From churches closing to big hearts in parks… Langley Centre of Mission is up and running!

22nd February 2021

It may have been suggested that the Anglican churches commitment to Langley, and the wider part of Sandwell in which it sits, has been diminishing in recent times. Two churches have closed down in living memory (Holy Trinity Church in 1968 and St Michael and All Angels in 2007). This is not the whole story.

On the 14 February 2021, if you happen to be in Langley Park or Barnford Park, you may come across a large heart. These won’t be the result of some local star-crossed lover attempting to impress the object of their desires but rather a message of love of a different sort. On them will be a QR code, if you follow this code, and input your name, you shall arrive at a webpage telling you ‘For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to that if you (their name) believe in Him you shall not perish but have eternal life’. With a link to a Facebook page dedicated to the local community and those that are there to serve it.

This is the Langley Centre of Mission in action. The Centre of Mission is a partnership between Church of England Birmingham and the Church Army, with generous support from Archbishops Council in the form of Strategic Development Funding and situated in the newly formed Deanery of Warley & Edgbaston, created by the People and Places programme.

Val Legg has been appointed lead Evangelist and Simon Jarvis appointed as Pioneer Evangelist. They will live in the local community, building relationships, finding and training volunteers and serving those most in need for at least the next five years. Simeon is from the local area and has a particular passion to help young men who are in real need to realise their potential. Val is from further afield (most recently running a Centre of Mission in Wales) and is also extremely passionate about finding those most in need and taking Christ, and the church, to them.

The Church Army has a long history of supporting the Anglican Church to reach those in most need with the love of God. Their focus is on people not buildings. This fits well with Church of England Birmingham’s vision of “Growing churches at the heart of each community” and Bishop David’s challenge to “reach new people in new places in new ways”.

The long-term vision of the Centre of Mission is to see new worshipping communities emerge of people, that may never have attended a traditional church, meeting together to grow in community and discipleship. For now, the focus is on getting to know as many people as possible and doing things that put a smile on people’s faces. When talking to Val on one of her regular prayer walks she thought the lines of a song best encapsulated where the Langley Centre of Mission may be heading:

We'll walk for truth
Speak out for love
In Jesus' name
We shall be strong
To lift the fallen
To save the children
To fill the nation
With your song

(Let The Flame Burn Brighter - Graham Kendrick)

The church is not closing down, our commitment remains, we just may look a bit different.

If you are interested in volunteering, would like to know more, or just want to say hello please get in touch with Val by email or phone: 07791 881 698

Visit their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/LangleyCoM/