Churches Together in King’s Lynn
Minutes of the AGM held on Wednesday 19th September 2018.
Attendance: Between 25 and 30 people from different Christian denominations attended the AGM which was chaired by the Moderator, Revd Becca Roberts.
Opening prayer: Becca opened the meeting by leading the group in prayer: ‘dear Lord Jesus we thank you and we pray that you will continue to bless us in our work for Churches Together’.
Welcome and introductions: Becca welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the following people who were attending the meeting for the first time: Revd Stella Green the Chaplain from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Revd Laura Purnell the new curate at St Faith’s, Lucy McKitterick the new co-ordinator for the Night Shelter and Revd Joshua Bell the new curate at All Saints, Hillington Square.
Apologies were received from Fr Angela Rayner (curate at the Minster), James Hawksworth (Church Army), Catherine Howe (County Ecumenical Officer), Revd Catherine Dixon and Revd John Belfield.
Review of the past year: Becca highlighted some of the work which has been done by ministers, staff and volunteers in churches and their associated charities throughout the past year. It has been good to see churches co-operating together for the good of the whole community. There are 7 different denominations represented on the executive committee. Becca had been inspired by the walk of witness when Daphne Sampson had urged us to walk silently through the town centre following the cross. The review of the year’s activities had been handed to each person and is recorded below:
Review of the year’s activities October 2017-September 2018.
These are some of the activities in which Churches Together in King’s Lynn was involved over the past year:
In November church leader Oladapo Adegoke from the Church of the King’s Glory joined the executive committee. Oladapo has skills in IT and printing and has subsequently started to take over the running of the website from Andy Moyle.
Just over £4000 was sent to Christian Aid by Treasurer Bill Vyse after Revd Heather Berry co-ordinated Christian Aid collections in May. Heather received a letter of thanks, sent on behalf of all those who benefited through the work of Christian Aid.
Thanks to a £500 donation from the Catenians, a local group of Catholic men, Churches Together finances returned to the black after our financial problems earlier in the year.
Joanne Bowen was appointed as the paid co-ordinator of the new night shelter for the homeless. Joanne proved to be an excellent co-ordinator and the pilot project which provided food, a bed, laundry, toilet, washing facilities and fellowship for an average of 12 homeless people on 2 nights per week between October 2017 and March 2018 was generally agreed by clients, staff and volunteers to have been a success. The shelter, which was based at and supported by the Purfleet Trust, opened 7 days a week during a period of extremely cold weather.
Peter Stanford gave a talk about his new book ‘Martin Luther Catholic Dissident’ on Friday 10th November 2017 at the London Rd Methodist Church. It was 500 years since Luther triggered the Reformation and 10th November was Luther’s birthday. As usual Peter’s talk was well received by the audience.
Foodbank reported a 21% increase in the number of clients who needed to be fed over 2017 compared to the previous year. The project also organised Food In Schools Holidays (FISH) for families who struggle to feed their children when they are not receiving school meals during term time. Public support remained high and food donations were good with collection days at major supermarkets organised by Maarten Klem, the Foodbank manager. Foodbank were based in the Red Cross building at Austin Field but this was sold in 2018 so the Foodbank moved to the scout building on the quay.
James Hawksworth, who was licenced by Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick on 15th November 2017, attended the executive meeting in February 2018 and talked about his work in King’s Lynn for the Church Army. The Church Army was started in 1882 by Wilson Carlisle who was originally based in Blackheath in London before moving up to the North of England. James started work by evangelising the youth in King’s Lynn schools. The technique used to evangelise is called ‘Fresh Expressions of Church’ which copies the work of the original disciples who brought Church to the people in their own environments and lives rather than expecting people to come to a church building. This will produce a Centre of Mission which exists in partnership with local churches and is a group not a building. The people invited into this group will be those with a heart for peace.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018 ran from Thursday 18th to Thursday 25rd January 2018, taking the theme: ‘That all may be free; The Caribbean experience of Slavery, Colonialism and Liberation’ based on Exodus 15. Church goers visited 8 different churches in King’s Lynn over the week and fostered communication between churches. Churches Together prayer meetings to pray for the people of the town have been encouraged since.
