Faith and Police Together is a new initiative aimed at building links between local police and their local faith communities. We believe that faith communities have a major role to play in bringing about community transformation and cohesion. When the police and faith community’s work together to tackle some of the issues the police are also facing, we will see lives and communities transformed. This, in turn can lead to reduced demand on police services, a valuable contribution to a service that has extensive demands placed upon it. Policing covers a vast ranges of issues within society and it is not always crime that is the problem. We have identified 4 priority areas which we want to concentrate on and to encourage faith communities to engage with over the next year. These priority areas include:-
We want to support the continued growth of strong and effective connections between the local police service, faith groups and local projects; thereby building the Faith and Police network in support of local communities. There are many projects and evidence of good practice already in existence and we hope utilise and work with some of those projects to help give faith communities templates and ideas to assist them locally to meet their needs. We will be promoting case studies and initiatives throughout the year. We want to see safer communities and the most vulnerable cared for and believe that this project will help deliver that ambition.
Deputy Chief Constable for Devon and Cornwall Paul Netherton says “Faith and Police Together is a multi-faith initiative designed to galvanise the support of faith groups to support the police and to help address problems and challenges within our communities. Often faith groups have a high motivation to help within our society but sometimes don’t know how they can help or even how they talk to the police to find out what the problems are or how they can assist. My experience of working with groups and churches is that once you start the conversations you unlock massive social capital that can transform an area or make a real difference to a problem. This could be around Street Angels patrolling the night time economy, drop in centres for young people or cafes where the homeless or lonely can find support. The benefit for the police and all the public sector is significant in terms of reducing demand and finding long term solutions. This is a great initiative and is welcomed by the police and will lead to some transformational change to some of the most challenging social issues across the country.”
Marie Reavey a police officer from Norfolk has recently been seconded to this project to help progress our objectives. If you are keen to find out how you can get involved please check out our website www.faithandpolicetogether.org.uk. If you are working in the 4 priority areas within your community or would like more details about this exciting new project please contact Marie Reavey on firstname.lastname@example.org .
Around 18 months ago Jean was praying about CNI Network and got the word 'America'! America seemed like a long way off and a large place but we believed that if God was indeed saying America then the way would open.
We shared this word with several people and received very negative feedback. One person, who had spent time in the USA working with Christian ministries, told us that American churches didn't like initiatives from overseas and that everything has to be formulated in a certain way. Several people said that CNI Network and its family of projects would never work in America - however we believed that God had given us the word 'America'!
A few months later our friend Ricky Leonard was visiting the UK and stayed with us. One of the first things he said was that his wife Mary and himself were keen to look at starting Street Angels in Wilmington, North Carolina.
We made plans to visit in April 2017 and set to saving up the money for the air-fare. Ricky and Mary shared the vision of Street Angels with churches in the area, and, even though it was Easter and Spring Break, several churches were excited and invited Paul to speak at church services and events.
The first meeting was at Myrtle Grove Presbyterian Church where Paul preached at the Palm Sunday service . The theme for the talk, based on the way Jesus used a donkey as the mode of transport into Jerusalem, was 'the ordinary and everyday achieves the profound and world-changing' (click here for the LiveStream of the service) As it was Spring Break people from around the USA were visiting for the weekend and so the story of Street Angels will be shared nationwide.
On Sunday night Paul spoke at a gathering of local Christians and church leaders in Ricky's office. Again the story of crime reduced and communities changed was an inspiration to those gathered who saw the need for the same in local and national USA communities.
Thirty people turned up on Monday night at Myrtle Grove for a Q and A session with Paul and Jean on how to set up a Street and Festival Angels project for Wrightsville Beach, downtown Wilmington and Carolina Beach.
On Tuesday we took a road trip to the neighbouring state of South Carolina and Myrtle Beach - a popular resort in the summer with thousands of tourists and similar issues to some of the resorts in the UK and Europe. We knocked on the doors of 7 churches along the coast road - told the story, answered questions and left web site details. All those we spoke to saw the need and that Street Angels could be the response from the church to that need.
By Wednesday we were at Carolina Coast Vineyard Church where the story of our work in the UK was met with enthusiasm and people seeing the potential for summer around the beach and boardwalk. The BBC Newsnight video of the Street Angels in Magaluf was well received and showed how Street Angels would work in a resort setting. The church had a mural of flip-flops in the foyer with the tagline 'Never Walk Alone' - a fitting image for the way our teams often walk with people in time of need!
