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‘We need to understand the hopes and dreams of our communities’

‘We need to understand the hopes, fears and dreams of the people that we are with,’ said Bible Society’s director of mission, Nigel Langford. 

He was speaking yesterday at the Gather Movement Summit in Manchester, where the focus is on transforming our cities in every way. 

The pandemic had changed our engagement with our cities, Nigel said. ‘We were locked down and couldn’t go too far. The last three years have resulted in us having an incredible increase of interaction with our neighbours,’ he said. 

In his area of London, he said, ‘We are having conversations about spirituality and faith. We have a newfound love for our neighbourhood. The needs of our local area, of our streets, are great. Loneliness, isolation and trauma are significantly increasing, the cost-of-living crisis is kicking in hard.’

He introduced his audience to the Lumino.Bible website which enables church leaders to understand their neighbourhood, through research. 

This research showed that 51 per cent of people asked said that the church should play a pivotal role in serving the poor and those on the fringes of society, as well as helping people through their grief. 

And 74 per cent said that the church will become more actively involved in the needs of the community as a result of the pandemic. 

The session heard from Anna and Eva from Greater Manchester Community Chaplaincy who are changing communities through their work with those going through traumatic situations. 

It also looked at the hopes and fears of local communities. Forgiveness, balance and the church being prepared to receive an influx of new people were among the hopes. Fears lay around a social divide, mental health and the world being ‘too loud’. 

He called on the people to ‘get under the skin’ of their communities and find out how they could work with God on ‘his mission’. 

Author: Hazel Southam, 22 June 2022 (Last updated: 29 June 2022)

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