Relationships, resilience & recovery

HeartEdge workshop - Church and Commerce:
Relationships, Resilience and Recovery
Thursday 21st May at 10.30am - 1.00pm (GMT) on Zoom.

If you would like an invitation please email

HeartEdge celebrates partnerships between commercial enterprise and congregational renewal. Yet many of our churches at the moment are facing huge upheavals in terms of their commercial activities and community relationships since the start of this Covid-19 pandemic. Many people have been furloughed. Financial budgets for next year’s PCCs are being revised in light of changes in income streams. Simultaneously, new opportunities are emerging digitally and online for churches to reach out afresh to their communities forming new relationships in the wider parish which may bear fruit in future.

This workshop will explore the role played by relationships and resilience in the recovery of churches. It will explore such issues as: how to enable commercial relationships that inspire cooperative action to heal and transform our communities; how to build a viable and robust database to ensure digital resilience; how to adapt to change by finding solutions with local partners; and what does mutual enrichment look like? It may generate less income but be more sustainable.

The workshop falls into three parts. The first part of the workshop will be a conversation between the panellists for 30 minutes. The second part of the workshop will involve the panel responding to questions or comments from participants on Zoom for 45minutes. The third part of the workshop (after a short break) will be themed small group breakout sessions. The workshop will end by 1pm.

Our three panellists include:

• Rev. James Hughesdon has been Vicar of St Paul Old Ford in East London for just over 5 years. He has been part of the HeartEdge Steering Group since its inception and his church has a strong commercial arm. James worked in the social enterprise and charity sector before ordination and his MA was in part on the historic faith roots of the social enterprise movement. Amongst the many tasks of being a parish priest, James is currently working on developing a new social enterprise and launching London’s newest floating church.

• Georgina Graham is in charge of operational issues for the Archdeaconry of London, taking care of 88 churches across the Square mile and the City of Westminster. Mission and ministry are the purview of the clergy and laity in the parishes, but the buildings must be fit for purpose and provide a base from which they are able to reach out into the community around us. Georgina proactively focuses on the practical to enable parishes to deal with the prophetic and the pastoral – from Faculties to Filming! Georgina is in training as a Methodist Local Preacher, and this informs her approach to how to ensure that each parish is able to do all the good they can, by all the means they can in all the places they can – to paraphrase John Wesley. An example of this is the collaborative effort with the Corporation of London to open a homeless night shelter in one of the City Churches. Helping churches to help others to transcend their own situations and to lead sustainable lives, by using the heritage we are stewards of, is a key focus for Georgina and the Archdeaconry. Georgina formerly worked in aviation for 25 years, with responsibility for the security and facilitation of passengers travelling around the globe. Georgina is studying Theology and preaches regularly in both Methodist and Anglican churches.

• Sarah Rogers supports cultural, community and faith based organisations to ensure professional commercial practice aligns with their core values. Sarah runs her own consultancy business called Watermark Associates. She specialises in identifying retail and cultural potential such as developing a music venue, community cafe, gallery or retail space and integrating it into the overall commercial proposition and visitor experience. She has a background in the visual arts, business development and event management, with experience ranging from the Royal Academy to the University Church Oxford. Sarah is also a Postgraduate Associate Lecturer in Marketing and Communications at Oxford Brookes Business School. Recently she has supported a £7million Heritage Lottery Funded church and community regeneration project with St Mary Magdalene Church, Paddington and Paddington Development Trust with their business and operational plans, cafe launch and digital strategy.