CV in chelmsford 6th June - by David Gilbey

Introduction to City Vision on 6th June – what happened!

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We asked the question – how can a City truly be transformed for The Kingdom of God? Cities have great prominence in The Bible. Does Chelmsford have a God ordained destiny? Since 2012, we have been England’s newest City. Good questions!

At the beginning of 2019, Christians Together in Chelmsford were introduced to City Vision. Its founder Tony Hodges and his team have since started a dialogue with some of the Christians Together in Chelmsford Committee and other leaders and influencers within our City.

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Tony Hodges, is also the founder and now Chairman of AHC, a successful consultancy company of over one hundred staff,  with offices in the UK, USA and Australia. They help large,companies and corporations, many of whom are household names, to communicate pension and benefits choices to their employees.

Tony freely admits that his personal understanding of Pensions is limited, but as a gifted communicator the foundational principle upon which he has led and guided AHC to success is as, ‘a People Business, friendly and informal, dedicated to making a real difference to the lives people lead’.

Tony, is a committed Christian and is passionate about seeing Great Britain return to its Christian roots and to see revival for the good news of Jesus Christ to come to our nation. He firmly believes that Cities, which contain an ever greater percentage of the nation’s population and the Christians who live and work in them, both at a ‘grassroots’ and civic level, have a crucial role in seeing this happen.

From the profits of AHC, about 5 years ago Tony established City Vision, to explore through Holy Spirit guided process, how cities and their people can be transformed and become living demonstrations of The Kingdom of God on earth.

City Vision is continuing to develop their processes, to connect leaders and influencers from Civic, Business Education, Charity and Christian Community, so all might work alongside and serve each other better. It is about bringing the marketplace and The Church in a City together and removing that barrier between ‘secular ‘and ‘spiritual’ that is so often created. It is about loving and ascribing to all throughout our society equal value, even if we might disagree with their views or lifestyle – just as Jesus loves each of us, Christian or not.

City Vision is also about seeing all Christians, whatever walk of life they are in, realise that they are an influencing ‘leaven in the dough’ of City life and an affecting aroma of Christ wherever they work, play or find themselves.

Our meeting – Thursday 6th June at Life Church

On the evening of 6th June, we had an opportunity to discover more about City Vision, at Life Church and be part of an ongoing conversation about what it could mean for Chelmsford. Seventy-eight people, including leaders and influencers from our Christian Community, attended to hear a most passionate Tony Hodges unpack his vision! There is now much to consider and pray through.

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However, amongst the graphs, the charts, the processes and strategies to be explored, Tony spoke of one most simple. He always carries with him small wooden crosses, about 2 inches high and when The Holy Spirit prompts, he gives them to people in places he visits, such as businesses, shops, restaurants, hotels and in the street.

The cross is an enduring symbol of Jesus’ love and sacrifice to us all, a real conversation starter and they have touched many who have received them. Surely we could all engage with this? Wouldn’t it be amazing if our City was known as the place where you can receive the message of Jesus love by the giving of a cross?

City Vision is able to supply these crosses in quantity and we will be looking at obtaining a quantity for Christians in our City to carry and give away.

The Rooftop

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We also welcomed an old friend to the Christian Community of Chelmsford, Dennis Pethers, who formally led Viz-a Viz, a well known ministry to young people. Dennis now heads up an international ministry, The Rooftop  – https://therooftop.org/.  Dennis spoke for a few minutes about The Rooftop, the vision of which which has some striking parallels to that of City Vision.

Dennis lives in South Woodham Ferrers, a few miles from Chelmsford and there is a growing thought that he has a new and significant role to play, as God unfolds His plan for the transformation of Chelmsford.

Next steps, including a Conference in Chelmsford - 2nd November

This an unfolding journey. Initially CTiC intends to facilitate further introductions to the work of City Vision meetings within the Christian Community of our City and leaders and influencers who wish to engage directly are most welcome to do so.

We are also really pleased to announce that on Saturday 2nd November 2019, City Vision will be arranging a Conference here in Chelmsford to further explore what God has for us and the other cities of the United Kingdom. This will be held at Life Church. Please put the date in your diary and further details will be released soon.

ReUnion - Reconciling Your City to God

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There’s something about gathering in a 12th century monastery that gives one perspective.

