CUR:ve - Church in Upper Rissington: Valuing Everyone
This is the story of a partnership that has grown organically as residents of Upper Rissington in the Cotswolds have taken action to address the need to build community and make Jesus known in their neighbourhood.
The group came from a variety of Christian traditions, but some were members at nearby Bourton on the Water Baptist Church, and a rich partnership has developed as a result between this historic church and the new missional community, including support in the form of a Home Mission grant.
Upper Rissington was originally a military base; the Red Arrows were once based there. When the base closed, it provided a new and relatively affordable source of housing, attracting many young families, and creating a ‘dormitory’ village that lacked any real community facilities.
CUR:ve (Church in Upper Rissington: Valuing Everyone) has effectively filled this gap. The Revd Ian Fowler, minister of Bourton Baptist Church, who chairs the group, explains that “everything that happens in Upper Rissington has CUR:ve’s fingerprints on it; it’s basically how people do things together”.
Ian runs through a list of activities, including football, sharing food, ‘buggy running’, fitness, and church. It’s interesting that Sunday morning worship is seen as one of many activities, rather than an immovable block around which other activities may develop. CUR:ve has evolved to build community with a view to building church, rather than the other way around. “We want people to try different things” says Ian. “That includes both sport and church”.
It’s with this in mind that three years ago the group appointed a Sports, Community and Outreach Worker, rather than a minister. Kami Kalsi has recently taken over from the first worker appointed to that role, Rob French, and he is supported in part by a grant from Home Mission. The group want someone who is available and present in the community, and not restricted by the need to make ‘church’ happen. On the other hand, the group are excited that one of their short-term goals, to establish a gathering for worship every Sunday, has been achieved, and that the local school are allowing them to use their premises at no charge for this.
Their prayer is that people will encounter Jesus through all of CUR:ve’s activities, and also for growth so that the work eventually becomes self-funding.
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