What is the Outer Estates Project?
You may have heard Tim talk about a big ‘bid’ for which the church and diocese were applying. Well we got it! The national church funding body have agreed to give the diocese just over £1,000,000 over 6 years, so that we can set up a training unit and employ 2 urban evangelists to empower and equip people in urban, outer estate ministry.
There is also additional funding for some exciting projects in Blackpool, which churches and other teams in Blackpool are overseeing.
Why is it happening here?
In Vision 2026, the Diocese of Blackburn has set itself a bold and ambitious plan. The heart of the vision is to make disciples, be witnesses and to grow leaders. However, over the last decade, there has been a slow withdrawal from the outer estates of Lancashire’s largest towns, with churches being closed or clergy leaving. Often ministry is hardest in these areas and is difficult to fund. This project attempts to reverse this trend and re-invest in outer estates by:
- releasing, empowering and equipping leaders,
- being a visible presence in the communities
- engaging in the communities
- introducing people to the Good News of Jesus and making disciples.
Tim has a wealth of experience in ministry in urban, outer estates ministry and of developing leaders in these contexts. Therefore, the diocese has asked if Tim would lead this project and the three churches host the project, along with other partners.
Who is involved?
- We are! The three churches – St. James’ Lower Darwen, St. Paul’s Hoddlesden and St. James’ Over Darwen. Part of this project involves learning from what we are already doing as a church with outer estates. Although the churches do not bear the overall responsibility for the project, the churches will play a large part in the project.
- Blackburn Diocese – oversee finances, HR, provide support and skills
- St Mellitus College (Where Alice trained) – will provide teaching, guidance and tutors for the training unit and help to make sure that everyone is learning in a style which works best for them.
- The Church Commissioners, who support the work and mission of the Church of England today have provided the money for the project. They will therefore want to make sure it is spent well and doing what we said we would do.
- 2 Urban Evangelists who will be employed on the project to make Jesus accessible to the modern generation through urban ministry.
- Other people from the local communities such as teachers in the local schools, other local clergy, Blackburn Rovers and other local organisations.
An Executive Board and a Management committee, made up of representatives from all the above, will oversee, guide and implement the project.
How will it happen?
- The project has funding for 6 years, until 2023.
- The project will hire two full-time ‘Urban Evangelists’ to live and work on our Outer Estates – namely Higher croft/Roman Road and Over Darwen.
- Tim and Lisa will be moving out of the Vicarage and the vicarage will be transformed into a training venue.
- The training venue will be able to host training sessions and also provide accommodation for long term students.
- The Urban Evangelists job is to make Christ accessible to the modern generation through Urban ministry and to place the Church at the centre of the community through effective engagement with all communities in the parish. They will also train and support: students training for ordained ministry, church leadership teams and members of congregations in Outer Estates Ministry.
- They will spend 25% of their time teaching in the training unit and 75% of their time engaging and investing in Highercroft or Over Darwen, sometimes taking students with them to learn on the job.
- One of the outcomes of the project is that they expect around 300+ new people to start following Jesus!
- If the project is successful, it is hoped that what we learn can be transferred to other dioceses and other Outer estates across the country.
Who is the training unit for?
The training unit is for lots of different people:
- People in our congregations who would like to learn more about ministry in an urban context, evangelism, leadership etc. Maybe that’s you?
- People in our diocese who would like to learn more about ministry in a urban context, evangelism, leadership etc.
- People who are thinking about becoming Vicars and are exploring what God is calling them to do.
- Students who are training for Ordination and would like to train in an urban, outer estates context.
The training unit will be advertised to clergy and church members in the diocese and beyond, and in existing training colleges who need Urban Ministry experience. All costs will be covered by the project.
Where do I fit in?
- Pray! Pray lots as this a big project!
- Specifically pray for:
- Us as a church. Things will change as there will be new staff, new students and new Christians arriving with us. We need God to continue to work in us, building us up, as he has been doing.
- all the practicalities in getting everything set up
- Tim and Alice and all the teams involved
- Potential students and those interested in developing their skills to work for Jesus in outer estates
- Members of the church leadership team will be part of the executive board and the management committee and will help to steer the project in line with the vision of the three churches.
- Support and love the students who come to the training unit
- Get involved in new ministries – it isn’t just about the urban evangelists – they will need help and support in all that God calls them to do.
- Maybe you’d like to be a student of the training unit or know someone who would be interested.
If you’d like more information on the project and how the project will work or would like to be involved then do speak to Rev. Tim or Rev. Alice.