On Thursday Paul shared at the FGBMFI dinner with around forty people from across the region. With a mix of humour and stories from the streets, clubs and festivals Paul was able to pray for people following the talk who wanted to engage better with local communities.
Saturday morning saw Paul speak at Wilmington Healing Center. At this gathering was a former police officer who runs a Christian police group and has contact with the leaders of the police. It was also great to hear from other ministries who are working on the streets of Wilmington especially around the homeless problem.
On Easter Sunday Paul spoke at Faith Life Fellowship in Wilmington. It was great to meet a couple from Louisiana who were visiting family and hear how they were now inspired to take our story to their home church.
Monday we met with Pastor Brian from Rock Church. Brian loved the heart, simplicity and vision of our work and could see how it would work in Wilmington. We then met Ron who has connections with various Christian TV stations across the USA and filmed a video with Paul to share with 2 of the biggest global Christian TV shows.
On Monday evening Paul spoke at One Christian Network of Wilmington - a network of many of the Christian based organisations at work in the region. Different ministries offered support to Street/Club/Festival Angels in terms of training and volunteers. It was great to hear of the amount of work that exists including feeding the homeless, supporting those going through divorce, setting up a Cardboard Church on the street and encouraging lawyers to be philanthropists!
The final talk was an interview on Life 90.5FM radio - this will be broadcast as part of an hour long programme but also as a promotion of CNI Network and the new projects about to launch.
God opened many doors! It is exciting to see how work in the UK has inspired Christians across the pond to think about similar projects. This visit was the first of many - we are already planning a road trip to other states and if the doors open to features on Christian TV shows! If you would like to invest in this expansion in the USA and be part of the journey please use the PayPal button below or visit www.cninetwork.org/donate . You can also purchase the Street Angels book to read more.
Thanks to all we met, those who invited us to visit and speak, those who invested into our work financially, those considering volunteering and those who are sharing our story.
Today CNI Network is asking church gatherings to take a few moments to pray for our teams, our work, the continued impact, the wider night-time economy, etc.
Our tag line is #MakingCityStreetsLikeNewAgain and that is exactly what our teams are part of making happen as alcohol related violence and A&E admissions reduce year on year in the UK!
11 and a half years ago when God dropped the idea of doing something around the night-time economy in Halifax I was not too keen. But the idea stayed and Jean and I wandered the town together and saw things we would rather not have seen! We knew something had to be done! So we pushed doors, they opened and Street Angels landed! (want to know more - read the book!!!)
This simple response to a massive need soon saw amazing results (violent crime reduced by 42% in the town centre in 12 months) and as such we very quickly began to spread our wings. We launched CNI Network - Christian Nightlife Initiatives in 2008 and, a few years later, after almost 7 years of heading up the Halifax project moved on to head up CNI full time.
For me it is an amazing (though sometimes painful) journey - seeing change in local communities; seeing ideas become reality; developing new projects and seeing them grow and replicate; getting alongside people and projects; equipping and resourcing the local church to become a massive part of the solution to out of control issues; sharing our story to audiences of ten and ten thousand!
Thank you to every person who is part of this movement that is #MakingCityStreetsLikeNewAgain - those who volunteer out on the streets, in clubs, at festivals; those who believed in us right at the start and in the 100+ communities we are now in; those who pray; those who have given and supported; those who have become close friends; those we partner with.
I believe God is into networks, connecting people and organisations for the greater good. CNI Network and my ministry is part of this massive bigger picture of people and God working together seeing radical and lasting social, community and individual transformation! Love the person in front of you is where it starts and where it ends but the results are amazing!
Thank you to all who are #MakingCityStreetsLikeNewAgain!
Fascinating article below on Jesus and clubbing via threads:
At Leeds Festival as I wandered round the main arena I stopped at the Radio 1 Dance Tent - as I watched the thousand or so young people dancing in rhythm, hands in the air, laser light show creating an awesome atmosphere, God whispered the words "Every generation has its own anthem". Reading the article has helped me make a bit more sense of this!!! Dance music is for many the anthem of today - before dance was the rave generation, Ministry of Sound, rock 'n' roll, punk, techno, soul, the swinging sixties.... A people who, as the article says, 'are committed to their music, jealous for their identity, proud of their heritage and reliant on institutions such as Fabric for fellowship, community and love.' Through our local projects CNI is at the heart of this anthem - helping, loving, serving, joining, dancing, playing, creating - and we join with what Jesus is up to as he dances in rhythm, hands in the air inviting people to join his anthem of freedom, love and grace. Paul - CNI Network
Article (source - threads)
This is my church: how Fabric changed my life
I can still remember the shock at her words as she leaned away and smiled at me. The crowd continued to roll and two-step to the techno around us as I processed truth through a balaclava of alcohol and drugs. “You’re a Christian?” I managed, staring at her incredulously before gazing around at the roaring night club. “What on earth are you doing here?”
