Jo Cookes, Director of the Communities Engagement Team
One of the great things about being part of the Communities Engagement Team is seeing God’s work in action across the diocese. Loving our neighbour and serving the poor is evident everywhere I look and what an inspiration it is.
Goal 6 ‘cultivating community partnerships’ of our new diocesan vision Transforming Church, Transforming Lives references Matthew 5:13-14 when it calls us to be the “salt and light of our communities”. As Christians we can enhance the flavour of what is already happening in our local area and preserve all that is good. We can also bring light where there is darkness but we should also shine a light on the good deeds that are being done.
"As Christians we can enhance the flavour of what is already happening in our local area and preserve all that is good. We can also bring light where there is darkness but we should also shine a light on the good deeds that are being done."
But what does this mean practically? Well, to start with, we mustn’t underestimate the power and strength of fellowship through tea, coffee and cake! Through the playgroup and youth work, providing fun for older people, the food parcels, debt counselling or practical help we are meeting people and listening to them where perhaps they haven’t been listened to before. By being open and welcoming people to our coffee mornings and other activities that take place in church halls or churches we are providing a safe, non-judgemental place to be where people can develop trusting relationships.
So how does the Communities Engagement Team support this? We are a large team, unique across dioceses and with a wide range of expertise. More importantly we are on hand to help! We are very excited about Transforming Church, Transforming Lives and recently had a very passionate and animated meeting to talk about how we can do more to support you, in the parishes, to cultivate and strengthen community partnerships and outreach. You may want to set up a hearing aid clinic to help older people; understand more about mental health issues or the challenges that carers face; support those who are lonely or isolated; mentor or buddy young people or families who are struggling to cope with difficult circumstances; be more environmentally friendly or just check that you are making the most of the opportunities and activities you already have. Concerning all these and more we would very gladly come and speak with you.
"We mustn’t underestimate the power and strength of fellowship through tea, coffee and cake!"
We have strong relationships and an understanding of what is happening in other churches and groups in the wider community so we’re able to share good practice and advice. Through this we really can transform lives.
What would you like to shine a light on or add flavour to? Look at our webpage for more information or get in touch - 01483 790324, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to talk to you.