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HeartEdge Mailer | November 2018

The church is getting smaller. The church is getting narrower. HeartEdge asks, ‘How do you feel about that? What are you doing about it?’ – and provides ways to turn convictions into actions.

Churches that join HeartEdge collaborate and support each other. We work to become vibrant, welcoming and dynamic signs of hope and contributors to civil society. Together we share expertise on key areas of renewal:
  • Culture – hosting and participating in music, art, and performance 
  • Commerce – generating funds through business ventures, balancing profit with social impact
  • Congregation – staying broad and going deep
  • Compassion – meeting Christ in the stranger and being renewed by those on whom the world has turned its back
HeartEdge is a growing interdenominational movement of churches, offering models for renewal of the church. Join HeartEdge here
 
"A monthly smorgasbord of ideas,
inspiration and resource 
focused around
HeartEdge 4 C's."

This month:
HeartEdge events in Hamilton, London and Edinburgh in 2019, plus:
  • Ann Morisy on mission, Jane Williams on Advent, Vanessa Herrick on vulnerability, Rosie Ward on meetings, Mike Pears on transgressing and Barbara Glasson on balance.
  • Plus making the café financially viable, a 'Street Wisdom' business, making community spaces work, 'start-up' grants and... Gin!
  • Also spotting & responding to domestic violence, the 'Edge Fund', How to Collaborate, Musicians Church & painting the divine.
  • Plus Sam Wells on being with other faiths and Sami Award on space for healing in Palestine.
"Interesting and illuminating..."
Steve, Northampton
Subscribe to the Mailer 
here.

Compassion:
“If you want to go quickly, go alone; if you want to go further, go together”African proverb…” Collaboration has never been so critical. Nor has it been so achievable at a significant scale. How to nurture collaboration? Lots of tactics and approaches to extend the reach of your community work, business and compassion here
 
1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse in her life, two women are killed each week by a current or former partner in England and Wales, and in the year end March 2016, 1.2 million women reported experience of domestic abuse in England and Wales. Rosie Ward produced this resource on domestic violence, here. Learn more? Hear Sam Wells on violence against women here. Womens Aid has produced resources here and resources focused on young people are here and here.
 
“When you’re at the end of your tether… there is a fragility that helps us know our need of God… There’s also knowing that our shit stinks, and that’s the beginning of knowing our need for a saviour…” Ann Morisy on mission and tether, interviewed by CMS here. More from Ann? Hear Ann's June 2018 Micah Lecture from Liverpool Cathedral – on doing business with God… resilience… and choosing an attitude in any given circumstances here.
 
Edge Fund is unusual. If you’re interested in work that’s not about charity and more about "
social, economic and environmental justice... to end imbalances in wealth and power", .organising and agitating and non-charitable work then have a look here.  You may be developing work on the margins that will benefit from connecting here, and may attract funding. Worth keeping an eye out on the Edge…
 
“It is our behaviours, attitudes and practices that will allow us genuinely to shape the next decade... so let’s get on with it…” Julia Unwin on the significant ‘Future of Civil Society in England’ launched in 2017 and now reporting. A must read for churches as change-agents – more here or download the report here  
 
“Notice when you’re taking or avoiding risks. Ask what you would do in that situation if you were ten times braver…” Putting into practice learning from the Civil Society Futures enquiry – this is great. If you’re looking at making a difference, fabulous resources here…  
 
Seeking to deepen, share and open up existing awareness of power and privilege with others?  New Economy Organisers Network (NEON) make issues of power and privilege easier to discuss and resolve within a campaigning context. It's all here: Interested in power analysis? Cracking resource to get started here
 
HeartEdge is a movement focused on 
developing mission via 4 C's:
commercial activity, congregational development,
cultural engagement and compassion.
Join here!

Commercial:
“Don’t rely on a café to make a profit. Those interested in setting up a community cafe need to be aware that it is challenging to run a financially viable café unless integrated with wider activities of the organisation.” This is so helpful if you're starting an enterprise... here.
 
Are you part of a group which has a plan to set up a community business such as a pub, shop, woodland, community centre, energy project or sports facility? Community Share Starter Fund can match fund at 50% (potentially more in deprived areas) to get your share offer up and running, to a maximum of £6,000, as long as you can raise the rest. Details here.

"Sharing is a really important way for us... we're buying less things and throwing less away..." How collaboration created the Frome Share Shop - the Library of Things here. Learn more here. Reminded us a little of the work going in Reddish - with Re:dish here.

