Tag: FNC

Faithful Friends – Together for Hope

The Faithful Friends: On Tour project has been recognised by Coventry Cathedral and has become their first Together for Hope Community.

Together for Hope is a relational network facilitated by Coventry Cathedral’s reconciliation team.

We are a network of partners who are secular or faith-based organisations.

We are drawn together by the story of Coventry Cathedral, and its partners have an on-going relationship with the Cathedral.

We share a common commitment to work for peace justice and reconciliation. We nurture this among our network through mutual support, fellowship and occasional joint action.

The partnership was formalised at a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral in the morning followed by a civic reception at West Bromwhich Town Hall in the afternoon.


Speeches were given by Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd John Stroyan,The Bishop of Warwick, Canon Sarah Hills, Cllr Ahmadul Haque M.B.E, Councillor Linda Horton, Deputy Leader of Sandwell Council: Cllr Syeda Katun

The ceremony also included songs by pupils from Crocketts Community School Smethwick, Devonshire Junior Academy Smethwick and Hargate Primary School West Bromwich

Mystery Mission Trip Lands at the FNC

For three days in July the FNC became home for 20 young people and leaders from Knowle Parish Church. They eat, worshipped, and even slept at the FNC which they even found to be quite comfortable! However this wasn’t just a luxury city break they were here as part of their church’s annual mission trip for young people. So whilst they were with us they went litter picking with the Balsall Heath Forum, helped out at the Sultan Bahu Trust, Got involved with The Feast, did gardening at The Springfield Centre and helped at the Narthex Food Bank.

As well as all this activity they visited shops on the Stratford Road, had a tour of the Hamza Masjid and were there for Iftar and had a delicious meal at Hajees Restaurant.

Although Sparkhill is only 15 minutes away from Knowle, it’s a different world, one which many of the young people had never visited. However, they got stuck into the work and were enthusiastic and hardworking volunteers.


Competion Winners on Display

The Near Neighbours in Birmingham photo competition was opened with a private viewing for invited guests to St. Philip’s Cathedral. The 60 guests all spoke very highly of the photos which are being displayed in the Cathedral alongside the Faithful Friends Exhibition. The evening included speeches by The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham and Mohammed Ali the well known Graffiti artist.

The competition winners will be on display in the Cathedral until the 23rd November and all the entries are available for the public to see when they visit.

The competition invited amateur photographers from Birmingham to submit pictures on the themes of:

There was a winner, runner up and third place in each category plus a selection of ‘Judges’ Favourites’ which did win prizes but which were highly commended by the judging panel.

There was also an overall winner drawn from all the pictures. This was won by Paul Hillcox for a wonderful close up study of an eye with a church window reflected in it. Paul said of his picture:
“The image was an inspired moment after our church service during the summer . I was trying out a new lens and just wanted to try something a little different and was attracted by the light from our church windows reflected in my wife’s eye. My wife, Veronica, has a very deep faith and I was quite moved by the image when I viewed it on my laptop. I have never tried this type of photo before and I am delighted that others find the same deeper meaning in the photograph.”

You can view all of the entries on the Near Neighbours Flickr Site

Asian Awareness

Over the past five weeks a people have come to the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre to deepen their understanding of Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism. The course was aimed at Christians who wanted to learn more about these faiths and South Asian culture as well as to think through how they might share their faith with people from a different faith background.

The titles of the 5 weeks were:

Towards understanding Islam
Towards understanding Sikhism
Towards understanding honour and shame culture
Towards understanding Hinduism
Towards understanding South Asian children and young people.

Each week was led by contributors with an in depth knowledge of the different faith and culture, and the course included times for questions, reflection, sharing resources and prayer.

The course was run with Pall Singh from East West Trust, Pall has lived and worked in Birmingham for many years and has run this course successfully in a variety of locations across the city.

It is hoped that we can run this with Pall again in 2013. Details will be on our events page when they are confirmed.




Olympic Torch Relay TV Interview

Today Andrew was interviewed by The Community Channel for a feature on the event we are planning to mark the Olympic Torch Relay as it passes down the Stratford Road close to the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre.


Called ‘Sunrise in Sparkhill’ The event will be on Sunday 1st July and features breakfast, mini-Olympics, face painting and mendhi along with a full program of events on the bandstand. This will be compered by Nikki Tapper and conclude with the reading of a Faith Pledge led by the Bishop of Birmingham and members of the Birmingham Faith Leaders Group.

Look out for pictures form the event and the wording of the Faith Pledge coming soon.

A Faithful Conversation

On the 9th of February we ran the Faithful Conversations training morning at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre. The morning included a chance for people to think through their own faith stories and then to have the opportunity to share those stories with others, to learn how to speak positively about faith and how to listen to others. It was also an opportunity to hear the faith stories, beliefs, practices and experiences of others.

The morning was greatly appreciated by all the participants. Read what they said about it:
There were really interesting discussions held with interesting people
The course was excellent, easy to get to and with parking available
There was a good balance between activities and discussions
It was very useful, I will definitely be having ‘Faith Conversations’

Due to the popularity of this course we are planning to run it again in the evening of Thursday 26th April. You can find all the details on our events pages



New church-backed centre opens to connect communities

launch of faithful neighbourhoods centre launch of faithful neighbourhoods centre launch of faithful neighbourhoods centre

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.

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