Tim and Becca Rogers organised the Christian Aid Quiz Night which was held at the London Rd Methodist Church on Friday 23rd February 2018. There were light refreshments during which Julian Bryant from the Christian Aid office in Norwich spoke to prepare people for Christian Aid Week Sunday 13th-Saturday 19th May.
The Eco-Church meeting was a talk by David Chandler on Wednesday 7th February at London Rd. and the meeting was chaired by Daphne Sampson. David introduced the audience to a system which allowed church communities to work towards a greener more environmentally friendly future.
The Good Friday Walk of Witness started at 10am at St Faith’s Church on Friday 30th March 2018 and proceeded to churches and through the town centre collecting parishioners on the way. About 100 people finished the walk when prayers and hospitality were held in the Minster.
The new building developments at the Baptist Church were opened on Saturday 17th March and people were invited to view the new changes between 10am and 4pm that day.
Emily Hart, the CAP Debt Centre manager, increased her hours from 16 to 20 hours per week in February because there was a waiting list of clients for entry into the programme. Overall the Debt Centre is busy and working well, the project is supported by local churches, and the percentage of clients becoming debt free is above the national average.
At the March executive meeting Revd John Belfield, who has extensive experience of chaplaincy work at Whitemoor Prison, spoke about the need to help homeless ex-offenders in King’s Lynn. Revd Susan Carne, the diocesan community chaplain from Norwich, has a scheme in which parishioners volunteer to help and support ex-offenders but this project is currently confined to Norwich.
A meeting on Modern Slavery was organised by Andrew Frere-Smith and was held on Thursday 26th April 2018 at the London Rd Methodist Church. The meeting raised awareness of the work of the Clewer Initiative which is a nationwide Anglican initiative to address slavery in our society https://www.theclewerinitiative.org/ Andrew is the ‘Imagine Norfolk Together’ development worker whose knowledge and expertise has made such a great difference in helping make local church projects work. Andrew has also applied for funding to help many of the projects undertaken by local churches.
At the June executive meeting Revd Dan Tansey from the Church in the Woottons and Pastor Darryl Mallet from the King’s Lynn Christian Fellowship, The King’s Centre, Wellesley St, were welcomed for the first time. Dan, who joined the executive, is involved with the Men’s Shed project as well as serving on the Celebrate steering committee and the CAP board of trustees.
The Celebrate King’s Lynn event on Saturday 9th June 2018 on the Walks was a great success with larger numbers of people attending this year compared to last year. Network Norwich wrote up a good review. The publicity this year was better timed with information disseminated through the churches and banners on the Walks. People stayed longer at the event thanks to a free burger stall which had a queue of customers throughout the event and the giant bubble activity which people kept coming back to. Andrew said that ‘Dreams and Visions’ had contributed to the funding of the Celebrate event for the past 3 years but will not be funding future years, so the steering committee are working towards greater financial support from local churches.
Election of officers: Peter conducted a vote and the executive committee was re-elected for a further year as set out below:
- Revd Rebecca Rogers – Moderator – St John’s C of E
- Revd Heather Berry. – C of E – Christian Aid co-ordinator.
- Pastor Kevan Crane – Deputy Moderator – Baptist.
- Major Barbara Jeffrey – Salvation Army.
- Revd Dan Tansey – The Churches in the Woottons – C of E.
- Oladapo Adegoke – RCCG Church of the King’s Glory, Fairstead.
- Revd Joshua Bell – All Saints Church, Hillington Square – C of E.
- Anne Sparrow – The Seabank Chapel, North Lynn.
- Valerie Brown – Minster C of E
- Rachel Vyse – London Rd Methodist.
- William Vyse – Treasurer- C of E the Churches in the Woottons.
- Peter Coates – Secretary- RC Walsingham parish.
Finance: Bill Vyse presented the finance report as laid out at the end of these minutes. Member churches pay a membership fee of £20 each per year producing an income of £260. The local Catenian Association, a worldwide network of Catholic men, donated £500. The total income for the year was £1235.06 and following small expenditures the current balance is £1235.06. Just over £4000 was sent to Christian Aid and some collectors also sent money direct to the charity. Bill thanked Joyce Stephens for auditing the accounts.
