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Local Community & Wider Links

Demographic Context

The Borough of Newham is ranked 6th most deprived Local Authority nationally (4th most deprived in London). Over 50% of the population are from ethnic minorities - in St. Barnabas parish, over 90%. It is densely populated, with subdivided 2-up-2-down houses accommodating as many as 20 people. 30% of households in the parish are deemed “overcrowded”. 28% of the population are children under 15. Poverty, poor housing, low skills, transience of population and, increasingly, unemployment create many social needs. In recent months (as at March 2010) jobs advertised at local job centres have decreased by over 50%.  In the last census the religious profile of the population of the parish emerged at 43% Muslim, with large Hindu and significant Sikh communities. 22% of electors declared themselves Christian. However, most members of this Christian minority are originally from Africa or the Indian sub-continent, and increasingly now also from Eastern Europe, and meet for worship in denominational fellowships other than traditional CofE (e.g. Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Mar Thoma). Nevertheless St. Barnabas has a broad-based, committed congregation, most of whom live in or very near the parish. Sunday worship attracts an average congregation of 45, with a newly re-started, small but lively Sunday School, and there is demand for pastoral offices as well as space for midweek activities. Because of the exceptional diversity of the parish and its range of social needs and intercultural opportunities, St. Barnabas is also a significant educational and training resource for the wider Church.

Many contacts with the wider community are made through the different groups using our church building: Henshou Karate Academy, the Textiles Art project, a Bollywood dance class, Mudralaya Indian classical dance class, a Tamil prayer group, and two local bands, the St. Barnabas Band and the Barn Jammers. A new Pre-School - Kool Kidze - has recently started, 5-days per week. The people attending these activities come from diverse ethnic, cultural, and faith backgrounds, and range from 0-90+ years old. St. Barnabas is also used for public meetings, charity fairs, and jazz concerts, as well as for weddings, funerals, commemorations and public events.

 In terms of wider partnerships, we are working on a multimedia dramatised reading of the epic story of King David from the Old Testament, to be performed just before Advent, on Saturday November 26th. The sections of Bible narrative will be from the Authorised Version - as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of the 'King James Bible'. This will be put on in collaboration with other churches in the Deanery and across the Barking episcopal Area.

 Some Local links

 As well as natural church links through the Newham Deanery and the Diocese of Chelmsford (http://www.chelmsford.anglican.org ), and through Churches Together in Manor Park, we have involvement with local schools and community centres, in particular the Froud Centre (http://www.aston-mansfield.org.uk/where_we_are.php) and the Trinity Centre (http://www.thetrinitycentre.org/). We have friendly relations with the Sikh Gurdwara next door in Rosebery Avenue, and are involved with the ‘Faithful Friends’ interfaith project based in Forest Gate. A particularly active ‘Friend’ in this project is Minhaj-ul-Quran mosque in Romford Road, http://media.minhajuk.org/ . Theological reflection and interfaith dialogue are supported in this area of East London by the Contextual Theology Centre http://www.theology-centre.org and the London Presence & Engagement Network http://www.londonpen.org/. The ‘Citizens Organising’ approach to social action in the local community and across London is promoted by The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO), http://www.telcocitizens.org.uk/

Some wider links

ANGLICAN

The worldwide Anglican Communion http://www.anglican.org

The Archbishop of Canterbury http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org

The Church of England http://www.cofe.anglican.org

Diocese of Chelmsford http://www.chelmsford.anglican.org

Diocese of London http://www.london.anglican.org

Diocese of Southwark http://www.southwark.anglican.org

Church of England ‘Common Worship’ texts http://www.cofe.anglican.org/worship/liturgy/commonworship/texts

RELIGION & SOCIETY

Ekklesia  http://www.ekklesia.co.uk

 ECUMENICAL

Churches Together in Britain & Ireland  http://www.ctbi.org.uk/

 INTERFAITH

The Interfaith Network http://www.interfaith.org.uk/

BBC Interfaith Calendar http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/tools/calendar/

 

Finding Us

Browning Road
Manor Park
London
E12 6PB