Latest news from CNI Network...
As part of Interfaith Week from 8th -15th November. CST - Community Safety Trust are putting on some SAFE (Security Advice For Everyone) webinars that cover all of the key elements of security for places of worship and will include Covid implications. Some of the areas covered are:-
They have developed 2 webinars A+B, each lasting an hour that ideally need you to participate in both – including time for questions. There is also a combined webinar.
Please note that each individual will need to register for the event using their Zoom registration.
The Community Security Trust is the UK Jewish community security organisation. We can trace our roots back 75 years to when a group of Jewish ex-servicemen returning from war were horrified to discover that the racism that had been rife in Britain in the 1930s had not gone away. They set up a group to protect the UK Jewish community and from those beginnings we now have the CST: around 100 professional staff and 2,500 active, trained volunteers providing security at the UK’s 650 Jewish community buildings and 1,000 Jewish community events every year.
CST has shared their knowledge with other faith groups for decades, but since the Christchurch and Sri Lanka attacks we have been inundated with requests to help other communities, including many from police forces, local government and mayors’ offices around the country.
They have responded by delivering security awareness briefings to these faith communities. They call this programme SAFE – Security Advice For Everyone. CST is doing this work because they believe it is right to share their security knowledge with communities that are the target of hate crime. Visit their website for more www.cst.org.uk
Guildford Street Angels leader Chris Britton has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
The award for Mr Britton, chair of Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy (GTCC), marks his many years of community service, especially with young people in the town.
He moved here 40 years ago, volunteered as a Street Angel in their first year of operation, 2008, and now champions the work as a trustee. Mr Britton steered inception of the Community Angels project which now serves the lonely and isolated in our local communities.
The Boys’ Brigade has been another passion, serving for 45 years, 30 with the 1st Guildford Company he led for 15 years and he has helped in a local initiative to start new after-school clubs, called “Fusion” groups.
The Britton family have been members of St Saviour’s Church since 1981, where he has also served in many roles.
“I am so proud, and humbled, to have been awarded the BEM, such an unexpected honour,” Mr Britton said.
“To be able to be involved with projects that have helped so many people, from all walks of life, and particularly young people has been a privilege in itself.
“I believe this special recognition reflects on the work of all the teams of volunteers at GTCC and the other charities I am involved in, who share my passion about serving others, motivated by putting faith into action.”
Mr Britton will be presented with his medal by Michael More-Molyneux, HM Lord Lieutenant of Surrey (patron of GTCC), at a special ceremony.
CNI Network October Update and invitation to our AGM event:
October - Frances Novillo, Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy
October’s CNI Network and Inspire Magazine community hero is Frances Novillo from Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy.
Frances has spent most of her career as a church musician and then went back to university to complete a Masters in the Psychology of Religion, during which Frances started to volunteer as a Chaplain with Hertfordshire Police.
“I started the course not expecting to change my career but it surprised me that I could hold my faith position with integrity in discussion with people of other and no faith backgrounds.
“Through my ministry with church music I was mostly working with Christians, whereas the course and volunteering made me realise that I was able to be a person of Christian faith in the wider sphere of society.
“Working in chaplaincy in Hertfordshire I met people from the Jewish, Muslim and Pagan communities and for me that helped me to become clearer expressing my faith as I didn’t have the safety blanket of only talking to people who were Christian, like me.
“I have become a more faith-filled Christian ministering outside of the church setting.”
After graduating, Frances saw an advert for a Lead Chaplain with Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy.
“I took on this role in 2018 which encompassed Street Angels and Town Centre Chaplaincy.
“Walking into the office and seeing stab vests made me wonder what on earth I had let myself in for!
“However speaking to the Police I was relieved to be advised we didn't need to wear stab vests and when out on patrol with the Street Angels I realised how much we were welcomed, accepted and loved by the people out and about in Watford on weekend evenings.”
A large part of the Lead Chaplain's role was to pull together policies and procedures to help safeguard the volunteers in the work they do. Frances has also become a key part of wider strategic planning for the smooth running of the town, taking part in PubWatch, Community Protection Group, Domestic Abuse Forum, Suicide Prevention Board and the Bereavement Forum.
“Having the Street Angels and church voice heard in these groups is good for the work across the country as others involved are often part of national networks.
“It is a massive responsibility to be a Christian invited to a place at the table of these mostly secular groups discussing dynamics that affect and bring change to our community and people.
“I really sense I am an ambassador for Christ and a link to the wider church community at these meetings.
“We do though need to change our language and attitudes away from Christianese to fit in with the language spoken by those we partner with seeking to bring and influence change.”
After two and a half years working with Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy Frances is about to move on to a new role of Multi Faith Chaplaincy Lead for Surrey and Sussex Police.
“Part of the appeal of this role was the criteria in the job description to liaise with the Street Angel and Street Pastor projects across the region, which shows the high esteem that our work is held in.
This year Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy has benefited from the Government’s encouragement for people to volunteer as well as a rising awareness of the pressures on people at work during an economic downturn.
