Interested in joining one of our teams? Or maybe leading a new one? Find out more by clicking the link below.
Teams currently in London
Ocean Estate, Stepney
The Ocean Estate team is led by Salvation Army officers Nick & Kerry Coke. Together with Pete & Ruthy Burgess they have been in Stepney since 1999 pioneering the ministry of Hope Asha. You can read more about some of the initiatives they have been involved in here. www.hopeasha.org.uk
The Harold Hill team began when Rich & Alison Shorter moved into the estate in August 2009. They were joined the following month by Steve & Lauren Tinning. Rich is a baptist minister and Ali is a teacher by profession but is being kept busy with their three young children! Steve is a student baptist minister placed with Urban Expression while he studies at Spurgeon’s College and Lauren is a physiotherapist. Watch the video interview
Opportunities in London
The Harold Hill team are still looking for additional team members to join this exciting venture in this outer-city estate.
Hope Asha could soon be graduating from Urban Expression but for those living in Tower Hamlets there is a great opportunity to still be involved with this dynamic, community-based, multi-cultural expression of church with a reputation of serving the community and seeking peace and justice. For more info visit www.hopeasha.org.uk
More about Urban Expression in London
Urban Expression began in London in 1997. The Harold Hill team is our eighth team since then. Urban Expression continues to look for team leaders to initiate and help form further teams in some of the least churched and most marginalised communities of our Capital.
Interested in joining one of our London teams? Or maybe leading a new one?
For further details, contact us at:
We do not currently have any teams in Glasgow. Between 2007 and 2011 there was a team of eight in Possilpark, who planted Clay Community Church (www.claychurch.org.uk), a member of the Scottish Network of Churches.
Opportunities in Glasgow
We are looking for team leaders and team members to form new teams in under-churched locations in the most deprived areas of Glasgow. For more information contact the steering group via our contact form. The steering group is actively seeking to build relationships with Christian groups and churches interested in partnering with us in urban mission.
"A New Glasgow" - a poem, written by Doug Gay, which captures something of the essence of the vision for a renewed city.
Teams currently in Birmingham
It’s very hard to explain church planting on a housing estate in north east Brum!...its a combination of alot of things – alot of food, alot of laughs, a lot of conversations, alot of hanging around, alot of prayer, alot of listening to our community...
We currently have a core group of about 10 – 18 on a Tues evening who come together around our meal table for discussion, food, debate, learning and listening together. We are very informal with themes, discussions and dilemmas people bring to us. Loss, living ethically, prayer, creation, the Bible, community development have all been recent Tues evening conversations. Nothing is ever ‘led’ as such, we are all equal with no ‘expert’ amongst us, it is very much about learning together.
People who come are from a range of backgrounds all living in Shard End , asking questions about God and trying to work out how to live for others. Some of the stuff we get up to:
- Community meetings – attend, listen, make contacts, make ourselves useful generally
- Litter pick – cleaning up for no reason other than to make it look nice for us all!
- Prayer walk – we have 12 ‘stations’ of Shard End that we pray for, key places/venues
- Fireworks night (its massive - about 50 local families now!)
- Christmas dinners for about 30-40 people
- Allotment – we have a shared plot and get involved in the open days
- Football club – spending time with local parents while the boys play hours and hours of football, often leads to long God chats
- Annual family holiday – about 20 of us go for a week away
- Advocacy/ form filling in for local people
- Links to local schools – counselling support
- Pinkterton Cycles – refurbishing old bikes and giving/selling them for a small amount
- Easter celebrations
- Hours and hours of listening/chatting spending time with neighbours in non threatening ways
- Looking to develop messy church for families with autistic children
We have a core team of 6 of us who have moved into Shard End ,we have joined things that have been developed, sought to join in what God and neighbours have already begun.
There’s far too much to try and flesh out in a piece of paper – come and visit if you want to see what it’s really like!
For further details, contact Jo Fitzsimmons at
Welsh House Farm Estate
More details to follow about this South West Birmingham Team.
Teams currently in Bristol
In response to the missional challenge Urban Expression agreed that we should start working in Bristol and in autumn 2009 we started working on setting up two steering groups in the city – one to focus on the multicultural East of the city and the other to focus on the mainly white estates in the south. These steering groups will be getting to grips with the challenge throughout 2010 with a view to starting teams in the autumn.
