from Andy Blakey of All Saints and Big Local Grays
Three years ago this week the Guardian published an article headlined, “It’s one big cesspit here” – Thurrock, the country’s capital of misery.
Naturally, many people disagreed with this!
At that time you could find on a number of websites the statement that the original meaning of Thurrock means a place where dirty water gathered.* But a number of church leaders agreed that they would no longer use or refer to this meaning, and after some research found that below the surface in Thurrock there was incredibly pure water, water so pure that it could be bottled and used on ocean liners travelling to Australia in the early 1900s.
In fact, Thurrock supplied freshwater to most of East London.
Nine months after this headline was published, Thurrock Council started the Asset-Based Community Development programme (ABCD). ABCD encourages citizens to not be dependent upon a deficit model of community, but to build community upon those assets which already exist within the community. (See the links to the left of this article.)
A number of church leaders have supported this approach throughout its time. On 10 August 2015 there is a gathering at the Culver Centre in South Ockendon entitled The Big Conversation – Thurrock Hidden Treasures.
Earlier this year the Cinnamon Faith Action Audit was conducted in Thurrock, The only part of the greater Essex to take part, one of the reasons was because so much of what the church does are hidden treasures.
I encourage church leaders and those who lead cross-church initiatives to consider booking into this conversation because the organisers want to talk about the good news stories that are happening in Thurrock – and surely we have good news.
* See this article on TT from 17.6.2008! https://www.transformationthurrock.com/Groups/75127/Transformation_Thurrock/about_us/about_us.aspx
For more information, see the flyer below.