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Church Related Community Work

Church Related Community Work


Church Related Community Work is a distinctive and recognised ministry within the United Reformed Church and CRCWs play a vital role in the denomination’s community involvement. URC CRCWs are called by God, professionally and theologically trained and then commissioned to help the church to live out its calling.

They use the principles of community development to respond to and challenge the issues facing their particular neighbourhoods and communities. CRCWs work alongside a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations, developing initiatives and projects to transform individuals, churches and communities.

There are currently 16 CRCWs ministering throughout the synods of the URC. Between them, they enable churches to widen their mission by: identifying local needs and opportunities; confronting injustice; organising community action; developing and supporting initiatives that improve the lives and wellbeing of local people; and theologically reflecting upon that action.

CRCW ministry brings many new challenges to existing church congregations.  Engaging with the local neighbourhood opens up the possibility of seeing and hearing God for those outside the church, whilst allowing such Good News to transform and enrich our own churches and communities.

Project Development Grants and Funding

News and Information

Faith Action - Gateway grants for Churches, Chapels and Meeting Houses
"The Gateway Grant Programme offers grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 towards project development and investigative work up to RIBA planning stage 1, to support churches preparing for a major project, and in developing their project to the point at which they can approach a major grant funder. Grants will never exceed 50% of the project costs for this phase.
Follow the link to review the full eligibility criteria, to read the guidance note, and to online application form here."

National Lottery Reaching Communities Fund (England)
"This fund make grants of over £10,000 for up to 5 years to organisations with ideas that would enable communities to thrive. The initial application involves the idea only. Salaries, equipment, refurbishment and capital costs can all be funded. There are no deadlines."
Reaching Communities

The Steel Charitable trust
The Trustees make discretionary grants where they believe that their contribution will make a real difference. Applications are welcome from eligible applicants from all areas of the UK; however, since the Settlors - the late Mr and Mrs Steel - lived in Bedfordshire, applications from Bedfordshire generally, and Luton specifically, are particularly encouraged.
More information here

Rank Foundation Pebble Grants
"This is our small funding stream for UK registered charities and recognised churches which are raising money for projects where the total cost is less than £1million. If you are raising money for a particular project for which the mainstay is capital costs (building work, refurbishment or the purchase of long-term equipment) or a one-off short-term activity (such as an annual respite break or holiday for disadvantaged young people) and have already raised a third of the total costs, you may be eligible for this.
We are currently accepting applications for our May 2019 trustees’ meeting."
More info here.

From The Historic Religious Buildings (HRBA) Alliance:
AllChurches Trust announces £13m grants for churches and charities:

  • Allchurches Trust is one the of UK's largest charitable trusts and is the charitable owner of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group. Over the past three years, Allchurches has given £34.6 million in grants. Last year it gave grants totaling more than £13 million to charities and church groups all over the UK and Eire, empowering them to tackle homelessness, isolation, poverty, addiction and issues of mental health. It also helped restore historic buildings and develop projects in schools, colleges, hostels and prisons.

    On the 27 January their Chairman Sir Philip Mawer announced grants from its most recent funding round and invited more local churches and charities to ask for Allchurches’ support saying “If you are actively involved in helping others then perhaps Allchurches can help you”. 

    Latest grants include:

    • Sunderland’s “Canny Space” – the Churches Conservation Trust is turning a neglected Georgian church into a creative centre for the most deprived area of the city. Allchurches is funding three apprenticeships in traditional building skills
    • St Michael and All Angels Church, Harrow Weald, is building a new community centre to expand its offer of English classes, debt and employment advice, night shelter and other services
    • Northampton Roman Catholic Cathedral’s new Cathedral Centre will allow its growing congregation to address the area’s most pressing needs, foremost of which are poverty and addiction

    £210,000 funding boost to community projects:
    Minister for Faith and Integration Lord Bourne has announced a £210,000 funding boost to be shared among Near Neighbours community projects in England managed by the Church Urban Fund.

    Near Neighbours brings together diverse communities and different faiths, through a range of activities that improve their lives and the local community in which they live.

  • Community Projects Training from FaithAction:
    FaithAction is a network of faith-based and community organisations serving their communities by delivering public services (such as childcare, health and social care, housing and welfare to work). They are now offering training days to faith-based organisations geared to their needs on project management, event management, presentation and facilitation and fast track to funding. All sessions take place in Dagenham Essex.

  • Livability – a national Christian disability and community engagement charity.
    "We deliver disability services, community projects, education and training resources that promote inclusion and wellbeing. We also share our expertise internationally. We are an enabling network of people, tackling barriers in society to make community livable".

