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 HeartEdge Mailer | November 2019

Initiated by St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, HeartEdge is an international ecumenical movement. 

  • We are churches and other organisations developing mission. 
  • Our practice is focused on 4 areas - commercial activity, congregational development, cultural engagement and compassion.

Each month we email stories and web links related to developing commercial activity, congregations, cultural engagement and compassion. 

This month:

  • Hannah Malcolm on hope, Liz Delafield on good society and Val Barren on enterprise - and young and olds sing a new song via Mesadorm.
  • Setting up a community shop in church, plus living with a church building, how church can become a community hub plus - activism and Franciscan spirituality.
  • Loads of Christmas ideas for congregations, plus community chaplaincy.
  • An extract from 'The City is my Monastery: A Contemporary Rule of Life' by Richard Carter.

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

“Sometimes you just have to stop in order to dream about what’s possible..." HackneyPreacher on confronting the developer, planners, a rally speech - and the significance of hiatus, an 'Angelus' moment here. (What happened to the foundry? Latest here...). 
“When you feel empathy for another who is suffering, you become a wellspring of compassion. You don’t put yourself in that person’s situation. You look at that person’s situation from their eyes, their perspective…” Insight from Francis of Assisi on hope in despair here.
“Quite simply, we failed. We did not build a good society - or even make steps towards it. If anything, we have moved further from our vision…” With a UK election imminent Liz Delafield writes a powerful open letter to Churches Together reflecting on change since the last election - here.  
“Realism is an important component of prophetic work, but it can’t end there. We must both express the material truth of the danger we are in and the theological truth of the hope we cling to…” This is a powerful read - Hannah Malcolm on truth and hope, here.

“The reality of the world is best seen always from those on the margins of society — that’s who sees the world as Jesus did…” A reflection from Jim Wallis here.

“Several churches joined efforts to offer sanctuary to immigrant women and men affected by these changes. There are now at least 35 public cases of sanctuary...” Resistance and sanctuary by churches - 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 - about Asset Based Community Development here

"Something useful, every month. 
It's become essential for our team." 

"'Charity good; business bad’ is a very common church narrative, but these social enterprises are telling a different story..." Working across Durham diocese Val Barren reflects powerfully on ethical business and churches getting stuck in, here.

"Several of them in fact also have cafés as an important part of their offer..." a useful... 'structured toolkit' on how to open a local food shop, have a look here.

Spend some time thinking about your building. When was the last time you really looked at your building and how it functions? What does your building say about you? How does it speak to you and how does it speak to others? More here.

This is Locality on community hubs - organisations working together to provide local resources, attract funding and engage with government. Spot the excellent Levenshulme Inspire - a URC church as community hub here.

"A couple from the church, Simon and Laura Willows, had the vision to create a community for coworkers in the space..." Setting up a business? Lots to learn from here. Worth contacting to learn more? Or this opportunity of membership to startups, entrepreneurs and freelancers here, funded by a church "sharing our vision for local businesses in our area, the purpose of the scheme is to support new and innovative local businesses that will impact..." Want to learn more? "This case study is a story of how a church brought old spaces back into use and is using an enterprise-based approach to provide a business space with community at its heart." Details here.

“Right: I want to start a Real Bread enterprise in my local community! What do I do now?” ... “Knead to Know” is the introductory guide to success in bringing Real Bread back to the heart of your local community here.

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“I’ve done a lot of community organising in my time but I’ve never done something that has delivered such a strong, consistent and universal reception,” We love this example of Advent Windows here …  Learn more from Christchurch, Stone doing windows for 10 years here. Or from Bradford on Avon here.
Messy Church have excellent Christmas messy activities including ‘Frozen’ themed fun here. Messy teamed up with Christian Aid to create this fun, thoughtful session here
“'Just Desserts' plans a meal which counters the idea that Christmas Day is the end of our celebrations rather than the beginning. Instructions for groups large, small and different settings here.

Christmas ideas? We love these resources for Christmas services and gatherings here. The UK Mission and Theology Group offers a guide for lessons and carols for all unfamiliar with it here. The Salvation Army have excellent resource here
Chaplaincy? The Methodist church in Great Western Park part of the Wantage and Abingdon circuit, are using a mobile home to create spaces for prayer and spiritual reflection - details (and people to contact to learn more) here.

Chaplaincy reminds us of 'Mission in the Economy' run by Mersey region churches and private / public sector organisations. Up to all sorts learn about their approaches here.
“We can find a redemptive reading in these texts…” Earlier this year the #SheToo podcast popped up. Six theologians with faith and non-faith explore texts that include violence against women in the Bible. "These 'texts of terror' have, at times, been used to oppress women or just been ignored. But what happens if we take a closer look?" Recommended here and here.
This year’s Autumn Lecture Series at St Martin-in-the-Fields, is available to view here  A study guide to go alongside the lectures is available here.


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

commercial activity, 
congregational development,
cultural engagement 
and compassion.

Join in, here!

