Churches Together in Brigg has operated under an informal arrangement for a number of years. It has traditionally organised such as the Lent course and lunches, Good Friday Walk of Witness and arranged joint services throughout the year.
However in 2016 it opened the Churches Together pop-up shop on Wrawby Street. Initially conceived as a six week project before Christmas of that year, it provided the momentum to what has ultimately became the Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Oikos-Brigg, in July 2019. This has a formal constitution with two standing nominations from each of St Mary’s RC church, St Johns CofE and Brigg Methodist plus three additional trusteeships from stakeholders/those bringing specific expertise to the organisation.
Please see separate write-up for a fuller description of Oikos but it provides a high street Christian presence incorporating shop/drop-in centre, food bank, facility for recycling school uniforms and also meeting space for prayer, fellowship, bible studies and other activities in support of the community.
With Oikos having the formal constitution with in-built ecumenical lay representation it was decided that the work previously carried out as Churches Together fall under the Oikos umbrella.
From 10th July 2021 when the Oikos Project in Brigg received the keys to the former Greggs premises on Wrawby Street and with the dedicated input of a huge number of volunteers the project has progressed at an incredible pace.
At the AGM in January, Project Chair, Malcolm Bailey, described how blessings seem to have poured down on the project. The building has been gifted at a peppercorn rent by the owners, the Nottingham Building Society, and North Lincolnshire Council has exempted the project from paying business rates. Other income has included grants from the Brigg Town Council, the Methodist District Advance Fund, the Bishops Social Justice Fund, Tesco, Lidl, the NFU and individuals. Gifts of food from individuals and businesses to stock the food bank have been plentiful too.
Oikos is about Christians in and around Brigg supporting local residents. The vision is that the facilities present the opportunity for the Christian community to work together and provide a kaleidoscope of activities that help meet needs within the community. The three local churches, Roman Catholic, Anglican and Methodist, are involved in the project which is running the shop and a drop in and housing the Brigg Foodbank. 22 volunteers are involved with running the shop which is selling Christian books, resources and gifts along with fair trade products and a further 10 volunteers are helping with the foodbank. Others have given their time to prepare the premises in practical ways such as painting and decorating.
“This is a wonderful example of how the local churches have captured a vision and are getting on with it” said Revd Enid Knowles, who is the organisation’s chaplain.
At Christmas 33 Christmas hampers were given to local families via contacts at the children’s centre. Developments in the next month or two include becoming an outlet for school uniforms from within the shop and introducing a voucher system to enable people to receive fresh fruit, veg and meat.
Bible studies, prayer meetings and discussion groups are also meeting on the premises and the drop in provides the opportunity for conversation and prayer with visitors.
Well done Oikos!