One of the exciting new developments for 2008 has been an approach from Preston Police to explore and develop ways in which better relationships between the police and the church in the city can be developed. As a result I have begun to be involved in a new working group with the Police and representatives from other “faith” communities whose aim is to build better relationships between people in the city and in the process begin to tackle some of the social issues that exist, which the Police hope will lead to a reduction in crime and a safer Preston.
One of the objectives of Hope 08 is for better collaboration between the church and the Police and local authorities, and as a result of being part of this new group, the church in Preston was invited to be part of a Police led multi-agency (MAP) Partnership Action Week in Ribbleton last week. This involved the Police, Probation Service, Fire Brigade, Environment Agency, Housing Associations etc. We went along mainly to observe as it was the first time we’d been involved, but a team of people from FFMC, St Stephen’s and Longton Community Church worked together under the Hope 08 banner to give away free teas and coffees to the workforce, to clean up litter and some real grot spots and even helped get the community having a go at cleaning up graffiti etc. for themselves.
An article on this was featured in the Reporter – (alright they got some details wrong calling it Hope Awake which sort of sounds like Hope 08!) – but for more info see Hope 08 – Trees Estate. (Photo above courtesy of the LEP/Reporter!)
I think things like this are really exciting – and present the church with an opportunity to show relevance in the world, and input into communities with the Hope of the gospel in ways which professional agencies can’t. The potential for the church, if we truly believe in the transforming power of Jesus Christ, are immense for the future – parenting courses, community pastoring etc etc – I look forward to watching the church in action in the future and seeing God through His people reaching a hand out to offer a hurting world real, lasting, life changing hope.