“We have eleven volunteer chaplains visiting businesses such as Pret, Starbucks, Wetherspoons, gyms, gift shops, the Market and Town Hall.
“As a Chaplaincy we were really sorry to hear that John Lewis would not be reopening in Watford but we were available to support the staff who were facing redundancy.
“Our Chaplains are supporting other shop staff and business owners facing a worrying future, for example, the ripple effect of John Lewis closing has caused concern that customers who used to come to Watford for John Lewis but stay to visit other shops simply won't come back.”
“Our daytime Chaplains and night-time Street Angels continue to be a sign of hope and joy day and night across the town centre.
Frances has also started other initiatives such as Watford Wellness working with the Chamber of Commerce will continue thanks to the amazing dedicated volunteer team.
For more information visit watfordtcc.org, facebook.com/watfordtcc and twitter.com/watford_TCC
It would be great to catch up with you at our Annual General Meeting on Monday 12th October at 7pm on Zoom. All are welcome - book in via www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cni-network-annual-general-meeting-tickets-118605210377
September - Dirk-Jan Boerman from Beach Mission
This months Community Hero is Dirk-Jan Boerman from Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel, close to Rotterdam in Holland. Dirk is the co-founder of Beach Mission who work in several European holiday resorts over the summer months.
Dirk grew up in a Christian family with a view of God that he had to obey many rules and that to be a Christian would mean a boring life. Dirk explains,
“I was trying to keep in the middle, I didn’t want to make a choice for a long time.
“On one side I believed that God existed but on the other side I wanted to have a free life.
“At 16 years old I went to a Christian concert and a speaker shared that God cared for me and wanted me to have a personal relationship with him.
“That message spoke deep into my heart and all of a sudden I comprehend what the message of the Gospel was but thought I may change my mind by the next day so responded privately by praying that I was not sure if I could give my all.”
This prayer led to Dirk reading the Bible over and over and the messages from the preacher becoming very relevant and real to Dirk.
After High School Dirk went to Delft University to study biochemical engineering.
At University there were very few Christians and Dirk was struck by the way other students spoke about Christians with many saying if you are a bad scientist you believe in God as he is the answer to all problems which cannot be solved.
“I started to pray with other Christians at University and after a while I recognised the need for more sharing of faith and others advised that I would be a good person to do this.
“A group on the University were active in sharing their faith on the streets on Wednesday’s and after many weeks I decided to join them.
“I thought sharing my faith would be hard and difficult but I had very good conversations and was really happy to do so.”
In the Summer Dirk became involved in an organisation, Naar House, that was evangelising in the city as well as at raves. Dirk was involved in Naar House for 12 years and became part of the board of trustees.
“Having a good conversation is not the goal of mission work.
“Jesus did not say go and have a good conversation, pray a prayer of decision or go and make people sit in a church.
“Jesus said go and make disciples.”
Dirk started to look at how there could be better follow-up with those who had fruitful conversations. In 2007 he led a team to holiday resorts in Holland with a vision to go where the young people they met at the raves went on holiday.
“My vision was for summer resorts and so in 2014 I left Naar House to focus on reaching people in holiday resorts abroad.
“This was the start of Beach Mission.”
Since 2014 Dirk has coordinated 20 teams who have served at holiday resorts across Europe including Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, Albufeira in Portugal and Salou and Lloret de Mar in Spain as well as Texel in Holland.
“Every night the teams are round and about in the nightlife wearing yellow polo shirts with a different bible verse which is unique to the individual on the back.
“The yellow shirts are easily spotted and a conversation starts quite easily.
“We are also able to help them by assisting them to the hotel or apartment and giving out flip-flops, bottles of water and bracelets with the web site which are very popular.
“We invite those we reach to a twice-weekly barbecue where we have free food, music, DJ and someone who will share their life story.
“For those who are interested they can stay a little longer and we offer the first night of the Alpha Course which is available in many languages and in every European country.”
This year has been very different to other years with coronavirus affecting the trips, with Bulgaria and Spain needing to be cancelled and only Holland and Albufeira going ahead.
“The trips still resulted in people coming to faith, people been baptised and miracles happening.
“We experienced God very close and the week in Portugal was very special with God’s presence very close.
“We do our work to help others but the first blessing we receive is for each person on the team.”
Dirk shared the story of a bizarre evening whilst on BeachMission.
"Cees and Ricardo decided to sing a song for a boy.
"He called his friends back, which led to a large circle singing about God.
"Outside the circle a boy and girl were watching and so one of the team Ricardo walked over to them.
"Another of the team, Femke, wondered what was wrong with the girl's (Maelle) foot, since it was in a cast.
"Because they were French Viveck helped to translate and after a chat we offered to pray for her foot.
"She indicated that it gave a peaceful feeling and Ricardo stepped out by asking if she wanted to walk which Maelle did and reported that the pain had diminished.
"We immediately decided to pray again, after which she started walking again, still pain free.
"The team prayed that Jesus would take away all the pain and heal her broken foot, and yes God did the miraculous and she walk without pain!
