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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Launch of HeartEdge


10.00: Registration and refreshments
10.30: Welcome: Jonathan Evens
10.35: At the heart and on the edge Sam Wells
11.15: Coffee, tea and pastry
11.35: What Works For Us? Ali Lyon and Sam Wells
  1. Jessica Foster Curate St Peters Hall Green Birmingham 
  2. Lucy Winkett Rector St James’s Church, Piccadilly 
  3. Dan Tyndall Vicar of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol 
  4. James Hutchings Team Rector Holy Trinity Exmouth 
12.45: Lunch: by Unity Kitchen - Part of the Camden Society
1.35: What Works For Me? Andy Turner
What does your church bring to HeartEdge? What are you looking for? What are your stories, tactics, tips, assets, and asks?
2.20: What Works For Us? Ali Lyon and Andy Turner
  1. Rosemarie Mallett Youth Wardens 
  2. Sally Muggeridge Start:Stop 
  3. Ruth Gouldbornne Welcome and hospitality 
  4. Tim Vreugdenhil ‘Ask The Pastor’ and Stand-up Theology
3.00: What Works Together? Jonathan Evens
3.15: Concluding thoughts Sam Wells
3.30 End

In my welcome I said:

Welcome to St Stephen Walbrook for the launch of HeartEdge. St Stephen Walbrook is a Wren masterpiece which became the launchpad for Samaritans. That compassionate project led to a greater sense of the congregation as community, which in turn resulted in the reordering of the building around this circular altar by Henry Moore. As a result, the visual arts, as well as music, have central to our cultural offer here. For the past three years we have worked in partnership with St Martin-in-the-Fields in order to use their focus on congregation, compassion, culture and commerce to grow our mission in the City of London and improve our financial sustainability. Our partnership is an example of how sharing in mission together can benefit all churches involved and has then helped to shape the process by which HeartEdge has come into being. In launching HeartEdge here we want to make a clear statement that HeartEdge, while initiated by St Martin-in-the-Fields, is a network for and of its member churches.

In a moment Sam Wells, the Vicar of St Martin's, will give a contextual and theological grounding to HeartEdge and then we will hear from a range of churches interested in HeartEdge whose stories of ministry and whose models of mission gives examples of what can be shared, learnt and grown through HeartEdge. In between the two panel sessions, where we will hear from those churches, there will be the opportunity for all of us to share something of our context and what we could contribute to and take from the network. We hope this programme will provide a real taste of what being a member of HeartEdge will be like.

Before we hear from Sam let us pray ... God of hope, in Jesus you made heaven visible to earth and earth visible to heaven: make your Church, and each church represented here today, a community at the heart of your kingdom alongside those on the edge of society, that each day we may seek your glory, and embody your grace; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then in outlining the HeartEdge offer I said:

As curate and then incumbent in two of the East London boroughs which are part of the Diocese of Chelmsford I used the 4C’s in mission and ministry without being aware of that neat way of categorizing what it was I was doing. In my curacy in Barking we increased our halls income with a compassionate project that delivered ESOL classes primarily to those of other faiths through a partnership with the local FE College, whilst also involving the church congregation in the local authority’s programme of public art. Then as an incumbent in Seven Kings, we again used halls income as our commercial activity while bringing local artists into the building for exhibitions and concerts and commissioning some to create work for a community garden. Our compassionate activities involved campaigning work with resident’s associations and the formation of a social enterprise start-up service. All of these provided ways of involving our diverse congregation in service to their community as well as drawing new people into the congregation.

It was only when I took on this role that I realised that those things could be categorised and understood using the 4C’s and that realisation is, for me, a key part of my motivation in HeartEdge as I realised that the 4C’s make sense not just in a City Centre location like St Martin’s but also in the very different challenges faced when ministering in East London. On that basis I think it is true to say that adapted to your context they have relevance wherever your church is located and I hope that the range of contributors to today’s event has also served to demonstrate the same point.

Our intent for HeartEdge is that the network brings together a large number of very different churches – churches which differ in size, context, tradition, denomination and locations – but which can have shared conversations because they use, or have the aspiration to use, the 4C’s in mission and ministry. We hope that today has provided an experience of what it is like to take part in this kind of shared conversation and that it has suggested to you already some of the benefits that accrue from having these conversations.

