Development and The Church
Rev Francis Makambe
Church has a central and pivotal place in its community. In the geographic
sense, they are often located in a central point and in a psychological and, of
course, spiritual sense The Church is central to the lives of those in the
community. Together, these factors present a powerful device to enable local
people to develop their community.
much of this is evident to those active within The Church, particularly at
parish level? And if they are aware, do they have skills and time to commit
themselves outside the maintenance of their church programme, building and
efforts of putting the show on the road? These are important questions to ask.
The models of how The Church at a local level can embrace the social and
physical needs of the community are numerous. Community development is about
helping people without power or confidence to find ways of participating and
enabling change. In the centrespread we are given examples of where community
work is going on around us, namely the Notre Dame Estate in Clapham and the
Orchard Community Project in Deptford.
Community Development is about building community, and it includes how
people use their buildings for community use. At St Catherine's Church,
Hatcham, the main church building retains its traditional role and sanctity,
but the Narthex and the Telegraph Hill Community Centre provide home for a
number of well developed community initiatives, covering child care, health,
training and social work but these are not directly managed by the Church or
the PCC. Alongside these structured charitable activities the church provides a
space for the local community, for family and community celebration and for
coming together for events, such as the Telegraph Hill Arts Festival.
there is more! In last month's Bridge, I wrote about the power within The
Church and Diocesan structures. This power can be mobilised for community
development. Small groups who are often at the centre of real, localised
community development, are often without organisational structures. Their ideas
may be good, the need defined and the project practical and achievable but,
without a framework in which to plan and develop the idea and manage the
project, it may never happen. The Church, if active in the wider community,
will hear those without political help or muscle. It has structures which can
be utilised to support local initiatives.
then is our opportunity to support Community Development in the Diocese, so
that together we can convey the message that the foundation of development must
be located in people and their hard work.