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Perhaps it’s the sense of history; the reminder that we are brief visitors on this earth. That our time, like vapour, will soon disappear. Paradoxically by the same virtue this is our time, and this brief moment is our responsibility.

It was in this context that leaders and influencers from across the UK convened at Coombe Abbey for the City Vision ReUnion conference.

Lord Wei opened with a birds-eye view: The national and international context is simple – the structures and governance that have developed over the last five decades are crumbling and whatever happens with Brexit, things will never be the same again. It’s the role of the Church, the Ekklesia, to stitch and weave the separated elements, remain and leave, together.

Then to cities. As we know a city is an unwieldy entity which is why it’s important to find a simplistic way of viewing a city without losing the key elements that we need for both strategy and focus.

Thanks to over 40 years of working on complex client projects Tony Hodges, founder of City Vision, was able to introduce the model that the conference worked with for the day. Each element of this was informed by a key speaker with lived experience in the field. It was then over to the delegates to wrestle with the information and opinions they were given as we sought to apply it to our cities and places of influence. Key areas covered were Discipleship, Prayer, Civic Leadership, Volunteer Hours, City wide celebration, Crime & Safety and Leader Intimacy.  

To find out more and if you are interested in the materials produced on the day please contact us. In the meantime, consider these questions that we were faced with on the day:

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How true is it that we as a church gather often and achieve little?

What does it look like to live like Jesus in the place where you work and live?

What are the big industries in your city and who is praying for them?


We look forward to seeing you at our next gathering.


City Vision at The House of Lords

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City Vision at The House of Lords

The City Vision team had a great time visiting the House of Lords recently to join Lord Nat Wei, who chairs the CV Advisory Board. It was an opportunity for key city leaders from across the City Vision network to meet Dr Ed and Ruth Silvoso from Transform Our World, (TOW). Ed’s book Ekklesia is a game changer in thinking around city transformation. We were left very inspired by talks from Ed, Tim Durrant from Bethshan Church, Sunderland and Tony Hodges from City Vision.

An exciting and expectant atmosphere and in such a beautiful building too! What a huge privilege to have been there and to have been able to pray for our government, peers and MP’s alike!


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For the Sake of Your City

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“I love you. I always have loved you. I always will love you.”

These words opened the Leeds conference as Tony Hodges recalled the affirmation he received from God when he first began following Christ.

It isn’t always common to have a gathering of city influencers, leaders and business people discussing love, but the Gospel doesn’t allow us to escape it’s reach and transforming power.

If love was the context then restoration was the theme, as Lord Wei reminded the one hundred plus who gathered of the immutable words of the prophet Isiah to ‘restore the waste cities’.  

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City Vision conferences aren’t just places for knowledge and expertise sharing, although those things happen, they create a space for us to engage with God’s heartbeat for our cities in real time. While strategy can change things, it takes love to transform.

Throughout the day we heard from city influencers, church leaders and business people who have been compelled by love to pay the price necessary to begin seeing the change they desire to see in their city. Ken Janke from Global advance put it best when he effused that often we are called beyond the ‘cutting edge’ to the edge where we are misunderstood and falling over, ‘The Tripping edge’, yet it is on this edge that we are able to boast in our weaknesses as Jesus is glorified in our cities.

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We were also privy to some of the underlying principles that underpin many of the structures and groups who seek to see their cities transformed and His Kingdom Come.

A business owner from Sheffield who was present expressed how he’d experienced a huge paradigm shift in terms of his understanding of role the Ecclesia/Body of Christ in a city. Eugene Ajayi who has been involved in city transforming projects for decades in Aylesbury said that what the Body of Christ needs is physiotherapy, a sometimes painful process that ensures all the joints and limbs work together!  

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Another huge takeaway was the impact of the Ecclesia delivering city-wide festivals. We were given two clear examples in the guise of Motofest in Coventry and the Bristol Housing Festival. Two very different festivals that have helped shift the perception of the church in their cities as they have sought to engage with the needs of the city rather than engage the city in their programs and agendas.

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With thanks to our friends at Global Advance who helped make this conference possible.