We envisage four primary elements to those conversations within HeartEdge. First, a series of regional events with similarities to today’s launch but to which other elements and partners could also be added. As today, these would be opportunities to bring a range of churches together to:
  • begin conversations that could expand the network into other parts of the country; 
  • begin linking up churches in ways which provide support, advice and encouragement on the basis of similar approaches to mission and ministry regardless of geographical location; and 
  • celebrate the benefits of partnership working and the network that is HeartEdge. 
We also plan to use what we are calling in the Membership Pack, the snapshot – a series of questions about your church and its context that we ask each HeartEdge member to complete – to match churches with particular forms of experience to other churches in need of just that kind of experience. In essence, a form of peer-to-peer mentoring.

We plan to offer consultancy days to individual churches. For these we would gather a small hand-picked team of people from member churches to visit your church for a day and spend the morning seeing and hearing about your ministry, your buildings and your context, before using the afternoon to share stories of relevant experience and thoughtshower ideas and approaches which may be of use within your context. During the consultation period that we have used to shape HeartEdge, our friends at St Mary’s Hitchin offered us the opportunity to trial this approach with a team from Bloomsbury Baptist, CityKerk Amsterdam and St Martin’s. The exercise proved mutually beneficial for all involved.

Additionally, we anticipate that many HeartEdge members will have developed their own models for specific aspects of mission and ministry which can be shared, adapted and replicated in other churches. As examples, we’ve heard today about Youth Wardens, Start:Stop, International Groups, Ask the Pastor and Stand-Up Theology. We envisage that these and many other models can be disseminated within HeartEdge through workshops and/or resource materials.

We hope this brief overview of the main activities envisaged for HeartEdge in its initial phase highlights the real benefits available to churches which join the network. Yet to get the most benefit from what HeartEdge offers, involvement has to involve giving as well as taking. We note in the Membership Pack that generosity is central to HeartEdge and central to the network becoming a really useful resource. That is because there is no limit to what a real community of hope can do when one member’s generosity enables other members to generate new stories across their communities. In HeartEdge we believe that by focussing on and beginning with one another’s assets, not our deficits, we can go on to do unbelievable things together.

Should you wish to become part of a new growth movement for the broad church there are two contributions to make initially. The first is to complete and return the tear off slip at the back of the Membership Pack. Doing so involves deciding how much you wish to or can afford to give to HeartEdge as an annual membership donation. We have suggested a range of donation from £50 to £500 per annum but trust you to decide on the appropriate amount for your church. We have reached this point with a combination of allocated time and seedcorn funding from St Martins which has enabled Andy Turner and I to undertake the consultation, plan the launch and, with the Development Trust at St Martin’s, begin fundraising to support the next phase in the development of HeartEdge, but we also need your membership donations in order to build the core team able to deliver the range of initiatives I have just outlined. Once you return your membership application form with your annual donation, you are then a HeartEdge member.

The second contribution we ask you to make initially is the information about your church and context contained in the Snapshot section of the Membership Pack. The snapshot summarises:

1. Work you’re doing
2. Your experience developing cultural, community or commercial activity
3. The assets you’ve identified
4. The obstacles and challenges you face
5. The resources you need
6. Your hopes and fears

The snapshot is a way for you and HeartEdge to understand the journey your church is on and the directions in which you want to head. By joining the network you’ll meet others who share your interests, opportunities, hopes and fears. The snapshot will help you find the support, resources and solutions that you need. The more information you can provide – the more we can put you in touch with the best people and resources.

We ask you to complete this and send it to us within three months of joining. The earlier the better though, as this is the information that will increasingly enable us to match one church with another in order that peer-to-peer mentoring can begin. Once we have this information we can also begin having discussions with you in relation to the value for you of consultancy days, workshops and other related resources.

Joining HeartEdge is a simple as completing the tear-off slip and returning it to us but for HeartEdge to really come alive and genuinely become a new growth movement for the broad church it must become a movement actively fuelled by its members – actively fuelled by people like you - people and churches that both take from the network and give back to it. By doing so, we will find our way to becoming abundant communities that open space for generosity and cooperation. We very much hope that that is a vision to inspire, and one of which you will want to be a part.


Karl Jenkins - I'll Make Music.

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