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In this Issue: NEW: Saltley Research and Evaluation initiative | Christians in Practice - latest | Jonah CPD resource for FE Chaplains | Next steps for What Helps Disciples Grow? | New funding for The Feast's Schools Work Programme | How we can help you and how you can volunteer with us | Publications news |
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Advent Greetings!
We hope this finds you well.  

It's been an exciting couple of months for the Trust, not least in that we're pleased to announce the launch of a new strand to the Trust's work.  

Saltley Research and Evaluation undertakes theologically aware social research and evaluation, to inform and resource the life and work of the churches and their contribution to their communities.   Through Saltley Research and Evaluation, we are able to accept paid commissions both within and beyond the West Midlands region.

We're launching this initiative as a result of a growing number of requests to undertake research and evaluation work - we're starting small, but are excited to see how things develop!

You can read more about it on our Saltley Research and Evaluation webpage.

We're also beginning work on putting together a small learning community of people with a serious interest in putting theologically-aware social research to good use.

Watch this space for further developments!

 
Christians in Practice:
Exploring how participation in
community life relates to Christian faith

 
(partnership project with Church Urban Fund, Arthur Rank Centre, Ministry Division of the C of E, Dioceses of Birmingham and Lichfield)
 
Simon Foster writes:
Early in the project we encouraged church leaders and ministers to volunteer their churches to take part in our research.   From amongst those of you who got in touch early, some really valuable group interviews and case studies emerged - stories that had the power to refine and reshape the project.   If you're one of the ministers, individuals or groups that took part - you'll know who you are: thank you.

Downstream of that initial scoping, the shape of the project has indeed changed, and we’re now looking to engage churches in a different way.   We've gone from picking up some of the most committed and cutting edge communities, to working across the board with the widest variety of churches, to provide a really broad understanding of how participating in community life relates to Christian faith.

That means we now want to learn from a random sample of churches in our two partner dioceses, Lichfield, and Birmingham.   We will ask those churches to take part in a one-off congregational survey, and in some cases, to nominate individuals for interview.

Following our early work, we've simplified our congregational questionnaire, and refined our interview template.   We're looking to be in touch with those churches that have been sampled early in the New Year.  

Email:   simon@saltleytrust.org.uk
Phone:   0121 427 6800
or
Visit the project site:   www.christiansinpractice.net 
 
Illustration from new Plumbing the Depths resource, drawn by Si Smith

Coming in 2017: Plumbing the Depths -
new CPD resource for FE chaplains 

Ever felt a bit like Jonah? Perhaps you have felt called to do a challenging job - are you getting stuck in? Or running away?  Do you sometimes feel swallowed up by the size of the task?  Or maybe things are going well and your work is making a difference?  

Plumbing the Depths is a new reflective resource designed to facilitate reflection on experiences of calling and ministry, based on themes from the Book of Jonah.  It is being developed by West Midlands Churches' FE Council based on an original idea by Sarah Brush and Toni Coulton, with additional material by Chris Polhill and 24 specially-commissioned illustrations by Si Smith.  

We've been hard at work on final editing of the resource over the autumn, and it will be published on the West Midlands Churches' FE Council website in February/March 2017.
 

What's next for What Helps Disciples Grow?
 

One of the highlights for us this year has been the publication of Simon Foster's report on What Helps Disciples Grow?  It's been pleasing and encouraging to see the uptake of the report in various places.

You may be wondering what comes next?  We've blogged about some of the possible directions for the work here.  But we're also very interested to hear what thoughts, questions or project ideas What Helps Disciples Grow? has sparked off for you.  If you have a bright idea, contact us!

Developing Schools Work Programmes

At our last Trustees' meeting Birmingham-based youth work charity The Feast were amongst the new recipients of Trust funding and support, for a project to widen their work with local schools.  Here, Jill Appleton, Birmingham Development Worker and Schools Work Adviser at The Feast, explains more:

'The Feast is a youth work charity dedicated to equipping young people to live well in an increasingly diverse and divided world. Our aim is to see resilient young people who are confident in their identity and beliefs, able to build meaningful relationships with anyone, committed to confronting prejudice and working together to establish vibrant communities.
 
In recent years, more and more schools have approached us to support them in the delivery of SMSC, encouraging cohesion and RE teaching. We have developed programmes to support schools, but in the current economic climate schools do not have the funding to access our work.  For this reason, we were extremely grateful to St. Peter’s Saltley Trust for their generous grant, which will enable us to work in several secondary schools in Birmingham. 

We will be working with a range of schools, delivering our Developing Identity Programme and our PSHE programme based on our Guidelines for Dialogue. Teachers in each school will be trained in both programmes, so that they can become the expert in their school, passing on that expertise to their colleagues and therefore reaching even more pupils. Likewise, schools in academy chains will cascade the training to other colleagues, meaning that this important work will be appearing on the curriculum of even more schools.

These programmes will make a real difference to the lives of both pupils and teachers as they explore ways to talk about faith and live more harmoniously in their schools and communities. We have already signed up two schools and we’re really excited to see the positive outcomes this work will bring. Thank you again to the Trustees for your amazing support'.

 
Bright Idea for a Project?

As a Trust we’re currently focusing our efforts on three main areas of work:
  • Understanding and enabling growth in Christian discipleship (in all its fullness)
  • Supporting Further Education Colleges to integrate SMSC into teaching and learning
  • Enhancing the teaching of Christianity in schools, and strengthening the regional support structures for RE
If you have a bright idea for a project in any of these three areas, and want to explore whether St Peter’s Saltley Trust could help you develop it, visit our website to read more about our priorities  and funding criteria.  If you think there’s a potential fit, get in touch with us at: director@saltleytrust.org.uk

We also have vacancies for VOLUNTEERS!
  • If you have skills in WRITING, PHOTOGRAPHY or FILM-MAKING, and would love to capture stories about our project work
  • If you have skills, or want to gain experience, in RESEARCH and would love to support one of our projects in that way
  • If you are a dab hand at ADMINISTRATION and could help plan and organise occasional events and conferences run by the Trust and our project partners
... contact us for more details!
 
Some recent publications arising from project work by or in conjunction with
St Peter's Saltley Trust.  See more on our publications page.
NEW! NEW!  NEW!
Faith in the Public Square in 1941 and 1991: Two Malvern Conferences Reviewed
By Ian Jones
Journal of Beliefs and Values  37:3, pp. 247-58
Published online 5/10/2016
Free e-print here (limited number of copies available)
What Helps Disciples Grow?
By Simon Foster
Saltley Trust, 2016
Click to visit project page for free download of report and other data
Why Study A-Level Religious Studies? Qualitative Perspectives from Two English Midlands Sixth Forms
By Ian Jones
Journal of Beliefs and Values
Published Online 23/09/206
Free e-print here (limited number of copies available)
Copyright © 2016 ST PETER'S SALTLEY TRUST, All rights reserved.


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