Hackney Church, and the hope is that the refurbishment will render it one of the best music venues in London.

In 2018 the ÂŁ5.95m restoration project began to renew the Grade II listed historic space. As the building is renewed, the opportunities for the local community are being renewed as well. This is society in transformation.

A collaboration of private investors has led to Hackney Church Brew Co. providing employment, mentoring and generating income to support the mission. In September 2016, at the invitation of the Bishop of London, Al and Liv Gordon were appointed to lead Hackney Church. Hackney Church is located on a 10-acre site in the civic and cultural heart of Hackney. Following renovation, the church will have a capacity of over 1900, making it one of the largest parish church buildings in the UK.


restoring buildings

How could the church join the dots? Hackney Church Brewery was born – selling quality craft ale which in turn provides income for supporting vulnerable members of the community –and providing an important social space and environment for hosting missional activities such as Alpha in the

public bar. With restored facilities, the church will also be capable of hosting landmark music gigs, events and conferences which will in turn generate much needed income as well as enabling the mission of the church to connect with a wider audience.

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encouragement from nicky & pippA the l ast word

Our vision is to see the re-evangelisation of the nation, the revitalisation of the Church and the transformation of society. Over the past year, Nicky and Pippa Gumbel – leaders of Holy Trinity Brompton – have travelled to visit churches and church plants across the HTB Network. Here, they describe what they see.

purpose and community. The churches we have visited are making a massive impact in their local communities: If you ask any homeless person on the streets of Brighton, they’ve all heard of St Peter’s.

We have loved visiting our friends all around the country. Churches planted in strategic locations are attracting people from all kinds of backgrounds. These churches are running Alpha and people are inviting their friends.

In Derby, we met refugees from Iran for whom St Werburgh’s has been a sanctuary when they’ve had no other place to call home. It’s the same at St Thomas Norwich as they befriend vulnerable women who’ve been trafficked. Stories like this are repeated again and again.

At Saint Mary’s Southampton, for example, we met a group of people who had been caught up in gang and knife crime. Meeting Jesus on Alpha transformed their lives. They are now part of the church community. They are extraordinary young leaders – the kind of men and women who can change a city. Through a relationship with Jesus and encountering the Holy Spirit, people are discovering meaning,

We see a picture of hope and resurrection as church buildings are being restored; Anglican churches that have been derelict for years – about to be sold off as carpet warehouses or residential flats – reclaimed and now full of thriving, worshipping communities where the message of Jesus is shared.

Jesus’ commission, to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ is central to everything we’re doing. There are still a lot of people who don’t know Jesus and our mission is to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to hear the message of Jesus in a way that makes sense to them. We are in this together. When you’re just looking at your own town or city, you don’t always see the impact you’re having. But during our travels around the country we have returned hugely encouraged and full of hope at what God is doing. Extraordinary things are happening all across the nation – but, as we press ahead with all that God has called us to, we need to pray. We can’t do anything on our own. We still have lots of visits planned for the year ahead and we can’t wait to see more of what God is doing!

“we want everybody to have the opportunity to hear the message of Jesus in a way that makes sense to them.” 27

CRT Church Revitalisation Trust


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Contact the editor Church Revitalisation Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales (no. 1174882) and a private company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales (no. 10754427). The registered office is at HTB Brompton Road, London, SW7 1JA Š2019 Church Revitalisation trust Creative / Design / Cover photo

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