This article was originally published in Edition (9) of Prayer Magazine,  Jan-Mar 2007.

The vision of redeeming our Communities is simple - Promoting partnerships between churches, the Police and local authorities, to address the causes of crime and bring hope to local communities throughout the UK

With 15 years of positive partnerships between churches in North West England, combining prayer, social action and a gospel message of hope and working with the Police and local authorities, as well as projects such as Message2000 and Festival:Manchester this push for prayer and action has seen thousands of lives transformed, whole communities given a fresh hope and crime rates continue to fall.

Giving a big project update at the last Trumpet Call event in October, Redeeming our Communities  brought a number of Police and other friends to share the great work going on around the Nations, where Christians are Praying and providing very practical assistance to social action, social regeneration and general community awareness projects across the country.  The Trumpet Call event included interviews with Sgt Kevin Borg from West Midlands Police Offender Management unit, Chief Constable Matt Baggott from Leicestershire Police and Andrew Wooding Jones, director of Ashburnham Place in East Sussex.

As a result of their our ongoing liaison with the police, Redeeming our Communities we will shortly be issuing a paper giving guidelines to churches and Christian groups about how to work with the police in your local area.

Debra has also been traveling around the country sharing the vision of Redeeming our Communities, in regions life Cardiff through the Impact the Nation Conference early last October and also to York to speak to the churches that make up ‘One voice York’.

In Cardiff Debra shared from the heart very practical examples from Manchester of how God has been moving to bring a very solid prayer base to the city and also how God has created such a bond with the Police and local church.

In York to a meeting of leaders Debra explained the need for the correct spiritual atmosphere over our city if we want evangelism to work. She recounted how DL Moody wouldn’t go to Manchester because the church was so disunited. In 1993 she said the situation was unchanged, and at the first prayer network meeting only 63 people turned up for the whole of Greater Manchester!  After 13 years of work this had changed to gatherings of over 2000 and connections with prayer networks, local church and work directly with the police right across the city.

Debra declared unity is not just for the sake of unity. She said that
- unity has to flow into mission and
- unity has to be a catalyst for change.

Toward the end of a very informative meeting Debra asked those who wanted to ‘take something off’ to hang a jacket or top on the clothes rack in the room. She encouraged everyone that they were symbolically taking off one thing to put on a new royal garment. There was a very strong response from the leaders and soon the clothes rack was full!

Obviously the shape of how God moves area to area will be different, so Redeeming our Communities is very much a catalyst for transformation how every that works out, and not a one thing fixes all model.  In the months ahead, keep following the reports of what is going on…..

A new DVD which was launched on October 21st is now available. The DVD contains 2 hours of material about community transformation, crime reduction, engagement with the police, VIP interviews and more. The DVD is £3.50 and can be purchased online at www.citylinks.org.uk/shop. Or please send a cheque for £4 to City Links, Lancaster House, Harper Road, Sharston, Manchester M22 4RG.

 

 

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