HeartEdge Mailer | March 2019
HeartEdge is an international ecumenical movement.
- We are churches and other organisations developing mission.
- We focus on 4 areas - commercial activity, congregations, cultural engagement and compassion.
- Join us! Details here.
Each month we collect and email stories, web links, news related to our focus: commercial activity, congregations, cultural engagement and compassion. Useful, inspiring, practical - it's a resource.
- Encouraging kindness and wellbeing in our communities
- Cormac Russell on 'thisness', Asset based Community Development, plus radical campaigning and community organising
- Enterprise insights, plus tips on developing your church building
- The significance of friendship, Walter Brueggemann on Kingdom economics and Barbara Glasson on mission and interfaith.
- Also, Lent resources plus an extract from 'Walk Humbly', a new book by Sam Wells.
"A monthly smorgasbord
of ideas, focused
around HeartEdge 4C's."
Young people have limited access to emotional and practical support. In England, only 19% of young people between the ages of 15 and 34 strongly agree there is someone in their area they can turn to for emotional support; this rises to 34% for those over 55. More here.
What can we do to encourage more kindness in our communities? Carnegie UK made a snappy film about groups they researched - look here. How do you 'measure' kindness? (And why would you?) Their report 'Quantifying Kindness' explains Carnegie's thinking - some useful insights here.
This maybe why the we liked the look of the 'kindness judges', visiting Scotland recently. "It's literally taking a criminal court and turning it inside out, and instead of looking to punish, looking to help. That's the innovation of problem solving courts and the application of procedural justice." 400 courts now operate globally, the approach responsible for a 20% reduction in youth reoffending, and a 10% reduction in reoffending by adults in New York. Learn more about their visit here.
"Intentionally doing things together, from breaking bread to tending a community garden, brings us into a radical presence with our neighbours. Sometimes we also create ‘shareable moments’, where we intentionally create the conditions for neighbours to become friends..." From skills exchanges, seed swaps, repair cafes - useful ideas about the Asset Based Community Development approach here.
“One of the ways we become senseless to the "thisness" of life is to label it: the stranger, the foreigner, the enemy etc. Judging destroys community; curious appreciative description enhances it…” A short, useful insight from Cormac Russell here.
“We will ring the alarm bell of the century, and our call to action will be heard and remembered for generations…’ Churches often host campaigning groups. 'Extinction Rebellion' is one organisation making waves across cities – and churches are involved. Inspired by the civil right movement of the 1960s and peaceful non-violent resistance of Martin Luther King, have a look at their programme of workshops and look out for them where you are - here.
Can your congregation be involved in local campaigning? Citizens UK is a growing movement fuelled by the participation of schools, business and faith groups including many churches. Citizens have a range of issues they are prioritising - including mental health, migrants and refugees and housing and homelessness, plus others - have a look here. Interested in your church getting involved? Citizens use a a distinctive, and effective approach… details here.
"Where do you find this?!
Always something useful, every month.
It's become essential for our team."
“We do ‘repair education’." A social business can mean working with other organisations - and collaboration. But how do you get started? "There are other organisations in Edinburgh doing great work around recycling. So, we don’t try to do recycling, because they already do it really well. We collaborate with them when there’s need, and our activities complement each other’s. We can find cost savings through sharing resources too…” There are some practical insight on enterprise and collaboration from The School for Social Enterprise, here.
“Simply selling the property and moving was one survival strategy, but… being faithful with their resources meant responding to the way’s life had become systematically difficult for their neighbour’s.” The challenge church buildings present to congregations - and the opportunity to build community. An inspiring, practical story here.
'We want to develop the church building - but we don't know where to start!' Loads of practical ideas and resources here.
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Sometimes the funded project isn't enough... “We designed a Winter Buddies service to recruit and train volunteers to be ‘buddied’ up with a lonely older person. The theory was this would (a) reduce loneliness and (b) reduce the number of trips, slips and falls and so reduce hospital admissions over the winter… the funding came to an end and the training and supervision ended. Before long weekly visits stopped. The lonely old people were back where they started. Nothing had changed.” So what works? Some further learning here.
"The Kingdom of God means a new economic arrangement – the Kingdom at hand? He means reinvest in the new economy…" Great questions and responses in this conversation between Walter Brueggemann and Kenyatta Gilbert - well worth a watch here.
“I don’t like the word interfaith - it’s too small a word… faith is not monochrome, it’s not Muslims talking to Christians or Christians talking to Muslims, it’s all-sorts of Christians talking to all-sorts of Muslims and all sorts of people with no faith at all, all sorts of muddled up thinking around the edge of that. Muslims talking to all sorts of Christians.” `Bookended by banter, you'll find an inspiring interview with Barbara Glasson on interfaith ‘weaving women’s wisdom’ and mission - here.
Learn more about Bradford based 'Weaving Women’s Wisdom’ developed by Touchstone here.
Brighton based 'Beyond' are running a Lenten social media project during the season of abstinence and reflection. Every day they have a short video from a different contributor sharing their thoughts on Lent, abstinence and hope. Challenging, provocative - this is well worth a look each day, here. Then tell your friends.
Looking for more Lent resources? Based on their popular book 'Lifelines', Malcolm Doney and Martin Wroe have produced a series of short podcasts, including readings from the book. It's another great resource to share with people in your church - have a listen here.
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'Selling Virtues' is the latest inspired project from Manchester's finest and HeartEdge favourite - Micah Purnell. Learn more about the project here. See Micah's earlier work here.
Lots to find out about and dig into, from our own Jonathan Evens, who surveys a range of current approaches to exploring art and spirituality in this informative review of contemporary art. Have a read here.
