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Brighton: new look and vision for city mission

Brighton and Hove City Mission has a new look, to underline the fresh vision of new Mission Director Julian Haddow, appointed last year ...

Brighton and Hove City Mission has a new look, to underline the fresh vision of new Mission Director Julian Haddow, appointed last year.

Established in 1849, the Brighton and Hove City Mission has consistently been motivated by the needs of the city. The City Mission started the first three Ragged Schools in Brighton, well before free education was available for everyone.

It went on to start Brighton’s free (now council run) library, and helped rebuild large areas of the Brighton sewage system. The aim of the City Mission has always been to share the gospel with the people of the city, whilst finding solutions to the most pressing social issues.

Ministry in recent years has been to the most needy and vulnerable in their homes, providing food parcels door to door, collecting and distributing Christmas presents in conjunction with social services, and starting a handful of significant youth clubs dotted across the city.

As many charities do every 30 or 40 years, the Mission has reached a significant moment where a new start, a refocus on core values and aims, a fresh lick of paint, and a new chapter has been needed.

Before being appointed as mission director in 2014 Julian Haddow worked for London City Mission and overhauled the ministry and building of Bethel Christian Centre in Dagenham over a period of 10 years. Part of the work in London included flattening and rebuilding The Hub youth club making it twice the size to minister to 180 teenagers aged between 12 – 25. Julian then moved down to Sussex to work as the manager of Antifreeze (a homeless charity in Brighton) for the next five years where he again re-branded and rebuilt the homeless centre as it stands today.

Julian’s passion is to see quality evangelism done to build God’s Kingdom, taking old charities with a good heart and making them excellent.

He explains: “I have been working with Tony since 2010 on ideas and the future of the City Mission, and its been a long and exciting journey to reach this point four years later where he has retired and I can take up the reigns of leadership.

"In 2013 I went to see a wise older couple in their caravan at the Momentum festival. We prayed and they shared a vision they had for me. They saw an old large fishing boat in the harbour; it had the workers, but the leadership were not ready to let me onboard yet. It was covered in barnacles and needed to be made seaworthy again. In the vision they saw me not as the fisherman, but as the captain of the ship, enabling the team of fisherman to do up the boat and make it once again glide through the waters.

"That is my vision that is my passion. I love the vast history of the City Mission, and my role is to make it a ship worthy of fishing in the 21st Century.”

The new strapline for the mission focuses once again on serving the city, church and Christ and there are currently four teams doing that:

  • The Schools Team reaches over 4000 primary aged children each year though faith based assemblies and prayer spaces in over 25 locations across the city
  • Brighton Food Bank has existed for 15 years, helping individuals and families in times of crisis with food parcels, home start-up packs and fuel aid
  • The Rest Homes team visit 20 rest homes across Brighton and Hove to provide Christian services for residents
  • The Life Stream team care for women in Brighton and Hove who need support in everyday life issues

Each of these will be working closely with local churches:

  • The School team is expanding to set up a training and resource centre in Brighton for Christians in education. They plan to offer training for churches and church workers where appropriate
  • The Food Bank are facilitating a faith-based forum for Christian food banks in the area as well as including a wider group for Christians working within social depravation
  • The Rest Homes team is adding a focus and is offering one-to-one pastoral visits to rest homes with local church members
  • Life Stream is also reaching out to local churches already specialising in ministry to women to ensure we are working together and we can gradually, where appropriate, then feed our contacts into these churches

Julian says: “We are so thankful to once again partner with CPO on rebranding the mission, for their guidance and encouragement on this new voyage. I worked with them a lot during my time with LCM and it’s good to continue that journey with them.”

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