Last updated 17th August 2022
There are 20+ parishes where there are either significant (more than 750 units) new housing developments already under construction or planned, with many other smaller developments being built across the county, providing a once-in-a-generation mission opportunity for mission.
There are three approaches to mission:
1) Soft touch - welcome the new households to your parish eg welcome packs delivered door to door (include general community info as well as church details), or via the developer's sales agent - who should become your best friend
2) Medium touch - have a physical presence on the estate eg congregation members move in (so their home can be a base for a mid-week 'growth group'), use any community buildings eg café to hold church events, influence local councillors to lobby for community facilities at planning stage
3) Heavy touch - full scale church plant with a dedicated resource (lay or ordained) living in a house on the site.
a) Share the information with local Churches Together groups for an ecumenical approach
b) Work collaboratively and flexibly across parish/deanery boundaries - especially if neighbouring churches offer different worship styles
c) Prepare your congregation to reach out - 'love the incomers even if you didn't want the development - they are here to stay' 😊
Decisions about whether a development will require (and get) a new/expanded school are made by the local authority. Existing church school governing bodies with good/outstanding Ofsted rating should minute that they are willing and able to expand (NB playing fields cannot be built on). For more information on the process and discuss individual needs please contact Sam.Johnson@Blackburn.Anglican.Org
If you would like support in thinking through your approach including planting new congregations/churches, please contact Dave.Champness@Blackburn.Anglican.Org in the first instance.
If you need additional resources (people/materials) to do outreach on new developments, please access the Parish Vision Fund https://www.blackburn.anglican.org/financial-assistance-group-parish-vision
The New Housing Hub Resource is a network for Christians of all traditions who have a vision for engaging with new housing communities. You can access the resource here.