2021 OCTOBER FORUM MEETING - PERIODIC REVIEW

CHURCHES TOGETHER IN LICHFIELD AND DISTRICT

PERIODIC REVIEW 2014-2021

INTRODUCTION

1. Churches Together in Lichfield and District (CTL), the successor to the Lichfield Council of Churches, held its first meeting in 1995. New constitutions for CTL were adopted in 1999 and 2014, following models produced by Churches Together in England. These models require a periodic report to be produced. The first one was in 2006 and the second in 2014.

MEMBERSHIP

2. Current members

St Bartholomew, Hints

St Chad, Lichfield with Elmhurst Mission

Christ Church, Lichfield

St Giles, Whittington

Holy Cross, Lichfield

St James the Great, Longdon

St John’s Hospital, Lichfield

St John the Baptist, Shenstone

St John, Wall

Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield Methodist

Life Church

St Mary, Weeford

St Michael’s, Lichfield

St Peter, Stonnall

St Peter and St Paul, Lichfield

Shenstone Methodist

Wade Street (United Reformed and Baptist)

Lichfield Meeting of the Society of Friends

Full details of current membership can be found on the website.

ACTIVITIES

3. Focus. In the last report in 2014 it was reported that the focus of CTL had changed over the period of this report and the major activity had become the support of groups associated with or affiliated to CTL. This work has continued.

4. Groups. Groups and activities currently supported by CTL are:-

Christmas Day Together – provides a meal and entertainment on Christmas day to those who would otherwise be on their own.

City of Sanctuary Movement – part of a network of groups building a culture of welcome and hospitality.

Inter Faith Forum – Part of the Inter Faith Network for the UK set up to promote inter faith understanding and cooperation.

Late Night Listeners – part of the Christian Nightlife Initiative offering Christian outreach to the night time economy.

Lichfield Christian Aid Action Group – set up to raise funds locally for Christian Aid.

Lichfield Christian Schools Work Trust – provides mentoring and support for pupils attending local schools.

Lichfield Concern for Palestine Group – affiliated to the national Sabeel-Kairos movement which is the leading Christian, church-based organisation in Britain campaigning for the rights of the Palestinian people and for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.

Lichfield Foodbank – part of the national movement which provides help for local people in crisis.

Places of Welcome – part of the network of local community groups providing their neighbourhood with places where all people feel safe to belong, connect and contribute.

Reports on the activities of these groups are produced for the Annual General Meeting and can be found on the website.

The following groups have also been supported over the last seven years but have either stopped operating or are no longer supported:-

Ecumenical Youth Groups – Resonate and The Zone – two ecumenical youth group initiatives.

Fairtrade Lichfield Committee – set up to obtain Fairtrade City status for Lichfield.

Keswick in Lichfield – this group became a Charitable Trust.

Lichfield Christian Aid Committee – support has now been transferred to the Lichfield Christian Aid Action Group.

Lichfield Churches Justice Forum – this group changed its name and formed two sub groups, one of which is Late Night Listeners.

Lichfield Emergency Night Shelter – For two years a successful night shelter was organised for the homeless based in local churches.

5. Recurring Activities. The annual programme of events for CTL has been:

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – Preacher Exchange and Service of Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving.

Lent Groups – Home groups meeting to study a chosen Lent book.

Good Friday – Morning Walk of Witness and Services, and Evening Reflection in Lichfield Cathedral.

Thy Kingdom Come – Services in connection with this event which takes place between Ascension and Pentecost.

Lichfield Bower – A tent has been organised in Beacon Park staffed by volunteers from different churches providing entertainment and activities for children.

Mystery Plays – In conjunction with Lichfield Mysteries members of different churches have taken part in Mystery Plays.

Forum Meetings in late January/early February and October.

Annual General Meeting in June.

6. Other Events. A performance of Stefan Smart’s stunning one man show ‘I am Mark’ was organised at St. Mary’s Church in 2017 and was well attended. Unfortunately a repeat performance at Lichfield Cathedral in 2020 had to be cancelled due to the covid pandemic.

7. AGM and Forum Speakers. Since 1999 we have used the AGM and Forum Meetings as an opportunity to hear a variety of speakers on Ecumenical or other Christian topics. In the last few years there have been talks on many local, national and international topics:-

Robert Mountford – Robert is the Ecumenical Mission Officer for Staffordshire and the Potteries, gave us a perspective on the state of the ecumenical movement both nationally and locally.

