Stories of Growing Good

All around the country churches of all shapes and sizes are Growing Good - growing new connections with their neighbours, growing hope in their communities and growing in faith.

We'd love to hear your Growing Good story. Contact us here.

Building lasting relationships

Rev Clive Hamilton, vicar of St Barnabas’ Church in Knowle West describes how the Growing Good Toolkit has helped the congregation recognise they had persevered in being present to the local community through a difficult time.

Read more

Growing Good: Serving Hope

Kath is a lay leader and volunteer at St Paul’s Church in Staybridge. The Growing Good ‘Presence’ session helped them identify that they wanted to strengthen the church's relationship with some of the local schools, and particularly the local high school, which sits right behind the church.

Read more

Giving and receiving God's love

Growing Good helped Melanie’s church reconnect with the community after lockdown, which was particularly difficult in rural communities where lack of transport often prevents different people from coming together.

Read more

Growing Good makes a difference

Growing Good encouraged us to keep our love for the city visible throughout everything we’re doing with and for the community across different contexts."

Read more

A place to connect

The congregation of St Peter’s Church, Wawne, outside Hull, love where they live, and wanted to reach out to their community. A team of congregation members worked through CUF’s Growing Good course, which prompted them to consider needs in the village – including those that may not be obvious.

The team realised that without a coffee shop, pub or church hall in the village, there was a need for somewhere where people could connect, especially after they had had to keep themselves to themselves during the pandemic.

Read more

Persevering - Excel Church, Bilston

Bilston is part of the Black Country in the West Midlands, and it has a strong industrial history. It also has high levels of deprivation, unemployment, and other entrenched social issues related to poverty. Daniel Lee is a Church Leader at Excel Church, and has worked there for over 20 years. He has developed the church’s relationship with the local community over these two decades, mainly in schools. Initially, the church would go in and run assemblies and lunch clubs. This has blossomed over the years into a variety of projects, events, mentoring, and clubs.

Read more

Celebrating participation at harvest-time

Reverend Martin Poole from St Luke's Prestonville in Brighton reflects on how celebrating participation strengthened his community.

'It’s an opportunity to celebrate the amazing work of groups, to say thank you to volunteers, and to show them that what they do connects to the faith life of the church '

Read more

Just Church? Why social justice matters for followers of Jesus Christ and the church.

On Thursday, 31 March, Bishop Adrian Newman (Bishop in Residence, Church Urban Fund) chaired a webinar including Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley, author of Embracing Justice, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2022. In this special webinar, speakers unravelled the why, what and how of Christian social justice, and discussed the challenges and opportunities for churches to embrace justice – and encourage their communities to do the same.

What follows is a summary of the webinar. If you want to read more about the theology of social justice, visit CUF’s Living Theology Forum and watch a recording of the webinar.

Read more

Being present - St John the Baptist, Hoxton

Reverend Graham Hunter joined St John the Baptist Church in Hoxton in 2010. Quickly, he began to involve the church in community action and building relationships with other local groups, from schools, to parent and toddler groups, to local businesses. He believes that churches should be committed to “rooting all action in listening”, and these relationships within the community grew as the church discovered more about the needs in the area. Together they focused on activities that would generate hope, build new connections and address local concerns.

Read more

'Wrapping our arms around our community.'

Rob is a member of a church in Clevedon, Bristol, that recently used the Growing Good Toolkit. He shares his reflections with us on how, after the difficulties of staying connected during the pandemic, Growing Good had led to new connections with their community and new initiatives.

‘If I'm honest, some of the willing people are tired but this has helped us to sort of rethink and try some new things. For our home group this meant sending Easter cards to local businesses, which is only a tiny thing. On a bigger scale, the Platinum Jubilee Fair included people from the community who hadn't helped before and was followed by a lovely Pentecost service a couple weeks ago. I felt as if it was like St. Andrews was having a sort of injection of positives’.

Read more

The Church in Action

During the pandemic, we know that churches have increased their provision of practical, emotional, financial and digital support.

The Church in Action Survey 2020/21 from CUF and the Church of England highlighted the role of local churches in communities. Anglican churches contribute to approximately 35,000 projects that directly support their local communities, and 37% of churches are doing even more now to support people in their parish than before the pandemic.

Read more

Mind the Gap! Social action and dawning faith

Peter Rouch, CEO of Church Army UK & Ireland, explores the relationship between human and divine agency in evangelism, especially with those on the margins of society in a blog for CUF's Living Theology Forum:

To London’s 9 million pre-pandemic daily visitors, these are familiar words. Mind the gap between the platform and the train. The gap is a place of danger, or at least uncontrollability. What goes into it, is at risk.

I have another gap in mind of course, but still one that comes with some caution. It is a theological and practical gap possibly existing between human and divine agency in the dawning of faith in human lives; in becoming a Christian.

Read the full article on the Living Theology Forum

Participating - St Andrew's Church, Crewe

Sam and Callum are a mother and son who first visited St Andrew’s church in Crewe whilst attending a baptism. They were “complete non-church goers” who have “undergone the most incredible process of transformation”.

Sam says that coming to church was “the start of everything”. Sam and her son immediately felt welcome and at home at St Andrew’s, and, because of this, they have got involved in many aspects of church life, including the choir, and a variety of social action projects.

Read more

Adaptability - St John's Church, Southall

"Southall is just the most vibrant, diverse community in West London. It’s multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and... St John’s has always been at the heart of the community, serving people from all different faith backgrounds”.

Nandini is from Mumbai, India, and came to the UK 30 years ago. Although brough up in a strict Hindu family, she became a Christian, and says that “when Jesus came into my life, he changed everything”. Nandini started off helping at a coffee morning at St John’s Church, and has volunteered in many of the church’s projects, including the Messy Church, and Table Gatherings for parents of children from many different faith backgrounds.

Read more