In 2020 Cinnamon Network celebrated our 10th Anniversary.
Originally founded in the UK, Cinnamon Network now flourishes in ten nations and more as we respond to invitations from around the world.
Read about the remarkable people, partnerships and stories, tracking the milestones on our journey.
In July 2010 Matt Bird listens to Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech about ‘Big Society’ in Liverpool.
Matt is inspired to help local churches rediscover their role at the heart of every community. Soon after he hosts an event with 50 national church leaders to discuss. A handful of enthusiasts begin meeting together to explore what can be done.
Matt Bird and a small group of leaders meet regularly for breakfast at The Cinnamon Club and ask ‘what is God doing and how do we join in?’
They form a network of the best church-led community projects to support and promote their replication in churches across the UK. When they need a name for the network, the restaurant’s name is what comes to mind and the Cinnamon Network is born!
Cinnamon Network forms a strategic alliance with Tearfund to engage in the Government’s ‘Social Action Fund’.
The SAF was aimed at encouraging more volunteering. Cinnamon inspires and resources churches across the UK to replicate community projects, mobilising tens of thousands of volunteers to serve in the community.
Cinnamon Network receives the ‘Big Society Award’ from the Prime Minister David Cameron.
This award is given in recognition of 2,950 local churches running community projects, mobilising 47,440 volunteers and benefiting 690,242 people experiencing vulnerability. Cameron affirms, “The Cinnamon Network is transforming communities for the better.’
Matt Bird speaks at the launch of the Cheshire Faith Action Audit at Chester Cathedral.
The FAA measures the church’s impact in community leading to significant church and civic partnerships. Matt is inspired that Faith Action Audits could be replicated by churches across the country. Linkup Cheshire and Saltbox Stoke-on-Trent gift the FAA model to Cinnamon to enable this to happen through church networks.
Cinnamon Network supports churches to work together in 57 local government areas to measure their community impact.
It produces local Cinnamon Faith Action Audit reports and also an aggregated national report. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks at an event attended by 500 people. Welby announces that the value of the time given by church volunteers to the community each year is worth £3 billion.
Cinnamon Network launches its Civic Prayer Breakfast initiative encouraging church and civic leaders to pray together for the transformation of communities.
We commission worship leaders Noel Robinson and Andy Flanagan to write a civic society hymn that can be sung at these events. “We Seek Your Kingdom”, sung to the tune of ‘Abide With Me” is sung at Civic and Parliamentary Prayer Breakfasts around the world.
Cinnamon Network mandates Matt Bird to learn from what other countries are doing in church-led community transformation and to be generous with what we have learned so far.
Matt meets a stranger, Matt Welch, in an airport cafe and discovers they are both Jesus guys. Nine months later Matt Welch believes Jesus is calling him to start Cinnamon Network US. Cinnamon Network South Africa and Netherlands begin in equally amazing ways.
Cinnamon Network hosts leaders from Parliaments around Europe at the UK Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast.
Cinnamon leads a seminar about how, through the local church, Jesus transforms lives. He also speaks at the closing event of the European Prayer Breakfast in Brussels. This is the beginning of Cinnamon’s first regional hub – Europe.
Cinnamon Network International is formed to support the development of Cinnamon Networks in 8 countries and to respond to invitations from other countries.
Gary Rucci invites Matt Bird to visit Australia to explore developing a Cinnamon Network there. Matt meets Tim Costello who helps to establish the Australian network and later becomes Cinnamon’s first Patron. We host the first Global Gathering in the Netherlands.
Cinnamon Network International helps churches around the world respond rapidly to serve communities impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cinnamon was quoted in The Independent newspaper saying, “The church needs to help civic society understand that although we haven’t been meeting physically, we were never closed, and we continue to make a transformative contribution in our local communities.”
As our journey continues, please join us on this adventure: