Over the last few years something exciting has been happening. Churches and local authorities have started to become partners together in seeking the welfare of their communities. It isn’t happening everywhere but it is happening in lots of places and is set to increase. This has been driven by:
1. The huge financial pressures that local government face in caring for the most vulnerable.
2. Deeper understand by churches of our role in the community and sense of mission.
I am still disappointed when I hear of council officials who ‘don’t do faith’ and even more disappointed when I hear church leaders remove themselves from the public square because of a fear of losing Christian distinctiveness. It is true that some of the ways of implementing equalities legislation can cause concern. It is also true that if we go looking for a fight on the equalities agenda then we will find plenty of takers. But why would we want to pick a fight when we can get on with trusting the lord and doing good (see Psalm 37).
Although far from perfect, Cinnamon Network has been used to accelerate church response in places of need. We have focussed on local church sized solutions with proven activities that combine spiritual passion with professional excellence. You can find out more here. It’s been an exciting ride.
What we want to explore now is how we can step up from project delivery to strategic partnership with local authorities. So, we are delighted to invite local church leaders to our Church and Civic Engagement Forum on Tuesday 2nd July 10.30am for 11am till 4pm at Emmanuel Christian Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3DW.
Those who attend the forum will benefit from:
- Discussion about the theological narrative for church and civic engagement and how underneath the talk of gloom and doom new opportunities are emerging for churches at the local level.
- Grant briefing on how you can access The Cinnamon Network sponsorship of £1,000 to help you to host an event which brings together civic leaders and church leaders to find strategic solutions to the crisis facing our communities.
- Guest speaker John Glen MP (Parliamentary Private Secretary to Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles MP the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government).
- Guest speaker Francis Davis (Founder of the Cathedral Innovation Centre and movement and writes regularly for the Christian press, the Guardian, News Statesman and the BBC. A specialist on faith based social action across Europe he also advises a number of local authorities and former policy advisor direct to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government).
- Case study from Yeovil Community Church about their wide-ranging involvement in the community in partnership with civic bodies. This includes being contracted to deliver support with 300 families across south Somerset, working in close partnership with social services, DWP, police, education, council and all other agencies.
- Case Study from PJs Community Services, who are contracted by Croydon Council to provide 800 hours per week of personal and domestic care services to vulnerable adults. Working with a range of community partners including education, police, job centre and other local agencies.
- Lead Practitioner Panel Q&A with guests including Rev Andy Glover from Chester, Paul Woodman from Southampton, Mike Andrea from Margate and Mark Goodway from Bristol.
Both attendance at the event and lunch are complimentary, so we are limited to 150 (this has been extended by 50 places due to demand) places available on a ‘first come first served’ basis.
You can book here.