More about Urban Expression in Bristol
Bristol is, like many cities, a divided city; the River Avon divides it North / South and the M32 motorway splits off the East section of the city – the wealth being concentrated mainly in the North. Also typical is the large area of deprivation (lowest 10% on the national multiple deprivation indicator scale). The contrast between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is particularly marked in Bristol because it is one of Britain’s wealthiest cities, having the highest average personal income outside of London. Bristol’s urban deprivation typically exists in two kinds of areas: multicultural inner city areas and majority white estates built as slum clearances in the 30’s and 50’s. In both these the denominational churches have suffered serious and long term decline; the very existence of the denominational churches in white estates is now in question.
Dynamic Partnerships in Bristol
The mission challenge in Bristol is very significant. However it seems that the Spirit is moving and in some senses we are running to keep up. Creative working relationships exist already between denominations, especially Anglican and Baptist with the exiting involvement of both the Baptist and Anglican colleges in the city: both of them are very involved in mission in Bristol and developing new ways of training people to be involved incarnational mission and church planting in some of the most challenging areas. The Baptist college has formed a partnership with UE locally so that we can bring together the strengths of the college with the church planting energy and expertise of UE.
Teams currently in Stoke-on-Trent
Stoke on Trent is a city of about 250,000, world famous for centuries as a centre for the production of beautiful pottery; Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Spode, Portmerion and Moorcroft are all Stoke on Trent firms. Much of that industry has now died or gone abroad and Stoke is now in the bottom 15 of the ‘UK cities rich list’. On a positive note Stoke was rated the friendliest city in the UK in a poll by Sheffield University.
There are presently two UE teams and one UE Mission Parner living and serving in Stoke on Trent, one in the south of the city and one in the north.
The North of the City – Cobridge
Cobridge used to be quite a posh area (the Victorian novelist Arnold Bennett used to live just over the road from us) but it is now one of the poorest areas of the city. There is about a 50% minority ethnic population, the majority of whom are Pakistani Muslims.
The Cobridge UE team started in September 2009 when Howard and Iona Jones moved up from Birmingham. Howard is a Baptist minister and Iona is an equality and diversity consultant. In 2011 Richard and Cat Wakefield, both teachers, joined the team and our latest team members is Carmel Murphy, a newly accredited Baptist minister, who joined us in September 2012.
We have developed a lot of relationships across the breadth of the local community and have got very involved in the local community centre. We organise occasional community-wide projects which have included:
- Picnic in the park
- Friends and Family in the park
- Valentine's day party
- Jubilee children party
- Cobridge Community Games
We have also started up and continue to run several activities for children and young people in association with ROC (Redeeming Our Communities):
- ROC Cafe (drop in youth club for 11-16s)
- ROC Sports (sports activities for young people, including cheerleading for younger girls)
- ROC Garden (children's gardening project, redeveloping beds outside the community centre)
- Cobridge Kiddies (toddler group)
- We also help run Messy Church in association with an outreach worker at the local Anglican church.
We also open up the community centre bar on Tuesday evenings and once a month run an open mic night where local musicians can perform and share their talents.
We have tried to sum up our mission like this. Our aims are:
1. To live as engaged and positive citizens in Cobridge, building relationships with our neighbours and our neighbourhood that are life enhancing, and encouraging. In this way we aim to be a blessing to our local area by our presence here
2. To work in partnership with other organisations (whether faith based or not) that are working in this area, especially in the areas of health and social cohesion. Our aim is to bring out and build on what is good in Cobridge and promote what is good for Cobridge.
3. To organise projects and events that build up ‘social capital’ in Cobridge. Our aim is to try and make it a better, happier, cleaner, healthier, safer place to live.
4. To share our Christian faith in imaginative, respectful and non-coercive ways through our lifestyle, our actions and, where appropriate, our words. Our longer term aim is to build a Christian community that is:
- centred upon the person and teaching of Jesus
- life affirming, honest and hospitable
- open and welcoming to anyone, but especially to those who may not feel able to engage with the traditional church
We love Cobridge and love living here, and are excited at what God has done, is doing and will do among us and through us.
The South of the City – Stoke Town
Like the rest of the city, Stoke Town has its share of all the problems relating to economic and social deprivation – it particularly scores quite badly in terms of poor living environment. The town centre has seen many of the shops close and businesses wind up and looks quite run down. The housing is mostly Victorian terraces with some semi-detached properties, and is a mix of social and privately owned housing a lot of which is rented. We have several pubs and cafés too, which tend to be traditional – white-sliced only!
