Pilgrimpace's Blog

new necn website

We are proud to announce NECN’s new website:



There’s still a little bit to do, but please share this with anyone involved in estate churches.

Please join in the conversation – we are very happy to publish guest blogs and articles

and please let us have any comments or suggestions

after the fire

After the Fire by Alan Everett is a profound meditation on the role of the Church in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster by the parish priest of St Clement’s, Notting Dale.  I would recommend this book as essential reading for all engaged in estates ministry.

Laurie Green has asked that NECN share the review by Hugh Beaven below:


BOOK REVIEW:       AFTER THE FIRE : finding words for Grenfell   by Alan Everett
In this very readable and moving book, Father Alan Everett,  the vicar of St. Clement’s  Notting Dale, the parish  in which Grenfell Tower was situated,
writes about the Grenfell Tower fire and it aftermath.   In the words of the Bishop of Kensington, Graham Tomlin,   ‘the story of that terrible night and its aftermath is combined with profound reflections on the abiding value of faith and the parish system as part of the often  undervalued  bedrock of our social fabric. ‘
The book comprises 31 quite short chapters in 3 sections:  response, reflection, finding words, and concludes with a moving poem written by Fr. Alan.
The first section is in the nature of a diary of the unfolding story,  from the outbreak of the fire in the early hours of 14th June 2017 through the next few days  weeks and months.
Fr. Alan’s involvement began at 3.00am that morning when a neighbouring priest rang his doorbell and alerted him to the fire.  When he reached St. Clement’s, he opened the church,
‘ turned on the lights and lit the altar  candles as a sign of God’s presence and an invitation to prayer ‘. It was not long before other church members turned up and the church became
a place  of sanctuary, refuge and  comfort.
There was a tremendous spontaneous outpouring of donations of clothing, toiletries, water etc. which turned the church into what someone described as ‘the world’s biggest jumble sale’.
Eventually, a sign had to be put up outside the church to say that no more donations could be accepted.  Amongst items donated were  5 second hand fridges, of no use whatever for survivors living in temporary
accommodation, and as a gesture of support, massively inappropriate given it was thought that a fridge had started the fire. Equally insensitive was the callous comment made to him that at least those in the tower and the bereaved were from countries where suffering is endemic : ‘at least they’re used to it ‘.
In the 2nd section, reflection, Fr. Alan reflects theologically on the role of the parish church and the parish system as an expression of the Incarnation of God in Christ. He makes the point that many local people
had a great affection for St. Clement’s through  ‘key moments’ in their lives: at baptisms, weddings and funerals and through having attended the church primary school.
I knew St. Clement’s church over 50 years ago when, as  a newly qualified solicitor working in London, I was a member of the vicarage ‘family ‘ for some 15 months and became very involved in the life of the church and the parish.
St. Clement’s, which celebrated its 150th anniversary last October, was a product of the Oxford movement, that amazing renewal of the Holy Spirit which helped to transform the life and worship of the Church of England in the 2nd half of the 19th century
and inspired dedicated  (and often heroic ) priests to go and work in some of the poorest parts of our big cities.   I rejoice that St.  Clement’s   maintains an outgoing, inclusive anglo – catholic  tradition in worship and mission and is truly a parish church.
Hugh Beavan

sharing justly

I was interviewed this morning on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme, calling for a just sharing of historic assets between dioceses so that mission and ministry at the sharp end can be supported.  You can hear the interview here (it is towards the end of the segment that begins at 6 minutes).

This is a vital and urgent issue.

Here are some further thoughts to try to take the issue further and deeper.

The situation we are in is that there is a huge disparity in wealth between the different dioceses.  Some (particularly the newer urban dioceses in the north and midlands like Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham) have very little in terms of historic assets and reserves.  Other dioceses are in comparatively very comfortable situations.

Why should ministry be harder in these places because they are newer dioceses, formed without historic assets?

This is not posturing.  My greatest concern as someone who is a parish priest and who visits and supports a lot of housing estate parishes around the country is that this directly affects mission on the ground.  There is clear evidence that dioceses in more economically deprived areas with less historical assets have fewer stipendiary ministers per head of population.

