TLS Developing Community Experiences

TLS Developing Community Experiences (DCE) 1 Year course

Beginning September 2016

Red Circle SquareCrop3Your Neighbourhood...
Your Church...
Your Mission...

Developing Community Experiences is a one year TLS course, which aims to build confidence and enhance skills in the fields of community engagement and mission, thereby helping to transform people's lives.

Download the TLS DCE flyer (PDF) for more information and contact the CRCW Programme Administrator if you have any questions.

For more information of TLS courses in general, please go to


CRCW Spring/Summer Road Show!

Community Photo Large Web cropWe are delighted to be able to share with you details of the first CRCW road show for 2016. Our road shows are designed to show the ways in which community initiatives are making an impact among particular congregations and communities. For us, this event is all about good conversation and storytelling.

Please join us at: Bishop Latimer United Church, Beeton Road, Winson Green, Birmingham, B18 4QD on Saturday 4th June, 2016 from 10.30am — 3.30pm.

For more information on the programme or to book your FREE place, please contact CRCW Programme Administrator: Samara Andrews by email or telephone: 020 7916 8653 

To view/download a PDF of the Roadshow flyer, please click here.

A good question: How can church be more creative?


Reform march2016 WEB

In this month's Reform magazine, four people contribute an answer to the question: How can church be more creative? One of the contributers is our very own CRCW minister Helen Stephenson from the Sunderland and Boldon CRCW project. To read her response, as well as the others: Paul Northup (Creative Director of Greenbelt festival), Elizabeth Gray-King (Education and Learning Programme Officer for the URC) and Linda Rayner (Fresh Expressions Coordinator for the URC), click here.

Tonge Moor Press Release: Hate Crime Awareness Week

Hate Crime Awareness Week recently took place on 8-14th February 2016. One of the Building Bridges Project's main aims is: 'To foster mutual respect, trust, support and kindness between generations, faith and cultures' and therefore, the project felt compleled to get involved:

"Building Bridges and others involved with the primary schools, churches, uniformed organisations and youth groups within Tonge Moor took part in a poster design competition."

To read more and more importantly, to see the winners and runners up of this competition, please take a look at the press release PDF.

United Reformed Church partners with Greenbelt

Greenbelt group photo Web smallOn 13 January Greenbelt and The United Reformed Church signed an agreement, making the denomination an Associate Partner of the Greenbelt festival for the first time.

We are incredibly excited about this partnership and if you would like to find out more, please visit our facebook page.

The partnership is a natural fit, building on the URC’s rich Nonconformist history of exploration of radical Christian faith and working for justice, and the dynamic and creative energy of the Greenbelt festival.

Francis Brienen, The URC’s Deputy General Secretary (Mission), said: ‘Greenbelt is a joyful celebration and exploration of what the future of the Church might be, and how local churches can live out their mission as counter-cultural communities. We’re excited by the creative potential of working together.’

Paul Northup, Greenbelt’s Creative Director, said: ‘I am delighted to begin this new partnership. Greenbelt and the URC share a dynamic faith that is creative, questioning and engages with justice.’

The URC is planning four major contributions to the Greenbelt 2016 programme, including art installations, discussions, and worship events involving people across the denomination. For more than 40 years Greenbelt has equipped and re-energised Christians to be imaginative and effective disciples in local communities.

A promising start...

AlisonDPhotoIt's been a promising start for CRCW minister Alison Dalton at the Building Bridges project in Tonge Moor. We are very fortunate to have access to Alison's personal diary, which has recorded Alison's thoughts and feelings over the past few months. Alison has kindly agreed for us to publish some of these extracts to give you a glimpse of what it can be like to start at a project - particularly one like this, which was already established.

Dear Diary...

WEEK 1 (27TH OF APRIL – 3RD OF MAY 2015)
"During my first week I was immediately impressed by the care and concern shown to me by everyone I encountered linked either to the church in The Centre, the Building Bridges partners or the wider Tonge Moor community. People were so welcoming and worked hard to aid both Dave and I as we began to settle into our new home within Tonge Moor."