"It was really, really great to see what God was doing here, he touched her heart, yet her boyfriend though sceptical could not deny what a miracle Jesus has done in the life of his girlfriend.
"God again and again shows His greatness through miracles, worship and great conversations."
Beach Mission is a very practical way of reaching mainly young people on holiday across Europe. Dirk and the team are now looking to plan for 2021 putting in place logistics around covid. For more information visit en.beachmission.org
The City of Hull Street Angels volunteers found the woman in the water on Friday night
A couple of Hull’s street angels truly lived up to the name after they dramatically rescued a woman who ended up in the freezing Hull Marina water.
Usually the City of Hull Street Angels team help those a little worse for wear or handing out flip flops to those struggling in their heels. Read more here.
But sometimes they have they have to go above and beyond, never more so than on Friday night.
The two street angels were patrolling Hull Marina around 9pm when they spotter clothing and a handbag close to the Holiday Inn.
One of the street angels, who just wants to be known as Tom, explained what happened.
He said: “We were outside the Holiday Inn on Hull Marina around 9pm when we saw something wasn’t right.
“At first we could not see the patient but then she appeared from under the water in a distressed state. She said she could not swim and she put herself in the water.
“We could not gain access to the pontoons to hold onto the patient so we had to verbally instruct the patient to hold on until we gained access.
“The police responded very quickly and were on scene within minutes. As they arrived, a local boat owner opened the gates so we could access the pontoons with the police to rescue her.
“We gave the woman foil blankets as it was clear she was high risk of hypothermia, the ambulance then arrived and took over.”
City of Hull Street Angels is a registered charity which began in 2018.
Volunteers patrol on Friday and Saturday evenings, currently from 8pm until midnight and are easily recognisable with their red jackets.
They provide drunken revellers who have over indulged with water and flip flops, wipes, foil blankets and vomit bowls if needed.
They even carry portable phone chargers so people can make urgent calls if their phones have run out of power. All volunteers are trained in basic first aid.
Trustee Carole Fenny has praised the two street angels for their quick actions in saving the woman.
She said: “I am amazingly proud of what they did. They did a great job and saved her life.
“They were pleased with what they did but sadly it is not that rare for us.
“A year or so ago one of our volunteers had to hold one woman by the collar until help arrived after she jumped into the water at Princes Quay.
“We have dealt with a number of people with mental health issues.
“Unfortunately, the bus we used to could take people in for privacy until appropriate help arrived has since died.
“We are trying to raise funds for a new one but it could take a long time."
A gofundme page has been set up to help raise funds for the City of Hull Street Angels.
After an enforced break due to coronavirus, the Guildford Street Angels project has resumed its friendly night-time patrols, providing a calming presence and a listening ear to people socialising in the town centre.
Guildford’s town centre chaplain, the Revd Noelle Coe, said “We have been working very hard during lockdown to get our teams ready for the time when they are able to return to the streets – offering compassion and practical help, after hours.
“We now have new rotas in place, new operational guidelines and face masks at the ready.
“Initially, our volunteers will be supporting anyone who becomes vulnerable at the earlier time of 8pm until midnight, as many venues are currently operating shorter hours.
“We are so thrilled to be getting back on to the streets, helping the town return to normality in these unprecedented times.
“We are grateful to the support of so many partner organisations, such as the police, Guildford Borough Council, churches and Pubwatch, who have made this possible.
“We are looking forward to working with others to help people ‘Be cautious, Be Kind, Be Calm’ when enjoying a night out – working together to get our town back on its feet , as safely as possible.”
The Street Angel project is run by the Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy, a registered charity, and was established in 2008, at a time, the chaplaincy says, “when aggression, antisocial behaviour and crime was a growing problem in the town centre”.
The project is supported by churches, businesses and people from the Guildford area.
Before lockdown the Street Angels project had been helping some 5,000 people a year, between 10.30pm and 4am, every Friday and Saturday night.
The chaplaincy adds: “The Street Angels are proud that the police, nightclub doormen, paramedics and CCTV operators value their contribution to the safety of local streets, helping the town win the coveted Purple Flag award. During this enforced suspension many of these angelic volunteers have transferred their skills to their sister befriending project, Community Angels, who have experienced a 300% increase in the demand for their befriending services.
Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy has continued to receive public recognition of its contribution to the community. Guildford Street Angels was awarded the Mayor of Guildford’s Award for Service to the Community 2020 and won Surrey and Hampshire Eagle Radio BizAwards Social Enterprise of the Year Award 2020.
It says it is is also proud to be the current chosen charity of the year for the Guildford Town Guides.
Organisations and people interested in finding out more about how they can support the work of the chaplaincy can find details on its website.
This story is based on a press release from the Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy.
Donate to the work of CNI Network here
Street Angels - Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network:
Registered Charity 1136416 / Company Limited by Guarantee 07173090
All content and various brand names (C) CNI Network
Postal Address: CNI Network, The King's Centre, Park Rd, Halifax, HX1 2TS
E-Mail: email@example.com (founder / CEO) / Phone: 07725501465