This has a clear effect on our parishes and their ministry. If you have to pay more Parish Share, or your parish is larger, or your diocese is concentrating on reorganization, or you are affected by all the fear and stress that this can bring, this is going to affect your capacity for imaginative and creative mission.

The Church is investing in estate churches and estate evangelism at the moment – something which is wholehearted Good News – but the lack of fair assets in some place endangers this.

What does the Gospel say?  well, it certainly does not advocate a Postcode Lottery where if you live in one place, the historic assets of the Church mean you pay less for more ministry; while if you live in another (which may well be more economically deprived), you pay more for less.

We need urgently to work out ways of justly sharing our historic wealth.  Bishop Philip North reminds us clearly that The first Christians dealt with their wealth in so daring and counter-cultural a way that it proved powerfully attractive (Acts 2.44). Property and income was pooled so that there was no distinction between rich and poor, slave and free. (Read his full Church Times article here).  We can do this for dioceses – we are Christians, we are part of the Church of God, we are generous.

Can we find ways of tackling this in a root and branch way, or – at the very least – with wealthier dioceses funding some things in those with least.  Bishops and Diocesan Secretaries – over to you!

And the rest of us – pray, share this issue, and keep the pressure on.

necn summer news

Dear Friends,

may I wish you all a good summer from National Estate Churches Network.  I hope you get some rest and refreshment.  Please see below for some Estate Churches News:

1. We have dates for our next National Conferences:

they will be at Bradford Cathedral on Tuesday 18th June 2019
and at Birmingham Cathedral on Thursday 20th June 2019

Please save the date!
More information on the content and booking before long.

2. Our London Gathering is on Wednesday 26th September.

3. Leeds Diocesan Estates Network – Hope for the Estates Gathering on Wednesday 10th October
more details and booking here

4. We are really happy to advertise events relevant to Estate Churches here – please send anything in.

5. The Incarnate Pioneers Retreat is from 26 – 27 September.  More information and bookings here

6. NECN will have a new website and twitter presence soon.
In the meantime, please like our facebook page and join our facebook group.
Take a look at the resources on the Estate Church Toolkit

Please ask your Estate Church friends and colleagues to join this list.

with love and prayers


NECN Conferences 2019

NECN Conferences 2019

will be at Bradford Cathedral on Tuesday 18th June
Birmingham Cathedral on Thursday 20th June.

Please save the date!


I will be updating the NECN Mailing List and sending out a mailing soon.  If you would like to join it to receive emails, please let me know.

It would be great to hear about any estate church activities which are going on over the summer.  Is there anything exciting planned in your church or community?  Let us know here or on the NECN Facebook page.

Lots of prayers for you over the summer

The cost of discerning a call is too high for some

There is an extremely good article by Emma Ash in The Church Times this week reminding us that the financial cost of discerning a vocation to the priesthood in the Church of England can cost £1000 (read the article here).  This can be an insurmountable obstacle for people who do not have a high income.

There has been a very helpful discussion about this in the last few days on Twitter.

If anyone has any stories about how financial or other middle class obstacles have affected them in discerning lay and priestly vocations, could you let myself or Lynne Cullens have them (obviously in complete confidence).

NECN sits on various groups looking at nurturing greater diversity in Church of England leadership, and there is considerable will to effect change. We can feed comments and anonymised stories into the process to try to make change.

selection procedures favour middle class

I am very grateful to Madeleine Davies and The Church Times for picking up on the issues of class and indigenous leadership and estate churches from the recent NECN Conferences in this excellent article.

Laurie Green – bibliography

(As part of the NECN Estate Church Toolkit I am putting a number of resources on this blog that the Toolkit will link to)

Bishop Laurie Green has asked us to share the Bibliography from his excellent book Blessed are the Poor? Urban Poverty and the Church, SCM 2015 (if you have not read this, do – it is extremely good).


The Bibliography is here as a document:


or here:

Aldridge, Hannah, Kenway, Peter, MacInnes, Tom and Parekh, Anushree, 2012, Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Anderson, Gary A., 2013, Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Applebee, Elaine, 2003, ‘Shaping a Changing Society’, in Vincent, J. J. (ed.), 2003, Faithfulness in the City, Hawarden: Monad Press, p. 164.

