Celebration of Life – Margaret Cross

A service to celebrate the life of Margaret Cross took place at The Church at Carrs Lane on 2 October 2021 at 2pm.

Order of service
  • Opening Music: Treorchy Male Voice Choir
  • Welcome
  • Hymn: 313 “Thine be the glory”
  • Prayers of Adoration & Confession
  • Hymn: 51 “Great is thy faithfulness”
  • Tribute on behalf of the church
  • Solo: 323 “I will sing the wondrous story” (‘Calon Lân’)
  • Tributes from Family
  • Hymn: 57 “Let all the world in every corner sing”
  • Prayers of Intercession & Lord’s Prayer
  • Music: ‘Moon River’ by Andy Williams
  • Reflection
  • Hymn: 465 “Guide me, O thou great Jehovah”
  • Prayer of Blessing

Watch the service here:

To read the tribute from the church, see: Remembering Margaret 02.10.21pdf

Carrs Lane Lectures in Radical Christian Faith

Lectures in Radical Christian Faith 2021

Flyer with information about the Carrs Lane lecture 2021Progressive Christianity: Hope for the Future?

The 2021 lecture, in association with Progressive Christianity UK and the final Marcus Borg Memorial Conference, was held on Zoom on Tuesday 19th October 2021 at 8pm.

A recording of the event can be found at https://www.pcnbritain.org.uk/resources/videos/hope-for-the-future


Photo of Revd Deshna Shine
Revd Deshna Shine
Ordained Interfaith Minister and Chaplain in USA, published author and International speaker; Former Executive Director of ProgressiveChristianity.org

Bishop Jeremy Greaves
Assistant Bishop of Brisbane in the Anglican Church of Australia; describes himself as a progressive Christian who “lives on the edge of the church”

For this on line conference we have the opportunity to learn about the possibilities and challenges for progressive Christianity, not only in America and Australia but what is common to us here in Europe. And how does the culture of richer nations, with a widely diverse population contrast to countries in the southern half of the globe? Are there common barriers and issues to progressive thinking in all our countries? And can the voices and thinking of younger leaders like Deshna and Jeremy give us hope for the future?

Become a workplace chaplain

Workplace Chaplaincy Training Course Sept-Nov 2021

From Monday 20 September to Monday 8 November 2021 from 5-7pm:
Workplace Chaplaincy CIGB,  7 week Training Course for Voluntary Chaplains

Cost: £50

Download a leaflet about the course

CIGB INTRODUCTION TO WORKPLACE FAITH CHAPLAINCY 2021 Image of a leaflet outlining the 7-week evening course to become a voluntary workplace chaplain in Birmingham and Solihull

CIGB Voluntary Chaplains support people in many workplaces across Birmingham and Solihull. Workplace Chaplains act as a sign that God is engaged 7 days a week, 24 hours a day in our working lives. Workplace Chaplains provide listening, careful support and help people to see that God is at Work. Voluntary chaplains typically give about one half day per week to this ministry. Our chaplains find the experience inspiring: they report that chaplaincy helps to grow their own faith, as well as helping others to develop.

Our chaplaincies are in places like shops, offices, the fire service, transport and the local council.  CIGB, a local charity, has been providing ecumenical Workplace Chaplaincy for over 40 years and has an existing team of over 50 part-time chaplains. We also organise Job Clubs to provide Chaplaincy support to those who are currently unemployed.

Workplace Chaplaincy Training is over 7 Monday evenings from 20 Sept. The course teaches some of the core skills and strategies for Workplace Chaplaincy, as well as providing a chance to hear from some of our existing chaplains. Attending the course is not a commitment to start chaplaincy; nor does it guarantee a chaplaincy role at the end: a discernment conversation takes place towards the end of the course.

More information and a registration form is available from val.dalton@cigb.org.uk

FRIENDS OF CIGB (www.cigb.org.uk/friends) is our network of colleagues who are interested in issues of Faith, Work and Economy, and support our work.