Christian Aid: Heather, who is the Christian Aid co-ordinator, is forming a group to steer our work with Christian Aid. Heather would like each church to send a representative to sit on this group. The next meeting of the group will be on Wednesday 26th September starting @ 7.15-7.30pm at 12 Kent Rd, King’s Lynn. Julian Bryant from the Christian Aid Norwich office will also attend. Christian Aid’s current Harvest Appeal promises that every £1 donated will be made up to £5 by the EU. More information can be found on the Christian Aid website at https://www.christianaid.org.uk
Project leaders then spoke for 5 minutes about their work:
Maarten Klem spoke first about Celebrate King’s Lynn. Saturday 9th June 2018 was the third of these free annual fair days which give fun to the public and demonstrates unity in the local church community. Christians have the opportunity to meet and share their varied traditions. One of the most popular stalls was the free burgers, 500 of which were given out in 2 hours. Maarten played a promotion video which has been produced by students from the local College of West Anglia. Some of the participants who were interviewed on the video included the Christian Bikers and the charity ‘Bridge for Heroes’. This video will be put on U-Tube and is available for churches to show to their congregations. The Celebrate organisation now has a steering committee and a constitution. Next year’s fair will be on the Walks on Saturday 8th June 2019. Other events are being organised including a carol service at the bandstand in the Walks with a BBQ for the kids on Saturday 1st December from 4-6pm. Many families in the Town have little money so that these free events may be all the entertainment they can attend. On Tuesday 29th January 2019 the Celebrate team are organising a Christian music concert in the Corn Exchange. It is hoped that church members will bring a non-Christian friend. Maarten ended by asking people to go back to their churches and get enthusiastic for the project so that together we can build it.
Community Fridge: Pastor Kevan Crane told the meeting that the community fridge project, based at the Baptist Church, has been active for the past 2 weeks. The idea of the project is to store food (mainly fresh fruit and vegetables) which has been donated by local supermarkets. This food has passed its ‘best before’ date but has not yet reached its ‘use before’ date. People also donate their excess fruit and vegetable produce which they have grown themselves. Local people can then access the food free of charge, on Wednesdays 9am-4pm, Thursdays 12-4pm or Fridays 9am-4pm. The project is professionally run with food being weighed in and out, like the Foodbank system and the project is allied to national UK networks like Hubbub and is registered with the Environmental Health Agency. The project is part funded by one of our local councillors.
James Hawksworth from the Church Army was unable to attend but he sent the following letter which was read out by Becca.
Sorry I’m unable to make it to the Churches together AGM. But I want to thank you all for your interest in the new Centre of Mission being set up and the fantastic support you all give me.
Therefore, I’d like to write a few lines about what it is I’ve been doing and where I hope it is all heading.
When I first arrived in King’s Lynn, the first thing I set out to do was get to know the area. So, I visited local churches across the Lynn Deanery of various denominations and also visited local projects such as the Food Bank, Men’s Sheds, Purfleet trust, the mayor’s office and local secondary school Springwood; as well as Hexagon Education which is a new charity on the North Lynn industrial estate helping teenagers that have had to leave the school system for various reasons.
It became clear that most people were concerned for the teenagers of Lynn; their lack of aspiration for life and their quiet despair.
With this in mind I sort to find the more deprived areas of King’s Lynn and meet with the local church leaders, elders and vicars to see what we can do to help our young people find a place that is safe, inviting and fun.
I met with Becca Rogers, (the one sitting with all the papers in front of her right now hehe)
And also met Ann Sparrow, (Who’s listening to this letter with keen interest, also right now haha)
And a few others that either run a youth club or has young people hovering around outside their buildings during the sessions they run.
A lot of my work leads me to the North Lynn estate and some parts of South Lynn with Kevan the pastor (probably sat with you now), and Laura Evans the youth worker from South Lynn Baptist church.
For the past 8-9 months I have been attending a youth club run from the Brethren church at Seabank chapel and have begun to use some of my experience to help develop the work there. I have also been meeting with the team youth leader there, Ken on a regular basis to discuss and action ideas that may help develop this work.
I have also been getting to know some of the mums from the North Lynn Methodist church and the small group of young people that hang around there from time to time.
