HeartEdge Mailer | September 2018
HeartEdge is an international ecumenical movement of churches and other organisations developing mission focused on commercial activity, congregations, cultural engagement and compassion.
"A monthly smorgasbord of ideas, inspiration and resource
focused around HeartEdge 4 C's."
News of HeartEdge events in Southend, Manchester and Inverness plus:
- Congregation: Jean Vanier on being human, Maggi Dawn on Pilgrimage, Emma Ineson on clergy couples, Paula Gooder on Phoebe and Al Barrett on alertness to privilege and power.
- Commerce: Tips and tactics on making the building work from Locality and transitioning from charity to commercial enterprise.
- Compassion: Asset Based Community Development, Paulo Freire and Gary Salole on collaboration and scaling up, plus Housing Justice on winter night shelters and 'Just Act'.
- Culture: Poetry and prayer with Eugene Peterson and Jericho Brown, Jocelyn Bell Burnell on Pulsars and Ben Quash on space, place and God.
"Interesting and illuminating as ever..."
What is 'Asset Based Community Development'? “It’s the shift from consumers and passive recipients to being powerful citizens – the most powerful people in democracy…” This is a great introduction by Cormac Russell to one community work approach you may find useful. Recorded during the height of Big Society rhetoric, but a clear, snappy, practical first look at ABCD.
Interested in other community work approaches? Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire developed critical pedagogy shaping community work approaches “Being in the world is also about changing it…” A short film here introduces Paulo Freire who developed critical thinking and dialogue as an approach to enabling people to understand their own context and start making a change.
“This is what can happen when the authorities start believing in the capacity of local communities to provide the drive and ideas for far better local solutions. This kind of leap from dependency to self-sufficiency is happening all over Scotland.” Do community groups make real change? Lots of community groups working to improve lives are unreported by the media. Here is a great exception!
Community-led groups are a place for churches to join in, as a friend and partner. Gary Salole makes the point in this critique of development work. Here the emphasis is on joining in, working together, that can scale up responses to local need.
Winter night shelters? “Any church that has a hall can accommodate it…” Many churches are gearing up for winter night shelters. Housing Justice lead the way in providing resource and support and highlighting collaborative approaches, that make more possible. Start here.
Looking for ideas and resources to help you in your local community? ‘Just Act’ here is a great website jammed full of tips and resources. Have a look here at their tips for getting started and ‘involving others’ here.
HeartEdge is a movement focused on
developing mission via 4 C's:
commercial activity, congregational development,
cultural engagement and compassion.
“Refurbishing a building is a real opportunity to think not only about what is currently wrong with the building, but about what the building could be for the future…” The Asset Transfer Unit resource on making buildings work for communities is a good start for considering how you might develop your building – tips and tactics here https://locality.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Making-Buildings-work-for-Communities-ATU-DTA-2010.pdf
‘We knew we had a good idea but we were struggling to really think things through and see how our new social enterprise would fit within our organisation. We needed help to develop our ideas and make it work across all our local branches.’ Church or charity and want to transitionover to more enterprise work? Find suggestions on how to shift approaches and set something up here. Including a case study from Worth Unlimited who with young people established Gearing Up.
“Staying true to God is a struggle – it is all too easy to veer off course both consciously and unconsciously - even when we think we have His plumb-line in our sights.” Read Philip Dawson here.
“The story of each one of us is the story of accepting that we are fragile…” 15-minutes of Catholic philosopher and founder of L’Arche community Jean Vanier on what it means to be human, here.
Bonhoeffer developed ideas about the role of the Church in a context after the Nazis took power in 1933, taking part in the resistance, plotting to kill Hitler and meeting with contacts in the Allies. Great radio in case you missed 'In Our Time' here.
“Pilgrimage is about more than just going on a long walk – in fact, you can be a pilgrim without going anywhere, or walk a thousand miles on a pilgrim route and never be more than a hiker…” There's a great taster from ‘The Accidental Pilgrim – New Journey’s on Ancient Pathways’, by Maggi Dawn here.
