Pilgrimpace's Blog


advent journey – “success”
December 22, 2017, 4:57 pm
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Christmas (and in terms of season I am solidly in both Christmas and Advent for these days) is a beautiful and strange time for clergy.  For myself there are the wonderful, huge number of services, assemblies, opportunities to share with people something of God.  But there is also the challenge of having time and energy for my family.  And, as we all know, there is a shadow side to the season.

We can find this a bit in social media, which (if you follow the same people as me) can be full of clergy who are justly proud of the numbers attending their services.  Now, I am fully in favour of having as many people in Church as possible (part of my ministry is a missioner), but I am also aware that many of us in urban housing estates and other places will be ministering as hard and imaginatively and faithfully as possible, but may have very few visitors and regular congregation in Church this weekend.  This can be crushing, especially when you are exhausted.

So, maybe we might think before we tweet or facebook our numbers.  And, to be honest, it might be best to stay off the computer for a bit.  Spend time with family and friends, watch a film, read a book.  Much more healthy.

My prayers for you all over the next days.

(and Sarah Schofield says similar things much better here).

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advent journey – slipping forwards

I spent Thursday in London for a meeting of the Estates Evangelism Task Group.  It is wonderful to see the progress that the Group is making and the enthusiasm for Estate Churches that is welling up in the wider Church.  There was the good news of the new Church Commissioners Strategic Development Funding grants to dioceses, several of which are concentrating on estates or other deprived areas.  You can read about the Blackburn grant here.  I am really looking forward to deepening the Birmingham partnership with this and learning from it.

In the meeting we reflected on the excellent Launde Abbey Conference a couple of months ago.  Bishop Philip will be in touch with the participants about taking the actions forward very soon.

I walked from home to the local railway station gingerly, slipping and sliding on the sheet ice, trying not to fall.  More importantly than my meeting, others were travelling to or across London to St Paul’s for the Grenfell Tower Memorial Service.

320px-Grenfell_Tower_remains.jpg

photo from Wikimedia Commons

You can read Bishop Tomlin’s moving Reflection at the Service here and listen to Isabelle Hamley’s Thought for the Day on it here.

There is so much on my heart as I meditate and pray on all this.  It is good to keep silent and still.  But one thing that keeps surfacing in my heart is that, as I reflect on the past year, I am very proud of the positive steps that the Church is taking with estate churches and ministry, but this is overshadowed by the stark fact that life is harder for so many of the people who live on them.  There is much work to do.  The shadow of the Tower hangs over us in judgement.



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!



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



urban congress 2017

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I’m really excited about the 2017 Birmingham Urban Congress on Saturday 2nd December.  This is for people from inner city and outer estate parishes in Church of England Birmingham.

It is a day where we will be sharing stories of hope and holding on as we reflect on Christ’s challenge to us to stay in the city.  We have some great speakers.  The day is free, but you need to book to make sure of your place.  You can do this through your Vicar or direct at https://www.cognitoforms.com/Cofebirmingham/UrbanCongress2017

I look forward to seeing you there.



necn october news
October 26, 2017, 8:48 am
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Dear Friends,

I would like to update you on two important pieces of Estate Church News:

1. NECN’s next Conferences will be on April 16th in Blackburn and April 18th in Birmingham.  The theme is Tooled Up: The Craft of Estates Ministry.  We will be launching a toolbox of resources that we know work to strengthen and support Estate Churches in their ministry and mission.

Booking will open at the end of November.  Please save the date.  If you know any organisations that should be in the Marketplace at the Conferences, please let Andy or Lynne know.

2. Estates Evangelism Conference.  The Estates Evangelism Task Group, which NECN is a partner of, recently convened a Conference to build an ambitious agenda and alliance for ministry on estates.  This was excellent and hopeful.  There is a full report on Andy’s blog here.  There will be more news on the actions coming out of the Conference soon.  Please keep all those involved in your prayers.

With love and prayers,

Andy