Hear how Christians in Streatham have used Fun Days to help local churches reach out to their wider community, with exciting results!  
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Dear <<First Name>>
Welcome to Fusion Youth and Community UK's
Monthly Update for May!
This month Friend of Fusion Nikki shares a bit of the story of how the churches of Streatham work together to extend God's love to their community through Fun Days and community action. This month's Process of Mission spotlight is on Broad Legitimate Contact and you will also find links to a blog on our website with more Centre specific Fusion news. We hope this update encourages, inspires and and equips you wherever you are! May you see God's glory and grace where you are this month! 

Working together to love Streatham 

How churches in South London are engaging with their community 


This month our intern in Reading, Renee, got to chat with our friend Nikki. Nikki shares with us more about Love Streatham, a Charity that helps local churches in South London unite to show God's love as they work for the good of the community.

Renee: What does Love Streatham look like?                        
Nikki: A few things! One is action days, so that's things like painting, decorating, gardening, cleaning for people in the local community who would struggle to do that, like the elderly. We've also helped local schools. Sometimes we have prayer meetings, where we draw everyone together. We also do individual initiatives people think of, like art exhibitions at a local festival, a Passover meal, a big jumble sale where everything was free.The big thing we do once a year is the Fun Day and then an open air service the next day right in the middle of the community, on Streatham Common. We've run the Fun Day for four years, and the last three years we've also run a follow-up open air messy church service on the next day. 

“Churches can do loads on their own, but when churches get together and try and meet real need in the community that’s when you see amazing things happen. That’s when people sit up, take notice and say ‘what is going on here?’ 
Nikki on Love Streatham
Renee: What would you say have been the rewards/fruits of the Love Streatham Fun Day?
Nikki: It’s been a really good example for the local community of what Christians are like. I think people sort of think of Christians behind closed doors, a little club arguing with each other. But people are coming along and seeing how joyful the volunteers are. Everything is free and we're working together. It's ten churches together. and that, I think has made a big impact on people's view of Christians and God. There have been People who have come along to the fun day and the next day to the messy church service, and from that some people have come along and tried out church. We didn't have messy church in our church and as a result of doing it as a follow on from the festivals some individuals thought we could do this as a church! It's been running for over a year now, we have it every months and that's been brilliant, people have been coming to that.

Do you have any favourite moments or stories from these events that represent what Love Streatham is about?
Nikki: The first year, a father was driving back from the hospital with his toddler. His wife was in the hospital with their small baby. He saw the Festival and decided to stop and take his son along. He stayed the whole time, talked to people and found a lot of community there in a time when he was quite anxious and worried.
Also, another family just happened to see the Fun Day as they were traveling down the high street and decided to get off their bus and come for the last half hour. They were invited back to the messy church service on the following day and they came. 
What are some of the feedback you’ve received from the community?
One year it was a mud bath after heavy rain and they ended up having a tug of war contest. The newspaper used a picture of this and captioned it “Churches Pull Together”. 
Also, there was a young mum who enjoyed it so much that she has gone back to church and become a big part of the church. Her boys come along. The Fun Day and service helped her remember what was good about God and the church community, the loving, joyous side.  

For others who are considering going out into their community in similar ways, what advice/encouragement would you give?
Get a group of friends together, or like minded people and go for it. You can start small, it doesn't need to be huge. If you can put something on for free, that is an expression of joy and love in the community its so counter cultural it really makes people sit up and think, "why are people doing this, whats the catch?" To me it shows God's abundant, almost ridiculous grace. The volunteers love it more than the people coming almost because they love being able to give this all away and say its free and then have those conversations with people asking how can it be free. It's brilliant to have those conversations and be part of this. 

Nikki coordinated Love Streatham for three years, stepping down from the role at the end of last year. We thank her for taking the time to chat with us!

Fusion Y&C UK have enjoyed coming alongside the Love Streatham team through Fun Day training and support. We celebrate the team as they continue to offer their community a glimpse of God's Kingdom!

Each month our Fusion teams around the country do and support a lot of great kingdom work! So we've started a monthly news post on our website. It provides short, up to date news snippets from each centre. Click here to access it now!
Fusion Wheatley is gearing up for their Annual Summer Holiday Club in August. The new Wheatley Community Church has started strongly! To hear about the success of their first "cafe style" service, click here
Fusion Whitley has said goodbye to our mate Kim Anderson! Kim had been spending part of her time in Reading working with our team for many months and has been a valued Fusion team member since 2013. Kim has now returned to the USA. click here for more news from Reading. 

The Process of Mission is Fusion's way of articulating the key aspects we have found to be necessary for reaching whole communities and seeing people find their place in God's Kindgom. If you'd like to be encouraged on your journey of life and mission, we hope these spotlights will do just that and provide helpful food for thought!
Process of Mission Spotlight:
Broad Legitimate Contact 
by Jenny Woods, Fusion Croydon

If you want to look for an effective model of how to do mission, you need look no further than the Early Church. The Apostle Paul thought regionally and in terms of people groups. In other words, he thought big. One-to-one ministry, in many settings is essential. However if you are thinking about transforming communities you need to think bigger.

Broad legitimate contact is all about making connections with a significant number within the community at any one time. That is what broad means. How can we reach many people? 
Legitimate infers the community trusts you and what you are doing. It usually means doing something in an open or public space. In New Testament times, the thing that made you legitimate was the local synagogue. Time and time again, the first thing Paul did was go straight to the synagogue because of the legitimacy that brought and because that’s where the influential people were. In Acts 19:8-10, he got kicked out of the Synagogue and went to the University – another place where he could have broad legitimate contact.

In every society there are things that give you legitimacy such as through your involvement in local schools, your connection to council, networking businesses or contact with the media. In developing countries it may be through a meeting with a community elder.

Open Crowd Festivals are an effective tool for making broad legitimate contact. Every person who comes to a festival has a network of contacts. If they had a good time at the festival, they will tell others who were not there. So a festival of 300 could have influenced over 1000 people.

Making meaningful connections with Christians can help to build significant relationships. Engaging with people in a way that they can trust opens up the door for the kingdom. It is not just about what happens on the day, but what happens after.

Some ways others have established broad legitimate contact:
  • Open Crowd Festivals e.g. major sporting events
  • School lunchtime programs
  • Theatre Productions
  • Community barbeques
  • Local radio programs
  • Mayoral Breakfast
  • Launching research findings
Thanks for reading our update. We hope you enjoyed it. Next month we'll be sharing about the importance of role modelling God's kingdom values to others.

Until then, have a great month and enjoy the start of what will hopefully be a lovely summer!

Skye Leon,
on behalf of
Fusion Youth and Community UK 

British Pilgrimage of Hope -
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 Wednesday 17th of June!
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