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22 December 2017

Joining the movement - what next?

With 1,000 people attending October's Movement Day in London, many have been inspired to transform the lives of those around them. We hear from the people seeking change in their places.

Concluding the day Roger Sutton, director of Movement Day UK gave a challenge: "What could your place look like in 15 years' time if we really got our act together? It's all about unity: working together in strategic and coordinated ways. About prayer and need for God's power in the social, cultural and spiritual transformation of your whole city or town."

The Alliance was delighted to be part of planning the event together with other organisations. Movement Day exceeded all expectations, both in the  numbers attending and the impact the day has had across the UK; people have been inspired to create change.

Key subjects at the event included the vital importance of building multi-ethnic churches, with Kevin Palau (son of the well-known evangelist Luis) speaking on social change in a pre-dominantly secular environment. Delegates also heard from a Chief Constable of a large police force - a reminder that God wants Christians to be involved across the whole of society, as salt and light.

'Says Roger: "What about you having a Movement Day in your town, in your city? What about gathering the church, Christian organisations, Christians in education, the arts, politics and government together for an event and having a conversation about the future of your place?"

Moving with one heart - Doncaster 

Under the banner 'One Heart, One Voice,' Movement Day Doncaster is being held in June 2018 to do just that. Connecting church, business, local government and community leaders in the city, organiser Ian Mayer was inspired by the Movement Day initiative from the start: "The focus on leadership from the Movement Day Team within a place, really connected with the Doncaster story and strategy for transformation."

Meeting since 1998 there are now 80 church leaders in Doncaster who get together weekly and have digital media events to help progress towards positive change in the city. Says Ian: "The leadership quarters within a city, are the gateways to influence. If we are to have the biggest impact, we need to ensure that we focus on where the shape of our place is being formed." 

Spiritual Sunderland

Deb Fozzard is founder and director of Sunderland Connect Network and works with Sunderland church leaders and organisations bringing change in the city together.

In 2014, after contacting the Alliance, Deb met Roger Sutton and joined Gather the organisation behind Movement Day. Sunderland church leaders showed their support quickly and Deb left her full-time role to found Connect Network. Now collaborating with the council on strategy to tackle poverty in the city, they were most recently asked to join them in work on healthy living and financial habits. 

So what would Deb advise to someone thinking about setting up their own movement?

"Love God and ask for His heart. Be prepared to have your heart broken over what you then see. When you see through God's eyes you don't just do projects, you just want to see lives transformed. Prayer and relationship have been keys and striving for unity; working in partnership with Christians and non-Christians as transformation will come through both."

Prayer for change

Sunderland has a rich spiritual heritage. St Bede began monastic life there, 1907 saw revival, and Smith Wigglesworth began his ministry in the city. Through a visit to Argentina and seeing revival there in the 90's church leaders David and Florence Brown and Herbert and Mary Harrison inspired prayer for Sunderland to be increased. "This has been a big part of the work," says Deb with leaders praying a lot in the city now and over the last 18 years.

"In the last four years have seen incredible answers to prayer. The group prayed for old unused land to be built up and remarkably much of this has happened in exactly the places they prayed. A new college and a new Wear crossing is being built." Adds Roger Sutton: "The Movement Day initiative is an incredible thing: it's all about reaching our cities and enabling the people of God to go out there and make a difference. It's all about unity and doing it together."

All in all, inspiring stories from around the country and what a privilege the Alliance had to be involved in such an historic event. Here's to more changes and transformations in the place where you live in 2018.

Billy Kennedy who spoke at Movement Day in London talked passionately to delegates about working together to make change. Leader of various church networks, Billy helped form Love Southampton. Together groups from different churches and ethnicities have worked together with the city council to tackle job insecurity and funding cuts. "The process of transformation is a long term one. We've helped more families foster and adopt, provided debt counselling, youth clubs, parent and toddler groups and worked with refugees and asylum seekers. All of these moves the city towards a better future," he says. 

John Paul Oddoye, leader of Southampton Pastors Network, notes the success through unified working: "We continue to see a demonstration of unity among church leaders from different denominational background and different ethnicities. It has also brought unity among the churches and the impact on the city has been greater."

Here's what attendees of the October London event said:
Steve Botham, Prayer Leader
"Movement Day was the start. It created a vision of what can be done. The challenge is to be able to invest enough deliberate time to change our cities. I believe that God is already on the case."
Debra Green, Safer Places
"It was an historic moment to bring together such a diverse group of people all with a heart for transformation and the synergy of that has led to a greater depth of understanding and opportunity to see that transformation that we were talking about."
Manoj Raithatha, Cross Cultural Mission
"I'm convinced that when we look back we will find that this was one of the most significant events of our time. Because of its big vision, strategic focus and practical application to see town and city transformation."

Join us at movementday.uk to plan your event in 2018

Facts and feedback on Movement Day, London
″ Over 80 key speakers at the event from the UK and around the world including South Africa, America, Europe, India, Asia and Australia
″ 30 organisations partnering with Movement Day UK
″ All denominations represented by the Presidents of Churches Together in England 
″ Many senior christian leaders from business, arts, media, education, politics, local government and health sectors attending
″ Millions reached about the event on social media

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