Six years later, I find myself witnessing major changes in the club scene; an environment particularly close to my heart. The recent decision to revoke the license of London super club Fabric last week suggested a seismic shift under the increasingly shallow bedrock of UK nightlife and also provoked a passionate backlash from the clubbing community. As an institution that has consistently maintained and proclaimed musical integrity for 16 years, the outcry of afflicted clubbers, DJs and promoters quickly resonated through the social media traffic on a global scale. 100,000 signatures have already appeared on the change.org petition and a zealous campaign is underway to overturn a decision many fear could set a doom laden precedent for nightlife culture.
The Christian view on Fabric’s demise could be forgiven for being, at best, nonplussed and at worst, somewhat triumphant. I think it’s fair to say that Christianity and club culture have always had a turbulent relationship. While some have championed a challenging and sacrificial missional engagement with the clubbing community, others might have dismissed such connection as denial and compromise, suspicious of any Christian who would want to entertain an environment that seemingly celebrates vice, lust and hedonism at 130 deafening decibels.
I’m convinced, however, that God has plans for this industry or perhaps more accurately, this community. Like it or not, for many disillusioned people both young and old, the club is their church and if nothing else, the colossal, unified outcry at Fabric’s injustice demonstrates that to us afresh.
Many Christians, I think, are unaware of the magnitude of dance music lovers. They represent a seven-billion-dollar industry annually and it’s growing. Dance music is unofficially lauded as youth culture’s primary music genre. These are people who are committed to their music, jealous for their identity, proud of their heritage and reliant on institutions such as Fabric for fellowship, community and love. The issues are numerous and the escapist solutions can be tragic.
Controversially, I like to think that Jesus wouldn’t have shied away from Fabric. The Bible tells of him reclining at the house of a notorious tax collector during a great banquet, at ease in the company of “sinners” and “outcasts”, holding tight to his beautiful mission statement: “I have not come to call the righteous, but the erring ones to repentance.” (Luke 5.32) I see him choose to surround himself with foul mouthed disciples (Matthew 26.74), cowards (Mark 14.50) and egotists (Mark 9.34) and yet, he called them ‘friends’ (John 16.15). Jesus didn’t hold back from fear of losing his reputation with men. He ate with the hated, drank with the wedding guests, spoke to people he shouldn’t have, unravelled religious bondage, confronted hypocrisy, walked mud into the carpets of conformity and washed the feet of those he created. Somewhere like Fabric would have held no fear for him; an arena of issues, filled with those who need his love and healing, desperately searching for answers in all the wrong places. I think he would have been last to leave.
For me, the need to engage with nightlife industry relates directly to the people who worship within it. Clubbers represent a very real, often maligned and perpetually vulnerable community whose identity and culture is continually in a state of flux. For all its success and profitability, the nightlife industry is becoming increasingly influenced by insecure commercialism and rampant corruption. The people who know it as a refuge and a sanctuary are reliant on relationships, incomes and addictions adrift on turbulent waters, and the need for direction and love is probably greater than it ever has been. How do we help and show the love of God to the vast numbers whose lives and identities are built on such shifting sands? Do we take the example Jesus set and spend time with those who need the love of God, dragging ourselves away from safe, holy huddles? I doubt that the closure of Fabric will result in a rush of clubbers to the local church. Maybe it’s time to take the church to them?
My own testimony began in such a place. The young lady who shared her faith with me that night in a club had no idea that she was talking to a prodigal son, seven years wandering, full of condemnation, hurt and regret. In that moment on the dance floor I suddenly realised that the Jesus I had forsaken and denied had never given up the pursuit of me. At my lowest point He appeared, holy feet turning sticky floors into hallowed ground, the light among the lights, the true heartbeat amidst the kick drum pulse. He met me where I was and six months later, glorified me in Himself, seating me in heavenly realms as I surrendered my life to Him. I’m so grateful for one woman’s simple obedience that night as she followed her heart into a place she loved, not letting the surroundings distract her from a simple message of faith. I wonder, is it not time for more moments of hope for a reeling community in need of the certainty of Jesus Christ?