"I quickly felt overwhelmed and exhausted by the realization of all I didn’t know, people would try to guide us but we didn’t have the reference points we needed to make sense of the directions. I began to realise in a concrete, rather than theoretical way all the information, networks and nuances I had understood and left behind with moving from one community to another."

To read more, click here: Dear Diary...Retelling the beginnings of our journey together

To read the Building Bridges report for 2014-2015 click here: Building Bridges PDF (1.45MG)


Stand up for JesusLaughing for Jesus

Vicky Longbone (bottom row, first on the left) – who is training to become a fully qualified church-related community work (CRCW) minister – joined nine other Christian leaders in attending a “Stand up for Jesus” comedy masterclass in October.

What was your impression of the day?
“The event was fantastic – really good fun. Our day started with a welcome from [comedians] Bobby Ball and Don Maclean (both childhood heroes of mine) and was led by Bentley Browning, another very funny man!"

Learn any new techniques? "We learnt several techniques on how to bring humour into our sermons and in our conversations with others; it's not just about telling jokes. But one of the best techniques we learnt was to be able to laugh at ourselves, so I didn't do too badly."

Final thoughts...
“The day finished with the 10 of us having a half-hour standup slot on the main stage – a few minutes each. The biggest laugh I got was when I forgot what the next gag was going to be – and that wasn't supposed to be funny! I would really encourage other ministers to go on the course and learn simple but effective techniques.” For more information, visit


A new calling for Elizabeth Kam

We are delighted to share the news that CRCW minister, Elisabeth Kam is joining the team at Levensulme Inspire Church and Community Centre in January after accepting a Call as Church Related Community Work Minister. Her response: "Can't wait!!!"


Greening Wingrove

An environmental project in the west end of Newcastle.

A small group of people 6 years ago wanted to make the place look nicer – so they set about planting trees and flowers....

The CRCW at RSM heard about them through the ward committee and began attending their meetings. The project attracted more people who cared about their neighbourhood and eventually, with the help of a lottery grant, this turned into a community interest company called Greening Wingrove.

Become inspired here.


GrahamGhalebCropPioneer community worker retires

After 28 years of service to the URC through church-related community work (CRCW) ministry, Graham Ghaleb retired on 31 October. Since 1987, Graham has: Served at St Mark’s in Greenwich, London, become
the URC’s first development worker for community ministry and served as the CRCW minister for the Milton Keynes Mission Partnership and Christian Foundation – where he worked for an unprecedented 15 years.

Graham went on to become director of the foundation and, having represented the URC on the Churches Community Work Alliance (CCWA) board, he still serves the CCWA today as a trustee.
In recognition of Graham's outstanding achievements, Steve Summers, the URC’s development worker
for church-related community work, said: “Graham has steered the CRCW programme through its formative years as a recognised ministry in the URC. From our office, as well as the wider URC, thank you Graham for your dedicated service and inspiration to so many of us.”


Hot off the press!

Awards PhotoMembers of tthe Winson Green team, including CRCW minister Adella Pritchard (centre right) being presented with a certificate at the RHS Your Neighbourhood Awards ceremony. 


Winson Green in Bloom - 2015

What a year it has been! There have been a number of events throughout the year to promote Winson Green in Bloom. It takes a dedicated team of community gardeners to maintain this project, many of whom have been involved since the start of the project in 2009. Each community gardener has a raised bed which they are responsible for maintaining.

Giant SunflowersSome of the events that have taken place are 'Growing Sunflowers for the 50th Anniversary of Britain in Bloom' and 'Edible Gardens Open Day'. To see more about this national event, click here: The Big Dig - Growing Food Together.

So what's next? Future plans for garden development over the coming year include:
  • Installation of a shade sail canopy in the lawn area near the garden entrance
  • Building a minibeast hotel using palettes and recycled materials
  • Introducing a bee hive to the garden
  • We are hoping the BT Openreach Community Challenge teams will be able to help us with some of these projects.

If you would like to read the full report for Winson Green in Bloom 2015 and look at what they have been doing in detail, click here for a PDF version.



Developing Community Experiences’ 

The ‘Developing Community Experiences’ TLS Programme starts this year in September 2015 and is for anyone interested in or already engaged with their local neighbourhood and with faith-based community development work.