Alison Micklem Community-minded

“Letting go is hard, but we hope to leave a legacy of transformed communities”


Writing this last column for Reform had reminded me that letting go is always hard. There came atime when Jesus had to entrust the task of continuing his work to the disciples – whether they had really grasped the full impact of what he had been teaching them or not. Fortunately, over time, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, they not only understood, but developed and spread his message.
   All of us face times of letting go. In the church-related community work programme we have fixed contracts, so we know when that time will be and can put an “exit strategy” in place, aiming to ensure that at least some of the activities with which we have been involved will be sustained. Perhaps more important, yet harder to quantify, is the legacy we hope to leave, of changed attitudes and transformed communities.
   When reflecting on our work at our recent residential, the list of activities in which we engage was long and varied. Even more telling were the responses concerning: how we think the church benefits from our ministry, the impact of our work on the community, how we see ourselves, and what we would like to tell the wider church. The following selection does not do justice to the range of responses, but it gives a flavour of our hopes, intentions and commitment:
Church-related community workers are urban missionaries and practical theologians, meeting people where they are, reaching places and people that other initiatives – both church-based and secular – do not reach. Our ministry is transformational, not simply making a difference to people’s circumstances and environment, but changing the way in which they see themselves and understand life.
   We have a prophetic role in challenging the church to change – not least by prioritising kingdom growth over church growth (we are called to share good news, not fill pews!) It strikes us that people come to our projects because they want to, bringing anticipation and joy that is often lacking from even the most regular churchgoers – many of whom list a sense of duty and force of habit among their reasons for attending.
   We are able to challenge some of the traditions and expectations with which the church is burdened; not to undermine it, but rather to broaden its horizons, showing that despite popular belief, it might still have something valuable to offer. We believe that the church has the potential to be so much more than it currently perceives itself to be capable of, because church is about people, not buildings, and people – all people – are offered the transforming gift of God’s love and invited to share in life in all its fullness.
   Why am I attempting the impossible task of summarising all that our ministry is and aspires to be – all that I have been sharing through stories of our engagement over the past two years – in the space of a few short paragraphs? Others will continue to give an account of our particular ministry in a variety of ways, but I hope that understanding and connections will continue to develop through what has been told on this column’s pages. Having said that, I know one of the difficult things about letting go is that one has no control over what others will make of one’s legacy.
   I face the same issues as I move into the final phase of my time here in Liverpool. I ask myself: what difference has my presence made? And what lasting impact will there be? While it is important to ask the questions, it is not helpful to dwell on them too long – not least because many of the answers lie in the future. The results, like our efforts, are dependent on God’s grace and will unfold in God’s time.
   I leave you with an image of one of my achievements which I am fairly confident will last at least a few years. During a recent community initiative to give our local park a facelift, I spent many hours painting the railings of a bridge (pictured). With every brush-stroke I left a message for future park-users who enjoy the improved environment: I was here!


CRCW Student - Vicky LongboneVicky (2)Web

Hi, I’m Vicky and have recently started training for CRCWministry.

I’m married to Tony and have a 12 year old son, Harry. We live in Wolverhampton in the Midlands, but I’m really a Southerner, and Tony a Northerner! We are very blessed in our lives here, surrounded by wonderful people, and very much supported by our church at Lea Road. We are all massively into Scouting which takes up a lot of our spare time, but at least it’s a family activity! Cub camp and Scout Camp mean we’re lucky enough to have 2 family holidays a year!

My placement is at Wednesbury Baptist Church, and I’m loving it! The church has a shared vision for community outreach work and there are some exciting things happening, especially the luncheon club we started in October which is flourishing and really pulling different parts of the community together.

I have found the academic side harder, but am now starting to settle into a routine and becoming more accepting of the fact that not every question has an answer! The staff at Luther King House have been amazing and guided me through the difficulties, and I am starting to relish the learning I have ahead of me.
I feel very blessed to be in this position, knowing that my actions are making a positive difference to others and I thank God every day for calling me to community ministry.

Much Love
Vicky x

In this section you will find information you may find useful, for the initial stages of becoming a Church Related Community Work Minister. If, after reading the following documents you feel called to this ministry and would like to know more, please email the CRCW office or phone on 0207 916 8653.

URC CRCW Minister Initial enquiry

Questions for Candidates to Consider

Information about Training for CRCW Mnistry

Candidating Assessment

Could God be Calling You to Ministry

Kirsty NewCRCW Student - Kirsty Mabbott

My name is Kirsty and I’m about to start the second year of my ministerial formation as a Church Related Community Worker. I’m originally from the West Midlands but currently live in Manchester while studying at Northern College. I’m on placement at Nexus Art Café which can be found in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. Nexus is a community arts café and works to the motto of creativity, community and spirituality.

My first year of formation has been a rollercoaster ride, there have been highs and lows – as there are for everyone. I’ve learnt more than I can possibly list and feel that in terms of my preparation for ministry as a CRCW I have come a very long way, the exciting part being that the next three years will help me journey with God beyond my dreams and imaginings and even then a lot of the real learning won’t happen until I’m called to a project.

The more I learn and see the more I become passionate about challenging inequality and enabling others to enable themselves so that communities can grow closer and stronger and so God’s Kingdom can move close to being realised here and now.

When I’m not studying and working at Nexus or attending Northern College Governors Meetings, I enjoy reading, watching films, painting, writing poetry, singing, playing my tenor and descant recorders (they aren’t all squeaky things given to small children), eating strawberries and chocolate (but not together). I also like listening to music from opera (Tosca is my favourite) to heavy metal (Marilyn Manson, Korn etc) and everything in between. I am also trying to learn to cook, my girlfriend is trying to teach me but it’s very slow going and like gardening it isn’t one of my strong points.

During the last year I have gained a real love for Liberation Theology and have enjoyed delving into Freire, Gutiérrez, Radford Reuther, Cheng and many more. I have realized that I have a real love for queer and feminist theology, but also have a desire to see more Christian Hospitality and Radical Welcome for all in the communities in which we live, work, love and pray.

I have loved and hated the first year of my formation and hope that the second year provides as many opportunities to learn, grow, talk, share, laugh, cry and experience God in the small and large.

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