"Cause when I'm hurt, Then I'll go to your church..." Lots of new music this time - we love the lyrics and new tunes from 'Coldplay' "When I Need a Friend" here. Or there track ‘Church’ here
“We're all living day to day… Trying to get along together…” Video and tune featuring youngs and olds singing a new poem, via Mesadorm – we love this! Watch here. Send around or play to pals?
“We are the one part of creation that knows what it’s like to live in exile, and that the ability to turn your face towards home is one of the great human endeavours and the great human stories…” A piece explaining the Manchester, 'The Belonging Project' ‘Common Ground’ exhibition at St Ann’s Square in the Autumn Churches Together in Britain and Island magazine here. (Also, look out for a great interview with Christian Aid CEO  Amanda Mukwashi  and a piece on City of Sanctuary).

Art + Christianity recently made their latest awards – great new projects explained and reviewed here and here.

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

Big welcome to new HeartEdge founding members!
  • Ripon College, Cuddesdon - here.
  • Pudsey Parish Church here
  • St Stephen’s Norwich - here.
  • Moot Community - here.
  • St Pancras Parish Church - here
  • St Mary’s & St James Church with The Sherriff Centre - here.
  • Walbrook Epiphany Team Ministry, Derby - here.
  • Trinity Church, Boston - here.
  • Christ Church, Forest Hill, Maryland - here
  • St Clare’s Episcopal Church, Pleasanton, California - here.
  • All Saints Episcopal Church of the North Shore, Danvers, Maryland - here.
  • St John’s Episcopal Church, Pensacola, Florida - here
  • St. Paul's Within The Walls Episcopal Church, Rome - here.

  • 21-24 January 2020, Atlanta, USA – Rooted in Jesus conference, includes a HeartEdge workshop on ‘resourcing innovative mission’. Detail here.
  • 26th January 2020, All Saints’ Loughton, 10.30am - our own Jonathan Evens is speaking at the Watling Valley Covenant Service, an opportunity for Watling Valley ecumenical partnership members to reaffirm commitment to mission and ministry. Jonathan is also preaching on Sunday 23 February, 10.45am, at St Peter’s Nottingham.
  • 1st February, London Centre for Spiritual Direction. Deepening Spirituality day, [Date for the diary - details soon].
  • 12 February 2020, 10:00 – 3:30pm, 'At the Heart - on the Edge' at St Peter Mancroft, Norwich. A mix of theology, ideas and support for re-imagining Church. Developed by the Diocese of Norwich, St Peter Mancroft and St Martin’s the day explores, with input and examples from local churches, on HeartEdge 4Cs. Details and book in here
  • Dates for the diary – details to follow.  
    Liverpool HeartEdge Day: 1 April 2020,
    Penzance HeartEdge Day: 29 April.

Last Word: 'Bringing out kindness...'
In an extract from his new book, 'The City is my Monastery', Richard Carter reflects on finding humanity, community and God in the city:

The widow’s mite 
He was on the steps of our church and trembling with the cold
He told me that it had rained heavily in the night and his clothes had been soaked while sleeping.
He was wrapped in a sky-blue crocheted baby’s blanket and shaking so much I was worried he had hyperthermia.
I brought him into the church where it is warm and went to get him a cup of tea and a sleeping bag from the supply I had now bought. 
There are many like him on the streets.
He was wearing just a thin cotton jacket.
“You need a jumper” I said
Another homeless young man rummaged in his small bag.
“Here take this” he said, pulling out a warm long sleeve sweatshirt and leaving his own bag nearly empty.
The trembling man pulled on the sweatshirt with the help of the one who had given it.
And he drank his sweet tea.
I could not forget the generosity of that young man’s gift
More than half of all that was in his now nearly empty bag
And all day long I too felt warmed by the gift of that sweatshirt. 
The blind who see
Abraham is blind. 
And he is kind
He is also homeless
Over the last few weeks I have noticed the way he has gathered round him a small community of other homeless people.
They are looking after him with great gentleness, patience and respect.
And he is looking after them,
Bringing out their kindness
Multiplying it
Galvanising goodness
It is a life-giving way
Both for Abraham
And for those who care.
I celebrated the Eucharist 
I shared the peace of Christ with the congregation
Down the aisle towards the back of the church and there in the last pew
Abraham grabbing my hand- “Father I can see you” he was saying, “I can see you”
Abraham had had the cataract removed from one eye
And again on the Fifth Sunday of Easter “Father I can see you with two eyes”
That is the Easter joy- the joy of seeing Abraham and Abraham seeing me.
“This is God’s blessing I can see with my eyes”
“But what about before?” I ask
“Before I could see only with my heart”
“What could you see?” I ask
Empathy with
When you meet people face to face
And see their humanity
It becomes hard not to carry them with you
Holding within you their cry
And longing for their joy.
To be with people means that you know that there is no fix or easy solution 
only this open wound.
It is to know too that everyone has their own back-stories which are never entirely as they seem
And can be told in many different ways.
To be with someone means to be with them as they are, not as you would like them to be.
It is to acknowledge the deeper and undisclosed narrative that you, and possibly even they will never fully know or fully understand.
It is to accept the mystery of a life and our ways of telling ourselves who we are and why we are here and that has many layers.
Prayer is not the diagnosis or the medication.
It is the love of God for the person as they are
God above, God beside, God beneath,
God with us in storm and in calm
For better for worse
It is this love that loves the person undefined by sickness or by wrong.
It is this love that heals the soul not just now but for all eternity.
Extracts taken from

'The City is my Monastery: A Contemporary Rule of Life' by Richard Carter is published by Canterbury Press and available hereRichard is Associate Vicar for Mission at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

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

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