|Sheffield Peace Gardens in summer, UK. |
From CCUM website
The Methodist Church jointly funded (with the Evangelical Coalition for Urban Mission) an Urban Mission Development Advisor from 2004-2010. The initial work was to look at mission on a holistic, integrated model in disadvantaged urban communities across the whole UK, across all Christian traditions. Then it identified different sources of support and training that are relevant in such contexts, piloted various gap-filling initiatives, and grew the range of agencies and denominations actively working together. By summer 2010, a new Christian Coalition for Urban Mission had been set up with 11 bodies active on its Steering Group (6 agencies and 5 denominational bodies, including the Methodist Church), and a further 18 (including two Black-led denominations) endorsing the process.
The Project's work was evaluated as part of the Connexion's Urban Mission Review in summer 2009, and the Review Group's Report was accepted at Methodist Conference in 2010. This recommended the setting up of a broad-based 'hub', on an ecumenical basis, with continued active Methodist engagement, including funding.
The Steering Group of the Christian Coalition for Urban Mission is working to establish that resource. It has been invited by Churches Together in England to convene a Coordinating Group (again of agencies and denominations) for Urban Mission. The key purposes of the Coalition are:
To facilitate communication, cooperation, collaboration and best practice among organisations involved in urban mission with the aim of enabling these organisations to be more effective in supporting holistic/integral urban mission by:
- enabling Coalition members to provide more effective support and training to practitioners
- promoting shared learning between agencies, denominations and individuals around common themes and areas of difference including good practice and values and broader understandings of urban mission
- strengthening Coalition members’ ability to strengthen the confidence and capability of lay people to engage in holistic/integral urban mission alongside, or in the absence of, paid leadership, and including the process of engaging in the ‘public square’ with those of other faiths or none.
- encouraging large denominations and agencies to value and utilise resources in independent specialist agencies and the smaller denominations, especially proactive engagement with black and minority ethnic led churches
- enabling Coalition members to exercise a more prophetic challenge into the national denominations and agencies (and maybe into national government) to prioritise the allocation of resources to this area of mission
The Project is also supported by the Methodist Church by its maintenance of the website. This will become an increasingly rich source of information, and already has useful directories of networks, organisations and sources of training and other resources useful for local urban mission.