New church-backed centre opens to connect communities
Birmingham’s church leaders have launched a new centre which aims to build bridges between people of different religions and equip Christians to live out their faith in a relevant way.
The Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre in Court Road, Sparkhill, was opened on Tuesday October 11th by the Presidents of Birmingham Churches Together, the Most Revd Bernard Longley, the Rt Revd David Urquhart and Major Sam Edgar.
Guests and dignitaries were welcomed to the centre by the parish priest, the Revd John Self of St John’s Sparkhill. The three presidents were joined by Dr Andrew Smith, Director of the new centre, to cut a cake to mark the opening and guests heard about some of the organisations based within or linked with the Court Road building.
More than 50 representatives of some of the city’s faith communities, church leaders and inter-faith activists joined in the celebrations to mark the launch of the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre.
Dr Andrew Smith, the director of the centre and the Bishop of Birmingham’s adviser on inter-faith ministry, said: “We hope this will quickly become a place where people of all faiths and none can come together to deepen their understanding of one another and find ways of working together to improve and strengthen their local areas.
“It is really exciting to be the first director of the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre and I look forward to working with a wide range of people from Birmingham to ensure this city is a place of friendship, hospitality and generosity and all who live here find a welcome.”
The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, said: “After the events of the summer it seems very timely that as one of the Presidents of Birmingham Churches Together I have opened the new Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre in Sparkhill.
“The new centre will help Christians in Birmingham live as ‘Good News’ in a multi-faith city, so that as followers of Jesus Christ we are equipped to build firm friendships and live out our faith in a way that strengthens communities, builds up belief and inspires other to seek the common good in our city.
“I am sure this centre will become a valuable shared space and the people who work in it will bring invaluable skills and expertise as we work together to make Birmingham a beacon of understanding and neighbourliness.”
The centre is a joint initiative between Birmingham Churches Together and the Church of England. It is one of four of the Church of England’s Presence and Engagement centres which aim to equip Christians for mission and ministry in a multi-faith society and build good relationships between people of different religions.
For more information please contact Jessica Foster, Near Neighbours Development Worker.