It’s not too late to book onto our conference in Coventry: Click here to reserve your place - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk

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Arlene Westerhof visit to City Vision HQ

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Arleen Westerhof is the co-Senior Pastor of the God’s Embassy Church in Amsterdam, together with her husband Dick, www.embassyamsterdam.nl. She has a Ph.D. in Chemistry and originally came to the Netherlands to work as a Research Scientist at a large multinational corporation. After several years of chemical research and teaching God called her into full-time ministry.

Arleen is the Founder and Facilitator of the Netherlands Prophetic Council, www.nederlandseprofetischeraad.org, where she trains and raises up national level prophets. She is also an advisor to the Coalition for Apostolic Reformation, CAR. Arleen has a passion to help raise up those with the wisdom of Joseph and Daniel (from the Bible) to be change agents by bringing divinely-inspired solutions to bear on the problems our societies are facing.

Arlene is also Founder and Executive Director of the European Economic Summit and she’s a friend of City Vision. She recently visited our base in Yorkshire to spend time with the City Vision team but also members of staff of AHC, the company established by City Vision founder Tony Hodges.

Arlene’s gift of prophecy flowed dramatically across the day spent with the team as she imparted specific and individual prophetic inputs to team members as well as powerful words of encouragement, challenge and vision for City Vision to expand and grow. Her input even resulted in one member of staff at AHC giving their life to Jesus.

We have been greatly encouraged by Arlene’s visit and the legacy it leaves, with the sense that God will start to position us in ways that can leverage city transformation with a domino effect:

A domino can knock over another domino about 1.5x larger than itself. A chain of dominos of increasing size makes a kind of mechanical chain reaction that starts with a tiny push and knocks down an impressively large domino. Original idea by Lorne Whitehead, American Journal of Physics, Vol.

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City Vision attends prominent city transformation conferences

The Business as Mission, (BAM) conference in Philadelphia, USA, 21st to 23rd September

The Business as Mission, (BAM) conference in Philadelphia, USA, 21st to 23rd September

City Vision has been privileged to attend three important conferences recently. Tim Coleman, Communications Director for the charity began a 10-day trip to the USA recently with the Business as Mission (BAM) conference in Philadelphia. A range of inspiring case studies were presented of city transforming businesses and projects that adhere to the quadruple bottom line principles of bringing glory to God, of making profit, of being good for the environment and of having significant city and societal transformational impact. Tim was able to spend some time with conference MC and member of the BAM Advisory Board David Skews, himself a businessman for over 35 years and now based near Liverpool. Tim also connected with Netherlands-based Mats Tunehag who chairs the BAM Global board and who ran a fascinating workshop at the conference, which looked at the top 10 issues facing BAM and businesses who follow the BAM model. Here’s a video of Mats from the conference:

Here’s another short video from Shane Claiborne from BAM who’s involved in supporting the most vulnerable in Philadelphia with projects that offer employment opportunities:

Tim then went onto the Transform Our World conference at the Marriott Hotel in San Jose, California. Over 800 delegates joined Ruth and Dr. Ed Silvoso for his annual global gathering of nations. Dr. Silvoso has written a number of groundbreaking books, including his seminal work: Ekklesia. Tim was praying about which table to sit on at the opening night gala dinner, hoping he would be able to connect with other delegates from the U.K. He felt led to a table in the corner of the ballroom, only to discover he was sharing the table with Lord Nat Wei, who’s been involved with TOW for years, together with ministry leaders from Bristol and Crawley. Over 3 amazing days of worship and prayer, delegates were inspired by stories of transformation from cities across the globe, including the Sunderland region here in the UK. Guest speakers also included YWAM founder Loren Cunningham and Bethel Church leader, Kris Vallotton. New connections for City Vision were made at the conference and we’ll be making available to you in the near future all the conference sessions and some of the city transformation story videos from the conference.

The Transform Our World conference in San Jose, California, USA, 26th to 29th September

The Transform Our World conference in San Jose, California, USA, 26th to 29th September

Returning to the U.K, Tim then attended the Faith in Business conference at Bradford Cathedral on Saturday 13th October, together with City Vision Project Coordinator, Naz Masih. Taking an exhibition stand at the conference, it was another opportunity for City Vision to network with U.K ministry leaders, including John Kirkby, founder of CAP, who spoke in the afternoon’s session.