Registered Charity 511711

Time4Change – The Birmingham Charter

Time4Change – The Birmingham Charter

Time4Change is a group of Churches and Christian organisations across Birmingham that have been meeting together regularly since the tragic death of George Floyd took place in June 2020. The heart and passion of the group is centred around Christian unity, harmony, speaking with one voice regarding racism, injustice and racial inequality. The group has discussed how the church, the body of Christ, can unite around the issues of racial disharmony and injustice.

At The Church at Carrs Lane, we are encouraging each other to read Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book, “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race” as we begin to engage in conversations, creating the spaces for open, honest and frank dialogue. We celebrate Racial Justice Sunday in February and continue with this theme to enhance our activities and worship during Lent. It’s Time4Change!

  1. We the churches, Christian organisations and followers of Jesus, acknowledge the issue of racial injustice and its systemic and institutional nature.

  2. We commit to  challenge racism confidently across Birmingham and see it removed from the church and society.

  3. We commit to an honest and open look at ourselves and our churches and where we are in relation to the issue of racial injustice.

  4. We will pray: actively encouraging prayer as a group and within and across our churches and neighbourhoods over the issue of racial injustice and disunity.

  5. We repent – we have caused or ignored hurt and we pray for a deep healing in our city.

  6. We will engage in conversations – creating the spaces for open, honest and frank dialogue. We will listen to the voices of our black and all ethnic communities, across the generations and the different parts of our city.

  7. We commit to relationship building  with church and city leaders modelling strong supportive relationships across the city. We will build a culture of honour, openness and support within our churches, neighbourhoods and workplaces.

  8. We will bridge the knowledge gap, building a shared understanding of what it is like to be black, or of other ethnicity in Birmingham today, understanding the historical context and the damage to their psyche by sustained and systemic racism.

  9. We aim for truth, reconciliation and healing through open discussions across the city, that understands and acknowledges the hurts of the past and hopes for the future. We will Identify actions to bring healing.

  10. We will advocate; using our influence and understanding to speak up for racial equality and equity in the church and the city. We will inspire changes in structures and cultures to remove racism. We will engage the city’s civic leaders as they address this issue. 

  11. We will build and strengthen representative leadership: Creating systems, structures and processes that encourage representative leadership in our churches and organisations. We will actively mentor and encourage young and emerging leaders.

  12. We will take practical action, developing short, medium and long term plans to equip the wider church to strengthen unity and collaboration and engage the wider community.

  13. We will equip and engage the wider church with material on theology, and key principles around justice, equity and equality, testimonies and events. We will ensure our actions and narratives are centred very clearly on Jesus, rooted firmly in the word of God and inspired by the Spirit.

  14. We will communicate and dialogue regularly and clearly, in an engaging and accessible way to ensure the wider church is kept up to date.  We will inspire Christians engaged in business, health, education, arts and media and other spheres to be champions for equity, equality and builders of unity.

  15. We commit to being a welcoming city, a super diverse community where all peoples, whatever their background or ethnicity, see that God’s people will always provide a home, a community and a generous welcome. We commit to strengthening unity and harmony across the church that we might be one just as the Father and Son are one.



Eco Lent and Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 22 February to 7 March 2021. The focus this year is on Climate Change.

Visit the Fairtrade Foundation to read more about Fairtrade Fortnight, the issues and what you can do to make a difference

Church Eco Group – Eco Lent

The Church Eco Group has also updated its Eco Lent flyer.

