• a space to meet, where paths join
• a moment to identify with others
• a holy space to interact and move forward together
• a place where encounters with Christ can happen
Crossingplaces is a new initiative from the Mission Department of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. It is a challenge to all parts of the Baptist family to take the gospel to the places where we meet the non-church world.
For example the Morton, Dyke & Hacconby Group of Baptist Churches in South Lincolnshire has started a community shop. The village of Morton with the hamlet of Hanthorpe is a larger rural community of around 2400 residents. In 2003 the Baptist church took over an empty shop opposite its own building and has completely renovated it. Almost anything can be sold there, large or small, including unwanted items and hand made crafts. A good proportion of the proceeds is returned to the owner and the rest benefits the community.
The Baptist church is meeting new people through this community shop initiative.
Ocean liner or merchant vessel?
Ocean liners travel the seas with a captain, some crew and plenty of passengers. The passengers enjoy the cruise while the captain and crew make all the decisions concerning the ship’s activity and voyage. On a merchant vessel, however, everyone is a member of the crew and each person is expected to fulfil a task.
The Church’s cruising days are certainly over. No longer can she behave like an ocean going liner in her engagement with society, where an expert is appointed merely to address local government agencies and departments on behalf of the ‘Mother Ship’.
The urgent task for central advisers now is not just to communicate effectively with the media (though very important) nor to speak on behalf of local churches. Rather, it is to equip and enable local churches to become full expressions of the Body of Christ themselves, embodying the good news in the neighbourhood and becoming an agent of transformation in the communities they serve.
Lichfield Diocese is attempting to do this in its strategy of ‘Putting Parishes First’. The Diocesan central staff and Bishop’s Staff team are
18 www. countryway. org. uk
making it more explicit that we are here to serve and equip the parish churches who are the main agents of God’s mission.
The appointment of Revd David Primrose to the new post, Head of Transforming Communities, will reinforce this centrifugal movement. He will work with others to promote social justice, to teach and inspire creative social action across a broad range of social and environmental issues and to ensure the sharing of good practice within the Diocese at all levels. Helping churches join together to better tackle a plethora of current concerns such as community cohesion, care for asylum seekers and migrant workers, mission in the economy, social enterprise, debt/drug/alcohol rehab, care and resettlement of offenders, rural deprivation and affordable housing in the countryside.
David is excited at the opportunity to help local churches become part of the transformation of their local communities: merchant vessels, not cruise liners.
Mark Rylands Bishop of Shrewsbury
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24
| Page 25
| Page 26
| Page 27
| Page 28
| Page 29
| Page 30
| Page 31
| Page 32