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. Together with Marg Hardcastle, UE Mission Partner, good things are also happening with other churches and Christians locally.
UE Stoke meet together in Steve & Liz's home every other week with local residents and friends also involved in the local community.
For further details, contact us at
UE Mission Partner - town of Stoke, in Stoke-on-Trent
Returning to Stoke at the start of 2006 to be minister of Stoke Baptist Church, having worked in the city for several years previously, Marg's strong sense of ‘call to the city’ meant her vision was to work outside the church more than in it, and so Marg is now half-time minister and half-time UE Mission Partner. She is involved in lots of community projects working alongside and supporting other people, is very involved in the local community association organising events and activities (along with Liz, UE Stoke), joins in the local music scene in the pubs, and is probably known more for being a local resident and community worker than being a minister.
The Baptist church is also quite community focussed and has a great little building that can be used for events and activities next to a park; there’s a small membership but the people are very willing to engage in community mission - and there’s also a mid-week 'sort-of church' that has unexpectedly emerged in a local extra-care home, involving people from other local churches and the wider community, which Marg co-ordinates.
There are loads of opportunities to be engaged in the local community and be a ‘shalom activist’, and although there are many needs in the local area the people who live in Stoke are really friendly and there’s a strong sense of community. Whilst not having a formal ’team' Marg’s has a wide network of contacts from all sorts of groups and a good supportive group of Christian and non-Christian friends.
It would be great, however, to have others in the Mission Partner team, so if anyone is interested Marg would be happy to discuss possibilities.
The North West
In recent years a number of Urban Expression teams have sprung up in the North West of England. Each team & mission partner, is individual and distinct, reflecting their local context. Yet all seek to live locally as Jesus followres around the Urban Expression values of relationship, creativity and humility.
The team in Ellesmere Port is a new team led by Dirk and Rose Uitterdijk. Rose, a Baptist minister grew up in the town and Dirk, who hails from holland works in prisons. The vision in these early days is to:
Develop a small group who will be involved in mission.
Watch, listen learn an discern
Support current initiatives in teh town and build relationships with those already working there.
Angie and Dave Tunstall are living close to Eccles Town Centre. Their vision is to see a team living, working, serving and joining with others already serving teh wider Eccles community. At present, this is primarily through offering hospitality in their home.
BVBC (bacon, veggie butty, community) is a regular time of gathering with others including family, friends and neighbours around food, friendship, fun and faith. For some faith is in other people, for some faith is in God, and some take the opportunity to break bread, and drink wine to remember Jesus as together we attempt to figure out life. From this relational space we expect to discern the things of God in, and for, Eccles.
After almost 150 years as a Baptist church—and having spent a year reflecting on Urban Expression’s values—Openshaw Baptist Tabernacle decided to set up a UE team to work alongside the church in its re-invention of Christian Presence in the city.
The team is led by the ministers of the church, Tim Presswood and Clare McBeath and works in partnership with a number of other agencies and groups to deliver a variety of projects. Most notable of these are:
Living Well: a weekly healthy-living drop-in run in partnership with the local SureStart centre,
offering fruit juices, smoothies and healthy eating advice, alongside complementary therapies
and a collection for the local credit union.
Stories and Songs: a monthly multicultural session, again in the SureStart centre, telling faith
stories from around the world using storytelling techniques designed to open up the stories,
particularly to pre-school children to help them to understand and celebrate their faith and culture.
UE Openshaw are also developing plans for a major new “eco-arts-spirituality and healing” centre which may or may not be a church!
Gary Serra Di Migni is a baptist minister who left a thriving established church ministry in order to help people who wouldn't set foot in a church building, to be church. The team achieves this by going out to where these people are: to their workplace, their homes, their pubs, their sports centres, and their prison cells. If you want to find out more, contact Gary 07780927743.
Opportunities in the North West
There are many opportunities in North West! If you are interested in joining us why not get in touch and come along to meet us?
For further details, contact us at:
In 2007 Urban Expression Netherlands was formed as a sister organisation working in various locations in The Netherlands. To find out more about their teams and opportunities that are available please visit www.urbanexpression.nl
In 2009 Urban Expression North America was formed as a sister organisation with plans to work in various locations in the USA and Canada and to initiate a North American version of Crucible called Watershed.
In 2011 plans are developing for Urban Expression to begin in Sweden.