Connecting Churches with Communities
Tuesday 25th April, Wirral Christian Centre, Birkenhead
The aim of this event was to bring together denominational leaders and leaders of independent churches to give them an opportunity to:
Discuss how churches can work together in a more cohesive way in Wirral
Share, encourage and network with each other
Think about how churches can engage effectively with local asset based social action initiatives
Hear about the move from Life Expectancy Wirral to Transforming Lives Together
26 people attended, representing 22 Methodist, URC, Anglican, Catholic, Baptist and Independent churches
What happened at the event?
We opened with worship which was provided by the WCC worship team and this was followed by a welcome from Bishop Keith with more detail on why we were holding the event.
We then heard ‘Steve’s story’ as told by an actor. This story was collected as one of many by Wirral Public Health to inform decisions on how best to engage with members of the community who are not accessing their services or those of non-statutory organisations. The story highlighted how many factors contributed to the problems faced by Steve and his family, including ill health, unemployment, poor housing and benefit difficulties.
Delegates were asked to discuss how we as the church in Wirral could have engaged with Steve and his family at various points to stop things escalating. This was not just about listing activities offered by churches but about connecting with people like Steve and building relationships to enable the right sort of support/signposting.
Nicki Jones, a Public Health manager then shared an initiative which has developed as a result of their research – ‘Community Connectors’. These are employed in 12 Wards across Wirral and their aim is to connect people to the many things going on in their local community e.g. churches, cafes, activities (Nicki’s presentation is attached). This will have a positive impact on issues of poor mental health, loneliness etc.
There was time at this point for delegates to talk to each other and Nicki over refreshments and to look at displays about the Wirral Churches Pledge.
After the break, delegates were asked what can we do next to work more effectively together? Responses were recorded on paper tablecloths
The event closed with delegates being asked to complete ‘Pledge’ postcards which will be sent back to them in 2 months time to remind them what they pledged to do next. They also completed evaluation forms – all feedback from the event is currently being collated and the outcomes and next steps will be shared shortly.