BPBHCC, Luton

CRCW - Karen CampbellGrassroots Luton

The Bury Park Beech Hill Council of Churches has formally been in existence for 21 years; increasingly, members had been worshipping and studying together. Out of this relationship grew an awareness of the need to integrate into the community rather than defensively be isolated from it.

In the Bury Park and Beech Hill areas of Luton, diversity and multiculturalism have thrived to such an extent that they are seen as a threat by many people. Against this background of huge religious and cultural diversity, the Church Related Community Work Project has been an essential Christian testimony. Numerous activities organised as a result of the Project have sought to bring Christians together from across denominations in order to build confidence and encourage a sense of shared mission and purpose. The Bury Park Beech Hill Council of Churches have been enabled to make their presence felt in town-wide events such as the annual One World Week multicultural celebrations, Precious Pearls annual women’s event, the ‘Making Luton a Fairtrade Town’ campaign and events organised by the Faith Woodlands Communities Project. A variety of initiatives, including annual seaside trips, concerts, dinner-dances and multicultural fashion show, have enabled the churches to become better linked into their local community. Specific initiatives have deliberately established relationships with local places of worship and neighbours of diverse faith backgrounds e.g. cooking & befriending projects, and Harvest celebrations hosted by the churches, but shared with neighbours of other faiths.

The CRCW Project has been a key partner in the development of Luton Roma Church, addressing both the spiritual and social needs of Luton’s growing Roma community. The Project has also been involved in delivering community events to raise awareness of the issues affecting Roma & Gypsy communities.

We regard the role of the CRCW as being part of a team effort, shared with the BPBH Ministers, the LMC & the Bury Park Beech Hill Churches. In the 1st term the CRCW has been demonstrating the possibilities of the Project. The work is heavily dependent on relationships built across denominations, faiths and cultures, through a degree of trust and confidence earned by the post-holder. The 2nd term will be about consolidating – involving more people in the ongoing work & equipping others to take on aspects of the work for themselves. We therefore feel it is important to maintain continuity regarding the post-holder so the foundations laid in the 1st term are not wasted. With this understanding, we agree the CRCW post will seek to:

  • assist the partner churches to build bridges into the local community
  • engage people in contextual theological reflection & intentional prayer for the Project & neighbourhood
  • make links and network with voluntary, statutory and private agencies in the area providing services to meet community needs
  • assist churches in exploring ways to offer their buildings, skills and people in service of the neighbourhood
  • identify and equip volunteers to continue working beyond the life of the Project
  • offer skilful help, guidance and advice for the successful running of Luton Roma Church, particularly regarding its children’s activities
  • contribute to other local campaigns e.g. Luton in Harmony, Fairtrade, and Healthy Luton, with help from volunteers from local congregations

For information, you can visit the Grassroots website.