Bamfield, Louise and Horton, Tim, 2009, Understanding Attitudes to Tackling Economic Inequality, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Barrett, Al, 2013, Asset-Based Community Development: A Theological Reflection, London, CUF.

Barrett, Al and Delmege, Andy, 2011, Strengthening Estate Ministry – Thriving in Mission, Birmingham: Birmingham Diocese.

Baptist Union of Great Britain, Estates Group, 2000, Estate Gospel Agents.

Baptist Union of Great Britain, with Methodist Church, Church of Scotland and United Reformed Church, 2013, The Lies We Tell Ourselves: Ending Comfortable Myths about Poverty, a report.

BBC, 2012, ‘The growing demand for food banks in breadline Britain’, BBC Newsnight Blog, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19468697.

Big Issue, 16 July 2012, p. 19

Bochenski, Michael, 2000, Sent into All the World: Good News for the Housing Estates of Britain – a Journal, Published by the author.

Boerma, Conrad, 1979, Rich Man, Poor Man – and the Bible, London: SCM Press Ltd.

Bonino, José Míguez, 1983, Toward a Christian Political Ethics, London: SCM.

Brown, Wallace and Mary, The Hidden Poor, undated Report to the Diocese of Birmingham.

Browne, James and Hood, Andrew, 2012, A Survey of the UK Benefit System, London: Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Charlesworth, Martin and Williams, Natalie, 2014, The Myth of the Undeserving Poor: a Christian Response to Poverty in Britain Today, 2014, Guildford: Jubilee Plus Ltd & Guildford: Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd..

Church Urban Fund, 2011, ‘Area-Based Poverty’, Church Urban Fund Research Papers.

Church Urban Fund, 2012, ‘Bias to the Poor?’, Church Urban Fund Research Papers.

Church Urban Fund, 2012a, ‘Growing Church Through Social Action: a national survey of church-based action to tackle poverty’.

Coles, Bob, with England, Jude, with Ruff, Julie, 1998, Working with Young People on Estates: The Role of Housing Professionals in Multi-agency Work, York and Coventry: Joseph Rowntree Foundation & The Chartered Institute of Housing.

Dey, Gordon, 2014, Jesus Shaped People, www.jesusshapedpeople.net.

Field, Frank, and Thompson, Timothy, eds, 2014, Feeding Britain, a strategy for zero hunger in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. London: Children’s Society

Franks, Christopher, 2009, He Became Poor: The Poverty of Christ and Aquinas’ Economic Teachings, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Fitzpatrick, Suzanne and Stephens, Mark (eds), 2009, The Future of Social Housing, London: Shelter.

Green, Laurie, 1987, Power to the Powerless: Theology Brought to Life, Basingstoke: Marshall Pickering.

Green, Laurie, 1990, Let’s Do Theology: A Pastoral Cycle Resource Book, London: Mowbray.

Green, Laurie, 1995, ‘The Body: Physicality in the UPA’, in Peter Sedgwick (ed.), God in the City: Essays and Reflections from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Urban Theology Group, London: Mowbray, pp. 105ff.

Green, Laurie,1997, Jesus and the Jubilee – the Kingdom of God and Our New Millennium, London & Sheffield: Jubilee 2000 & UTU Press, New City Special No 11.

Green, Laurie, 2000, The Challenge of the Estates: Strategies and Theology for Housing Estate Ministry, London: Urban Bishops’ Panel & NECN Press.

Green, Laurie, 2003, Urban Ministry and the Kingdom of God, London: SPCK.

Green, Laurie, 2009, Let’s Do Theology: Resources for Contextual Theology, London: Mowbray.

Green, Laurie, 2013, ‘Liberation Theology and Urban Theology’, in Rowland, Chris and Vincent, John (eds), Liberation Theology for Church and Nation, Sheffield: UTU.

Green, Laurie and Baker, Chris (eds), 2008, Building Utopia? Seeking the Authentic Church for New Communities, London: SPCK.

Grindrod, John, 2013, Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain, Brecon, Old Street Publishing.

Hanley, Lynsey, 2007, The Estates: An Intimate History, London: Granta Books.

Hasler, Joe, 2006, Crying Out for a Polycentric Church: Christ Centred and Culturally Focused Congregations, Maidstone: Church in Society.

Hayes, John, 2007, Sub-merge: Living Deep in a Shallow World, Delight, AR: Gospel Light Publications.

