Friday, July 14, 2006

Group Away Day

We’re holding a joint away day on Saturday 14th October for our parishes in the Dudley Group – a chance to reflect on where we’ve reached and to dream for the future.

Venue and cost is still to be settled. If you would like to hear more about this please speak to the wardens or Fr Andrew. Meanwhile make sure the day is in your diary!


Old and young together

It’s the best part of a year since I moved into Dudley. And even in that short space of time, the town has not been static. From the Vicarage we can see new build going up. At our church school, Jessons, the Foundation Block for nursery and reception children has been completed. Change, not decay, all around I see. Although the town has a sense of pride and history, it is also looking to its future with a vision for 2020 and beyond. And in the churches, we are also called to be people who announce the future and support people through times of transition because we believe it is in dying that we live.

Last year, parish conversations took place involving St James’s and the other local parishes. It was a chance to listen in on the voice of the community during this time of upheaval. One person said “perhaps people who have already lived here for a long time should look at Dudley with the eyes of a newcomer and appreciate what we have.” The message is clear – the new Dudley and the old have something to bring in making our town happy and hospitable for the future.

That’s one reason the churches across Central Dudley are wanting to develop intergenerational work. Although the word’s a mouthful and it sounds like new jargon in fact it names a feature of our communities going back over centuries. After all, it’s only recently that elderly people have begun to feel disconnected and fearful. In the past, communication across the generations was strong, whether in traditional Black Country life or in the life of black and ethnic minority communities. And grandparents remain important – perhaps more so now than before.

Quite simply, intergenerational work involves finding ways of getting people together, talking together, working together, across the generations. We want to find ways for young and old together to share in building our future – ways of looking to our future that build upon our past. Over coming months, as we talk more about this, I hope you can consider how you can take part in this new initiative. If we do, then we can be a part in making Dudley a better place for us all, old and young together.

Fr Andrew

Together: News on Community Relations from Fr Tony

A few weeks ago, when we were remembering the terrible events of 7th July 2005, news came of the death of a British Muslim soldier in Afghanistan. We heard that he had signed up to help build bridges between “east and west”. It’s time for us all to be ambassadors of goodwill, but on our own doorsteps and in our own communities. No longer can the promotion of community relations be a special interest for people who think it’s important. As in the second world war people had to lookout for enemy infiltration and report unusual behaviour, so today we all need to be playing our part to identify and stop extremism and look out for the wellbeing of other people around us, as neighbours next door, out in the street, at the shops, on the bus or on the road.


Last month two formative events took place in Dudley. The Community Partnership drew together a multi-ethnic and multi-faith group in consultation. The purpose was to strengthen cooperation and cohesion  by people listening to and learning from one another. To create a positive social environment over a year on from the London bombings, no group should feel under siege or at a disadvantage. For the aim of “building a fair and tolerant borough” to succeed, everyone is needed. The second occasion saw the beginning of the transformation of the Dudley Race Equality Council into the new Centre for Equality and Diversity. The launch of the new body will promote a similar range of concerns and actions to the organisation which began in 1974 as the Community Relations Council.


What’s new is that the Centre for Equality and Diversity will address six strands of social engagement together : gender, disability, sexual orientation, age and religion, as well as race. The Community Relations work can be seen as a forerunner for this wider role and with many examples of good practice to encourage people’s well-being and involvement. The role of the Church at that formative time was recognised, especially that of Bishops Tony Dumper and Rupert Hoare. Now we can all support and encourage the firm intention that fairness and tolerance be at the heart of our community life;  these values being enjoyed by everyone because we all work at achieving them together. Time may show these two events to be as important as the moves  taken in the 60’s and 70’s to overcome the unpleasant misunderstanding and antagonism on Dudley’s streets, now two generations back. People working together will safeguard and protect 40 years of community building from today’s extremists, whether they are groups operating at the level of international conflict or other elements closer to home and in different parts of our locality. People can tackle extremism together.


News for Young People (11 +)

In the Autumn, we’re starting a new group for young people aged 11-14. We’re going to meet at St Barnabas on Sunday afternoon, 10th September from 3.00 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. Young people who took part in this year’s Confirmation sessions want to continue meeting. But this is a open to others who may be interested.

For more details, speak to Fr Andrew.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dudley Group Away Day

We’re holding a joint away day for our parishes – a chance to reflect on where we’ve reached and to dream for the future.

Venue and cost is still to be settled. If you would like to hear more about this please speak to the wardens. Meanwhile make sure the day is in your diary!


Monday, July 10, 2006

St James's Young People's Council

Are you aged between 8 and 17? Help us plan activities and share ideas. We want to raise funds for the church – we’re talking about a car wash in the Autumn. We also want to form a drama group. Come and find out more at our next meeting – after church on Sunday 10th September.