Tag: Places of Worship

The Dance Tour Comes to an End

After visiting twenty two venues over 12 months covering 132 miles the artwork Dance has finished it’s tour of Birmingham (and occasionally over the border).

During that time it has been exhibited in:

Fourteen Churches, Three Synagogues, One Mandir, One Islamic Centre, One Cathedral, One FE College and one Art Gallery

It’s travelled from Rubery to Sutton Coldfield, from Smethwick to Acock’s Green and many places in between and been seen by several thousand people.

In all it’s travels Dance has clocked up an amazing 132 miles across Birmingham and the region.

The painting Dance has been supported by the ‘Maps of Conversationland’ which allowed people to engage with the topics of the Birmingham Conversations through pictures, poetry and questions.

The full list of venues Dance was exhibited in is:
Central Synagogue
Singers Hill Synagogue
St Mary’s Acock’s Green
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
St Mary’s Moseley
St Andrew’s Handsworth
St Peter’s Hall Green
St Michael’s Hall Green
St Chad’s Rubery
St Peter’s Maney
Holy Cross Bilsley
Walford Road Hindu Temple Tysley
Progressive Synagogue 5 ways
As Sufa Trust Aston
St Barnabas Erdington
All Saints Kings Heath
Holy Trinity Smethwick
Fircroft College
St Nicolas Kings Norton
St Philip’s Cathedral
St Germains Edgbaston
Christchurch Sparkbrook

There is a also a video which explains the process behind the creation of Dance and the Maps of Conversationland

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside…

As part of the Faithful Friends: On Tour pilgrimage the Revd David Gould took the group to his special place – Polzeath in Cornwall. Here he reflects on returning to a place of special meaning with friends of different faiths…

 

Background Story for our Cornwall Visit
I went to Cornwall in 1973 with Covenanters who ran camps at the time and youth groups in mainly Free Evangelical churches. I had been going to church for a couple of years and a children’s group before that.

I was 14 and a half when I went to the camp. We slept eight to a bell tent with an adult assigned to each tent. The system was quite rigid with morning inspections, competition for best tent etc each day and shared helping with washing up and serving at tables.

Morning and evening talks by the Padre, Ian Knox. Meals together, about 80 boys and 20 adults with a Commandant in charge. I remember each tent being a boat on the wall of the marquee and we were awarded points each day…naming and shaming….My tent won the competition! I also learned and enjoyed volleyball there.
Three of us travelled by train from Stafford and were collected in a Land Rover from Bodmin. We stayed ten days I think. I remember it being very hot, lots of calamine lotion and time on the beach with a plywood surfboard. One huge thunderstorm and we were all hauled out of our tents in the night because it was thought safer out than in!


The key bit for me was the call each night by Ian, for us to come to Jesus. One night I wanted to but couldn’t find the courage so went to Ian’s tent the following morning and so began my concious Christian journey – I had been baptised as a baby as most were then. Ian’s invitation was to take the hand of Jesus and walk with him through life, never alone and that has been true for me ever since. I have often used that way of looking at faith in sermons etc.
In 1984 Ian and I worked together during the Mission:England project when he was part of the team of evangelists. Years later we were in touch again and he invited me to join his team doing town – wide missions in Dundee, Malvern and Suffolk. Ian has been faithful to me as has the friend he enabled for me in Jesus. Very special. Ian is now ordained and serving in Northumbria and continues to preach there and in Africa.


Reflections for our visit to Cornwall
In Christian teaching the Incarnation is very central for me. God becoming human and taking that lived experience back into God, the creator changed forever…….The hand and the promise….Jesus never lets go, is always there, through all and promises to always be there.
Time and Place…..Christianity is for me located, tangible, made real in time and space. Jesus on a road, a cross, a mountain at a time in history. Likewise for me I identified my Christian journey in time and place which is what makes Polzeath so special for me as are the other places since where God has been signally real
Unique …..I cannot say faiths are the same but neither will I put down another or someone of no faith. Jesus is for me the unique expression of God to us as humans and back in to God and yes I do want all to know him as I do and yes that is a major driver for me in ministry. It’s the way I have come and it’s what shapes my ministry as a vicar in Smethwick and my personal faith. However, I hope I never force that experience of faith on anyone but rather I am ready to give account when called to. New life in Jesus is not about a new life after death, re-incarnated, but a new life in God that starts in this life, shapes this life and enables this life through all the messes we make and all the mess which we don’t make but live through. This new life includes our physical death and the life beyond.

A Visit from Lutheran Pastors from Dresden

In June we were honoured to be visited by a group of twenty Lutheran Church Leaders from Dresden in Germany. They came to Birmingham to learn about interfaith work and the way that Churches relate to people of different faiths and especially Muslims. Dresden has very few people of different faiths living there, but there is fear particularly against a perceived ‘Islamisation’ of Germany. The far right group Pegida was founded in Dresden and holds regular rallies there. The Pastors who came to Birmingham were keen to learn how to help their congregations overcome this fear and offer a genuine welcome to Muslim neighbours.

