BCAN Logo BCAN (Bristol Christian Action Network)
Helping Christians Respond To Social Needs

An Introduction



Bristol Christian Action Network ('BCAN') is a transdenominational ministry that enables churches and Christian groups respond to various social needs more effectively.

BCAN develops relationships across the historic Christian divides, and helps churches interested in serving their local community to find common ground. BCAN also works to bring together people interested in helping others with organisations that need assistance.

About BCAN

How did BCAN Start?

Around 1996, Sir Fred Catherwood initiated the Christian Action Network ('CAN') movement through the Evangelical Alliance, aiming to set up a CAN in each major town and city around the country. Bristol EA was one of the first to respond to Sir Fred's challenge, and formed BCAN. By the start of 2002, there were around 35 CANs at varying stages of development.

The National EA subsequently decided to refocus its work, and has now ceased its support for the local CANs, but BCAN still enjopys the full support of Bristol EA.

Who belongs to BCAN?

There is (at present! - but this may change) no formal membership, but BCAN has attracted people to its meetings from a wide range of churches, Christian organisations and projects, belonging to various traditions and denominations. Some of these are members of EA, but many are not.

Where does BCAN operate?

The network currently covers 'greater Bristol' - the city of Bristol and its immediate environs.

Who runs BCAN?

Bristol EA sponsors BCAN, but does not run it. A steering group is drawn from participating churches and organisations, and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the network.

Main Aims

What we aim to do How we plan to do it
To serve local churches and Christian groups Promote cross-denominational ministry in the area of social need
To share expertise and resources Hold quarterly forums on topical issues in Bristol
To put Christian social action back on the agenda Act as a gateway to and from Local Authorities
To provide information to members BCAN directory, and regular contact
To prepare/implement a strategy to address unmet needs in Bristol Identify the needs of the city, those which are not being met and plan how the Christian community can address those needs
To link with the national CAN network Networking Days, email group, information and resources

Our Work

Here are some examples of our work to date.

  • We have produced a Directory that has been circulated to EA member churches and organisations.
  • We have held a series of lunchtime meetings on a variety of Christian action topics, such as the Filwood Hope project, rehabilitation of young offenders, church-based community projects and faith-based welfare.
  • We are sponsoring a "Homeless Forum" which brings together Christian and non-Christian agencies, along with Council officers.

Views on BCAN

"There are a lot of Christian groups engaged in social action in Bristol, but we concentrate on addressing the needs we have been set up to meet: BCAN gives us a platform from which to speak as Christians working in the community, and provides a context in which we can meet to support and encourage each other."

Paul Hazelden,
General Manager, Crisis Centre Ministries, Bristol.

"BCAN seems exactly the right body for us to be developing the next stage of Faithworks with."

Dave Hitchcock,
Head of Church Action at Faithworks.

Steering Group

The current members of the BCAN steering group are Roger Allen, Jon Doble, Keith Hagon, Helen Harrison, Penny Hopkins, Paul Hazelden, David Maggs, Julian Marsh, Julian Perkins, and Caroline Virgo.


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This page last updated: 13 March 2009
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