Learning communities (Greenhouses)

New Congregations - You guide to greenhouses cover.Everything you need to know about Learning communities (Greenhouses) in the Diocese of Oxford

Your guide to Greenhouses outlines everything you need to know about Greenhouses

What they are, how they are formed, what happens in a Greenhouse, and how they can support every type of mission initiative, midweek activity, or missional community to become a new congregation - answers to all your questions are here.

If you have more questions, you can speak to our New Congregations Programme Leader, the Revd Sarah Flashman, for more information.

Download the booklet


Stories of Learning communities (Greenhouses)

Aylesbury Town

The Aylesbury Town Greenhouse launched in June 2022.

Phil White, Vicar of St Mary’s Broughton and Resource Hub Leader for the NARNiA team, describes their first meeting.

“There were five churches represented and we had about nine mission projects across the churches.

“We started with introductions, looked at the three questions - 'what’s it really like now?', 'where do we want to get to?', and ‘How are we going to get there - what’s the next step?'.

"We also had brunch together which was a perfect opportunity to chat to people with similar ideas and from other churches. There was a lot of energy in the room and people really enjoyed the morning. We fitted the whole thing into three hours, which I think felt manageable to people, and they were all keen to meet again in the autumn."


InTwo women and a man laugh as they chat together 2022, seven teams from four churches gathered at the new Trinity Centre in Hazlemere to launch the Wycombe Greenhouse. An exciting variety of initiatives were amongst the teams, each one seeking to intentionally move their initiative towards a new worshipping community. The projects include:

  • A newly opened café;
  • One reaching men outside the church;
  • A literacy project;
  • A young families Mission Community;
  • One reaching 20s and 30s;
  • A Mental Health café – Renew Space;
  • A sewing and mending community group.

If you would like to join the Greenhouse please contact Sarah Flashman, our New Congregations Enabler, to find out more.

North Milton Keynes

A group stand looking down at large hoops on the floorIn March 2022, we celebrated the launch of a Greenhouse in Milton Keynes, convened by lay pioneer Katharine Crowsley, curate the Revd Ayo Audu, and with the support of the New Congregations Enabler.

The Revd Sarah Flashman commented:

"The mission initiatives were varied and exiting. Everyone seemed to engage really well and all posted plans by the end of the launch."

If anyone would like to find out more about joining this Greenhouse or another one, please contact our New Congregations team.

Bicester Deanery Greenhouse

The Bicester Deanery Greenhouse launched with 28 members. Ian Biscoe, the Bicester Greenhouse convenor, gave a brief summary of their initial conversations.

Some attendees were focused and organised into teams while most were there exploring the way ahead and thinking about the opening questions;

  • Which group of people are you wanting to love and serve?
  • What have you started to do already?
  • What will you do next? 
Youth Greenhouse

A woman smiles at the camera. A Lego creation is on the table in front of herThe Youth Greenhouse launched in October 2021. Hospitality is a really important part of what this Greenhouse offers to teams, as well as time and space to reflect on where they are now and where they would like to be. 

Below are some reactions from some of the teams who joined the Greenhouse:

“Greenhouse was really encouraging! The activities and time out to reflect gave me even more enthusiasm to move ahead with where God is taking this project, and meeting the community helped solidify the importance of these groups throughout God’s family.”

"I found it really helpful and uplifting! You both organised and led it really well and I was really impressed. So thanks again!"

"I was really impressed. Olly and Emma had a warm welcome with refreshments, followed by an interactive game to gage what we wanted to get out of the meeting. All the concerns and curiosities were either met by their talk, by general chat or by many opportunities for questions and answers. I came away feeling engaged, empowered and with a clear mind of what the project was about and what their aims were for the future. The curry was pretty good too!"

If you want to explore reaching out to unchurched young people in your parish, then get in touch with Ian and he will be happy to chat and possibly link you in to the Greenhouse.

Witney Greenhouse

St Mary’s Cogges have made great progress in forming and launching the Witney Greenhouse in September 2021 with 12 teams committed and looking to grow new worshipping communities through the Loving First Cycle, across a range of church traditions and social contexts (including rural parishes). Simon Kirby, St Marys Cogges Project Leader, writes:

"The [launch] was hugely encouraging - ideas were shared, plans were made and goals were set for the next stages in the projects."

If you are in the Witney Deanery and want to find out more, then get in touch with Simon and he will be happy to chat and possibly link you in to the Greenhouse.


Jump to: Events | Learning communities | Resourcing Hubs | Fresh Expressions | Meet the team | Case studies


Page last updated: Tuesday 4th June 2024 3:42 PM

Related news and stories

First-ever Wycombe Youth weekender sees more than 100 youngsters camp out

More than 100 young people from five churches in High Wycombe gathered at Latimer Hope in Chesham for a weekend of fun, faith and food....

Church congregations continue to grow

Church attendance across the Diocese of Oxford, which includes Buckinghamshire, has continued to grow in the last year, mirroring figures which were released by the Church of England earlier this week. ...

Encouraging and inspiring youth faith

A youth worker in a Reading parish is having a significant impact in the lives of young people attending church and is reaching into the wider community, supporting knife crime prevention projects....
Powered by Church Edit