EASTENDSPEAKS

‘eastendspeaks’ equips churches to build relationships in their communities through storytelling. We partner with churches to help them find creative ways to enable people from different parts of church life, both inside the congregation and in the wider community, to deepen their relationships with one another.

Our vision is to equip churches to confidently and creatively practise the art of storytelling and open listening, to help build strong, trusting and playful communities.

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Storytelling is not just for children, or for the telling of Bible stories. It can be an effective tool in building community, especially in diverse areas, and with skill and imagination can play a key role in strengthening relationships within the church, and in helping the church to engage with others. Storytelling can help individuals of different ages, backgrounds and cultures feel known and valued, and in turn get to know and value others.

It can help different institutions communicate with each other.

It can create a bridge between the powerless and the powerful.

It can open our minds to new truths about God and his world.

It can restore a sense of playfulness and trust to our communities.

We are particularly interested in working with people in ethnically and socio-economially diverse communities who want to build deep relationships between people who might not normally meet.

One great way to find out about storytelling and how it can change the world is to read our recent publication Heart to Heart.

What is a storytelling project?

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1. We use community organising methods to draw together people from within the church congregation and the wider community (perhaps those that use the church hall in the week).

2. We use tried and tested storytelling exercises to help people to consider what makes a good story, how to communicate effectively, and how to develop a story creatively.

3. We also deliver congregational storytelling workshops for use in larger gatherings. This is often an excellent way of starting a church-based project.

4. We hold sharing events where people who have been part of the storytelling project can share their stories with the wider community. These include exhibitions, spoken word performances, poetry recitals, and traditional oral storytelling.

5. We produce resources and reflections on our experience which identify the most effective methods of storytelling for diverse community settings. These will be highly accessible for any congregational leader.

5. We are developing a network of churches involved in church based community storytelling.

The project is adaptable to meet the needs, experiences, interests and characters in each context.

We’re keen to explore projects of various sizes. If you are interested in getting involved then we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Caitlin Burbridge (caitlin@theology-centre.org) for more information.

You can read a detailed report on our storytelling work here.

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