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The United Benefice of Moseley,
St. Mary and St. Anne

Office: 25 St Mary’s Row, Moseley, B13 8HW
Telephone: 0121 449 2243, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Moving from listening and reflecting to action

This weekend sees the anniversary of the launch of our period of listening & reflecting across the benefice. Throughout 2016 the worshipping congregations of St Anne’s and St Mary’s, as well as the wider Moseley community, were invited to reflect on the kind of people God is calling us to be together. We did this through focusing on three questions:

  1. Where have we come from?
  2. Who are we?
  3. Where are we going?

I am grateful to everyone for the time taken to reflect on these questions and the prayers offered asking God where we should go and what we should do.

Asking such open questions could have invited whacky responses or something that was to become the seed of a grand new venture for us across the benefice. Perhaps there was some glaring opportunity that we were missing and needed to embrace?

As I have reflected on the responses with colleagues, it has become clear that the United Benefice of Moseley is not as united as the name might suggest! The two churches have many things in common but are not yet at the point of being able to move closer together. The challenges and opportunities facing both churches are also different which will require us to address differently how we move forward in each church. The benefice website carries the fruit of an exercise undertaken by both PCCs and the ministry team where we explored the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats facing each church. This was a really helpful exercise.

Nothing startlingly new or from out of ‘left field’ came out of the year of listening & reflecting. What did emerge was:

 

  • The need to help St Anne’s build on the things it does so well and recover some momentum, encouraging folk to take up leadership positions – particularly Churchwarden.
  • The need to enable St Anne’s to continue with their incremental reordering.
  • A desire to help St Mary’s recover some of its identity that was lost with the closure of Centre 13 and to reinterpret what it can offer to Moseley in the second decade of the 21st Century and beyond.
  • Energy to maintain the momentum of St Mary’s Churchyard Heritage Project and redevelop and possibly expand the building to make a more accessible, welcoming and better functioning resource for worship and the local community including:

    • Updating our lighting and heating.
    • Making the worship space more accessible and flexible.
    • Expanding our meeting and hospitality space.
    • Exploring how new audio visual provision might enhance our worship and how we use the space.
    • Refurbishing the organ.

 

All of this is extremely exciting! The opportunities across both churches are immense and we need to respond with equal enthusiasm and generosity.

 

We are already doing so much that engages with the local community. The Monday Lunch Club, Christmas Day Together and our participation in the Churches Night Shelter are three significant areas of ministry that we offer. Open Church as a place of welcome and Coffee and Company together with Stay and Play @ St Mary’s offer a further range of engagement with the local community. The opportunities on offer through music, Messy Church, singing and bell-ringing offer chances, particularly for youngsters, to get involved with the churches. Individual involvement in a host of societies and organisations in Moseley sees the churches making a further valuable contribution. The development of lay leadership across the churches and the exploration of individual vocations is so encouraging. Our responsibility towards Moseley C of E Primary School is a privilege and other local schools are increasingly developing links with the benefice. The Prayer Circle, Prayers for Israel and Palestine, and Silentspace offer prayer opportunities whilst a wide range of regular and one-off encounters feed our discipleship in a diversity of ways. Our children and young people’s groups contribute so much to our common life together. Our developing inter-faith links give opportunities to dialogue with and learn from local Muslims and folk of other faiths.

 

This list is by no means exhaustive but if we were to expand our resources both in terms of plant and personnel, what more might we be able to offer?

The next stage is to see how we can take these ideas forward in both church communities. Appointing Churchwardens at St Anne’s is their priority. Gathering a group to start fleshing out how we might reorder and expand St Mary’s is their task.

I will be exploring the implications of all of this with both Church Councils and with colleagues in the coming weeks. Please can I urge you to pray and prepare to offer to be involved. As I said, these are exciting times in our common life together. Let’s take Psalm 105:1 as our guide

Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.

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The Revd Duncan Strathie
Vicar of Moseley 14 January 2017