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necn 2018 conferences

Dear Friends,

You can now book your place on NECN’s April Conferences.

‘Tooled Up: the Craft of Estates Ministry’

Blackburn Cathedral Monday 16th April 2018 10.00am-3.00pm
Click here to book

Birmingham Cathedral Wednesday 18th April 2018 10.00am-3.00pm
Click here to book

At the NECN Conference this year, we will be launching the Estates Church Toolkit, an online range of resources that we know work to help support ministry on social housing estates. We will also be sharing in stories from Estate Churches around the country.

The Conference days will begin with a welcome over tea and coffee as you arrive, followed by a keynote address by Revd Andy Delmege, the new Chair of NECN (Andy has been a parish priest in estate parishes for many years, is a member of the Estates Evangelism Task Group, and Urban Estates Missioner in Birmingham).

There will be presentations from Estate Churches, telling rich stories of their lives and their ministres and looking at what has helped them to flourish (as well as what has been difficult).

There will also be available, throughout the day, a Marketplace of organisations and groups who provide helpful resources for Estate Churches.

Midday Prayer will be followed by a sandwich lunch which is included in the cost of the Conference. The afternoon session will see a panel of estate practitioners, thinkers and influencers present and take questions from the floor.

The cost of the day will be £25 including a simple sandwich lunch – if that charge prevents anyone from attending then please contact NECN using the details below to discuss ways in we might support your attendance.

Both venues are wheelchair accessible on the ground floor, including toilet facilities. Queries, dietary preferences or any other specific requirements should be notified to us via email at lynne.cullens@nationalestatechurches.org or on 07544 350692.

We look forward to seeing you!


advent journey – 3
December 10, 2017, 5:12 pm
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A winter diversion


Heavy snow overnight.  An early morning walk to the next parish to cover for an ill colleague.  The snow topping my boots.  Passing three stranded buses on the hill.  The joy in people’s faces as children took the sledges out.

Eucharist with a small, intrepid congregation, then back to St Bede’s for our own service.  Again, a remnant, but glad people who are infirm didn’t risk it.  There is something beautiful in these circumstances about worship and prayer being for and on behalf of those unable to attend.

(and was anyone else unable to avoid the temptation to sing In the Bleak Midwinter, See Amid the Winter’s Snow and Good King Wenceslas this morning?)

In the sermon, I read Gillian Clarke’s Ode to Winter (you can read it here) which sets the possibility of this time of year of cold and little light.

And this evening, a friend has reminded me of Camus’ quote:

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer”.

This makes me happy.

– although, please remember to check on elderly neighbours, and to act if you see anyone sleeping rough

advent journey – 2


Advent began for me a week ago with the Urban Congress in Birmingham.  80 people coming together for the day from our inner city and outer estate parishes to reflect together on Staying in the City: Stories of Hope and Holding On.

The pictures of the day are here

Reflections on how this day helped map the Advent Journey to follow.

advent journey
December 4, 2017, 9:00 pm
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Advent.  God coming to us.  We, with the help of grace, travelling to God.

If we are on a pilgrimage to God, be sure that God is on a pilgrimage to us.

In among the busyness of this time of year, let’s journey together with a few Stations over the next three weeks.  Prayers for you all.

estates evangelism podcasts

There are a good set of podcasts about estate churches, ministry and evangelism on the Church of England website here.  They are from October’s Estates Evangelism Conference (report here).  There will be news of the actions coming out of the Conference very soon.

Urban Congress

Final preparations for Saturday’s Urban Congress. Very excited …

Praying for all the parishes from Church of England Birmingham who will be there

a line made by walking
November 27, 2017, 10:42 am
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It’s 50 years since Richard Long’s A Line Made by Walking.  Reflections on this mark making on the landscape by Robert Macfarlane here