Clergy Couples! “60% of women who are getting ordained will be ordained into a Clergy Couple, reported Emma Ineson at the New Wine Clergy Couples gathering…” This blog explores some of the opportunities and issues this raises, based on extensive conversations with clergy couples. Have a look here.
“The way to change people’s minds is to become friends with them, to integrate them into your tribe, to bring them into your circle. Now, they can change their beliefs without the risk of being abandoned socially. The British philosopher Alain de Botton suggests that we simply share meals with those who disagree with us…” Facts don’t change our mind, it’s all about relationship. Familiar insights reworked here.
“We don’t know who Paul was – all we know is how people reacted to him…” Nomad have recorded a great interview with Paula Gooder on Phoebe, patriarchy and faithful improvisation. Listen here.
“Many of my neighbours, non-white neighbours, working class neighbours, neighbours whose lives are often precarious in many different ways – they want to be able to do stuff. They want to have opportunities to be generous, to be vocal, to have a sense of their own agency. Who am I to tell them they should be content with “being with”? Often I just need to find a way of getting out of the way so that I’m better placed to see, hear and receive what my neighbours are wanting to offer!” Al Barratt on staying alert to the power dynamics in situations and interactions we find ourselves in – some key insight here.
HeartEdge is an
We connect churches
together to develop congregation,
commercial activity and community.
Interested in joining in?
Learn more here!
“People who pray need to learn poetry…” David Dark on poetry and faith with Eugene Peterson… here… Poet Jericho Brown takes the idea further in his essay ‘If God is Love, “It may be possible for us writers to become more open about our devotion, our spiritual practices. We may be able to take more public pride in what we do if we ever can think that God includes us, that if she is everywhere, then where she is we must be. I mean that we must be more like the work we do.” More here.
Active Quaker Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered Pulsars 51 years ago – we thought this is a great story! Read some different insight and reflections here.
"Are sex and eating the deepest forms of participation in our world? Ought we to look for more?" Ben Quash spoke at the recent HeartEdge conference - here he is sharing ideas about what space can show us about God.
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Manchester: HeartEdge Day: 31 October:
We'll explore mission, share ideas and find support with Sam Wells and guests in Manchester.
With panel discussion, theology, practical ‘how to’ focus. Networking. Connecting, lunch & refreshments - and Great Sacred Music with the St Martin in the Fields Voices. Book here
- Congregation: Resources for liturgy, worship and day-to-day,
- Commerce: Being entrepreneurial and generating finance for church;
- Compassion: Grow participation and volunteering to address social need;
- Culture: Art, music and ideas to reimagine the Christian narrative for your context.
Inverness: HeartEdge Day 13 November:
Hosted by Rev Fiona Smith at Ness Bank Parish Church and Sam Wells, with theology, ideas, solutions and support for re-imagining Church. Book here.
Durham: Visual Communion is a series of symposia and events on the art, architecture and craft of the Eucharist organised by Art & Christianity. The event will explore visual arts in Christian sacramental liturgy and theology, opening up new ways of seeing art made and used for the glory of God. The first symposia takes place in Durham - Medieval mastery to Pugin, 7 & 8 September 2018, Ushaw College and Durham Cathedral, Chaired by Ben Quash and David Stancliffe. Book here.
Southend: Sam Wells at Bell Vue Baptist on Wednesday 3 October, 6.30-9.30pm (Bell Vue Baptist Church, Southend on Sea, SS1 2QA). Doors open 6pm. Talk 1: 6.30pm Break: 7.45pm Talk 2: 8.20pm. How can church survive and thrive in the context of world and kingdom? Detail here and here
Westminster: Salt Conference 2018: #StandTogether, Friday, 5 October 2018 – 9.30am to 4.30pm at Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate, London SW1H 9NH. Organised by Christian Aid's SALT Business Network to learn how to support and equip changemakers in whichever business God has called you to. With business leaders from a range of sectors on how they’re transforming business, communities and lives. Guest include: Michael Hastings – Global Head of Citizenships for KPMG International; David Connor – founder of the 2030hub and Coethica; Sophi Tranchell MBE – Managing Director of Divine Chocolate, the innovative international Fairtrade cocoa cooperative in Ghana; and Martin Rich – cofounder and Executive Director of Future Fit Foundation. Tickets cost £55. Detail here.
