Welcome to CRT Newsletter 002

Welcome to Issue 002, an edition showcasing highlights including two amazing church plant launches; a new initiative with St Mellitus College; Focus through the eyes of CRT and much, much more!

Two new city centre Resource Churches launched

St Nicholas Bristol Closed for 65 years, over 400 at launch!

The original 12th century church was closed to worship for 65 years after being bombed in WWII. After it was restored it was used as an ecclesiastical museum and archive office of Bristol City Council. On Sunday the doors of St Nicholas, led by Toby Flint and his wife Gill, were reopened once again as a place of worship. The launch service had an incredible turnout with 300 chairs filled and an additional 100 people occupying the gallery space!

Toby, Gill and their son Barny relocated to Bristol in the summer and straight away began integrating themselves in order to build strong relationships with the community and with other local churches.

The congregation were invited to write their prayers on the concrete floor using marker pens before it is carpeted in a few weeks’ time. Toby, Gill and the team have been on an exciting journey so far in Bristol. They were warmly welcomed by the wider church community, city mayor and new Bishop of Bristol to join in being a blessing and beacon of hope for the city.

Saint Mary's Southampton A place of worship for over 1000 years relaunched with fresh vision

A historic moment took place on Sunday as the doors to Saint Mary’s were reopened and the church was packed with lively worship and a message of hope for the city. The launch celebration service saw over 400 people attend with one person coming to faith for the first time and another being healed during the worship!

Jon and Hannah’s vision for Saint Mary’s is to be a church for the un-churched, a place where they can share the gospel with those who have never heard it before. With the location of Saint Mary’s being at the heart of Southampton and with a thriving student population, Jon and Hannah want to shape a ministry that is championing the young people of the city and creating space for them to explore faith.

Saint Mary’s church was bombed during the war (see image above) but that didn’t stop the small congregation and clergymen worshipping. It was evident on Sunday that the passion and excitement continues today! Amazingly, a woman from that service held over 40 years ago attended the launch on Sunday and was deeply moved witnessing the revitalisation of Saint Mary’s.

“Church was PACKED and there was such an amazing sense of the presence of God! We had one bloke who walked in and just started crying - he hadn’t connected with Church or with God for a long time.”

You may have heard the saying, “An empty church is like the empty palace of a long-forgotten king. People walk past it, and they say the king is dead”. What we witnessed on Sunday is a sure sign that the King is very much alive in Bristol and Southampton – we are eager and expectant to see what God is going to do in these amazing cities!

Why not Follow the journeys of these two amazing plants on their social media platforms?

Focus '18 family on a mission

What a fantastic time away together at Focus – we were thrilled to welcome over 4000 from the Network churches!

10 new plant churches were commissioned on Tuesday morning by the Bishop of London and 8 Diocesan Bishops. Bishop Sarah Mullally shared her inspiring story and her journey from working as a nurse to her current position as the first female Bishop of London. It was such a privilege for CRT to partake in praying for these new churches alongside the representing bishops from their diocese.

Each morning CRT co-hosted a Leaders’ Lounge where we welcomed around 50 leaders from the various Network churches and their spouses. This was a key opportunity for the leaders to network and be refreshed. Archie Coates hosted the daily event as leaders were welcomed with fresh coffee, which appeared to be a particular highlight! Leaders commented on a sense of God doing something new through the Network and a greater collaboration of a “family on a mission”.

Focus stories

CRT hosted a filming booth throughout Focus to capture stories from across the Network churches. If you want to hear about lives being transformed through church plants, why not check out the video?

Play Video

CRT pilots New Ordinands stream

CRT, in partnership with St. Mellitus College and HTB, were delighted to sponsor the launch of the new CRT Ordinands Stream during Focus. This programme is for anyone with a calling for church leadership who may require additional guidance and support through the discernment process.Our goal is to support and raise up a cohort of diverse, young and dynamic church leaders for the future who will go on to plant churches, especially into areas of social deprivation. CRT are so excited that Ryan, Julian, Gavin and Joe are taking part in the new pilot 2018/2019!

CRT Leadership Training launched for 2019

The second CRT Accelerator Programmeis now in full swing. Since the first session on 12thSeptember, the group has enjoyed sessions with Tricia Neill, Sarah Jackson as well as Nicky and Sila Lee. The year-long training covers a comprehensive curriculum of outstanding guest speakers who share best practice for future planters.

This one-year intensive leadership training programme is designed to equip and resource leaders to lead a vibrant CCRC in a strategic city. The mixed mode programme combines teaching modules (taught) alongside praxis (caught). This course runs in addition to the leaders’ allocated ministry area of responsibility and Sunday service where they serve in order that they may be exposed to all aspects of church before planting. It is so exciting for us to welcome our 2018/2019 cohort and we pray that they will be blessed during their time with us.

Lovechurch leader releases new book

Tim and Debi Matthews planted from HTB in 2014 into St Swithun’s, Bournemouth.

This book tells the story of the process of moving to Bournemouth to set up a new church from scratch, on the back of numerous similar failed attempts in London, and the bumpy and scary journey to success St Swithun’s has travelled since. Tim demonstrates, through his story, how he has pushed through failure and disappointment with tenacity to trust in God and his plan and timing – and how hundreds of people are discovering faith in Jesus Christ as a result.

Tim and Debi were also interviewed on television channel TBN in September AND shared the story of LoveChurch on BBC Radio.

Meet the team

In this issue, we’d like to introduce you to CRT’s latest recruits: Adam Atkinson and Erin Winfield.

Rev’d Adam Atkinson

Rev’d Adam Atkinson is Vicar of St Peter’s Bethnal Green as well as working as the HTB Network Chaplain in a voluntary capacity since 2017. Adam has been volunteering one day per week for CRT but he will increase his time with CRT to 4 days per week.

Adam will provide a critical function in being a relational link and pastoral support for the entire HTB Network as well as providing valuable input into CRT’s training programmes for planting curates and Urban Ordinands. Adam led the church plant in 2010 to St Peter’s from St Paul’s Shadwell, where he was curate with the then Rev’d Ric Thorpe. Adam is married to Rev’d Heather Atkinson, who is Associate Vicar at St Peter’s and together they have three adult children. 

Erin Winfield

Erin Winfield is an experienced fundraiser, passionate about the role philanthropy and fund development can play in the health and success of a mission-driven organisation.

Erin has been on the staff of Alpha International for 12 years, most recently serving as the Global Development Director, overseeing an international team of 12 and responsible for raising the global budget of £13m+. Erin is American, with a graduate degree in History of Art and is married to Russell (an ordained Anglican priest working at St Mellitus College).

Erin and Russell and their two-year old son Gabriel are long-standing committed members of HTB, passionate about the vision for church planting and the work of CRT. Erin will drive CRT’s long-term fundraising strategy and implementation, with a view to broadening CRT’s donor and foundation base.

Prayer requests

We are so grateful for your continued prayer support as we focus on:

  • Recruitment and training of 100 new and dynamic leaders
  • For the new CRT Ordinands who have recently started at St Mellitus College
  • New partnerships with the diocese and bishops
  • Transformation into areas of social deprivation
  • Financial provision to enable the vision

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to find out more! Thank you for partnering and supporting CRT to make this vision of national revitalisation possible!