The Rev’d Linda Collins – Linda from St. Michael’s Church, outlined plans for a dementia friendly Memory Café in Lichfield, which was subsequently set up at the Methodist Church and is still operating successfully.

David Barnes – David is a Dementia Friends Champion from the Alzheimer’s Society gave a talk entitled ‘Lichfield – Towards Dementia Friendly Community Status’.

Nigel Gann – Nigel is a founder member of the Lichfield, City of Sanctuary Group and he outlined plans for Lichfield to become a ‘City of Sanctuary’.

David Whittaker – David is the Housing Options Manager with Lichfield District Council spoke about ‘Homelessness – Local Authority’s Statutory Duty’.

Anthony Narain – Anthony is an Impact Team Leader with Urban Saints, and spoke about ‘Setting Up Youth Work and New Youth Projects’. He also spoke at special request at another meeting about ‘Black Lives Matter’ and the various personal issues he had encountered.

Caroline Fellows - Caroline attends St. Chad’s Church and spoke about ‘Community Action’ after she had successfully started and run a campaign which saved a local sports facility from being closed.

Rev’d Matt Wallace and Rev’d Richard Westwood – Matt and Richard are vicars in the Burntwood area and spoke about the ‘Burntwood Be A Friend Group’ which was set up during the covid pandemic and went on to receive several awards.

Warren Bardsley – Warren is a Methodist Minister and local author, and spoke on ‘A Cry For Hope From The Christian Community In Palestine’.

Luke Olly – Luke is Energy and Environmental Manager with the Central England, Cooperative Society gave a talk entitled ‘How You And Your Church Can Save Money, Be Green And Be Good Stewards – A Practical Guide’. Afterwards number of churches took up this initiative.

Revd’d Dr. Gillian Straine - At the most recent Annual General Meeting Rev’d Dr. Gillian Straine spoke about her work with the Guild of Health and Saint Raphael.

8. Passage of Information.

a. Website. We are very grateful to Peter Walker of Lichfield Methodist who developed the site and continues to be the webmaster. We are now able to load copies of documents for meetings on to the website. Consideration is also being given to setting up a ‘Prayer Wall’ on the website.

b. Email Network. This was originally designed to pass on papers for meetings but is now used more widely to disseminate information. Most is from member churches and affiliated organisations and the remainder is from the County and District Volunteer networks.

c. Election Hustings. These have been organised at both Lichfield Cathedral and Wade Street Church for recent election campaigns.

STRENGTHS

9. The strengths of CTL have been:

a. Participation in the life of the local community.

b. An annual programme of well publicised events with members bearing witness to their Christian faith.

c. Major events on a regular basis to raise the profile of the Christian churches in the city and surrounding villages.

d. A dedicated group of ecumenical Christians to drive forward our activities.

e. Support from the management groups of some member churches.

f. The passage of information by several means.

g. The ability to adapt to change – during the pandemic all the regular events still took place in one form or another, and new events (an online Christmas Service and an Easter Sunday Prayer Walk) were introduced. The Good Friday Service was streamed for the first time on YouTube and was viewed by over 300 people.

h. Effective financial management which was particularly important in our dealings with the Council in running the Lichfield Emergency Night Shelter. This initiative led to many local homeless people being provided with accommodation by the Council.

i. Providing volunteering opportunities for members of the local community, for example over 400 people volunteered to help with the Lichfield Emergency Shelter when it was announced.

j. Besides the Council partnerships have also been established with other secular organisations such as Lichfield Cares, Curborough Community Centre and Support Staffordshire.

CURRENT CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

10. The following challenges and opportunities have been identified:

a. A lack of time and energy/commitment because all the people most involved in CTL are also heavily involved with the running of their own churches.

b. Extend the central group of organisers.

c. Set up an ecumenical youth group.

d. Draw in the population of Lichfield to our churches and to our events.

e. Move outwards to take an even greater part in the ongoing life of our local community.

f. Perform succession planning.

THE WAY FORWARD

11. There are no plans to change the basis on which CTL works.

CONCLUSION

12. We have a firm base for our ecumenical Christian life in Lichfield and District but we still have work to do to improve the links between member churches and all who want to volunteer.

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 9th September 2021 12:07 PM