Whilst we are moving on and excited about what God has in store with us next, there has been some sadness as we’ve said goodbye to our home and community in Smethwick. We spend 12 years here and grew to love the area. Bearwood and Smethwick will also have a significant place in our hearts.
So, I’d like to encourage you to keep praying for this area and the communities here. It’s a significant place, potentially strategic in terms of Gospel mission set at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation. I’ve always felt that Bearwood acts as a crossroads between cultures and a bridging point between Birmingham and the Black Country.
It’s an area of great need. There are prosperous pockets but also so much social and economic deprivation. At the same time, it’s a vibrant area with a mix of cultures, white British working class and middle class, Punjabi Sikh, Pakistani Muslim, African, Middle Eastern and Eastern European. These communities are not segregated like in so many of our cities.
The biggest need of course is the Gospel. We experienced a tough and torrid time over the past few years and the Chapel congregation have had to live through that too. I know of one other local church that didn’t survive through the pandemic. However, the Chapel continue to seek to be a witness locally and there are also encouraging signs with a revitalization project planned for the Parish church. It has also been exciting to see new life through the West Smethwick Congregational Church replant.
So, please pray for those local churches for Bearwood Chapel, for Nueva Vida Con Cristo, for St Mary’s Bearwood and for West Smethwick Congregational Church. Pray that they’ll stay faithful to the Gospel and that they’ll see fruit from their witness.
To help encourage you to pray, here are a few pictures from my last walk through Warley Woods and Bearwood.