I wrote this a little while ago and posted it on my old blog. It still represents my views. I have been very glad to spend time over the last couple of days in the Community Hub in Stoke, that our Coptic Orthodox Community of St Chad is supporting as best we are able. Being present in the wider community in which we find ourselves is absolutely necessary it seems to me, if we are to fulfill the joyful obligations of the Orthodox Gospel.
Stoke on Trent has a population of about 250,000. The North Staffordshire region of which it is a part has a population of about 460,000.
How do we begin to reach 1% of that population in a meaningful manner? 1% of 250,000 is just 2,500 people.
There is a lot of useful census information available for the UK.
In the area of 2 miles around the Church of St Paul, where we meet, there are:
i. 1400 pensioners living on their own.
ii. 1191 lone parents with children
What does the Orthodox Gospel have to say to them?
There are 29,000 people within 2 miles of our little Coptic Orthodox community. There are 12,500 households of varying composition. Within just a mile of our Coptic Orthodox community there are about 7,500 people.
Of course we will seek to reach people with the abundant life that is in Christ in the Orthodox Church by every means and across the whole area, but to a great extent, we begin reaching this first 1% by opening the door of the place where we meet and stepping outside.