Church for a Different World Awards 2019
16 October 2019 IN: Bishop
The Bishop of Manchester has announced 11 Church for Different World awards in recognition of churches that are reaching out to their communities in new and innovative ways. The awards celebrate how churches across Greater Manchester and Rossendale are changing to meet the needs of their communities by providing welcoming spaces and championing the needs of communities, many of which are in deprived areas.
Bishop David Walker said, “This is the third year running that we have invited nominations from our churches for Church for a Different World awards. The response has been fantastic and we hope churches will be encouraged by hearing from one another about new ideas they can try.”
This year’s awards demonstrate how churches are at the heart of the communities they serve, providing welcoming spaces, places of belonging and events for the wider community. The outworking of Christian faith is demonstrated in many ways, from the provision of lunch and breakfast clubs, social spaces and activities for young and older people, a rural Post Office in a church, innovative forms of prayer and worship, and makeovers for churchyards that involve the whole community.
The award-winning projects for 2019 are:
Rural Post Office at St Peter, Belmont
Offering a Post Office service every Friday morning in a rural village that has lost most of its local services. Popular with villagers and businesses, who also enjoy the refreshments offered. St Peter’s plans to reorder the building to provide a larger community space.
The Hive Community kitchen at St Paul, Withington
A Place of Welcome for the local community and people of all backgrounds, offering restaurant-quality food and hospitality. Offers volunteering opportunities and partners with L’Arche Community for adults with disabilities. A garden provides produce for the café.
Youth Outreach at Christ Church Pennington
A youth outreach programme delivered in the Eden Bus in Leigh and supported by Wigan Council and other partners. Christ Church has also developed links with three CofE high schools through its Youth Worker and Pais Team. Reaching 350 young people every week, the church’s youth work is expanding.
Monday Mass at Holy Trinity Shaw
Monday Mass engages with children and parents of families who attend to gain school places, providing creative worship that attracts about 80 people every Monday. The life of the church has benefited, and there have been many requests for baptisms and (adult) confirmations.
Wythenshawe Holiday breakfast club
Responding to holiday hunger, the breakfast club provides healthy breakfast for children who might go hungry out of term time. A partnership between the Wythenshawe Team of churches, ASDA and Fareshare. Also offers sports coaching and outdoor games to improve health and wellbeing.
Bolton Party in the Park
A free, family fun day in Bolton coordinated by St Peter, Halliwell that has grown each year, attracting 7000 people in 2019. Party in the Park blesses the community, connects churches of different denominations, and offers space for outdoor worship as well as lots of fun activities. Links with schools and supports people with special needs.
Cornerstone Coffee Shop and community café
Community café at St George, Unsworth that offers hospitality and great food, especially to the lonely and vulnerable people. Links with Elmsbank Specialist Arts College to provide work experience for special needs students, enabling them to develop life skills. The project partners with Mothers’ Union and community police.
An ambitious community project at St Nicholas, Newchurch, that will make safe and restore the churchyard, celebrate human and natural heritage, and develop skills such as dry stone walling, first aid and willow weaving. Most volunteers had no previous church connection. Activities include bat walks and nature trails.
Food for All at Church of the Apostles in Miles Platting
Serving hot meals every Sunday to vulnerable and isolated people. Volunteers use food that would otherwise go to waste to cook hot, nutritious meals. Food for All improves physical and mental health of the guests, and shows generosity and hospitality.
Alternative Prayer Course at Christ's Church Harwood
A creative prayer course aimed at helping people connect with God in prayer in different ways, including Bible journaling, colouring, clay modelling and reading the psalms. Attracted people from six different churches and deepened their spirituality.
An environmental project to restore the churchyard at St James, Breightmet and make safe the stonework and graves. Scores of people have volunteered over 1600 hours of time, boosting their confidence and wellbeing. The project has provided opportunities to build links between church and community.
Congratulations to the award winners. We hope that by sharing their ideas, other churches will be encouraged to try new things that have been shown to work well elsewhere.