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 HeartEdge Mailer | June 2019

HeartEdge is an international ecumenical movement. 

  • We are churches and organisations developing mission. 
  • We focus on 4 areas - commercial activity, congregation, cultural engagement and compassion.
  • Join us here!

Each month we email stories, web links and news related to our focus: commercial activity, congregations, cultural engagement and compassion. Useful, inspiring, practical - a resource to take from!

This month:

  • Boaz Life and well-being, plus Dementia Cafe's and responses to autism.
  • Church buildings as places of safety and church gardens as sanctuary.
  • Learning from the Commercial - loads of churches & projects to inspire!
  • Rituals, poetry & installations in church - examples & resources.
  • Plus Jessica Foster on questions of vulnerability & leadership.
 

"A monthly smorgasbord of ideas,
focused around HeartEdge 4C's."


Compassion
Working with refugees or people with no recourse to public funds? This is useful - “Several years ago we developed our programme of activities in a more intentional way, using the NEF 5 Ways to Well-being model and Boaz Life was born! This model lists 5 actions which, if done on a regular basis, have been shown to improve personal well-being. The 5 actions are: Connect (building relationships with others), Be active (physical activities), Take notice (being intentionally mindful), Keep learning (trying new things and developing skills) Give (doing something for others, e.g. through volunteering). Boaz Trust in Manchester are a leading UK charity responding to and advocating for refugees. Read about their work and get in touch here.

Curious about those five ways to well-being – that could be applied in your community project or congregation – the full picture here.
 
Useful resources for work with refugees and people with no recourse to public funds here or have a look at insight from the excellent Joint Public Issues Team here.
 
Interested in developing welcome, hospitality and sanctuary for foreign nationals who are destitute? Learn about setting up an International Group here

"Normally there are Dementia café’s, advisory groups, and carer support. No one in England has yet been able to offer a constant day to day service, which our project will..." HeartEdge members St James Church Sutton Coldfied have helped create a coalition of public and private partners to set up 'Hope for Sutton'. There's lots to take away from their approach. Clock the story here.

“Don’t assume anything about an autistic person. For seventy years (at least), people have been making assumptions about autistic people based on outward behaviour…They think that the stranger we act, the “more autistic” we are. We are asking you to stop…” This article on autism challenged our thinking and approach – see what you think here.

Funeral costs - “If you are on certain benefits or tax credits, you may be eligible for the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment…” Very useful in-case-you-didn't-know-it - Ten steps to an affordable funeral here

Church buildings are a great asset for a community, how they can they be used more? We like the suggestions from C-of-E clergy here - buildings and gardens!

Building and place of safety - “In every place where there is a problem of serious youth violence, there is a church. Too often the doors are shut… Is there a way that churches can be open, particularly between the hours of 3pm and 6pm, to be places of safety, of welcome, where young people can go?” HeartEdge friend Rosemarie Mallett in the press here and here on knife crime, talking our language and a proposal for the July C-of-E Synod in York. What do you think? Know any church or group opening their doors? Get in touch.

Garden and place of sanctuary - “A survey of more than 1,000 senior clergy has found that the proportion reporting that mental health is a ‘major’ or ‘significant’ problem in their local area increased sharply from 40% in 2011 to 60% in 2017…”  The Bishop of Carlisle is looking at how church land can be used for gardening. Read more here. This reminded us of the brilliant St John's Old Trafford - and an inspiring story from a recent Manchester HeartEdge day here.

"Strong communities are always based on a shift in the balance of power from global to local. C2C believes that local conversations and solutions will transform lives. We need to challenge the idea that the ownership of land exists for political or economic advantage, rather than for the long-term benefit of residents. Where we see shared partnerships that are creating places of civic connection – allotments and parks, for example – we see that communities brought together..." City 2 City are HeartEdge members facilitating organising in cities across the UK and making change. Read more here and explore ways to work with them.

 

"Where do you find this?! Always something useful, every month. It's become essential for our team." 


Commercial
Where do you start with a commercial? This month stories of churches and groups that took the step. Lots to be inspired by, learn more from - and make contact with.

