Reaching Communities on the Edge

Posted on Wednesday 20 March 2019
On March 18th and 19th, Philip North, Bishop of Burnley and Chair of the Archbishop’s Estates Evangelism Task Force, spent two days in the Diocese of Ely, hosted by the Changing Market Towns project.

The first day of the visit involved a whistle-stop tour of estate areas in market towns, together with urban developments on the edges of Peterborough and Cambridge. Bishop Philip met the Wisbech mission team, and with the head teacher and parents at the Orchards School in the Waterlees estate. After time in Orton Goldhay, he shared a Tesco’s lunch with Natasha Clark in Huntingdon, hearing details of the Thrive youth initiative, before touring estates in north Cambridge and seeing first-hand the reality of Cambridge’s status as the most economically divided city in the country.

On Tuesday 19th, thirty five clergy and lay representatives from parishes across the diocese gathered to be inspired as Bishop Philip laid out the importance and the privilege of ministry among people who may feel themselves to be on the edge of towns and cities. There was challenge, encouragement, sharing of wisdom, and learning in multiple directions as people from far-flung corners of the diocese shared their experiences. They learned from the bishop more of what God is, and has always been doing, in people overlooked by those who think of themselves as important and powerful, and he in turn gained a fuller picture of the significant challenges of deprivation that are part of life in our market towns and around the fringes of the diocese’s two major cities.