Pilgrimpace's Blog

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.


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.

‘Leading your Church into Growth’ for Urban Estates Churches
November 11, 2017, 12:35 pm
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‘Leading your Church into Growth’ for Urban Estates Churches

Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick from June 25th – 28th 2018

There is going to be a special LYCIG course, taking place at Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick from June 25th – 28th, tailored specifically to the needs of lay and ordained church leaders who work on urban estates.

LYCIG has always had a reputation as a resource which is effective for urban Churches, and in June we will be amending the content of the course in order to hear and meet the needs of estates practitioners.

The cost per place is £299 and often clergy can find this from their CME budget. However LYCIG is proven to be most effective when clergy bring with them one or two key lay leaders, and so if a parish sends both a lay and an ordained leader we will offer a total discount of £50.

It has been very exciting to see how the need to renew church life on our urban estates has risen up the agenda in recent years, and we believe that LYCIG can play a very useful role in offering some answers to the questions of how we sustain vibrant church life in this context. Please do get in touch if any of us can be of further assistance.

For more information or to book a place, please contact Tracy Hunt at info@leadingyourchurchintogrowth.org.uk

Yours sincerely

The Rt Revd Philip North

(Chair Estates Evangelism Task Group)


Canon Robin Gamble

(‘Leading your Church into Growth’)


The Revd Andy Delmege

(Chair National Estates Churches Network)


A Response to the ‘Church of the Poor’ Conference — Lynne Cullens
November 6, 2017, 9:17 am
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I have the privilege of serving with Lynne on the National Estate Churches Network Exec.  This blog piece is, I think, essential reading for all those involved with estate churches.

A Response to the Church of the Poor Conference 2nd & 3rd November 2017, Manchester I’ve just returned from an inspiring gathering of 35 individuals, organisations, research bodies and Churches drawn together by CAP in Manchester and described as some of the key influencers on poverty and the Church nationally. The event was convened with […]

via A Response to the ‘Church of the Poor’ Conference — Lynne Cullens

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,


estates evangelism conference report

Over the last couple of years, the Church of England has found energy and commitment to ministry on estates.  This has led to the formation of the Estates Evangelism Task Group within the Renewal and Reform Programme.  I am proud to sit on this, and also that the National Estate Churches Network, which I Chair, is a key partner in this, representing estate churches and their leaders of all denominations.

The Task Group has developed an ambitious programme for funding, supporting and encouraging churches and Christian presence on estates, coming out of a huge amount of consultation with estate churches and clergy since the Estates Evangelism Day at Bishopsthorpe in March, 2016.  The issue for us has been how to take this forward.  We are a few people doing this in the midst of other full commitments and jobs.

We invited as many of the agencies and groups who are engaged with estate churches to come together for two days at Launde Abbey in Leicestershire to build capacity and to ensure action.  Around 40 people representing at least 30 organisations were able to be there.  It is important to note that while some of the work is about internal change within the Church of England, there was a strong ecumenical presence and slant.

The Conference aimed to:

1.Build an alliance

2. Unite around an agenda for change

3. Share responsibility for delivering actions

4. To be mutually accountable for this

It began by getting us to reflect on and own this Commitment to Action:

(This is the fruit of eighteen months of consultation and was further refined at the Conference.  Personally, I think we should now act on this for a couple of years rather than refining it further).


Estates Evangelism – A Commitment to Action

Jesus comes to proclaim Good News to the poor (Luke 4, 16). As His disciples, of different denominations but united by our shared desire to listen prayerfully to His call, we commit ourselves afresh though presence, service and proclamation to the ministry of evangelism on our nation’s urban estates by:

Strand 1: Championing Estates Ministry

  1. a) Challenging the Churches at every level to ensure that people from estates are represented in every tier of our structures
  2. b) Fostering and encouraging fresh and emerging forms of church life on the estates
  3. c) Developing an effective communications strategy to raise the profile of estates ministry and ensure that good news stories are celebrated
  4. d) Working together as ecumenical partners

Strand 2: Theology and the Public Voice

  1. a) Developing our apologetics and reflecting on the content of the Gospel we proclaim to answer the question: ‘What is the Good News on the estates?’
  2. b) Creating rich dialogue between theologians and estates practitioners to create a contemporary theological foundation for estates ministry and evangelism, exploring themes such as repentance, lament, cross and glory.
  3. c) Defining effective evangelism. What is it? What are the indicators? What constitutes success on the estates?
  4. d) Understanding the changing socio-economic and demographic context of estates ministry
  5. e) Engaging with Government and structures of power

Strand 3: Leadership

  1. a) Calling, developing and training local lay leadership
  2. b) Forming ordained leaders from and for the urban estates
  3. c) Offering support and high quality training to current leaders
  4. d) Challenging the selection and training pathways for licensed ministries and developing new forms of recognised lay ministry
  5. e) Ensuring sustainable patterns of deployment and support for Estates clergy

Strand 4: Resources

  1. a) Ensuring that appropriate financial resources are available to estates churches and that these resources are not wasted
  2. b) Helping local churches to find practical solutions to issues around buildings, administration and finance
  3. c) Signposting to contextually appropriate resources for evangelism, discipleship and ministry to Youth and children
  4. d) Working with partners to developing new resources where there is a recognised need
  5. e) Passing on good practice and inspiration through models, research, stories and toolkits



We were fed with challenging and reflective input from Jill Duff, Br Benedict SSF, Mark Russell and Malcolm Brown.  We were underpinned by worship and prayer.  We were well chaired by Philip North and Malcolm MacNaughton.

We spent a lot of time in small groups, working hard on deciding on actions on each of the Four Strands.  At the end of the Conference we were each asked to write which actions we could commit ourselves to both personally and on behalf of the organisations we represented.  We put these on prayer cards and placed them on the altar.  A small group will be forming these into a document – news on this in due course.

The question was asked as to “Who isn’t in the room that should be?”. If that is your organization, please let me know.  This is all about a corporate effort to renew the life of estate churches and estates.

At the end, a friend who spent all his ministry in estate churches said that he is now more hopeful than at any time since Faith in the City.  This is great praise and a lot to live up to.  Please pray for the Estates Evangelism Task Group as we take this forward.

Andy Delmege, October, 2017