Norwich HeartEdge Day

St Peter's Mancroft, in Norwich hosted a HeartEdge day on 12 February. As ever major highlights included discussion in groups - talking about assetts, what works well  and need. Here, there was talk of courageous, inventive work going on - all kinds of activity and collaborations, growing community, deepening relationships, joining in where God is present.

HeartEdge is about sharing the transferrable ideas - what works? How did you do it? What can I learn from?

Alongside input from Sam Wells - today talking about the benefactor model - are the stories and insights of guest contributors, sort out by the host team. These are local people engaged in aspects of the 4Cs. Lots of great stories including:

QueenMaker

Jack Branford - a curate at Aylsham & District Team Ministry spoke about an escape room set up in a church.

Inspired by the popular 'escape rooms' popping up across cities - and following a C-of-E clergy team trip to an escape room in Norwich, Jack noted how the group returned thinking ‘we could do this – at a church!’.

The church identified was at Blickling near a National Trust site in Norfolk. A vicar contacted ‘History Mystery’ who worked with the church to develop ‘Queenmaker’ Escape Room. Every week in Blickling Hall the history of Ann Boleyn is told – people learn about the church and the Christian story. ‘History Mystery’ are the commercial partnership.

Pop up Pub

Jack also described a pop-up pub organised to celebrate the extension of the Aylsham  District Team Ministry. A new brewery had opened in the C-of-E benefice. ‘We got in touch with them. We asked them if they would create a beer to celebrate the creation of a 12-church team. We called it ‘12 Towers’.’

According to Jack, 'the brewery produced a church beer. The beer festival was in church yards across the 12 churches. In Little Barningham the church was the pub and the bar inside. The churchyard became a beer garden. We had pub games!'

'The bar was run by the congregation. Local butchers were brought in… The brewery set up the pub – the label and design for the beer was produced by the church.'

We loved this example of partnership, collaboration and fun.

'It was a big missional day – there was lots of good PR. People came in to the church building who had never stepped into a church before.'

'Here, the Parish model still works – events like this feed into that feeling of attachment. It leads to people feeling more familiar with the building, coming to carols services. You knock on doors and people remember who we are…'

Two pop up pubs planned for 2020.

City Centre Café

Madeline Light described a church café originally set up with Age Concern, which shifted from opening a few times to opening from 2014, to six times a week. 'It opens  9 till 5 and feeds 200 people daily. People pay a pound to eat and drink. It generates income to finance a community worker. 'She works with homeless. It is long term, slow work. She has taken people to rehab... We’re there as family and friends. We signpost people to the big ones, the local agencies that support vulnerable people.’

HeartEdge Days continue to profile and celebrate local work.