HOW CHURCH UNITY IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE ACROSS THE LONDON BOROUGHS
What happens when leaders in towns and cities form friendships, pray and do mission together? What happens when those places share what they’ve learnt? The London Mission Collective is working with Borough Unity Groups across the capital and is linking in with Gather, a national network of unity networks in over 130 cities and towns across the nation to offer teaching, share best practice and inspire innovative ways of working together. Here is a round-up of some exciting things that have happened as churches joined forces:
Newham Christian Fellowships began as an informal network of evangelical and charismatic church leaders around the time of March of Jesus. They continued to meet and explore what it means to pray and work in unity. Since those days they have changed their name to Transform Newham, registered as a charity, broadened their theological reach and increased their numerical impact. Notable successes were incubating More Than Gold prior to charitable registrations, significantly contributing to Soul in The City across the whole of East London and hosting the early Global Day of Prayer.
They now organise regular prayer events and enable informal collectives of activists such as the Children and Youth Collective and the Tacking Poverty Collective. In the future, they want to support leaders in their 20s and 30s and help to plant Christian Workplace Groups.
The Ecumenical Borough Deans in the Royal Borough of Greenwich are a group of eight representatives of the wide diversity of Christian churches in the borough. Their main function is to liaise between the Borough Council and the churches and they have been very successful in developing a strong relationship between the churches and the council. Over the years, Borough Deans have also initiated ecumenical projects such as Street Pastors, Foodbank and Winter Night Shelter. During the 2012 Olympics they facilitated co-operation between churches and as a result the Greenwich Church Leaders Forum was formed and this continues today as a networking and information hub for all the churches of Greenwich.
Churches in Bromley worked together on a project a few years ago to have an evangelistic event at a local theatre, The Churchill Theatre. They managed to get contacts that enabled them to gather some Christian artists and musicians as well as LZ7 and the evangelist Andrew Palau. They held two consecutive nights of meetings where many people came and heard some great music and the gospel message. They did not have the financial capacity to do this as individual churches but when they came together greater things could be achieved.
The Borough of Brent has one of the most diverse communities in London. The church in Brent have the world, as it were, on their own doorsteps. This gives them immense missional opportunities. There are various networks within the borough that gather churches to share faith and pray together.
The area Borough Deans of the denominations and church groups coordinate key times where churches in Brent meet together for fellowship. They coordinate meetings every Pentecost where many denominations gather, worship, hear speakers and outreach together the following day. They also coordinate gatherings over key issues in our society such as social isolation.
United Evangelism in Brent with other networks work together doing events and festivals in local estates and deprived areas. The networks partner together in doing initiatives such as children’s holiday clubs, street pastors, school outreach work, marches, sports academies, Christmas carol outreaches and various community evangelistic gatherings. These initiatives impact our communities for Christ and are used to alleviate problems such as gang culture on our streets.
Gather is a national network of vibrant missional unity movements in villages, towns, cities and boroughs. Visit gather.global for more information.