Category Archives: New Black Majority Churches

Generic category for a type of church, typically growing quickly in urban centres

Religion and the Public Sphere

Somewhat belatedly, Faith and Place network members may be interested in the Religion and the Public Sphere blog from the London School of Economics. As part of the Pentecostalism in Britain series, network co-leader, Dr Andrew Rogers, and network member, Bishop Dr Joe Aldred, have both published pieces on this blog in recent months.

Take a look at “How are black majority churches growing in the UK?” which includes discussion of the network and policy briefing. See also “Pentecostalism in Britain today” which profiles the diversity that exists in British Pentecostalism today.

Faith and Place in the Netherlands

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The network leaders, Andrew and Richard, recently visited Amsterdam and the Hague to get a sense of how faith, place and planning issues play out in the Netherlands. Meticulously organised by Dutch network member, Rev Dr Rens Schalkwijk, we met faith group leaders, policitians, architects, academics and spent Sunday at church. It also felt like we had cycled round the whole city!

Ruud Schurmann from Task Force Future Church (translation) explained to us his organisation’s work in preserving historic church buildings, and the parliamentarian, Cynthia Ortega-Martijn, explained some of the political realities for faith groups in Dutch cities. We gained a strong impression of many issues being similar to those faced by faith groups in the UK. We visited network member, Pastor Felix Asare, of Victory Outreach Church in the Hague, who spoke to us movingly of the church’s community outreach programme in drug rehabilitation. Pastor Emmanuel Koney met with us, pointing out there were over 300 ‘migrant’ churches in Amsterdam. He told us the story of the Kandelaar in Amsterdam South East, a purpose-built multi-hall centre for the use of up to 15 faith groups, as well as the trials and travails he had experienced in making this initiative happen. One of their projects with the police department was a ‘Reporting a crime without worries’ card for illegal aliens.

Sunday morning saw Richard and I heading for Escape – the largest nightclub in Amsterdam – right in the centre of town on Rembrandtplein. This is where Hillsongs Amsterdam meet, running four services a Sunday, so as to include all their members in worship. As for many churches who rent premises, whether small or large, setting up and setting down takes many hours of volunteer effort (especially as it was operating as a nightclub into the early hours of the morning). We headed south-east in the afternoon, and joined the Ghanaian majority Pentecost Revival Church, to see the Kandelaar for ourselves first-hand. Called on to speak to the church as a double act, we explained the purpose of the network and our visit, and were very warmly received.

There was time to visit VU University to meet with network member, Professor Hijme Stoffels and colleagues. This proved a very useful opportunity for making connections with their work in urban theology and human geography. A quick tour of faith based business and community initiatives concluded our visit, with Andrew then having to run at top speed through Schipol with all luggage, in order to be the last one on the ‘plane.

‘God Bless South London’ – Faith and Place through the artistic lens

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This panel discussion takes place at Bosse & Baum, Copeland Park Industrial Estate in Peckham, South London – at the geographical heart of African Christianity in the UK.  The panel features perspectives from the faith, local authority and arts community, and includes Faith and Place network investigator, Andrew Rogers.

The panel will be engaging with the work of Chloe Dewe Mathews, whose work is being exhibited at Bosse & Baum. Commissioned by Tate Modern,  ‘Congregation’ is a video installation which explores collective religious experience and the nature of expressive worship in south London’s African majority churches.

Taking place from 6.30-8.30pm on Tuesday 2nd June, further details are available at Tate Modern and Bosse and Baum.

 

Critical Themes for Explorations event

Following on from the first network event, Perspectives, and the subsequent report (see previous post), Andrew and Richard have identified four critical themes to be explored in more depth at the upcoming Explorations event on the 19th March 2015 in Birmingham. These themes are set out below or you can download them here. Continue reading Critical Themes for Explorations event

Faith and Place network members speak out on planning issues

A number of Faith and Place network members have contributed to recent press stories about noise pollution. Yemi Adedeji, of the One People Commission, and Dr Andrew Rogers, University of Roehampton, spoke to the planning issues faced by new black majority churches for the December 2014 – January 2015 edition of Environmental Health News (EHN) (subscription only). Entitled ‘Peace on Earth’, the piece addresses issues around ‘noise pollution’ and planning more broadly, identifying a number of good practice cases.

A Sunday Times article on 21st December 2014 (today) takes a less eirenic tone, headlined ‘“St Boombox” ruins silent nights‘. Largely focussing on noise issues for new black majority churches, it nevertheless quotes from Ade Amooba, Danny Webster and Dr Andrew Rogers on the growth of new black majority churches and their exuberant worship, as well as the need to review planning policy for such minority faith groups.

Experiencing new black majority churches with Tate Modern – Sunday Service project video

One of our Perspectives speakers on 4th December, Synthia Griffin, Curator of Regeneration and Community Partnerships at Tate Modern, spoke of the Sunday Service project carried out for Tate Modern by photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews. The project draws on parallels between the former industrial use of the museum and the industrial unit locations of many new churches in the same borough (Southwark).

Chloe’s work explores the dynamics of new black majority churches in the borough, with a particular focus on the juxtaposition between the industrial exterior and the emotionally engaged vibrant community within the walls of the churches. An exhibition of the project at the Tate earlier this year is due to be followed up by another in Peckham in 2015. Watch the project video  HERE.