Travelling around the estates parishes in the Diocese in my new role of Dean of Estates Ministry I am impressed by the many different ways in which estates churches are reaching out into their communities.

In this post I am focussing on the work of Springfield Church on the Roundshaw Estate in Wallington.

Roundshaw is one of our largest outer London estates. It was built on the site of the old Croydon Airport in 1965. The propeller shaped cross of St Paul’s Church, shared with Springfield on Sundays, is a reference to the aeronautical heritage of the area:

In 1998, the decision was taken to start the process of a partial demolition regeneration programme over a ten-year period, resulting at a cost of £80m.

Springfield’s current work on Roundshaw, led by pioneer curate, David Atkinson, is based on the Vanguard Way Community Centre and three midweek projects, two of which I was able to visit.

Here is their introductory video for the first of these which combines a community meal with a time of meditation on a verse of Scripture led by David Atkinson.

Like many estates projects, food and building community is a key part of their outreach in the community. Hot on the heels of the community meditation is After School Tea and Toast for primary school children and their parents.

They keep the theme of food with Popcorn and Ponder ‘Come and watch a film version of the Bible and ponder what it means over some popcorn.’

I like the way Springfield are serving their community on the estate in these creative ways, building community and offering gentle and sensitive introductions to the Christian faith.

If community action projects are signs of God’s kingdom, which I believe they are, the skill is to also offer ways for people to meet the King.

Springfield’s work on Roundshaw seems to draw these two things together in a fine example of estates-based holistic mission.

Come back soon for more stories of estates ministry in our diocese.