What have we been up to in 2019?
Places of Welcome
We had 10 new Places of Welcome open in 2019 which is brilliant. We now have 30 across the Diocese and we continue to support them any way we can. We held a lovely celebration/thank you event at Chester cathedral in September. Over 50 volunteers attended and received a commemorative wooden plaque to take back to their church or organisation. We also created two Place of Welcome videos which show visitors and volunteers talking about their experience of attending at St. Hildeburgh church in Hoylake and United church in Hyde. These are now available to view on our Place of Welcome page. Hopefully they will encourage you to ask us about becoming a Place of Welcome!
This year saw three new churches delivering Filling the Gap and during the summer holidays 11 churches were visited by over 1,000 children plus their parents. 7 churches sent in their figures and some really lovely quotes, a sample of which can be found in our summary report. This is such an amazing way to work with the community and not only do the churches provide food and fun, feedback suggests that an equally important outcome is the development of friendships between adults attending and quality time spent between parents/carers and children. Again, we would love you to contact us to find out more about how to become a Filling the Gap church or you can come along to our next event on March 23rd 2020. Reserve a place and find out more here: www.tiny.cc/ftg3
Know Your Church Know Your Neighbourhood
We finished delivering ‘Know Your Church Know Your Neighbourhood’ to a church earlier this year and trained several Methodist churches to deliver the programme for themselves. We are always happy to support churches with community engagement and this can take several forms such as half day training, informal conversations etc.
We have enjoyed working in partnership with the West Cheshire Welcome Network and ecumenically with Methodist Church Circuits, churches of a wide variety of Christian denominations, Area Forums and the Diocesan departments of Education and the Committee for Social Responsibility. We believe we can achieve more by working in partnership and are keen to develop relationships with the statutory and voluntary sectors. Please contact us if you have any suggestions!
We have begun to recruit TLT Champions and already have 10 people interested in helping us out but would be delighted to hear from more of you! The main aims are to help raise awareness of TLT initiatives so that more churches get involved and therefore more people in our communities are reached; to help find more volunteers to support churches which deliver our initiatives and to visit and encourage Filling the Gap and Places of Welcome churches. An initial meeting will be held early in the new year and if you’d like to come along to find out more please get in touch with Wendy.
We have been busy updating our Business Plan and spending a lot of time thinking about the development of our work. We sent out a survey earlier in the year to collect feedback and comments from churches, organisations and individuals whom we have worked with and the responses to that have been very useful in helping to shape our plans. We want to continue to develop and strengthen existing initiatives, working ecumenically and in an asset based way. We also want to be inventive in 2020 and in the future in supporting churches to engage with their communities in a way that reflects the love and compassion of God.
We are hoping to have a Just Finance worker within the next year or so who will focus on financial inclusion across the Diocese.
We are also really interested in developing church pairs, especially between churches in wealthy areas with churches in more deprived areas. We need enthusiastic churches who are open to learning from each other so please get in touch if this is something you would be interested in.