The Bishop of Burnley is chairing the Church of England's national Estates Evangelism Task Group which aims to 'reverse a decades-long trend' and get religion back into local estates.
Speaking at the National Estate Churches Network in London, the Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev. Philip North, outlined how outer estates, with significant numbers of social housing properties, are to be a key priority with the publication of a new Commitment to Action to share the Christian faith on some of the country’s most deprived estates.
“We want to have a thriving, growing, loving church on every significant estate in the country," said Rev. North, with the initiative - part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform programme - committing to training estates’ residents to become future church leaders and to support existing Christian communities. “The Church is coming back.
“Jesus began a movement that transformed what it means to be human and he did so from the edges; today, it is on the edges amongst the marginalised that renewal will come," he added. “If we are serious about the renewal of Christian life in our nation, we need to do what Jesus did.
"It’s so important that the Church re-commits itself to presence, to service and to proclamation of the Good News about Jesus and to the ministry of love on our big outer estates.”
Debbie Clinton, Director of Renewal and Reform for The Church of England, said: “Estates ministry is vital to the growth of the Church.
"I am delighted that as well as encapsulating the vision for estates evangelism, these new plans build on the wonderful work already being undertaken on estates churches by clergy and lay people, who are committed to meeting the spiritual and social needs of estate residents."