“In 2010, Humphreys found herself at the helm of a local charity shop and was struck by an idea. She went to her nearest job centre and asked for nine young people to come on board as staff...” The project grew into Circle Collective – here. Growth was slow, but now, one store has become two. An initial nine young people have become 400 overall; and the team generates £4.66 of social value from every £1 it spends, with 76 per cent of its graduates going on to steady jobs." We like the combination of charity shop and youth work. Could they work in other cities? Learn more here. Contact the collective to learn more.
 
“We also campaign for fairness in funerals in Scotland – fighting the problems and debt caused by UK Government funeral benefits policy and by the predatory parts of the For-Profit funeral industry…”
We like their approach - here. We are interested to learn more about others working to subvert the 'death industry'. What do you think?  
 
Most children in care transport their belongings in a bin bag. Dave - a youth worker - set out to do something about it. With £480 he started Madlug and came up with our ‘Buy one Give one’ approach: with every bag you purchase, one will be given to a child in care.” Inspiring to see this getting started - and like others - slowly growing. More here
 
The Garden Community Café… offers a vibrant, friendly and safe space to meet and eat. The cafe aims to bring the community together and improve quality of life for local people. Based in East London and part of Church of the Ascension – learn more here.  Got a cafe story? Be in touch and tell us!
 
HeartEdge are inspired by Shildon Food Aid a project open to all. “You can be referred into the hub... or if you find yourself without food or money you can benefit from our one off self-referral process which involves a short interview with our Advocate. We also run a Community Fridge which allows us to share food waste and food from members of the community with others. This is available for all members of the community and is about sharing whilst reducing waste.” Learn much more here.
 
“It started with surplus. That was our first big leap forward. Where others saw waste, we saw opportunities: commercial, environmental and social too. In five decades since, we’ve reframed how business thinks about surplus, we’ve helped pioneer the circular economy and we’ve won the confidence of the biggest retailers, manufacturers, food service and logistics providers in the country…” We love this ongoing story here from the Northeast – maybe a project to partner with? 
 
70% of children living in poverty in the UK are in working households. 2.9 million children have parents who are working but still living in poverty. The challenge is low pay. Clean for Good want to keep grow their business, improve services and give more cleaners the chance for fairly paid and dignified jobs. “Our mission is to keep pushing until every cleaner in the UK is paid a real Living Wage, benefits from decent working conditions and is respected for their work.” How do they do this? More here.  Plus an exhibition that celebrates London’s cleaners. “They are some of London’s many ‘hidden workers’ who make this city tick. All have lives and stories of their own…” Visit here.
 

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Congregation
The importance of ritual - "In a mainstream that places insufficient emphasis on communal ritual, we may be losing access to cultural technologies that have been used throughout human history. By consciously attempting to ‘re-enchant the world,’ we can help to create and maintain social bonds as well as our connection to the living earth..." here.
 
Who is your 'go-to poet'? Does your church have a 'go-to poet'? There is wisdom in Anthony Wilson - read more here.

"The term installation is sometimes applied to permanent, site-specific, sculptural ensembles created for corporate or public settings..." ArtServe are a great resource if you're looking to develop art in your church. For an introduction to installations visit here  - or for more ideas and resources have a further look here and here

 

We are about
catalysing Kingdom communities,
We focus on developing 4Cs:

commercial activity, 
congregational development,
cultural engagement 
and compassion.

Join in, here!


Culture
“Put down your phone and talk to me” Dear Progress is an open letter to the contemporary idea of progress and asks ‘are we really going forward?” The work by Manchester based HeartEdge favourite is worth checking out here! More detail here

Mat Collishaw challenges faith perspectives with his Ushaw Installation - on the alluring and the revolting, the familiar and the shocking, the poetic and the morbid. Interview and story by Jonathan Evens here

"Comedy is inherently anarchic and subversive and anti-establishment and the church is inherently part of the establishment. But there’s been a huge amount of interest from a cross-section of people. And the beauty is that most people just appreciate having a laugh.” We loved learning about St Laurence in Stroud - the 'Festival Church' who have a good time celebrating festivals - including comedy! Learn about the church here and festival as featured here. Have a look at the comedy festival programme here. Finally, don't miss a short clip of one of their guest comedians - Jo Enright - here. Hilarious!

