Neighbours Renewing Urban Life Together
Isaiah 61:1-4 inspires our work and life together as neighbours in Winson Green and Handsworth, North-West Birmingham, UK. It speaks of people and places seeing ‘restoration’, ‘renewal’ and ‘rebuilding’. This includes people who have experienced ‘oppression’, ‘broken heartedness’, ‘captivity’, ‘prison’ and ‘grief’ of which many in our neighbourhood are familiar. There is a vision here of swapping ‘beauty for ashes’, ‘joy for sorrow’ and ‘hope for despair’. As neighbours we too want to be like ‘oaks of justice’, ‘well planted’ and ‘growing stronger’. We long to see Newbigin House become like a seedbed for urban change, enabling opportunities for neighbours to express gifts, passions and dreams as a basis for renewing our common life together in Winson Green and Handsworth.
Part of the spiritual heritage of Winson Green is the life and work of Lesslie Newbigin. A Christian Minister in Winson Green in the 1980s, Newbigin was an influential writer, speaker and statesman who impacted the world for unity and urban Christian engagement. The Newbigin family gave special permission for Newbigin House to be named in his honour.
Abundant Community: We believe there is enough for all of us to thrive if each of our gifts, dreams and passions are given an opportunity to be identified, nurtured and expressed lavishly.
Community Organising: We believe that people facing problems are the best ones to deal with those problems and that the best chance of change happens when these people work together.
Place-Based: We believe humans can best live in harmony with God, people and place (‘urban shalom’) if we focus on neighbourhood renewal together. A neighbourhood is ‘small enough to be a known character in its unfolding drama and large enough to live a lot of life’ (The New Parish). Our neighbourhood focus is Winson Green and Handsworth.
Welcoming Hospitality: We believe God is Love and welcomes us unconditionally. Therefore, we intentionally embrace, include and empower those who may not feel welcome in our neighbourhood.
Jesus-Centred: We believe that Jesus is the centre and source of all Life. The more we encounter, follow and join Jesus, the more life we can share together now and forever.
These questions are used as a guide to ensure our activities together are consistent with our vision and values.
- Abundant Community: Are neighbours at the centre of this activity, giving opportunities to express gifts, passions and dreams?
- Community Organising: Are those neighbours with the problems this activity addresses able to respond together?
- Place-Based: Does our neighbourhood have a better chance of being renewed because of this activity than if it didn’t happen?
- Welcoming Hospitality: Does this activity help express the welcome of God?
- Jesus-Centred: Does this activity honour Jesus?
Our constitution, in applying to be a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, identified the following purposes for Newbigin House Community Trust:
- The prevention and relief of poverty.
- The advancement of education.
- The advancement of citizenship and community development.
- The advancement of human rights, confliction resolution, reconciliation, promotion of religious and racial harmony, equality and diversity.
- The relief of those in need by reason of youth, age, illness, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage.
- Other charitable purposes.