Written by Luke Rollins - Luke Rollins is a Midlands-based musician, DJ and producer who believes that, literally, it's all about Jesus. He has worked extensively for 24-7 Prayer in Ibiza and is part of the Third Space Ministries DJ Unity Group that seeks to equip and connect Christian DJ’s working in the nightlife industry. He is married to Judith and together, they like to dream big.
I enjoyed reading the spiritual journey blog of Vanessa Forero (Christian Detox) from a Christian in a large charismatic church in Bradford to one who would now describe herself as:
A wonderer? A mystic-materialist? A spiritual-humanist? A faith-exercising atheist? One of those half-black-half-white mime characters? Basically, I’m bilingual. I have two world-views inside me that continually argue – they balance me out. Both offer wisdom and valuable perspectives so I respect them both.
I struggle with a lot of the weirdness of church life! I don't enjoy long lectures (sorry sermons) but would rather see room for discussion and debate. I don't like the focus on the Sunday meeting or the holy space of a building because I believe God is everywhere and in everything. I don't like the calling on and waiting for God to do something because I believe he did everything we need 2000 years ago (death and resurrection of Jesus and that the same power/spirit that raised Christ from the dead is now in us - so I think it is down to us to get on with stuff rather than ask God to do more). I don't like the trappings of tradition that can so often become a hinderance to people finding a God who is abounding in creativity and sees us all as individuals.
But overall I believe that a worldview is best seen from that of a perspective that each of us is created for life with meaning and purpose. We are created to make life better for others and the wider community. The Bible messages of justice and fairness and the call to love others as you love yourself (and what a call that is - loving self is often harder than loving others) is vital to life today. That Jesus his rag-tag of disciples (all mid-late teens or early 20's at the most) changed the wor
This year I have looked and worked at improving my communication skills. I believe that communication is an important tool and something that needs to constantly be built on and developed - as a communicator I am always looking to improve so that the message I am conveying, and those who are investing time to listen, is the best it can be!
Last week I spoke at my home church. Often my talks are one-off's but to speak to the 'home crowd' (so to speak) has meant receiving feedback. This week people were quoting me and asking questions on things I spoke on last week (which is great as it means I have communicated something memorable!). One person however reported back they were telling someone (who was not present) how much they had enjoyed the talk and his response was 'hey well he's improving'. This was meant as a put down but the reality of all communication is that we always need to be improving. Communicators always need to be looking at ways of improving, of developing, of creating a better experience for those listening (or reading).
So here are some of my thoughts on good communication (in terms of public speaking):
Stick to time - I once spoke at a large event in Bradford Cathedral with various dignitaries and an audience of 300 or so. A few groups each had 2 minutes to share about the work they are involved in. I was on 3rd - the person before me spoke for 40 minutes! This is so disrespectful to those who had invited the group to be part of the event. Always stick to time! If you have 2 minutes speak for 2 minutes! Don't overrun - it is an insult to your audience to do so! It is far better to leave people wanting more than wishing you had shut up 38 minutes ago!!!
Stick to the script - don't go off on personal agendas, don't labour a point, do know where you are heading, have clarity and flow for your talk.
Tell Stories - stories relate well and keep your talk real! Share your journey with people. Use the normal to connect.
Build People - when you communicate your aim is generally to build people up. The aim is to help make people flourish. Life is a whole serious of moments - help people to have moments within your talk that become memorable and life building. If you can relate to other people's life defining moments (this is where story telling comes in!)
Use Multimedia Well - (unless it becomes an hinderance) - last Sunday I used a trailer for Eddie the Eagle film as the basis for my talk and later on a clip of Street Angels Magaluf on BBC's Newsnight - everyday things people can relate to. Although when sharing the Street Angels story to an after-dinner group, small group, etc or when in a school I don't use multimedia at all - it becomes hassle to set up and if the sound doesn't work or the sun shines onto the wall you are projecting onto it loses impact!
So yes I am improving - yet all those who communicate need to be improving and reinventing to become a better version of you. Like a computer we all need an upgrade from time to time!
So to all communicators - communicate well....