October saw us rely more fully on faith support. Trusting God will provide through people who know us, trust us and believe in what we are doing has not been easy, but Anji and I can now engage more fully in our unique vocation here. We also have the needed space to build capacity for future impact and a Sabbath day once a week! Thanks to your support these highlights happened this month:
Our residential community in Newbigin House has grown to 7 resident people as well as 2 alpacas, 2 lizards, 4 chickens and pug called Yoda. This month we have also had over 25 guests stay with us from all over the world with over 200 different people coming through the old vicarage for various groups, training, meetings, meals…. and mayhem!
Local ministry in our Winson Green neighbourhood has gone to another level. Weekly community meals, weekly prison ministries, family outing to Blackpool, Grow mental health support group started, youth ministry. We now also help lead Prison chapel one a month and a local church service once a month too. Just to name a few of things happening! Anji also got her ‘FAB Community Hub’ building at the local Oasis Foundry school so there is more space for youth, family and community initiatives. Neighbourhood leaders have come together to form Newbigin Community Trust which was approved by the Charity Commission to give local leaders a greater voice in renewing our neighbourhood together.
- See Newbigin Community Trust’s vision and ethos here:
Raising-up of more resilient urban leaders through our School for Urban Leadership has begun. We launched new weekly leadership programs this term with Newbigin Associates (7 community leaders in Winson Green), MA in Urban Mission (9 urban leaders with University of Manchester’s Nazarene College), Gas Street Group (11 urban leaders exploring urban mission) as well as Missio Dei retreat day (4 urban leaders for discernment), an Immersion Course weekend in Winson Green (9 CMS Pioneer leaders) and ran a retreat day with Baptist ordinants (30 leaders at Bristol Baptist). We applied for the Newbigin School for Urban Leadership to be a Community Interest Company and had Lianne join us a day a week to be our administrator to help this entity be like a strong trunk to so that our dreams for urban impact can grow like branches.
Going ‘upstream’ to try and prevent people being pushed into torrents of urban poverty and to fight for more just and sustainable urban future at a global level has had some important breakthroughs too. October 15-20 I went to Quito, Equator to co-lead a delegation called ‘Urban Shalom Project’ to the United Nation’s Habitat III for the future of cities. We ran a pre-conference (The Gospel and the future of cities) to help our delegation to prepare to represent 600 million Christians at the UN gathering with 45,000 leaders. I had the privilege of being present in the assembly hall when the nations of the world committed to the New Urban Agenda for more sustainable, resilient and inclusive cities. A campaign, publications and forums to help Christians engage with this global agenda will be launched next year and I will continue to co-Convene as Urban Shalom Project as part of the co-alition made up of Micah/World Evangelical Alliance and Lausanne.
- Here is our press release
None of this would have been possible without your trust and belief in us! We are so very grateful for the providence of God through so many generous friends, families and communities. Transitioning back to faith support is not simple, but we are conscious of Hudson Taylor’s encouragement that ‘God’s work done in God’s ways will not lack God’s resources.’ Thanks for standing with us as this adventure unfolds.
Ash and Anji Barker