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CofE unanimously backs plan to create new churches on housing estates

Sat 23 Feb 2019
By Press Association

The Church of England has unanimously backed plans to establish churches on all major social housing estates in England, with one bishop claiming communities had been "abandoned".

The church's annual assembly voted in favour of a proposal which would urge dioceses to include evangelism on housing estates in their plans for the future.

The Bishop of Burnley and head of the estates evangelism task group, Philip North, said the idea was: "To have a loving, serving, worshipping Christian community on every significant social housing estate in the nation.

 

"To plant back in the estates we have abandoned, to better support our presence in the places where we're struggling."

Around one in five of the Church of England's 12,500 parishes are thought to be "estates parishes", meaning they have more than 500 social housing units.

But one clergy member warned that such a big undertaking would require working with other partners and services.

Reverend Rosemarie Mallett, who works in a parish in Angell Town, in Brixton, said: "In the estate, the work that I have been able to do with young people has been because of the work in partnership with our school, the school is at the heart of the community.

"If we think we must do this by ourselves, we will struggle.

"We need to find partners in the gospel, and partners in social action."

On Thursday, the General Synod voted to reverse the 400-year-old rule that all churches must hold a weekly Sunday service.

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