Cowley is a community on the outskirts of Oxford, UK. Oxford more well known for its world renowned university and growing international Tech Enterprises is often though of in terms of wealth and intellect. However like many cities Oxford with large gaps between the richest and the poorest. Cowley is a vibrant part of Oxford with people from many different cultures and countries, many from Muslim backgrounds.
The schools in Cowley are full of children from broken families and many of them suffer from anxiety from a young age, are in poor physical and mental health and find it hard to study because of the chaos or neglect they experience at home. Their families come from similar backgrounds and are often unable to hold down a regular job and don’t have the necessary parenting skills as they never experienced good parenting themselves!
Spiritually this area is a fairly dark place but recently God has planted 3 new churches in a small area so He must have plans to bless.
Currently, we have two workers based in the community, Peter and Lisa who are carrying out ministry both within the local community and the local prison. They are part of a team consisting of people from different churches and are involved in the prison Alpha Course seeing God doing amazing things amongst the men there. As members of Prison Fellowship they hold services, as asked by the chaplains, in two different prisons and help run the Angel Tree project each year, which provides an opportunity for prisons to send Christmas gifts to their children.
Peter and Lisa also befriend people in the local area who are struggling and marginalised. They are part of one of the new church plants, located right by the local shopping centre.
However we are looking to support this community more. We are looking release individuals into the community to build relationships with local community projects and churches, get to know the community and carry out a full assessment of needs through our Integrated Community Transformation model, looking areas of need in Food, Freedom and Forgiveness. Once we have established a team and they have built relationships with the community, they will be empowered to invest in developing alongside other partners a range of programmes to see holistic transformation of Cowley over the coming 5-10 years.
"There are some good projects struggling to keep running because they need more people to help and there is room for new initiatives."