A guest blog from our associate partners, Livability …
‘Up-and-coming’ ; ‘a no-go area’; ‘high levels of free school meals’; ‘vibrant and multicultural’. Who is telling the stories that define your neighbourhood?
Stories are powerful – they stick around and can define an area for years to come. But who is telling your neighbourhood’s stories?
Is it the news, trying to raise their ratings or sell more newspapers by telling sensational stories of knife crime and drug culture? Is it the estate agents, renaming areas and emphasising their middle class credentials to drive up prices? Is it local community projects, recounting stories of deprivation in order to make their funding bids more successful?Who tells the stories that define your neighbourhood?
At Livability, we are passionate about community. We have a vision to see local churches at the heart of livable communities – places where everyone is welcome, accepted and encouraged to develop their gifts; places where relationships can be restored; where wellbeing is taken seriously; places where everyone can begin to experience the Shalom of God.
These livable communities are places where everyone can tell their own story – not just the powerful, the educated, the non-disabled. If the church is to be at the heart of transforming communities, then we need to understand stories. We need to be people who listen out for stories from the edges, stories that might challenge established narratives. We need to encourage people to tell their stories and value them. We need to be story-people.
Come and hear more about how storytelling can help transform your neighbourhood: Saturday at 11 in the Village Hall and Monday at 1.45 in the Village Hall.