Finally, the astonishing Chaiya Awards - the UK's biggest art awards exploring spirituality through the visual arts. Entries close soon. Learn more from Jonathan Evens here - and visit their website here.


HeartEdge is a movement 
focused on renewal and mission.
Join us 
here!


Members
We're pleased to welcome new founding members:

- St John’s, Hamilton - here.
- St Pewter’s, Hammersmith - here.


Events
Our second annual HeartEdge conference is coming up in Edinburgh for an intensive two-day programme. According to Sam Wells, "I’m especially thrilled that the invitation to explore the theology and significance of HeartEdge has coincided with the second annual HeartEdge conference in Edinburgh. It feels like in the evenings I’ll be proposing the theory and during the days we’ll all be exploring the practice. What a wonderful model of church." Practical, inspiring, building supportive networks and relationships.

2 - 3 October, Edinburgh. The HeartEdge annual conference: 'On Earth as it is in Heaven' - a practical, two-day intensive of ideas, theology and connecting. Includes workshops on enterprise and commerce, launching cultural projects, developing congregations and sustaining community response. This year contributors include Sam Wells and Winnie Varghese. Winnie is a Huffington Post blogger; author of 'Church Meets World'; editor of 'What We Shall Become' and Priest and Chief Justice and Reconciliation Officer at Trinity Church Wall Street, New York City.  For details and to book visit here.

Last Word: On Vulnerability and Leadership
Jessica Foster writes: "Beauty for brokenness, hope for despair….God of the poor, friend of the weak, give us compassion we pray." 

This is a song that I have grown up with and perhaps would have been part of my formation in the 80s and 90s. But singing it while on a reconciliation pilgrimage recently it suddenly jarred. Who is the ‘us’ in the chorus? Are ‘we’ the poor and weak or are we the rich and strong who need to have compassion for ‘them’ the weak and poor. Are beauty and brokenness incompatible – does one really replace the other or can they be found together? Is not hope seen its most pure and compelling form when it exists alongside despair – a phenomenon I have seen most clearly on visits to the Holy Land.

The Church of England has suddenly got very interested in reconciliation. There are new courses being developed, the Archbishop’s Lent book is on the subject and for me personally it’s an emerging theme for my ministry post-curacy.

I don’t think that I, or the church as a whole, can approach reconciliation ministry as if we think we are whole and sorted and can rescue a broken world. The church has very public flaws and failing, its internal conflicts are well known nationally and internationally. I am glad my failings are not known nationally and internationally – but they are nonetheless real and deep – I cannot pretend to my friends, my family or even to my enemy to be sorted and sinless.

In the political arena, the debates, voting patterns and negotiations around Brexit have revealed hidden divisions in our community – these are not usually the obvious divides. I have friends from many different faiths and ethnicities, from different levels of wealth and education among my 450 friends on Facebook but I only had one person on there who is an open Leave supporter. Our nation is hungry for reconnection and peace-making.

I hear the call to reconciliation most clearly through Jesus’s call to love our enemies. His life, death and resurrection show me what it means to live for others, to resist evil with love and to journey in obedience to God even if the cost is crucifixion.  If any of us could live even with a fraction of his faithfulness it would have a huge impact on the world.

We cannot live like Jesus on the outside unless we become like Jesus on the inside. And we cannot become like Jesus on the inside without accepting our woundedness. Apparently, early mystics only believed that it was Jesus they were encountering in a vision if they, like Thomas, saw evidence of his wounds. 

Church can often be the place where we hide our wounds, put on our Sunday best and mask our flaws and blemishes. As church leaders, we are expected to keep our vulnerabilities out of the pulpit. How can churches become places where brokenness, weakness and poverty are not just fixed or corrected but are held in tenderness? How can we help each other see that beauty is found in fragility, God’s love is made perfect in our stumbling and weakness? How can we join in with the work of God and creation to keep glimmers of glory shining in the shadowy places of beauty and brokenness?
 
Jessica Foster is tutor in Interfaith Engagement at Queens Foundation in Birmingham, the Bishop of Birmingham’s Policy Advisor and a participant in the Reconcilers Together Leadership Programme, Journey of Hope
 

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HeartEdge · St Martin-in-the-Fields · Trafalgar Square · London, WC2N 4JH · United Kingdom

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