TM Camborne changing lives
When funding was approved for Transforming Mission Camborne in 2019 no one could have guessed the impact of the project on real people.
When Phase 2 of Transforming Mission went to bid, the Camborne Cluster of Churches was in regular contact with around 20 children and young people a month. Among its aspirations at the beginning was the desire to develop connections with local schools and families.
During the first two years, which also saw the world hit by a pandemic, Camborne Cluster grew its numbers of children and young people to 115 and by May 2022, that number had reached 460 children and young people and almost 230 parents and carers from across the cluster.
Revd Rosheen Browning, Priest in Charge of Camborne, Tuckingmill, Penponds, Crowan and Treslothan, said: “I am truly grateful for the amazing team I have around me at TM Camborne, from Becky our families leader, Nanette, the project manager, Esther, worship leader and my colleague Revd Graham Adamson, to our relentlessly dedicated churchwardens, lay ministers and our volunteers.
“Our initiatives include offering meals to families each week; we run two new toddler groups and holiday clubs. We have utilised the most rural of our church settings to run Wild Church and we also have Secret Church, so called because the church is hidden and waiting to be discovered like the Secret Garden. All of these bring children to churches which previously had none.”
Becky Lines, Children and Families Leader, said: “Secret Church is a new way of doing junior church. The name Secret Church came about because the church members I talked to said that no-one could ever find the church! Now the club has evolved, led by the inquisitiveness of the children, into an exploration of the secrets of faith.
“Wild Church is for people who want to explore spirituality in a natural setting. Most of those who come along are not church members but are open to the idea of God as creator and guide. The idea is to wonder and wander. There are self-guided activities which people can choose to do, or they can just immerse themselves in the surroundings before we gather again to share what we have discovered about the theme or about ourselves.”
And it is not just children, the cluster continues to build relationships with those on the very margins of society. Through Church Kitchen, the cluster provides meals to the local homeless.
Rosheen added: “We have also introduced prayer walks which take place on housing estates that our church congregation wouldn’t previously have gone to.”
Worship Leader, Esther Sardar, who leads the prayer walks, said: “The prayer walks have been impactful for us and locals alike. They have opened our eyes to the needs of our communities helping us become more effective in mission and prayer.
Those taking part in the walks worship together in song before the walk. Esther says: “Then as we walk the streets God speaks. Not only by the things we see and hear but in impromptu conversations with local people. I believe being physically present and engaged in the community in this way shows we care.”
Rosheen is open about the difficulties of being relevant and adaptable when you have a Grade 1 listed building that is very hard to adapt. “How do you draw attention to the parish church which is just known as ‘that building opposite Aldi’ or ‘that church next door to Wetherspoons’?
“You matter, you are worth it”
“You want to spark people’s interest, you want to light their way. You want to say to a town in the top 10% of most deprived areas in Britain: ‘You matter. You are loved and you are worth it, this is for you. And that is just what we are doing.
“We have an awesome God bringing multiple blessings to this area in ways beyond measure. For all of that I am truly grateful.”
The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, said: “I’ve been privileged to see the work of TM Camborne for myself and it is every bit as impressive as Rosheen suggests. In particular I’ve been humbled by the sheer faith, hope and love which is so evident in the team there: faith, hope and love which are making a material difference for people who are genuinely on the margins of society. I thank God for them and for all they are doing.”