Burnham on Sea Methodist Church had a vision to tackle social isolation, food poverty, and support their local community. Working together with other local partners, such as Burnham on Sea Baptist Church, and their local food bank, they wanted to open a cafe on the premesis to provide free or cheap meals, provide education in cooking and computer use, and provide a valuable community resource.
TCC came alongside their team from the very start. After producing a feasibilty study to evidence the need and establish the best operating model, we advised and supported on matters such as staff models, health and safety needs, and operating model. We supported them in producing a constitution and guided them through the process of applying for independent charitable status. We also trained them in how to apply for funding grants for their new venture.
The project is going from strength to strength, as they welcome more people into the cafe, and into the church too! This is what the project lead, Liz Bennett had to say about our support:
"Thank you so much for all your help. We couldn’t have done it without you! You have done an amazing job leading us through the maze from start to here. I’m so pleased I got up the courage to get in touch with you in the first place. Thank you!"
In December 2018 TCC had been engaged to carry out a full church review of Bolton Methodist Mission, which resulted in the production of a Mission Strategy.
As a result of this, the church sought to engage a pioneer missioner to take advantage of their town centre location and reach out to support and share the gospel with the “unchurched” in the area. This was to be done by creating new ways for local people to worship, reaching out to their life situations, rather than expecting them to immediately walk into ours. In addition, the missioner would be mindful of the serious deprivation within the area and seek to be sensitive to those needs and tailor their offerings accordingly.
In order to fund the missioner for three years, TCC workers drafted the grant applications on behalf of Bolton Methodist Mission and were successful in securing the full amount needed to fund the worker.
Barnbygate Methodist and Hawtonville Methodist churches in Newark decided to come together and form one society. In preparation for this, TCC was commissioned to carry out a short review to enable them to prepare for the future.
After meeting with members of both churches on a number of occasions, surveying the membership, leadership, and investigating the characteristics of the local area, TCC produced a report to aid them in determining the direction of their future mission. This report included details of the demographics and needs of the local communities, the views of the members regarding the churches futures, and suggestions of potential partners that the church could work to maximise its potential.
TCC also then aided the church in setting up focus groups based around the four areas of “Our Calling” to refine their mission and take responsibility for actioning it.
In addition, TCC reviewed their governance procedures and financial procedures to ensure that their new society, “Hope Methodist Community Church” could begin its life with a firm, forward looking foundation.
High Peak Partnership are a group of 13 churches working together in Derbyshire, formed from the merger of two Methodist Circuits. They have a wide variety of Churches, and some Manses, that all need looking after. Many churches do not have a dedicated property steward and the Partnership leadership became aware that support for property work was needed, to keep churches maintained but also to develop innovative new Missional projects and redevelopment plans.
TCC were invited to design a package of support, so that all churches, large and small, would have access to information, advice and practical project management. This is co-ordinated through a regular Partnership property meeting, a Partnership grants programme and extensive work on the ground. The Partnership Property Committee also helps to set priorities for the year ahead and has a good overall view of property matters.
Over the past couple of years, we have renovated Manses and graveyards, sold a church and a Manse, helped churches with leases and legal work, as well as supporting funding projects, e.g. the Community Garden at Town End. We are regularly involved in supporting property repairs, seeking appropriate consents, sourcing contractors, and checking the work. A good example was the stained glass window repairs at St. John’s in Hayfield, which required a Conservation approach and consent from Connexion.
Larger projects also involve work on design and consultation, bringing in architects and other professionals as required.
The Partnership covers a wide area, with many small chapels that have limited resources and people, and naturally the Property support work of TCC has been of particular benefit. People know they can always pick up the phone or send an email, and one of the team will respond, as we all have different but complementary skills.
TCC have been recommissioned for this work and it is model that can be replicated in other areas.