Tag: Training

Learning to Lead in the Big City

‘Tomorrow members of the public are coming for a guided tour of London, your task between now and then is to research, plan and then lead a tour for them’.

How would you feel if that was said to you? well that was just one of the challenges the Catalyst group faced on their residential trip to London. They had less than 24 hours to plan a trip in a city few of them new well for people they had never met. It demanded that they drew on all the leadership training they had received through the Catalyst programme so far, and was a real challenge.

The four day trip also included a visit to the House of Lords to discuss being a faith leader in the public and political sphere. They were guided by the Rt Revd Bishop David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham and one of the Lords Spiritual who sits in the House of Lords. He gave a fascinating tour of the house explaining its workings and history and chaired a discussion for them to grapple with how to be a leader of faith in a society where faith isn’t always taken seriously or considered relevant to political or moral debate.

Having the chance to spend time together, socialise and eat together brought the group much closer and led to some really deep and profound conversations on topics such as women in leadership, salvation and gay marriage. Our evening reflections included the opportunity to reflect on pieces of art from different faith traditions, on the final day we visited Tate Modern and looked at art inspired both by a spirituality and by no faith or spirituality at all.

It was a fantastic time which drew us together as a group, challenged us all and developed leadership skills amongst this key group of emerging leaders in Birmingham.

Oh, and how were the guided tours? Brilliant.

Faithful Fundraising – a full house for a fab course.

Birmingham had a chance to experience Near Neighbours with a Leicester flavour when John McCallum visited the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre to give us a fantastic introduction to fundraising for faith-based organisations.

John is the Near Neighbours Co-ordinator based at the St Philip’s Centre in Leicester who brings with him many years of funding experience.

More than 20 participants from faith communities around the city came to Sparkhill for the course on the 6th March and travelled with John, at some speed, through the hows and whys and whats of fundraising.

Through the day people learnt together how to find funders, how to apply, how to manage the fundraising process and how to use a grant wisely. There was a also a chance to hear from and question a ‘live’ trustee of two local grant-making bodies.

Initial feedback from the day was really positive. People were impressed by the quality of the materials, the subject matter covered and John’s breadth of experience and knowlege. So thank you Leciester for coming to Brum – hope we can return the favour sometime!


Planning, Personality and Pressure

The third Catalyst day took place at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre on Saturday 12th January. In a packed day the group learnt about basic planning for events including budgeting, risk assessments and safeguarding. After a wonderful curry for lunch the group thought about how their personality affects their leadership by going through an introduction to the Myers Briggs Tye Indicator personality test. This useful and entertaining session was led by Tom and Judy Walsh who helped us all see how personality impacts the way we lead and how we relate to those in our teams.

The final session of the day was on Leadership under pressure and was led by Jake Diliberto who brought a vast array of experience to the topic and described pressure situations he’d been a leader in that we all hoped we could avoid!








As a warm up for this session the group were all put under pressure as they were challenged to use £5 to buy ingredients for a tasty snack for us to share in the tea break. The pressure was added to as they only had 35 mins from receiving the instructions to needing to serve the food. In this time they had to buy the ingredients, prepare them and do a risk assessment on the activity. A beautiful fruit salad, mini fruit kebabs and cheese and tomato on ciabatta were the results.











In April all the members of Catalyst will have to prepare and run a Near Neighbours event, to prepare them for this task Immy Kaur shared her experience of running the Art for Action project in 2012.

Next up for Catalyst is our Residential trip to London from 28th Feb-3rd March. Look out for more updates

Catalyst Birmingham Launched

One of the programmes funded by Near Neighbours is the Catalyst leadership programme for young leaders. Aimed at people aged 20-30, this programme brings together people of different faiths in that age bracket and provides training on leadership issues.

Catalyst Birmingham has a cohort of 13 which includes Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims. On November 24th they met for the first time and spent the day getting to know one another and thinking through what the qualities of leadership drawing on their own experiences of leadership and inspirational leaders from within their faith traditions.

The group will meet once a month for the next 6 months and will cover topics such as conflict resolution, character and personality, practicalities of leadership, recruiting volunteers, risk assessment and faith and leadership in the public sphere.