The three term course (September 2015-June 2016) includes five home study units each term. Students will be required to attend 3 residential weekends and attend a local study group to discuss the units and to reflect upon their community experiences.

You will learn to work with people from a variety of backgrounds and to understand different types of community development. You will develop skills and confidence in working with people and communities, increase your awareness of social justice issues as well as develop skills in communication, group work and project development.

Fees: For URC members who have the signed support of their local church, the fee is £550 which includes the full cost of the residential weekends, tutor support and all course materials. However, no one should hold back from applying because they cannot afford the fee and bursary aid is available. If you are at all interested with this programme, please contact Steve Summers, CRCW Development Worker:     

 Tel. 02079168653 / 


Call Out For News

The URC Church Related Community Work office is always on the look out for stories to share from churches or community groups on anything from local issues to ongoing projects and general good news! Please do get in touch if there is an event you would like us to help publicise. If it is relevent to our work, we would be more than happy to share!

If you have news to share and/or want to find out more about the upcoming Community Partnership Roadshows, please contact Samara Andrews (CRCW Programme Administrator) or call  020 7916 2020 (Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays). Also follow the team on Twitter @crcwteam and Facebook


New Callings Kirsty July 2015 CROP Web

New CRCW minister Kirsty Mabbott started her first post in September at an existing CRCW project in Bettws, Newport. Although slightly daunted at first, having moved away from friends in Manchester, Kirsty looked forward to new beginnings and building friendships.

"The members at St David’s have been welcoming and supportive and I have also started to attend “The Gathering” on a Sunday evening, which is a safe Christian space for the LGBT+ community based at City URC in Cardiff. I have found that this has given me somewhere to be fed spiritually each week so that I can refresh and feed the community of Bettws."

"Over the next few months, I am looking forward to getting to know the church and community in Bettws more, discovering what it is that God wants me to do here, getting to know the National Synod of Wales and working on my MA part-time."

"I ask that you pray for me and the whole community of Bettws over the coming months. I would also ask that you pray for the CRCWM students Vicky, Lisa, Jo, Maria & Andy, and continue to pray for Church Related Community Work Ministry as a whole."


CRCW Ministers-in-training

We currently have five CRCW students and a proportion of their training takes place at Luther King House in Manchester. For more information on training, please refer to our 'Become a CRCW Minister' page or for a brief overview, please read our 'Could God be Calling you to the Ministry of Church Related Community Work?' leaflet.


Twitter and Facebook

We tweet! If you want a quick way to keep up with all of our news and events, please follow us at @CRCWteam We are called 'Enabling Change'. Of course, we facebook too and you can also keep up-to-date with all of our news and stories here.


CRCW Minister Interviews

Our CRCW film interviews are now available to view. You will see three of our CRCW ministers talk about various topics, which are close to their hearts, in relation to their Church Related Community Work. The film clips are a follow on to our CRCW film 'Creating Change' and offer a facinating insight into the work that is being done to help people in their communities.

CRCW Minister Graham Ghaleb Interviews - 

CRCW Minister Simon Loveitt Interviews - 

CRCW Minister Rosie Buxton Interviews - 


Community TLS module under the spotlight 

Church leaders and church members who are looking to become involved with their local communities, or who are already involved, may want to consider enrolling for the three-term Developing Community Experiences (DCE) course which starts in September 2016.

The course aims to develop an understanding of community development principles and practices in order to stimulate informed and practical presence and engagement in communities from a faith perspective. Through study, teaching, discussion and practical engagement students will enhance their skills and grow in confidence as they learn how to make a positive, faith-based, response to their community.  For more information please contact Steve Summers.



We are delighted to share with you the CRCW film that has been created: "Creating Change' which shows interviews from some of our church related community work ministers. It gives you a little glimpse into what it is like to be a CRCW minister and what impact a project can have within the community.

View the film: 'Creating Change' here.


Annual Reports

Building Bridges, Tonge Moor Annual Report 2014-15 (PDF 1.45MG)

25 Year CRCW Report from CRCW Minister Simon Loveitt. For a fascinating report spanning 25 years, please follow the link.


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