Reaching into your Neighbourhood: Permission to Smile Tea Parties

You’ve probably seen ‘Permission to Smile’ banners around Birmingham encouraging people to be friendly and ‘greet someone today’. Did you know that this high-profile Birmingham campaign was started and is led by Christians, from the leadership of Southgate Family Church in Kings Norton?

Their heart has been to see real community restored in our city, based on an upsurge of friendliness and kindness, instead of ‘keep-yourself-to-yourself’.

But then they asked: how can we, as a church, become local catalysts? How can we change our local community? They decided to put on a church-based Permission to Smile Tea Party, and it has been captured in this delightful five-minute video:

At the Tea Party, lots of people who’d never normally go to church came, attracted by the Permission to Smile message. There was a table for each street invited, so that near-neighbours could get to know each other; and each grouping was then encouraged to be the nucleus for a new Street Association for their own street – with church members at the heart of it.

It worked!

Might your church like to put on a Permission to Smile Tea Party?

Southgate Family Church, with Permission to Smile, is delighted to help you to do so, and has put together a package of support that includes Permission to Smile letterhead, permission to use the brand, banners to raise the profile in your immediate area, window stickers, ‘how to’ guides including a prayer guide and details of how to form Street Associations (developed by the same team).

If you want, leaders from the campaign are also happy to come and speak to guests about social isolation and what can be done street by street.

Please contact Martin Graham on 0121 440 8600 / 07931 2827126 or martin@permissiontosmile.org for more details.

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