CRT Newsletter 009
I am delighted to share with you some inspiring updates from the last term, none of which would have been possible without the ongoing support and prayers of so many. I hope this update inspires and encourages you, and you are uplifted by some of what’s happening across the UK.
With my very best wishes,
Rev’d Sarah Jackson
CEO of the Church Revitalisation Trust
We recently heard the impact of Love Your Neighbour’s Love Christmas 2022. Over 100,000 Bags of Kindness were packed and distributed to people in need across the UK by over 6,000 volunteers and churches within our network. The numbers only tell half the story. Behind each of those numbers is a person or family whose Christmas was made that little bit brighter.
‘I had some awful choices this year. Do I feed my kids, keep them warm, or do I buy them a present? I couldn’t do it all, so I was getting more and more upset and feeling so guilty as my children were getting excited about what Santa would bring them – and I knew they would be so sad on Christmas morning. When I found Love Christmas and they told me they’d give my girls a present, I cried. I’d been so stressed, and this was such a relief. Christmas morning was amazing. Thank you so much.’
New Church Plants
We’re so excited to share the news of two new church plants! Each plant is an extension into a strategic new location to help spread the word of God and give a space for community and social transformation to.
We started the year with Christ Church, Summerfield planting in January.
Katie Stock, the senior leader of Christ Church, was part of the Estates Accelerator Programme cohort from last year. This is a training programme that equips church leaders with the skills and knowledge to respond to the specific needs of estates.
This plant will reach estates in West Birmingham, showing the love of Jesus Christ to the large young adult population who might not have heard the transformative word of the Gospel.
Over in Wales, Citizen Church, Pontypridd hit the ground running in February
Amber Baker, currently on the Accelerator Programmes Planting Stream, led the plant. This is a training programme with insights to what is needed to successfully plant a thriving church – covering everything from fundraising to logistical administration.
Citizen Church is a second-generation plant from Citizen Church, Cardiff. It goes to show how each church in our network has the in-built DNA to continue multiplying and evangelising.
Transform Learning Community
We had a great turnout at Transform, our new learning community, which launched in March. Over 200 leaders from across the UK were able to gather in London and be invested in by world class speakers. They were challenged on missional expansion and had time and space to examine their individual church strategies. These leaders will journey together for the next two years, with the next event happening in October. It truly was transformational and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact of the 48hrs spent together coming to fruition.
Ready to go
Children growing up in a post-pandemic world are experiencing higher levels of stress and worry, and there is a continuing decline in church attendance among children and young people. We recently finished this year’s Kids’ Accelerator Programme for Kids’ Pastors. Over the course of six weeks, specific training was given to these leaders to equip them with the skills and knowledge to deliver engaging worship and teaching. They were also provided with resources in how to equip children with godly values in the face of today’s many challenges.
‘It was great to come alongside other Kids’ Pastors in the network and be encouraged, inspired and equipped. There was fabulous teaching from a range of inspiring leaders. I have learnt a broad range of skills to put into practice in my work to be more effective as a Kids and Families’ Pastor. The relationships I have built will continue beyond the course, as we continue to support and encourage one another to be the best Kids’ Pastors that we can be for Jesus!’
– Angelina from LOVECHURCH, Bournemouth
Similarly, the Operations’ Accelerator Programme was delivered a few months earlier, giving new Operation Managers the support to run the practical aspects of a church – from health and safety to fundraising, with excellence.
‘It was reassuring to be with other Ops Managers and to know that our role is valuable. When you listen to others’ stories about their job, in which you recognise yourself – it validates and reminds yourself the importance of the work and the value of it. The course ensures that you have a great foundation to support any gaps in your knowledge and a sense of the role.’
– Sarah from Concord Church, Bristol
Giving hope in Hounslow
Hope Church in Hounslow has been doing some great outreach work, covering many of the needs of their community. The church was closed in 2010, with the space almost being sold off as a mosque. But a joint effort between HTB and St Stephen’s, Twickenham allowed Hope Church to be planted in 2012.
After having several visits from Iranians asking about Jesus, Hope Church started running Farsi Alpha. After running these sessions, Hope Church have seen a real journey of transformation – from people enquiring about the good news of Jesus to being baptised.
Communities can be ravaged by all sorts of issues, from poverty to loneliness. Hope Church has been using its resources to tackle all manner of issues plaguing the residents of Hounslow. The over 50s are treated to the Good Company, a space to have some food, drink, and make new friends. And for children and families, Play Cafe lets parents and carers grab a drink and cake while the kids sing songs and listen to stories. As well as offering debt advice and a foodbank, Hope Church are doing great work to transform the lives of those within their community.
Have you read the latest edition of REVIITALISE Magazine? It’s full of stories showing the impact of our network churches. In this issue, there’s everything from information on estate planting to what goes into choosing a church building.
It’s been wonderful to see how God has been working through church plants and ministries across the UK, and we are expectant for what the next term will bring. We’ll be celebrating Peter and Caleb Stream ordinations and priestings; gathering the entire network at Focus, our annual network festival, and be running further sprint courses to support ministry teams within our churches.
Thank you so much – as always, none of this would be possible without your continued support.