“The adventures and conversations that people had in their three hours alone were quite amazing…” There is something about pilgrimage in 'Street Wisdom' – read thoughts from Lucy Winkett here and other reactions here …  “Street Wisdom is a social enterprise with a mission to bring inspiration to every street on earth.” Worth checking out here
 
“What happens when people show up? Welcoming people is the first step in how they get involved…” How to make the community space work here

“This is not a novelty; this is a cathedral doing business…” Gin! As the Gin craze continues Blackburn cathedral are in on it… Find out about the “income stream to guarantee sustainability” here and here.  Definitely worth a tipple.

"1 in 4 British workers are affected by... anxiety, depression and stress every year..." Employer Pledge demonstrates a commitment to change how we think and act about mental health in the workplace…  “When you sign the Employer Pledge you demonstrate your commitment to change how we think and act about mental health in the workplace and make sure that employees who are facing these problems feel supported.” Detail here…  

 
The church is getting smaller;
and it’s getting narrower.
HeartEdge asks,
‘How do you feel about that?
What are you doing about it?’
and provides ways to turn convictions into actions.

Interested in joining in?
Learn more 
here!

 Congregation:
“Martha and Mary is not so much a commendation of the contemplative life in opposition to the active life, but an offer to women of the chance to learn at the feet of Jesus and not just cook his dinner..” Great insight from Jane Williams here. On Advent - "a chance to remember what Christmas is about…” more here.  Finally from Jane Williams; wisdom on liberation,  extending boundaries and including more people in our actions - watch here.

“The paradox of this ‘divine condescension’ lies at the heart of the incarnation.  How could God become a vulnerable human being and still be God?  And if he was still God, then was he really human?  How could the humanness of Jesus Christ be the same as yours and mine?” Vanessa Herrick on vulnerability here.

Frustrated by meetings? “Move to conclusions and decisions, rather than allowing discussion to go round in circles…” Great tips on how to chair – and reaching that resolution, from Rosie Ward here.

The illusion of balance, when we're all falling over - insight and wisdom from Barbara Glasson here 

"One of the impacts of prayer is our sense of identity in God... and certainty of our vocation in God..." The AB of C, Justin Welby made the news, commenting on God and gender. The story is herehere and here (paywall). Hear the Sam Wells and Justin Welby Q&A here. The earlier lectures are all here. Plus a Study Guide, email here  to use with your congregation.
 
Mike Pears is the new Director at the International Baptist Theological Study Centre in Amsterdam here. Mike on urban mission, turning over tables, transgressing, sitting in the wrong place and joining in here.

"He went to these communities, he went to his enemies, and he engaged with them and never marginalized anybody. He had compassion, he had understanding, and he created a space for healing to take place..." Sami Award of Holy Land Trust on Christ and community work in Palestine here.

“We are already looking for people to join our Seed Community. This is a unique opportunity…” Tree of Life is a New Monastic community in Leicester. Learn more here
 
“All of us are theologians. The minute we say something about God, we are speaking theology. Young voices, unheard voices, need to be nurtured in the practice of reflecting on faith…” ICC have their annual young people and slam-theology - details here. We'll keep you posted on the winner!

 
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Culture:
“The Musicians’ Church aims to encourage the growth of music in our places of worship…” This is in London – maybe your town or city needs a musicians’ church? Learn more here.

“My view of the Scottish people changed from dislike to love. I see the Scots as being extremely creative, the English much less so…” Here more from New Glasgow Boys, Peter Howson exhibited at Acta Est Fabula, Flowers Gallery, 82 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP, until 22 December 2018and interviewed by our own Jonathan Evens here Read his review here
 
“Our vision is to become a beacon church for south London. Working with the architect Eric Parry has encouraged us set our sights high, and this exciting renovation will allow us to better serve London and the busy, fast-changing community of Waterloo.” The congregation at St John's Waterloo and Giles Goddard the vicar are working on a project details here.
 
‘Inspired to Follow: Art & the Bible Story’ is a free resource exploring Christianity using paintings and Bible stories. This Autumn two new Advent Courses of four sessions each include big Advent themes of Death, Judgement, Heaven & Hell, alongside characters including Elizabeth & Mary; Joseph; Zechariah & Elizabeth; and Herod. Using art from the National Gallery’s collection, learn more here.
 
How do you paint a figure, both fully human and fully divine? Dr Chloë Reddaway, Howard and Roberta Ahmanson Curator in Art and Religion at the National Gallery present a new series of seven short films looking at paintings from the National Gallery’s Renaissance collection, exploring surprising and ingenious artistic responses to the challenge of painting Christ - here.
 
