Mawsley Church - update Oct09

Thursday, 1 October, 2009

Paul Seaton-Burn discusses building Christian community in the new town of Mawsley, Northamptonshire.

Duration: 3:10   | Download Download mp3


Introducer: Now, new housing areas are always a great challenge for the church. The temptation I guess is to build a church and hope people turn up. That was certainly the strategy at the end of the 20th century. But in recent years Christians have been more careful to start with forming a community and letting church grow out of that, before worrying about where to meet. Mawsley is a case in point, as curate Paul Seaton explained on the phone to Ian Mobsby.

Paul Seaton-Burn: About ten years ago they started building this new-build village on a greenfield site, slightly south-west of Kettering. You have this quite eclectic collection of people – families and… it's not exactly typical but it's the sort of thing that in southern Britain I suspect is where the church is going to find itself in the future, where there is no church building here. It was originally intended that there would be one, it never happened. It got whittled down to an area, a worship area in a community centre, and then that worship area just disappeared off the map entirely.

Interviewer: Did you go there as a traditional curate, or where you there with a view of doing church planting?

Paul Seaton-Burn: Well, it's an interesting one. I've ended up doing both. When we were sort of parachuted in, into a very warm collaborative sort of group of Christians and we had monthly sort of celebrations in homes, there was no public worship in the sense that I would recognise it – you know, anybody could come, but of course very few people would have the guts to walk into a house, into somebody's living room with twenty other people and start singing, you know, worship songs. But we found very much that for it to be a truly inclusive church in the community of Mawsley, our public worship had to happen in a public space.

Interviewer: Where are you at with the whole kind of thinking about discipleship and helping people to not just belong to community but then to go deeper into the faith?

Paul Seaton-Burn: If you had to say what is the challenge for us now, that's exactly the challenge for us now. But, we're seeing some cases, like on a one-to-one, people gradually taking those steps where they are regulars in certain ways. I'm not saying they're all there yet, but we have been, we have tried to be as open as we possibly can to welcoming people in and seeing, you know, and trying to encourage them to take some things on. We've had between one and three cell groups at different times, which have often again because of a… we've seen some really exciting things, but we've also seen people leave the village because of the lifestyle of people here, as is typical I think of parts of southern Britain, is that you have such a turnover here. And we will have a family who you might be trying to encourage, you come alongside and there's a bit of discipleship going on or you get a chance to speak into their lives a bit, and then they're off to South Africa or Dubai. And that's another feature which is, if you had to describe this place, is one of the main things – the high turnover of people because of their lifestyle.

Introducer: Paul Seaton sharing some of the challenges and frustrations of planting church in a new village near Kettering. And if you're involved in planting church in new housing areas, you'll find lots of useful help on our Share site.

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