StreetWise - update Sep10

Monday, 6 September, 2010

Andy Niblock explains the vision behind StreetWise, church for the marginalised in Sheffield city centre.

Duration: 3:10   | Download Download mp3


Introducer: Andy Niblock helps lead Streetwise, a fresh expression of church in Sheffield. Streetwise has a high proportion of members with real personal and social needs and is supported by other congregations linked to St Thomas' Church on the Philadelphia Campus in the city centre. Andy explained he's attracted to this new form of church.

Andy Niblock: People struggling with life-controlling habits, people who are marginalised for a variety of reasons, and people who really felt uncomfortable in a lot of settings. So we were really passionate about creating something that really brought God into their life and brought a weekly encounter really of worship and of fellowship into their own setting.

[Male voice 1: This guy was probably one of the most hardened drinkers and addicts that I've ever met, and it was just deep-rooted in his heart, and now God's touched him. So I'm giving testimony for him this morning and I'm giving thanks for him, because…]

Andy Niblock: Certainly our experience has often been that some of the settings of our churches that we may provide can often be quite professional, they can come across… they're quite intimidating to some people, people particularly on the margins of society, people who for whatever reason, who may feel uncomfortable being around people who they may associate as being middle class, people who are maybe more educated, people who may feel to them like they've got it all together. We wanted to create an environment where guys have felt welcome, loved, accepted for who they are and knowing that there's a God who loves them and who is passionate about them.

Male voice 2: Well I used to be a violent man. You can't change yourself, only God can do it. And he's given me love for other people that I wouldn't have had love for before.

Male voice 3: I were homeless, I were on street selling Big Issue, heroin addict, everything, until I came here and I found my way in God and God found a way in me.

Male voice 4: Streetwise, it's like it's down to earth, like homeless people and like people who are like less fortunate than myself like, and like I can probably help them out or they can help me, I can help them in different ways.

Andy Niblock: We really believe that Streetwise really combines both what people say is the social action gospel with the real words and the real truth of the gospel. And we've come on a really long journey with this over the years. Originally the ministry was set up primarily to feed people that we were meeting on the streets who we knew were either homeless, were addicted to drugs or in many ways were just isolated in society. We do want to combine both the social action side of the gospel but with words, with actions and with a lifestyle that says Jesus can make a difference to you and Jesus is relevant to your circumstances.

Introducer: Andy Niblock talking about Streetwise, which meets every Sunday at St Thomas' Church, Philadelphia in the centre of Sheffield.

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