The Faith in Business conference at Bradford Cathedral, Saturday 14th October. John Kirkby, founder of Christians Against Poverty, (CAP) featured in the photo above

The Faith in Business conference at Bradford Cathedral, Saturday 14th October. John Kirkby, founder of Christians Against Poverty, (CAP) featured in the photo above

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ELA Survey Results 2017

City Vision conducted a quick straw poll of delegates at the European Leaders Advance, (ELA) Conference run by Bethel Ministries in 2017 in an attempt to take a snapshot of the spiritual temperature in cities across the UK. Specifically, we were looking to identify signs of unity across the churches of a city and whether marketplace ministries are active in cities. Here's the results:

Q1: How much do you believe God has a unique vision for your town or city.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 67% of respondents confirmed that they believe God does have a unique vision for their town or city.

Q2: How would you rate the level of spiritual unity between the churches in your city?

On a scale of 1 to 10, no respondents gave a 10. 17% said 8; 21% said 7; 7% said 6; 7% said 5; 17% said 4; 17% said 3; 3.5% said 2 

Q3: Is there a team currently working across churches in your town or city to foster unity? 1=No, 2=Not sure, 3=Yes

60% =YES; 10%=NO; 25%=NOT SURE

Q4: Does your church leadership actively encourage ministry to the marketplace?
1= definitely NO; 10=definitely YES

25% definitely YES; 7% said 9; 17% said 8; 7% said 7; 7% said 6; 3% said 5; 3% said 4; 7% said 3; 3% said 2; 7% said Definitely NO

 

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City Vision e-Glimpse

City Vision sets out vision for
UK transformation at London leaders’ conference
www.cityvision.life

 

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City Vision, a national charity with a vision to see U.K cities transformed, co-hosted the “In Every City” conference at The London Academy, Edgware, on Saturday 14th July in partnership with “No Limits International Christian Centre."  Church and business leader delegates were encouraged and inspired to see themselves as agents of positive transformation in their communities, especially in London. 

Visionary speakers with first-hand experience of facilitating transformation in their own city were on hand throughout the day to provide practical examples of how to grow unity between church, business, community, voluntary and government leaders in order to see God’s Kingdom come to their city. Numerous video examples were shown from leaders across the UK who are involved in transforming their city.

The City Vision approach includes core processes, a growing range of resources and a series of conferences/workshops to support transformation in cities. These have been evolved from the corporate career of City Vision's founder, Tony Hodges with a 30-year career working with large organisations employing hundreds of thousands of people.

Tony, who set the context and broad vision for the conference said, “this was the third conference hosted by City Vision and provides a template for a roadshow for the U.K that can serve as a catalyst for growing church and business unity in any city, resulting in co-ordinated transformational action built upon godly values and the country’s rich Christian heritage. The response from delegates to the City Vision approach was so positive on the day, with the phrase “You’re onto something!” the refrain that’s been consistently fed back at previous events."

Ben Woollard, City Vision Development Director and Naz Masih, City Vision Project Coordinator led a morning session to encourage business leaders to see their work as an act of service to God that’s as relevant for their city as time spent in church.

Ben said, “There was a sense at the conference of a growing momentum of godly transformation in cities right across the UK.”
  
David Barker, the founder of the Centrist Political party joined the conference for an expert Q&A panel to discuss how the churches of a city can engage with their local government for the transformation of their communities.

Tim Coleman, Communications Director for City Vision, shared from his local government experience, taking delegates through the inner workings of how a city in the U.K functions and how to engage with and influence local government policies.

Eugene Ajayi from the Aylesbury Church Network also gave delegates some tried and tested methods and processes from the front line of positive local change.

Finally Richard Gamble from The Wall (www.thewall.org.uk) – shared his vision and an update on the UK’s first national prayer monument, with its associated answered prayer database, on how it could connect cities across the country and be a national catalyst for prayer.

Discussions continued after the conference had finished around the possibility of boroughs of London serving other boroughs in a “twinning” relationship of mutual service and the sharing of ideas/best practice in the context of transformation.

You can view the videos that were shown at the conference on the City Vision Vimeo channel.

There is also a bigger picture emerging as a number of national transformation ministries begin to work together and serve one another.

His Kingdom Come,

Tim and the City Vision team.

If you’re interested in City Vision running a conference in your city to stimulate and facilitate transformation please call the City Vision office on 01924 379796.