A Neighbourhood Church area is:
Basic or Local – because it is church where the people live – at the level of people meeting each other and gathering in their own street or neighbourhood.
Ecclesial or Church – because being a church community, or a way of being church, in a local area is being in communion with the wider church and is truly and fully church.
Communities – because the communities are small enough for everyone to take part. Their communal life is built upon the bonds of friendship which are always open to the stranger and to the one on the edge. Every baptised Catholic belongs to their neighbourhood area (BEC) unless they choose not to.
"BECs are giving me permission to say 'hello' to people. It helped me realise that the church is about reaching out to people. It's given me a freedom to approach others and get to know them which is something Catholics don't do very easily. It's made me more confident to say 'hello' and as you hear more people's stories and find out more about them, you can ask about how things are going in their lives."
The whole parish is subdivided into neighbourhood communities comprising 100-150 Catholic households where Catholics can meet and get to know each other on their ‘own patch.’ Each neighbourhood has a team of people who:
- visit 10-12 other households in friendship several times each year;
- nurture the network of relationships in the neighbourhood through visiting and neighbourhood gatherings;
- gather together for support and faith reflection;
- link the people with the wider parish community.