However, Regeneration is not just an urban issue. Village high streets and coastal towns are all needing to adapt to changes in society.
Linked with all the regeneration issues is the need to house the growing number of people in the Essex and East London, with the attendant issues of affordability and transport.
The word “regeneration” (which literally means “born again”) was actually associated with Christian Theology long before it was adopted by town planners. This is why churches have a particular responsibility to contribute a Christian perspective to the Regeneration industry. Restoring hope to communities, and in some places creating new communities, has to be the primary goal of Regeneration – building houses, schools and roads is only a catalyst. Enabling people and communities to be born again is the primary mission of Jesus and should be the mission statement of all Regeneration Officers and certainly all church members. In Chelmsford Diocese, our experience is that people in the Regeneration business often share similar values to ourselves, because ‘community cohesion’ is an important part of their responsibility as well as delivering the built environment. This means that Christians can often develop positive dialogue and partnerships because of our common values.
For these reasons Regeneration should be a key mission activity relevant to large numbers of parishes and deaneries in urban and rural communities throughout Chelmsford Diocese.
The Diocesan Mission in Regeneration Adviser, Carol Richards, is helping us all to see and seize these mission opportunities which can transform the experience of generations of residents for decades to come.
As a Diocese we have a Christian presence in every community. We hope these pages on the Diocesan website will inspire church members to put their faith into action by engaging with people in areas of Regeneration to ensure local voices are heard, and to contribute a Christian message of hope as we work for the common good of the places where we live, work, play and pray.