Category: Christianity

Birmingham Churches Winter Night Shelter 2013

Following the success of last years pilot churches winter night shelter in Birmingham, church leaders, outreach workers and others met at the Faithful Neighbourhood Centre to discuss a churches night shelter for this winter.

Last winter Churches from across Birmingham came together to provide shelter and hospitality to homeless people in Birmingham. Using the ‘roving shelter’ model devised by the Christian charity Housing Justice, the Birmingham Churches Winter Night Shelter was hosted by 5 churches on different nights of the week and provided a hot meal, friendship and hospitality, a bed for the night and breakfast.
Guests were offered a place at the shelter through a referral system which was coordinated by St Martin’s in the Bullring Help Desk with support from Reach Out Network, a Christian outreach team who also provided transport for guests to get to the shelter. This project was a great example of the Body of Christ working together in Birmingham to help those who really need it. The volunteers who staffed the shelter came not only from the host churches but from a wide variety of denominations and church traditions.
Those who used the shelter were so grateful that churches were offering them food and a bed for the night, but were equally grateful that volunteers took time to get to know them and made them feel comfortable and welcome, one guest said “it was nice to be given time to talk, it’s very rare you can sit down for a proper meal when you’re homeless”.
This winter there are plans for a 4 – 6 week shelter to start mid-January, and church hosts, volunteers, resources, and funding are now being sought. For a copy of the Pilot Winter Shelter Report 2012_more information contact Thrive Together Birmingham at or

Diary Getting Full for 2012

We have updated our calendar with all the training events planned in the next few months. But, in case you want to see them as a list, or copy the whole lot and forward it to everyone you know, we have added a list of all the events here in our blogs. We hope there is something to please everyone so do book on through our administrator, Parm, and we look forward to seeing you.

Christian Muslim Engagement
Our next major event is on Tuesday January 31st and is aimed at Christians who want to engage with Muslims but have some questions about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of interfaith dialogue. The event is being held at St George’s Newtown from 10 am to 4pm and being run in partnership with the Christian Muslim Forum (

Faithful Conversations
On Thursday February 9th we are running a training event here, at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre, for people who bring people of different faiths together and want to make sure meaningful conversations take place. The training runs from 10 am to 1 pm.

Muslim Christian Engagement
On Thursday March 8th we are working with the Christian-Muslim forum to run an event aimed at Muslims who want to engage with Christians and need some support and encouragement. The event will run from 10 am to 3 pm and is being held at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre.

White Working Class – a response to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report
On Tuesday March 20th we are holding a consultation with the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, Bishop of Aston, to consider our response to the views of those interviewed for the report who felt left out of regeneration and community cohesion programmes.

This is a chance to hear more details about the report, to reflect on whether the findings are relevant in our areas (part of the research was undertaken in Birmingham) and to share some ideas and thoughts of how Near Neighbours might be helpful in addressing this. This event is being held at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre from 10.30 am to 12 noon.

Engaging with Men
Many of our interfaith events seem to bring women together successfully but it is often harder to get men together for meetings or events. What can we do to engage with men and find ways of meeting their needs? This event is being held at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre on 21st March from 10 am to 1 pm.

Pakistani Awareness Training
Led by Karamat Iqbal this course is a chance to learn more about the Pakistani-British community here in Birmingham thinking about the history and development of the community, the issues and needs generally and of particular groups and the particular role of the church.
The course is being held at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre on April 25th from 9.30 to 4 pm. For more details please contact

For details of the other courses advertised here please contact Parm Sidhu at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre on 0121 675 1156 or e-mail:

Archbishop launches Hindu Christian Forum

Archbishop launches Hindu Christian Forum – an opportunity for ‘dialogue and depth’

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Sri Shruti Dharma Das Ji launched the Hindu Christian Forum at Lambeth Palace yesterday evening, at an event which featured addresses from Andrew Stunell MP, Baroness Richardson and Lord Popat.

In an address at yesterday’s launch, the Archbishop said “The conversation of interfaith dialogue is always one where we look eagerly and expectantly for enrichment. We’re not playing for victory, we’re seeking understanding from one another… by learning the depth of one another’s commitment and vision – dialogue and depth is what we all hope for.”

He praised the launch of the Hindu Christian Forum and the role it will play in facilitating dialogue: “I believe that a dialogue is about work, real labour, but also about surprise and excitement, and it is with that vision in mind that I commend this forum to you, thank you for your support of it, and ask for your continuing prayers and solidarity with the work it will do in the future.”

Dr Williams also spoke about his own early encounters with the Hindu faith. He described reading a children’s version of the Ramayana in the school library when aged 12, and recalled the beauty, complexity and depth which captivated him at that early age. He went on to say how later in life, while contemplating his own spiritual identity during a visit to India, he realised that “the historic Christian identity is something that constantly needs to be opened and enlarged, challenged and enriched in conversation”.

Speaking of a recent visit to Bangalore, he described a day of dialogue with religious leaders from a variety of Hindu traditions: “a deeply enriching experience – a day in which we were able to speak simply and directly about our traditions. We were able to say together at the end of that conversation a number of things about our mutual respect and the understanding that we sought.”

The Hindu Christian Forum has been formed by a group of Hindus and Christians who have been meeting together since 2001. It has become a national forum partly in response to the findings of the ‘Bridges and Barriers to Hindu Christian Relations’ Report which was carried out by Dr Jessica Frazier of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government. In his address, the Archbishop described the report as a “very creative and stimulating piece of work, which provides an enormous resource for reflecting on how dialogue can be pursued, and how at the grassroots level it is to be understood and worked with.”

Saltley project first in brum to be awarded near neighbours funding

Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre, Sparkhill Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre, Sparkhill Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre, Sparkhill

An inter-faith project in Saltley is the first project in the city to be awarded funds by a new Government grants programme which aims to strengthen communities by building bridges between people of different faiths and cultures.

The Hub in Saltley has received £5,000 pounds this week from the Near Neighbours programme. The award was given to help fund the start-up costs of the £1.5 million project to open a new interfaith centre in Saltley Methodist church.

The Near Neighbours cash will also fund four community days to give local residents a chance to get to grips with the plans and talk about their vision for the centre.

Residents will be invited to the BIG Game’, ‘the BIG Feast’, ‘The BIG show’ and ‘The BIG laugh’, each of which will give people of different faiths a chance to get involved.

Chair of the Hub Board, Methodist Minister Andrew Smith said: “We believe this centre will really make a big difference to Saltley. It will be one of the few places people can come together in a shared space and will set the scene so trusting relationships can be built and friendship deepened between people from different faith traditions.

“We are delighted that we have received a Near Neighbours grant to pay for necessary start-up costs and to help us begin to really engae with our local community.”

Near Neighbours development worker, Jessica Foster, said: “This sounds like a fantastic project and we are really glad we can support the team in Saltley as they begin work on the Hub.

“Shared spaces and centres of welcome and hospitality are vital to this city to ensure communities are connected and neighbourhoods strengthened.”

Near Neighbours grants are available to fund projects or activities which bring people of different faiths or ethnicities together to meet each other and work together to improve their neighbourhood. Community and faith groups based in 13 wards in central Birmingham are eligible for funding. For more details visit

For more information about Near Neighbours in Birmingham please contact Jessica Foster.

To find out more about The Hub please contact Andrew Smith or phone 0121 327 3845

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