Hazlehurst, Benny & Chapman, Chris, 2002, Do It Yourself Estate Kit, London: Southwark Anglican Diocese for NECN.

Hills, John, 2007, Ends and Means: The Future Roles of Social Housing in England, CASEreport 34, London: ESRC Research Centre for Analysis and Social Exclusion (CASE), London School of Economics.

Government, 2013, Social Security Benefits and Expenditure, January 2013, House of Commons Library paper SN/SG/2656.

Jones, Colin and Murie, Alan, 2006, The Right to Buy: Analysis and Evaluation of Housing Policy, Oxford: Blackwell.

Kilpin, Juliet and Murray, Stuart, 2007, Church Planting in the Inner City, Cambridge: Grove Booklets.

Keeble, Paul, 2004, ‘Gang Violence’, in Eastman, Michael and Latham, Steve (eds), 2004, Urban Church: A Practitioner’s Resource Book, London: SPCK.

Lockwood, Trevor, 1993, The Church on the Housing Estate: Mission and Ministry on the Urban Estate, London: Methodist Church Home Mission.

Lupton, Ruth, et al., 2009, Growing up in Social Housing in Britain: A Profile of Four Generations from 1946 to the Present Day, London: Tenant Services Authority and Hoseph Rowntree Foundation: York.

Mealand, David, 1980, Poverty and Expectation in the Gospels, London: SPCK.

Murray, Stuart, 2004, Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World, Carlyle: Paternoster Press.

Murray, Stuart, 2016, A Vast Minority, Carlyle: Paternoster Press.

Myers, Bryant, 2011, Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development, Maryknoll: Orbis.

NECN, 2003, Worship for Housing Estate Ministry: Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land?, from National Estate Churches Network.

Oxfam, The Perfect Storm: Economic Stagnation, the Rising Cost of Living, Public Spending Cuts, and the Impact on UK Poverty, London: Oxfam.

Power, Anne, 1999, Estates on the Edge: The Social Consequences of Mass Housing in Northern Europe, London: Macmillan Press Ltd..

Purnell, Derek, 2003, ‘Urban Presence. Newton Heath, Manchester’, in John Vincent (ed.), Faithfulness in the City, Sheffield: Urban Theology Collective, Monad Press.

Sentamu, John, ed., 2015, On Rock or Sand: Firm Foundations for Britain’s Future, London, SPCK.

Somerville, P. and Steele, A., 2002, ‘Race’, Housing & Social Exclusion, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Thompson, Anna, 2012, ‘Holy Sofas: Transformational Encounters between Evangelical Christians and Post-Christendom Urban Communities’, Practical Theology 5:1, pp. 47-70

Tunstall, Rebecca & Coulter, Alice, 2006, Twenty-five years on Twenty Estates – Turning the tide?, LSE and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Cambridge: The Polity Press.

van Kempen, Ronald, et al. (eds), 2005, Restructuring Large Housing Estates in Europe, Bristol: The Policy Press.

Winter, Jane, 2014, ‘Why does the church appear to ignore the potential for indigenous ministry in areas of social housing?’, unpublished paper.

Wood, Martin, 2008, Strategic Planning or Piecemeal Development? A Study of the Establishment of Church of England Parishes and Their Churches in the New Town of Basildon between 1949 and 1964, MA Thesis, University of Wales, Lampeter.


necn – follow up from the conferences

Dear Friends,

it was really good to see you last week at our excellent Conferences.  There was such a lot of great energy in the room, fantastic numbers, and a lot for us to get on with now.

If you were at the Conferences, can I ask you to spend a few moments completing this questionnaire about the Conference – it will help us take the work forward and to run next year’s as well as we can.  The link for the questionnaire is here:


To keep in touch with each other, we have the NECN Page on Facebook, and – as requested at the Conference – have just set up a Closed Facebook Group at


Let us know if we can support you in any way.


With love and prayers,


Andy and the Team

Estate Ministry Toolkit
We have launched our Estates Ministry Toolkit!
This tries to bring together resources that we know work in estate churches.
If you have anything you want to add, please let us know.
– Google Pinterest
– Create account – choosing three boards to begin
– Search for National Estate Churches Network
– Difficulties? Please contact us