At the moment there is an opportunity to partner the Seabank chapel youth work and the contacts developed from the Methodist church together to form a small discussion group and we are in the process of planning this.
The leaders of the Brethren church are happy (I think) for this to come under the Centre of Mission as they are mainly concerned for the young people being reached missionally.
South Lynn’s Youth Worker Laura and Pastor Kevan have invited me to be a part of the youth work team too so that we can work together to develop the outreach there which will meet on Monday 17th to discuss the future of this development and the shape it will take.
They are reaching a handful of youth from the local estate that has no church background, this is a challenge for anyone but well worth the time and effort they are putting into it.
The other two areas of work I am involved in are both Chaplaincy based. I will be going into Springwood school 3 times a week to develop one to one and group work with the year 7’s to begin with. The other is working as a youth Chaplain for the YMCA which has recently moved onto the North Lynn estate. They run a youth club on Friday nights and have asked me to be a part of the team to develop key relationships for mentoring and (hopefully) Discipleship.
We are also in the process of advertising for another pioneer evangelist to join me in this venture; the hope is that he/she will be employed early next year.
My aim with all of this is to create a mission process.
- Schools work – there are around 1000 young people in school every year without fail. This is a great way to build relationships of mutual trust. My hope is that I can eventually access all three schools over time.
- Youth Social Space – The YMCA offer this space on the North Lynn Estate; therefore, I don’t need to set one up here. The hope is that we can solidify the relationships built in schools in a more neutral territory and therefore can express our faith in a more visible way.
- Small group discussion – The Sea Bank Chapel and some of the young people in and around the North Lynn Methodist church area are already interested in setting this up to talk about life, faith and have fun.
- Worship Community – This is still early days but the hope is that we reach this stage at some point in the near future.
As well as this process my hope is that we will be able to support, encourage and mentor some of these young people in between sessions and encourage them to take an active role within this whole process.
The aim is to be able to use the experiences gained in this work to develop similar missional processes throughout Lynn and beyond.
Thank you for listening and please be assured of my thoughts and prayers as you meet tonight. God Bless, James Hawksworth CA.
Lucy McKitterick spoke about the Night Shelter project. The report which followed the pilot project last year has been circulated and was generally favourable. Lucy has now been appointed as the new co-ordinator with the brief to increase the number of days which the winter night shelter opens from 2 to 7 days per week, October to March. Lucy lives in Ely and was previously co-ordinator of the shelter for the homeless project in Cambridge which rotated between different church venues. Lucy was recruited to King’s Lynn by Fr Adrian Ling of All Saint’s Church, Hillington Square. Lucy would like to use the philosophy of St Benedict that all guests, particularly the poor, should be welcomed to the shelter as if they were Christ himself. The shelter will be based at the building which previously housed the Purfleet Trust and volunteers from churches are needed to decorate the building and man the winter rota. Anyone can volunteer; you just need to be able to relate to homeless people, who are basically the same as the rest of us. Homeless people can be very spiritual so you may end up talking about your faith or praying with them. Currently, lots of people are affected by homelessness and with the imminent introduction of ‘Universal Credit’ this is set to worsen. Lucy will write to churches and will be happy to speak at church meetings.
Maarten Klem spoke about Foodbank: Foodbank has moved 3 times in the past year but is now hoping to stay in the current site in St Margaret’s Lane, King’s Lynn PE30 5DS on the quay. The mobile contact number is 07582 558143 and the opening time are on the website. Many organisations can now refer clients and the demand continues to grow. At this time of year the charity relies on Harvest collections at churches and schools and people have been giving more at supermarket collection sites. In December there will be parties with presents for the kids. The week of the 12-18th November is Big Supper Week when you are urged to invite you friends for a meal and ask them to donate to the Foodbank.
Emily Hart spoke about the CAP (Christians Against Poverty) Debt Centre project: The debt centre has now been running for 2.5 years and of the 75 referrals in that time, 20 were sent away without need of further help and 52 were visited in their homes. These 52 referrals represented 131 people, including families and children, whose lives were helped by the work of CAP. This is a broad population of people including families, YMCA clients, retired people and people in low paid work. One example was a man who worked as a funeral assistant. He had a large pile of paper bills and had been visited by bailiffs. He had 3 children under 5 and his wife was pregnant. He is now working towards becoming debt free and has been on a discovery holiday with CAP. He was open to sharing the love of God and has joined the Evangelical Church. The debt centre project needs another debt coach and more volunteers to befriend clients. More money is needed to run the project and churches can partner with CAP of give individual donations. Thank you for all your support.