During their visit we were able to introduce them to a number of innovative ways that the church is reaching out in friendship and gave them the opportunity to visit different places of worship.

On the first day they came to the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre and then walked along the Stratford Road to visit St. John’s Church and the Narthex project. They heard from Rev John Self about the wide range of services that Narthex offers and how the church is seen as part of the community rather than a service provider doing this to people.

Over lunch, from the brilliant Suraj Sweet Centre, they heard from Jessica Foster about the Near Neighbours programme and how it has helped different faith communities meet and work together to improve their local areas.

The afternoon gave them the opportunity to hear from Rev Tom Thomas about St. Christopher’s Church and the Springfield Project. This also gave them an opportunity to reflect on the joys and challenges of being a church leader in a majority Muslim parish. The afternoon concluded with a visit to the Jamatia Islamic Centre where they had a chance to meet some of the committee and to ask the Imam questions about the workings of the Mosque and life as a Muslim in Birmingham.

The second day started with a chance to hear about the work of The Feast and to ask questions about youth work, dialogue and evangelism. Lunch time was spent at the Ramgarhia Gudwara in Birmingham where we had an introduction to Sikhism and fantastic lunch in the Langar Kitchen. The visit concluded with a visit to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Faith Gallery where they saw artefacts and exhibits that reflected the breadth of religious life in Birmingham.

They went away with much to reflect on for their own ministry and having had their eyes opened to the potential for Christian ministry in a multi-faith city. They also had opportunity to visit places of worship and meet people of faiths that they hadn’t had chance to meet before.

If you would like to have this kind of experience for a group, it is something that we can offer from time to time. If you would like to talk to someone about this possibility please contact Canon Dr Andrew Smith, Director of Interfaith Relations Andrews@cofebirmingham.com

Dresden 9c

Dresden 2Dresden 3Dresden 9Dresden 1

 

Faith Guiding Course

The Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre will be hosting the Faith Encounter Programme as they run their accredited Faith Guiding Course

The Faith Encounter Programme seeks to train people of all faiths in Birmingham as Faith Guides, so that places of worship are better equipped to offer high quality educational visits.

The course is designed to provide participants with the knowledge, understanding and skills required for successful guiding around a particular place of worship. If you follow one of the major religious traditions represented in Birmingham, you are welcome to apply: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, & Sikh. Minor traditions are not excluded if they have a place of worship.

There will be 20 places available. Applicants must be over the age of 18 and have the ability to communicate well in English. Applications are welcomed from practising members of any faith community. In addition to completing the application form, applicants need to submit a reference from a leader of their local place of worship.

Course details The aims are achieved through the study of three key areas: 1. Knowledge of and ability to communicate the guide’s own faith 2. Awareness of, and competence in, tour guiding skills 3. Understanding of other faith traditions The course will include four visits to places of worship of different faiths.

Application forms Phone or email the Course Director: Ruth Tetlow 0121 449 4892 ruthtetlow@btinternet.com www.faithencounter.org.uk

The course is offered at the discounted rate of £33, which is the registration fee to the Institute of Tourist Guiding. This may be subsidised by the place of worship. Concessions may be available.

You can download a full brochure giving all the details of the course here

Faith Map launched at Birmingham Cathedral

A map of Birmingham faith communities was launched in the city’s cathedral on Tuesday 22nd November as part of Interfaith Week.

The web-based map allows people to search by postcode, ward or constituency and by faith tradition. It includes 632 places of worship from all the major religions practiced in the city.

The aims are to connect faith communities, help people new to the city find a place of worship, open and maintain links between the Council  and places of worship in Birmingham, support inter-faith activity and provide academics and other researchers with access to information about faith.

Speaking at the launch at Birmingham Cathedral, Councillor Alan Rudge, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Human Resources said: “This is a website that serves the need of all faiths and helps encourage the values of trust, harmony and hope between people.

“I value and recognise the important role that faith communities play within Birmingham. They are at the heart of the city and help to support the on-going cohesion and integration between communities.”

Also speaking at the event, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart said: “I am delighted that we had the launch of the faith map in a religious building. Being in a secular society is one of the glories of living in our British society that has been replicated around the world.

“In a secular society religion should not only be respected but it should flourish. To be truly human, and to have a flourishing community of human beings, faiths must be allowed to flourish. With this kind of encouragement, that we have received today, people of faith will go on making their contribution, in a distinctive way, to making this city not one of the greatest, but the greatest, in the world.”

The faith map can be accessed at www.birminghamfaithmap.org.uk

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