All are welcome: Changing Market Towns Project and Downham Market

Posted on Monday 17 June 2019
Mike Booker (Bishop's Change Officer - Market Towns) and Sarah Molyneux-Hetherington (Lay Pioneer in Downham Market) spoke to the Church of England Renewal and Reform team about the Changing Market Towns Project.

"I was working at Devon County Council. I’d worked there for five years. On one level, my husband, Ben, and I were settled. We had a house and jobs that we loved. But we were itching to do more. We came to Ely last summer. I’m a Lay Pioneer in Downham Market. It’s part of a project working in six market towns. There are probably about 12,000 people in Downham Market and about 5% go to church. We are gathering a build team around us. There are ten people, aged from 11 to 40-something. We meet every two or three weeks in our house. We have to be prepared to listen and learn. God is here. God is doing stuff. Part of my role is creating a role where everyone gets to play. It’s an incredible town of incredible people. But they feel let down. The council tax has gone up, but the infrastructure isn’t there. We’ve only got one bank. There isn’t enough housing. So, people don’t trust institutions. People here aren’t interested in quick fixes. You have got to be here for a long time and show you are committed. My vision is to create a space where people can support the community, explore faith and know that they are loved by God, and are OK, that there is a God who is out there and treasures and values them, even when they are not hearing that message from the community, society or family. We all need to hear that, don’t we? I want to create a space where all are included. I’m getting quite excited about it really, but it does keep me up at night sometimes!" Sarah Molyneux-Hetherington

To read the full article got to: bit.ly/2WVAMsj

To learn more about the Market Towns Project contact the Bishop's Change Officer for Market Towns here.