Presence Project weaves together music, film, poetry and photography to deepen people’s connection to God. Presence Project was created by DJ and composer, Andy Hunter, born out of a desire to draw closer to the source of his inspiration and creativity. Andy wanted to find a way to ‘be’ in God’s presence, to reflect, meditate & pray. Learn more here.
HeartEdge members have lots to teach us. This month check out our events section below, packed with members and friends organising exhibitions and installations. Curious how they did it? Contact organisers direct and ask - they'll be pleased to be in touch and share insights with you as you look to develop your cultural activity.
HeartEdge is a movement
focused on renewal and mission.
Join us here!
We're pleased to welcome new founding members:
- The Parish of Brentford - here
- St Nicholas - Chiswick - here
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Bristol's Victoria Methodist Church hosts 'Encounters: Walking the Fractured City, Mark Cazalet - The West London Stations'. Running from 6 March to 18 April 18. Mark Cazalet uses 15 small canvases to represent incidents on Christ's final journey, setting each episode in 'corners' or 'untidy places' well known to the artist. Learn more here.
Organised by PassionArt for Lent, 'How Did It Get So Dark?' runs from Tuesday 5 March to Thursday 18 April at St Ann’s Church, Manchester M2 7LF. 'How did it get so dark?' is inspired by ninth-century ritual of Tenebrae - or shadows - contrasting use of candlelight, darkness, silence, spoken word and sound, to reflect the experience are suffering and redemption and events leading up to Easter. Details here.
Coventry Cathedral - ‘Reconciliation’ is a group show by commission4mission artists running until 12 April 2019. The exhibition includes a mix of abstract and representational imagery made using ceramics, collage, digital illustration, drawing, painting, photography and sculpture. Addressing contemporary issues there is lots to inspire here. View during Cathedral opening hours - detail here.
11 April 'Deepening Spirituality - Explore approaches to deepening the spirituality of congregations including accompanied prayer, art, Godly Play, lay communities, open door retreats, spiritual direction, and more. An opportunity for personal refreshment also. Led by London Centre for Spiritual Direction and HeartEdge member contributors include, Neil Evans, Director of Ministry, Diocese of London, Alison Christian, Advisor and Advocate for Spiritual Direction, Richard Carter, Associate Vicar for Mission, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Julie Dunstan, Director for Formation and Professional Development, LCSD and Antonia Lynn, Community Warden and Referrals Coordinator, LCSD. For more details and to book - visit here.
11 June 'Newcastle HeartEdge Day' with Sam Wells and guests. A unique programme of theological reflection and local contributors. HeartEdge days focus around our HeartEdge 4 Cs with an emphasis on practical insight and ideas to take away. Full details to be announced - don't miss out, we get great feedback about these events. Book in here.
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 initial contributors and to book in early-bird visit here.
Last Word: From Dependence to Gratitude
Sam Wells explores dependence and gratitude in an extract from his new book 'Walk Humbly: Encouragements for Living, Working, and Being'.
The vortex of contemporary society is to zero all these forms of complex dependence down to two levers: the mobile phone and the credit card; the one to manage interactions, the other to cover costs. Both are forms of reduction—ways to simplify, streamline, accelerate or eradicate relationship. But the result of so doing is to hide the reality of dependence, and thus turn relationship into an abstraction—even, perhaps, an imposition. And this erodes our awareness of our limitation and mortality into a fantasy of unencumbered reward. What gets lost is gratitude.
Gratitude is the moment we turn from seeing dependence as a burden and begin to see it as a gift. Gratitude is the window we are given into how dependence creates relationship. If it weren’t for my poor eyesight I wouldn’t need to ask a neighbor child’s help reading my mail and opening tins of dogfood. If I didn’t have a child in my house helping me open tins I wouldn’t be able to feed my dog regularly. If I didn’t have a dog, I wouldn’t have heard the noise and disturbance when my fridge malfunctioned and began to smoke. Because of the dog’s barking I was able to press the panic button in my home and support quickly arrived and my kitchen was saved and my belongings were rescued; perhaps I and even my neighbours would otherwise have lost our lives. A whole chain of events tracing back to my poor eyesight and the way that created the need for relationship.
And because my near neighbour had poor eyesight I used to go round to her house during the week to open her emails and letters and read them to her. And because I loved her dog I used to go round more often than she needed me to. And because I got used to talking to her about her messages and entering into her personal world, I felt more comfortable sharing with her my difficulty in sleeping, my nightmares, my trembling hands, my confused and patchy memories of my real father whom we don’t see anymore. And that was how I got so interested in care of the elderly, because in her I saw both a gentle soul who was able to hear my distress, but also a person whose vulnerability made her subject to the kind of harm I now realise I suffered as a young child. And I came to pioneer a new form of care for seniors, which made me famous in my field. And all because I had a near neighbour and I loved her dog.
Thus does dependence create relationship, and relationship unearth untold gifts and assets and blessings and innovation. And gratitude names the process by which the deficits of poor eyesight and creeping infirmity and distressing childhood experience and troubling nocturnal despair turn, through our becoming open to one another’s gentle companionship and unexpected grace, into the assets of vocational discovery, career advancement, medico-social advance, and saved lives. So much of current cultural development tries to address the challenges and traumas of these two neighbours through solutions that can be bought with a card or accessed through a phone. But gratitude knows what such solutions can never comprehend. What gratitude knows is that existence is made up of setbacks, mistakes, challenges and obstacles, and it is in facing and tackling and sometimes enduring those adversities that mortality is discovered, dependence recognised, and relationship sought. And it is in such relationship, and the unanticipated benefits that accompany it, that true joy lies.
Written, 'to move, inspire, encourage, persuade, challenge', 'Walk Humbly: Encouragements for Living, Working, and Being' by Samuel Wells is available from 30 March here. Sam Wells is a preacher, pastor, writer, broadcaster and theologian. He is vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
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