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CRCW News and Events

This month, we share a post, written in October by Church Related Development Worker (CRCW) Adella Pritchard, who recently moved tomike erskine Xtnt5xtK03E unsplas web crop the Swansea region project following 10 years as a CRCW in Birmingham. However, Adella is currently in neither of these cities and instead, undertaking a great opportunity to learn about Disability, Mission & Transformation in New Zealand. Adella writes:

"I see that we are the people encouraging the church congregation in is action; helping the congregation to engage with its community; assisting in the formation and for a time, the delivery of the community project and we are the people who steer the theological reflection and project evaluating. Put simply we are the people that journey with missional congregations and who embrace the community members."

Adella, reflects on what she has learnt so far and has some fascinating insights to share. If you would like to find out more about transforming lives and building a community, read Adella's full reflection here: Disability, Mission & Transformation.

Read more: Disability, Mission & Transformation

katie drazdauskaite uTWKKYqt3qQ unsplash CroppedWebWe are delighted to share this month's reflection from CRCW Marie Trubic, who is based at the Priesthill and Shawlands URCs project in Glasgow.

Marie reflects on our fear of change, as individuals or as part of a larger group and how this can really inhibit us from greater opportunities and stronger bonds with those around us.

Marie starts by describing a scenario regarding the large, imposing, padlocked metal gates that stand boldly at the entrance to the Church grounds. How nice it would be, Marie thought, if those gates could remain open? This became a hot topic of debate, as the congregation feared the worst with regards to vandalism and theft. Eventually, the gates were kept open on a trial period and the experience made Marie realise that:

"... often fear - or our perception of the unknown and danger prevents us, as individual Christians and as congregations reaching out to and engaging with our neighbours and communities. It sometimes prevents us claiming what God has in store for us."

To read Marie's full reflection and to find out what 'giants' (as the title says) has to do with the church gate and it's large, uninviting padlock, read here.

Read more: Giants

Andy Littlejohns photo webAndy Littlejohns began his new role as Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) in July this year and is based at the Chorley United Reformed Church project in Lancashire.

In his first reflection for Church Related Community Work, Andy reveals to us an idea he had, whilst on placement as a CRCW student, to bring people together in a setting that he feels at home in; a 'men in sheds group' although, as Andy explains:

"... we didn’t meet in a shed and it was for women and men. Initially envisaged as a community gardening project we called it ‘The Pottering Shed’."

However, with Andy and just two volunteers in the first six weeks, it was clear that something had to happen to make it more appealing: "This started to be quite dispiriting, so we relaunched as a woodwork group and before we knew it, we had a regular core of members who turned up every week. Members ranged in age from 25 to 93, some had worked as carpenters whilst others had never picked up a saw before."tools pic web

Before long, the group had become a little community and you can read about the impact this group had on people's lives, particularly in helping to combat loneliness and isolation in the community. And did they ever get that shed they all wanted? Read Andy's full reflection here to find out:

A year in the Life of a shed



Read more: A year in the life of a shed

Church Related Community Worker; Rosie Buxton has been at the New Life Project in Huddersfield for 18 months. In her photo WebCropreflection, Rosie describes how they are seeking to identify what community means to the people of Huddersfield and how they can help strengthen community bonds:

"Huddersfield, like many other places, has challenges, but we are trying in a small way to get to know each other’s opinions and ideas and to look at how we can develop our communities."

Rosie feels that as a society, we are losing the ability to listen and respect each other's opinions and viewpoints: "Amidst all the rhetoric and sound bites and statistics, we are missing the point that this is where people live."

As a starting point, the project has asked the children of a local primary school to think about and discuss what community means to them. The answers were really interesting, and this has led to the primary school doing subsequent talks to discuss concerns such as homelessness, within the community.

You can read the full reflection here and find out about the plan for an exhibition of  stories, artwork and film, that will be shared with the people of Huddersfield.

Read more: What is community?

Church Related Community Work (CRCW) student Felicity (Fliss) has been on placement at a mental health centre since zhang kenny F8xbFbQS1rw unsplash webCropOctober. Fliss openly admits that initially, the new environment took her out of her comfort zone:

"I’ve never worked in this area before, and it was something I was very nervous about. I didn’t like it to begin with. It honestly sounds ridiculous now, but when I started, I met with people who were very poorly, very different and I’m ashamed to say that I felt really uncomfortable."

From those early days of feeling out of her depth, Fliss has learnt a lot about the stigma surrounding mental health and how supposedly everyday language can have such a detrimental impact:

"Generations of people have grown up in societies that found terms like “psycho”, “schizo”, “loonie” and “crazy” perfectly acceptable. Some people think there is a link between mental health problems and being a danger to others. This is an idea that is reinforced by sensationalised stories in the media. However, the most common mental health problems have no significant link to violent behaviour."

Fliss has had such a positive experience at the centre in the past 6 months and has met some remarkable people. Now she understands that so much more can be done: " reduce mental health stigma and discrimination".

Read Fliss's full reflection: No Health without Mental Health here.

Read more: No Health without Mental Health

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