West Midlands church leaders met over 24 hours at the Woodbrooke Quaker Centre, Birmingham, on Sunday 2/Monday 3 October. At the summit, the leaders took time to listen to each other, to pray together and to consider ‘what the Spirit is saying to the churches’ at this time of challenge, change and opportunity. The conversation was conducted in an open and friendly manner, facilitated by respected ecumenist Bishop Joe Aldred.
Who took part?
- Bishop Joe Aldred (Trustee/volunteer with the National Church Leaders’ Forum)
- Rev Adrian Argile (Regional Minister Team Leader, Heart of England Baptist Association)
- Rt Rev Sarah Bullock (Bishop of Shrewsbury in the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield)
- Pastor Dr Marcus Chilaka (Provincial Pastor for the Redeemed Christian Church of God)
- Rev Dave Ellis (Regional Minister, Heart of England Baptist Association)
- Pastor Eniiwaju Etomi (Assistant Provincial Pastor, Redeemed Christian Church of God)
- Rev Steve Faber (Moderator, West Midlands Synod of the United Reformed Church)
- Rt Rev Martin Gorick (Bishop of Dudley in the Church of England Diocese of Worcester)
- Rhiannon Grant (Representative for Central England Quakers)
- Rev Novette Headley (Chair of the Birmingham Methodist District)
- Rt Rev John Inge (Bishop of Worcester in the Church of England Diocese of Worcester)
- Rt Rev Michael Ipgrave (Bishop of Lichfield in the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield)
- Bishop Jonathan Jackson (District Bishop for the New Testament Church of God)
- Rt Rev Richard Jackson (Bishop of Hereford in the Church of England Diocese of Hereford)
- Most Rev Bernard Longley (Archbishop of Birmingham, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham)
- Robert Mountford (Ecumenical Officer for Birmingham, the Black Country and Staffordshire)
- Rt Rev Matthew Parker (Bishop of Stafford in the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield)
- Rev Rachel Parkinson (Chair of the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury Methodist District)
- Lt Col Joao-Paulo Ramos (Divisional Commander, West Midlands Division, Salvation Army)
- Bishop Mike Royal (General Secretary of Churches Together in England)
- Rev Neil Le Tissier (Regional Minister, Heart of England Baptist Association)
- Rt Rev David Urquhart (Bishop of Birmingham in the Church of England Diocese of Birmingham)
- Pastor Nick Whittome (Regional representative for the Elim Pentecostal Church)
Following the summit, the church leaders agreed the following statement:
‘We met together in Birmingham to pray and encourage one another. We represent a range of traditions and ethnicities and rejoice in that diversity. We gathered united by our faith in Jesus Christ, the hope that he inspires in us and the love which motivates us to love in response. We sought in prayer to discern God’s word to us and the West Midlands area we love and serve.
“We rejoiced in stories of growth, whilst realistic about the challenges of sustainability post-COVID.
“We want to build our unity through prayer and mutual understanding so we more faithfully reflect our faith in Jesus Christ. Our call is to be more effective in blessing our communities in his name and sharing the reason for the hope that is in us. We encourage all our churches to engage locally and internationally, working with all of goodwill to contribute to the common good. In these challenging days of the cost of living crises, wars and climate crisis, we long to be a transforming presence, creating warm and safe spaces and living sustainably.
“In a world that often seeks simplistic answers, we are called to hold the space for complexity and conversation across difference. We want that for our churches and we seek to be facilitators of that respectful dialogue in the wider community.”