Love art? The Visual Commentary on Scripture (VCS) is a free online theological commentary of the Bible alongside works of art. Interacting artworks, scriptural texts, and commissioned commentaries. Each section is a virtual exhibition of bible, three art works, and commentaries. Curators for each exhibition select artworks that open up bible for interpretation, offering new perspectives on themes in the text. Lots more here
 
In a forest of gigantic trees, Oquirá a six-year old indigenous girl, will challenge her destiny and learn to understand the cycle of life. A beautiful award-winning short animation for you – or the youth group here:
 
Something to plug? 
News, stories or events
to share… 
tell us here.

Events:
  • HeartEdge Day, Hamilton - Glasgow: Wednesday 6 February 10am - 3.30 pm. St John's Church: Joanne Hood and Sam Wells with theology, ideas, solutions and support for re-imagining Church. Contributors include Ian Barcroft, Ross Blackman, Liz Crumlish, Jonathan Evens, Doug Gay, Robin Hill, Kenneth Johnston, Mark Strange, George Whyte and Georgie Illingworth. Includes, Sing with the Swing Band. Book in here
     
  • Inspired to Follow workshop - Thursday 14 February, 2 till 4.30pm: 'Inspired to Follow: Art and the Bible Story’ uses visual culture and a more open-ended approach to 
    explore the Christian faith. Developed by St Martin-in-the-Fields the discipleship course uses art from the National Gallery, a Biblical story and short theological reflection to help people explore the Christian faith today.
    Learn how to host ‘Inspired to Follow’ and develop its use with Revd Jonathan Evens, Associate Vicar Partnership Development, St Martin-in-the-Fields.
    HeartEdge members - no-charge, HeartEdge Non-members £10 for others.Register with Revd Jonathan Evens here or call 020 7766 1127.

     
  • HeartEdge annual conference, 2 / 3 October 2019, Edinburgh - save the date / details soon!
HeartEdge is a movement 
focused on developing mission.
Join 
here!

 
Last Word: "I'm doing this for me..."
The simplest way to be with one another, to participate, is to read sacred texts together writes Sam Wells. This may be done in more than one way. A text may be introduced by a representative of the tradition from which that text comes and taken as an entry-point into a description of the whole tradition. Several texts may be set alongside one another from different traditions around a common theme, such as ecology. Or each member of the group may together study a single text that derives from one tradition as if it were a sacred text from their own tradition. Such discipline and attention evoke questioning, insight, conflict, and discovery of one’s own tradition as well as that of others. On occasion it may be appropriate to do a simpler version of this in public: for example to invite speakers from each of the major global faith traditions to address an issue such as the environmental crisis from within their own tradition before a live audience. This is a way of encouraging the sprouting of further dialogue groups as well as demonstrating the fruits of such dialogue in insight and good will. 
 
Another kind of participation is journeying together. Journeying together is a physical and metaphorical notion. If a group of people can journey together physically, they can gain a better understanding of one another and the destination to which they are headed. Christians see this in Moses’s guiding his people through the wilderness, through Jesus and the disciples’ journey to Jerusalem and Paul’s journey to Rome. A physical journey together to the local mosque or to Varanasi on the River Ganges is a perfect way to embody the spirit of humble engagement Christians seek to display in interfaith dialogue. But just as significant is the metaphorical journey that emerges from a personal history of engagement in settled and in trying times, of joint statements in troubled seasons and reasoned disagreements on matters of significance, that together accumulate a common awareness that these have been conversations that have really mattered. 
 
Why do such things? For the world, perhaps, because there is nothing the world needs more than examples of how to sustain reasoned disagreement over issues that evoke passionate expressions among people who have no foundational starting points to fall back on. For people of other faiths, possibly, because the Christianity that emerges in generous-hearted dialogue with strangers is offering others what as Christians we believe are the words of eternal life. For the salvation of souls, also, since the joy of forgiveness and eternal life is such that Christians cannot keep from singing, and to love the stranger is to long for that stranger to know the source and destiny of all love. 

But genuinely to be with the person of another faith means to say, “I’m doing this for me. I am a person in need. I am a person who would like to learn better how to pray, how to live a disciplined life, how to fast, how to meditate, how to be a gracious presence in the life of my neighbour. And I represent a tradition that needs to learn how to bring people of different races together, how to hold diverse opinion within one body, how to break our addiction to violence, how to use power to set people free. These are things I personally and the tradition I repr
esent have to learn. I’m learning to be with those of other faiths because I believe that God shows me things through people like these. And what I say to them is, ‘Thank you for being messengers of God to one another and to me.’” 

This is an extract from 'Incarnational Mission - Being with the World' available to order here. Sam Wells is Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

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

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