Revd Dan Tansey spoke about the Men’s Shed project: The idea of running a community workshop for men originated in Australia but has spread to become a network across the world. With the support of Rose Waterman from the Council, a Men’s Shed was set up on the King’s Lynn Hardwick Estate, next to B&Q, 12 months ago and now has 20 members. The building used to be occupied by Caithness Crystal. It is a community space with benches, tools and guys who work on their own projects but chat and share expertise. Some of the members may be bereaved or have mental health problems or some may need to find meaning or combat loneliness in their retirement. The shed is open on Tuesdays 12-6pm and Thursdays 10-1pm.
Revd Julie Boyd talked about the Gaywood Action Promise: Julie is Rector of St Faith’s Church, Gayton Rd. and with her husband and daughter she has recently been on a 12 day fund raising motorcycle ride to Inverness and back. The journey raised over £11,000 and the money will be used to convert a bungalow in the grounds of St Faith’s into a community Café with a garden, counselling rooms and offices. This will form part of a support network for people with mental health problems and the first people to use the counselling rooms will be West Norfolk MIND who will hold 2 sessions per week for 17-25 year olds with mental health problems. Julie undertook this work after the tragic death of her son Andrew who took his own life. Andrew had 3 motorbikes and had himself ridden to Inverness the year before. The project is to honour Andrew and to provide help for the community.
Anne Sparrow talked briefly about the CROWNS Trust (Christians Reaching Out to West Norfolk Schools): This project needs trustees and volunteers. Anne distributed a handout (see below) about the work of CROWNS.
Andrew Frere-Smith has organised a Universal Credit meeting at London Road Methodist Church, on Thursday 8th November @ 7.30pm. There will be speakers from the Department of Works and Pensions, Freebridge and the CAP job club. Universal Credit will be desperately hard for people at the bottom of society and they will need church support.
Future planned meetings are below:
- Saturday 22nd September @ 10.30am a training day on sharing the gospels by John Wright @ St John the Evangelist Church, Blackfriars Rd., King’s Lynn PE30 1NT. John is the first Norfolk member of the College Of Evangelists endorsed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. John is coming to Kings Lynn to talk about his passion for sharing the gospel. We will spend the morning training and learning with John, and then go into town to practice what we have learnt; praying with and talking to people in the town.
- Tuesday 25th September 7-8pm Prayer Meeting to be led by Andy Moyle: To pray for the people of the town. The meeting will be held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King’s Lynn, PE30 5DQ.
- Wednesday 26th September @ 7.15-7.30pm Heather Berry is hosting a meeting about Christian Aid at 12 Kent Rd, King’s Lynn. Heather is hoping that a representative from each church will attend. Julian Bryant from the Christian Aid Norwich office will also attend.
- Saturday 6th October @ 10am-1pm: A training day ‘Welcoming ex-offenders’ with Revd John Belfield at St John the Evangelist Church, Blackfriars Rd., King’s Lynn PE30 1NT.
- Thursday 8th November @ 7.30pm: Universal Credit meeting at London Road Methodist Church, organised by Andrew Frere-Smith.
- Saturday 1st December from 4-6pm the Celebrate team will organise a carol service at the bandstand in the Walks with a BBQ for the kids. Many families have little money so that these free events may be all the entertainment they can go to.
- Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18th-25th January 2019.
- Tuesday 29th January 2019 the Celebrate team are organising a Christian music concert in the Corn Exchange. It is hoped that church members will bring a non-Christian friend.
- Thursday 7th February 2019 @7.30pm a meeting about hospital and hospice chaplaincy at the London Rd Methodist Church. The speakers will be Revd Stella Green, lead chaplain at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn and Sandro Dallas, the chaplain at Tapping House hospice.
- Saturday 8th June 2019 – Celebrate King’s Lynn on the Walks.