Urban Expression is a mission agency and a mutually supportive network of mission partners – individuals, families and teams, who choose to live in some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised communities in the UK, motivated by our belief in the all-encompassing love of God and our desire to follow the words and ways of Jesus.
Who we are
Urban Expression recruits, deploys and supports people - as individuals, in teams or whole families - who move into local communities, build relationships, try to discern what God is already doing there and then and join in. We call them 'mission partners'.
What we do
Some mission partners are employed full -time or part-time in regular jobs whilst others have full or part-time roles with faith organisations or churches; others operate as volunteers in their communities – their roles range from local councillors to supermarket stockers, play workers to bicycle repairers, gardeners to labyrinth creators.
The support we give
We recognise that working in marginalised communities is demanding and that this mission approach is high-risk and long-term. We provide strategic and pastoral support, and opportunities for ongoing training. We host opportunities for meeting together throughout the year, enabling relational support between mission partners.
We are committed to...
Our Key Values
Urban Expression charity and the teams are supported by a dispersed team of coordinators, who work on average one - two days per week. If you want to know more about Urban Expression or would like to visit one of the areas to talk to mission partners or one of the coordinators, do email us.
Gordon McDade represents Urban Expression on the whole island of Ireland. He has thirty years of pastoral experience in Northern Ireland and offers support and mentoring to pioneers and church planters on both sides of the border. He is keen to connect with church planting networks in Ireland and encouraging creative missions in urban contexts. He is a community chaplain with Soulspace in interface areas of north and west Belfast. He finds people endlessly fascinating so enjoys autobiographies and creative writing.
Southwest England & Coastal Expression
Barney Barron is a Baptist pioneer minister, church planter and youth worker. He works part-time connecting, coaching and mentoring pioneers and church planters through the Anabaptist Mennonite Network, Urban Expression and Coastal Expression. He is also the Chair and one of the founding trustees of the Incarnate Network. He lived and served on a large council estate near Portsmouth for 16 years, where he was involved in church planting and running a youth and community charity. He now lives in Looe, Cornwall where he has started a small missional community and has recently set up a youth and community charity. He also takes time to enjoy kayaking, snorkeling and walking.
Midlands & Youth
Simon Jay lives in Birmingham, and alongside his wife, Rachel, set up the Haven Community Project on the Welsh House Farm estate. He is currently studying for a master’s degree and ministerial training at Bristol Baptist College and also sits on various panels to approve foster carers. One of his proudest moments is when he completed the first Birmingham Marathon.
Anabaptist Link & Crucible Course
South African by birth, Alexandra Ellish spent her teenage years in England, studied theology in Edinburgh and later Prague, where she was also ordained as a Baptist minister. Alexandra has been part of Urban Expression in various ways since 2009. Alexandra, her husband Philip and their two children live in Peckham, South London, where Alexandra is also the minister of Amott Baptist Church. Alexandra loves the Anabaptists, Woman’s Hour and long walks with her Jack Russell, Westley.
Operations & Communications
Now living in southwest Scotland Marg Hardcastle spent 15 years in Stoke-on-Trent as a mission partner with Urban Expression where she was involved in pioneering new expressions of church. She also set up a participatory arts collaborative, organising events and festivals in the city. When not at her computer Marg can be found outdoors, up hills and along lanes by foot or on two wheels.
Phil Warburton (Chair)
Sheila Thompson (Treasurer)