Presence - update Mar10

Monday, 1 March, 2010

David Cundill looks back at a whirlwind year for Presence, a fresh expression of church, and now a Bishop's Mission Order, in Leicester.

Duration: 3:18   | Download Download mp3

Transcript

Introducer: One of the latest fresh expressions of church to be granted a Bishop's Mission Order in the Church of England is Presence, based in Leicester. Centre Pioneer Minister and Presence Leader, the Revd David Cundill, told us more.

David Cundill: Presence is set up to be a church for people that don't go to church in a brand new area of the city, and there's a huge redevelopment called Highcross which we're sat in the middle of at the moment. And that's quite similar to a number of semi-gated communities that's being built, the typical thing is perhaps yuppie flats is what the developers wanted to see them along the waterside. And so in five to ten years' time there will be in excess of 10,000 people living in this part of the city that previously weren't living here at all. So it's that sort of urban sprawl. At the moment it's very mixed, from derelict land with the occasional development, through to student land, through to traditional terraced houses that are very depressed and run-down, to some very fancy swanky new apartments with penthouse suites that footballers buy on the top of them. So it's very fluid, it's very transient and yet you've got people who are trying to lay down roots and live in a different way and stay there long term at the same time. So it's absolutely fascinating. And so the bishop's really keen to see how he can breathe new life into ancient worshipping communities in this area and to allow people who are moving in to find somewhere where they could discover spirituality.

But from a very very early stage I felt a real conviction that actually if I was going to go and lead a church, then I ought to lead a church for people that didn't go. And I really feel that that's what God has laid on my heart right from the beginning. So what we're trying to do is to say let's go and make friends in the pub, or like tonight there's a whole bunch of people go to this – we're setting up a cinema club. So we meet in Nandos, we have a meal, we choose what film we're going to watch that night, we go up to Showcase Cinema, watch the film, go to a bar and talk about it afterwards. Some of that becomes spiritual, some of that doesn't. But what it is, it's genuinely building new friendships with new people in an area where community doesn't really seem to exist. So I guess that's probably at the heart of what we're trying to do. It's inherently relational. Instead of worrying about where do we meet to hold a church service, I'm worried about where do we meet to make friends. And then enough of our friends will say hey, I really want what you would probably call church service, and we'll say well what makes you celebrate? How do you feel spiritual? Where do you actually feel you connect with God? And then we can explore in any one of a number or a load of different locations what that might be. So we're quite open for seeing how that develops and sitting lightly. And so that's my vision, that rather than we've got to create some big mega-church to reproduce what other people do, I think small is the new big and I think that's what I want it to be. I want there to be lots of small examples so that people can explore it.

And then the other things I really hope that's going to happen in four or five years' time is it's clear as the new development takes place in the northern end of our patch that lots of people from Leicester's Asian community will move in and I really hope that we're going to see the church be much more multicultural and reflect the city as a whole. So yeah, that's some stuff I hope to see in a few years' time.

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