BCAN (Bristol Christian
Helping Christians Respond To Social Needs
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.
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.
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.
The network currently covers 'greater Bristol' - the city of Bristol and its immediate environs.
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.
|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|
Here are some examples of our work to date.
"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."
"BCAN seems exactly the right body for us to be developing the next stage of Faithworks with."