London: Something Worth Sharing, 2018. Saturday 13 October 10.30-4.30, St Martin's Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London. A weekend of events on Disability and Church, by St Martin in the Fields and Inclusive Church. What can we do to unlock gates and share our gifts with each other and the church? From access statements to advisory groups, connecting and communicating, we explore ideas and share practical resources to getting in and joining in. Speakers include: June Boyce-Tillman, Tim Goode, Fiona MacMillan, Ann Memmott, Emily Richardson and Sam Wells. £20/£10 concessions. Register 9 July, detail and book here and here.
Coventry: Plumbline Festival is HeartEdge members Coventry Cathedral’s year long celebration of 100 years of the Diocese of Coventry and Coventry Cathedral including ‘Beneath the Tapestry’, an exhibition of works by Graham Sutherland that inspired and helped develop the iconic tapestry that hangs in Coventry Cathedral here. Precentor at Coventry Cathedral Michael Sadgrove blogs here.
Voices from the margins – but are we listening?
There is no doubting the fact that British Christianity is suffering from a crisis of confidence, writes Anthony Reddie. Amongst White majority historic churches, such as the Church of England, the Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and the URC ecclesial traditions, our numbers are falling and our sense of certainty is waning. All this is against a backdrop of the end of Christendom and realisation that the church and Christianity is no longer the dominant entity in the life of the nation – in short, the nation no longer dances to our tune. And yet amidst this epoch of seeming despair and a marked loss of confidence, we also have the legacy of that past – Christendom may have gone but the marks of it remain.
For a Black liberation theologian and a decolonial educator like myself, I see the trappings and the continued subliminal power of Christendom at work in the continued existence of ‘Mission Christianity’ in Britain. Mission Christianity is the religion of empire that also sustained White superiority and notions of manifest destiny of Britain’s sense of self-importance. One saw all of the aforementioned in the ways in which Brexit was able to use the notion of ‘Christian Britain’ as a means of bolstering the fragile tenets of Whiteness as it sought to evoke the spirit of the past when Britain was great and still possessed of its empire.
The collusion of the church in this - largely silent and decidedly neutral on the question of Brexit, whilst foreigners, migrants and visible minorities were vilified against a backdrop of White nationalism and explicit xenophobia - remains an important missiological challenge. The church in (and of) England is implicated in the rise of ‘Fortress Britain’ and the narrow, English nationalism, because it has always been an intrinsic part of a subterranean theology of election that identifies Whiteness and Englishness as defining symbols for authentic national belonging.
Our present moment represents the biggest missiological challenge to have faced the church for decades. Writing as a descendent of the Windrush Generation, I am eager to see whether the church has the courage to listen to the pressing voices from the margins that have and continue to revitalise Christianity in Britain. RS Sugirtharajah’s seminal bookVoices from the Marginhas long remained one of the defining texts for outlining the means by which Christianity and the church has been infused and revitalised by those on the margins of empire and colonialism, the major controlling entities with which the church has largely colluded.
HeartEdge represents a bold attempt to rethink the very nature and intent of the church as we face an era when nationalistic and cultural walls want to separate people, whereas the radical inclusivity of our faith should be bringing people together and surmounting such boundaries. This conference is a radical re-statement of the relationship between the church and wider society and the continued relevance of the gospel in our changing times!
Anthony Reddie is Extraordinary Professor of Theological Ethics
at University of South Africa and author of ‘Black Theology, Contesting Post-Racialism’ by SCM.
Anthony is Learning & Development Officer for the Methodist Church.
That's all for this month...