Stoke on Trent is home to two UE teams, Stoke and Stoke West End, which you can read about below
Team leaders Liz & Steve Perry live locally with their children in Stoke. Their hope is to offer something alternative to ‘traditional church’.
Liz is involved in the local community association and other community initiatives including the London Road Festival and the local Fair Trade movement. Steve’s time is spent developing a family-friendly internet radio station called Access Radio involving many volunteers from the local community.
Community activities are often located around the ‘Urban Village Green’ – with community centre, playing field, community garden, chapel and the pub nearby.
Stoke – West End
The focus in Stoke town is very much around transformation through creativity: arts, music and community events which are locally based, and Marg Hardcastle, Stoke, West End team leader, has been involved in organising a large music and arts festival in the city for the past few years.
‘Faith in the Village’, a fortnightly Thursday morning gathering based in a retirement village, was established 5 years ago when the ‘village’ first opened, bringing together people from different church and non-churched backgrounds in a very relaxed style of ‘church’, with deep friendships being formed.
As half-time minister at Stoke Baptist Centre, Marg spends the majority of her time outside the church context. Albeit, the small and attractive building is well known as a local community facility; someone commented recently that it feels “like a thin place”.
Marg is gathering a team together to explore how to help people nurture their sense of spirituality, and encounter God in ways that relate to their everyday life and cultural context.