The Parson Cross Initiative (PXI) in north Sheffield is exploring new ways of being church in the communities it serves. SHARON BARNARD reports
“We are putting the church back into the heart of community action and community development,” explains Nick Waterfield, PXI’s Pioneer Community Worker.
“We work in partnership with churches and other organisations and agencies to provide services and support to local people, and to promote social justice.”
This Methodist Church project which began in 2010 and has its base at Mount Tabor Methodist Church in north Sheffield, includes the Share food bank, a community growing scheme Space to Grow and chaplaincy work.
“We are giving value to the skills, passions and interests we find in our community, and finding practical ways of sharing God’s love amongst our neighbours,” Nick adds.
There have been many high points for PXI along the way, he says, but there was one stand-out moment for him:
“[It was] seeing and supporting one of our friends with a passion for amateur photography, create and host a two-week exhibition in a town centre gallery highlighting the lives of people from within our local neighbourhood communities in a project called #OurStoriesOurLives.”
PXI, which is funded by the Methodist Church and through grants and donations, is firmly rooted in the Christian faith.
“[It] underpins everything we do,” Nick stresses. “We demonstrate and share our faith in our work, in conversation, and in prayer with our friends and neighbours.”
As the only full-time paid worker, he says the biggest challenge has been finding enough resources to take advantage of all the opportunities that come their way.
“The harvest is plentiful,” he points out, “but the labourers are few.”
PHOTOS: Top - community gardeners in action on the Space to Grow scheme;
Righ: Nick Waterfield talks food banks with local MP Gill Furniss
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