They will also have to devise and run a Near Neighbours project as part of the course.

Our hope is that this group will go on to form the core of a group of young faith leaders engaged with inter-faith work and social issues in Birmingham.

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

Youth Work Students Visit the FNC

For three days in October we hosted students from the Midlands Centre for Youth Ministry. Their visit was part of their diversity module and was an opportunity for the to meet, experience and learn about the some of the different faiths and cultures here in Birmingham. Alongside lectures and discussions they experienced the fun of shopping on the Stratford Road and visited the Shree Laxmi Nayan Mandir and the Masjid Hamza.

The module is an important element of their course as it equips Christian youth and children’s workers to understand different faiths and cultures, as well as giving them an opportunity to reflect on how they might work with young people from different faith backgrounds and disciple Christian young people living in a multi-faith society.


Visiting the Shree Hindu Centre


Faithful Conversations

In September we ran our second ‘Faithful Conversations’ training evening here at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre. A group of 13 of us to met to think about how we can have conversations about faith in an informal and non-confrontational way with friends and neighbours.

The evening consisted of a number of activities that involved, amongst other things, people reflecting on their own faith journey, sharing how they celebrate festivals or what impact their faith has on their lives day by day. We also spent time thinking about how we speak and, perhaps more importantly, how we listen. Finally we considered how we cope when we find ourselves in disagreement over faith matters.

The different learning styles were appreciated by the participants who went on to make a number of positive comments about the events.

“The emphasis on simply asking ‘what do you believe’ and taking each person as individuals not representatives of their faith was good.”
“It took pressure off me to defend my faith.”
“It is more about building a relationship with love than winning an argument”
“The variety of activities was very good to get us talking with others about our own faith stories”

The Faithful Conversations course is being run again in Walsall on 29th November. Details are on our events page.

We can also run the course in your area. If you would like to find out more please contact us.

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.




Understanding Pakistanis

On the 26th April a group of us met at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre to hear Karamt Iqbal teach us about the history of the Pakistani community in Birmingham along with the current situation. Karamt spoke about his own experience of being a Pakistani who moved from Mirpur to Birmingham in 1960’s and used this to highlight the experiences of many within the Pakistani community.

Hearing first hand of what it was like to make such a significant move was both interesting and insightful as he unpacked the implications for a community that has had to establish itself within the city.

Karamat’s style was to be both informative and anecdotal, he also challenged the majority white community whilst being reflective and self critical of his own Pakistani community.

Karamat has many years experience of working for the local authority and used this experience to highlight the current situation and to encourage participants to consider the implications for the city of a large (and growing) Pakistani community living, working and contributing to life in Birmingham.

The day was well received and we are hoping to run it again in the autumn along with a shorter version aimed specificaly at church leaders. Details of these events will be on the website when confirmed.

Men and Inter-Faith

Why is it that inter-faith events seem to attract more women than men, and that women’s events are often better attended than ones for men. These were some of the questions we considered at the consultation on the 21st March.

First of all we recognised that there is lots of good inter-faith work going on, and that there is an issue of needing to get more women involved in leadership. We also weren’t suggesting that events for women should be in anyway curtailed or undermined by this discussion.

We also acknowledges that there are good examples of men’s interfaith events especially some of the sporting competitions that take place.

We spent a good deal of time looking at what we thought might prevent men attending inter-faith events. Some the the suggestions we came up with included:
Enjoying competative activities that are often missing in inter-faith events
Not seeing the need for just building relationships, more interested in networking or making contacts
Wanting to engage through doing not just talking
Not wanting to be made to feel foolish, for example by sharing in small groups
Different communitities having different expectations of how and when an event is run
Not being convinced that it is worthwhile, so needing the aims and motives to be better articulated

We went on to discuss what we could do to overcome sdome of these obstacles. Some of our conclusions included:
Ensuring joint leadership from different communities in the planning of the events
Finding appropriate competative activities to form the basis for the discussions and engagment
Less talk of relationships and more emphasis on activity, contacts and networking
Focus on specific interest or work groups eg local business men, the elderly, sports

This was a consultation not a conclusion so please feel free to add your comments and thoughts, or discuss these questions amongst men that you know.


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