Ideal, Ordeal, New Deal: Urban Changemakers And Cah

Ash Barker brought Urban Change-makers to The Open Gate, Holy Island, for a training week-end.  These guys, who are employed by local organisations,  are turning things round in some of Britain's toughest areas. Several had witnessed recent knife-crimes. Ash set up Urban Change-makers in order to give them support and training.  

Tim Evans  lives on a  housing estate in Birmingham.  This scores high on deprivation  scales in terms of lack of housing, employment and social inter-action. For several years he was a local councillor. He asked himself ‘Could this estate become a village?’ It was easy to do an audit of problems, but he decided to do an audit of assets (he is employed by Asset Based Community Development). The people were the greatest assets: they needed to be empowered.    The state does systems but struggles to do compassion. They promoted a culture of thankfulness.  The Christians believed that everyone is gifted by God, not just Christians, so part of their mission journey was to enable each resident. They also believed that the root of justice lies in relationships so they explored ways of turning neighbours into friends. Empty spaces were another asset: they appointed a Green Connector. 

 They listened to the people. They asked what were the walls in their minds?  One wall was having to cross a main road to get to a church that was not on their estate.They concluded that the estate needed a building with soul.  So the mother church across the road established a community house on the estate.  They hold a peace meal here on Fridays. Tim believes that every church should be like a show house.  If people are attracted by the showhouse they buy a plot on the promise of what it can become.  The church should be the taste of the future.

The teaching by Ash and myself was aimed at building resilience through the sequence of Ideal, Ordeal, New deal which most serious enterprises go through.

These made an apt summary of the Landmarks in the Founding Narrative of the Community of Aidan and Hilda. which, following this, Michael Mitton,  Russ Parker and I produced over twenty four hours at Gladstone Library, North Wales. . Our task was to draw up an agreed narrative of landmarks in the foundational period of the Community.  Before we arrived we had combed through minutes, correspondence,  personal journals, memories and quarterly magazines.  We worked hard.  As I read through the final agreed document I thought to myself  that the Ideal was inspired, the Ordeal was painful and the 'New Deal' was a God-given progression.  This has now been sent to the UK Guardians to use as they wish.

The Founding Narrative concludes with the purchase of The Open Gate and these words: 'This is the end of the first stage of the journey. Thanks be to God'.




Posted at 06:52am on 3rd May 2019
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