Understanding, reflecting and acting

The Church of England and its Church Urban Fund have produced some ‘postcode tools’ to help you learn more about the area in which you live.

A Church Near You enables you to identify your local Church of England parish

The Church Urban Fund postcode tool has information about poverty indicators in your parish – showing life expectancy, and levels of child and elder poverty

The Church of England’s “Presence and Engagement” website has a postcode tool with information from the 2011 Census about religious affiliation in your parish

On this page, we offer some questions parishes can use – to reflect on their ministry in the light of this data about their local context.  They could form the basis for a Church Council meeting or away-day, or for a series of Bible studies.



Understanding your context

Discuss the following questions, and then write a few sentences about the profile of your parish:

  • What do the postcode tools tell us about the profile of our parish in terms of age, ethnicity and faith?
  • Are there important features of the parish which these tools miss out?
  • Are there significant numbers of people who work in your parish and live elsewhere?  Is it part of your parish’s role to minister to them too?

You might want to spend 10-15 minutes on this exercise.

Reflecting – and acting

Discuss three passages from the Gospel in turn, each of which contains a call to action for the church.  The passages are:

For each of passage in turn, spend 20 minutes on the following exercise:

  • Read the passage out loud, have a short silence, and read it again, so it sinks in.
  • Discuss the activities of your church which respond to the challenge of the passage. (Include things done by individual church members in their workplace and neighbourhood as well as congregational activities.)
  • Compare this list with the profile of the parish.  Which groups are reached by these activities?  Which groups are not reached?
  • Think about the groups which are not reached.  Why are they not reached?  Does your church have the capacity, and feel the call, to reach them?  (This could be done by action as a congregation and/or by supporting individuals in their workplace and neighbourhood.)
  • If so, what might be a practical first step?

More materials

The Centre for Theology & Community operates the Greater London Presence & Engagement Network to equip churches in multi-religious contexts for mission and ministry.  These Bible studies were produced by the Network.  It has produced an extensive resource pack for study and reflection on Living with other faiths, available in Word and PDF.

CTC has also published Just Church – a report on how churches can respond to the Gospel call to works of mercy, action for justice, and sharing of the faith.


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