Download a jpeg of the flyer below 

Open to God – Open to Justice

Worship for Lent and Easter 2021:

Ash Wednesday, Feb 17th, service 6.30pm on Zoom: link in notices

Fridays in Lent, starting Feb 19th to April 2nd: Compline 8.15-8.45pm with themes of Racial Justice, Ecological Justice & social engagement

Sundays in Lent, at 10.30am:
Feb 21st and 28th: ‘Racial Justice, Equality , Diversity & Inclusion’
March 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th: ‘Open to God, Open to Justice’

Good Friday: 10am on facebook/carrslanelife

Easter Day: 10.30am on facebook/carrslanelife

Morning prayer at 8.30am every weekday on https://www.facebook.com/carrslanelivedcommunity

Download the poster with these details

Fair Trade and Eco Group join forces

Church enthusiasts for eco and fair trade issues join forces

Carrs Lane Eco Group now includes Fair Trade as the issues being dealt with are so connected. The church’s Mission Group will also take a lead on fair trade awareness raising within the life of the church. Carrs Lane Fair Trade Shop closed in 202o during the coronavirus pandemic, but it does not stop the church campaigning for fair trade and supporting Traidcraft and Traidcraft Exchange. We continue to be a Fair Trade church

Eco Church Bronze Award 2019 gained by The Church at Carrs LaneThe church achieved an ‘Eco Church‘ Bronze Award in October 2019, thanks to the work of the eco group, church members and conference centre staff.




Traidcraft Exchange logoTraidcraft Exchange, which also deals with both areas of action, wrote to thank the Carrs Lane Fair Trade Shop for its donations and contribution to their work over many years. In the letter when informed of the shop’s closure, Heather Thompson of Traidcraft Exchange said:

“Thank you for your recent letter and the enclosed donation of £6,796.40 for Traidcraft Exchange. While it was encouraging to receive so significant a sum of money, I was saddened to learn of the closure of Carrs Lane Fair Trade Shop which I know has had close links with Traidcraft plc for many years….

You may like to know that, according to our records, Carrs Lane Fair Trade Shop has made a total of 52 donations to Traidcraft Exchange since March 2006, totalling £24,691! Such significant sums of money go a long way in the developing world – do please pass on our thanks to all concerned.

I do hope that despite the closure of the fair trade shop, Traidcraft Exchange’s relationship with Carrs Lane congregation and community will continue: do please add me to your list of contacts and pass on my details. Anyone who wants to stay in touch with us can best do so by signing up for our email updates initially, at Campaign with Traidcraft Exchange — Traidcraft Exchange (Scroll all the way down the page to “Stay Connected” to enter your name and email address.)

Thank you again for all your support over the years,

Yours sincerely

Heather Thompson
Supporter Relations Manager”

Click to download the letter

Latest advice from the denominations

#StayHome It could save livesRev Ian Howarth, Chair of the Birmingham Methodist District and Revd Steve Faber, Moderator of the URC West Midlands Synod, have written to churches at the start of Lockdown 3.

Read the letter from Ian Howarth

Read the letter from Steve Faber

Chaplaincy: ‘Come and sit over here!’

Sometimes I wonder, what on earth am I doing? Not just regarding chaplaincy! But here I am, rushing out to a pub foodie night, after promising the manager that I would turn up.Revd Elaine Hutchinson, Retail Chaplain in Birmingham

I’m late (as usual) and feeling really guilty and trying to be inconspicuous as I arrive at the event. ‘Good intentions’ a great name for a pub and it’s holding a foodie night, trying to encourage people to enjoy food while socialising at the pub. “It’s a new initiative. Hopefully we’ll get more people into the pub”, explains Roz, the assistant manager, who just happens to also be an excellent chief and has been serving up amazing dishes and catering for all sorts of events. Roz thinks it might just be good for business given the times we’re in.

So, I hang around thinking maybe I could’ve been better off at home, I feel a bit out of my comfort zone. I chat to Roz’s partner who is also helping with the event, but they’re both busy so I order a drink and sit outside.

I’m really tempted to go home. I’ve shown my face, ordered a drink, will buy some food then leave, that’s what I’m contemplating and still feeling guilty for having missed most of the event as I sit and sip my cider.

There’s a couple sitting outside, and they shout over to me, come and sit over here!

Now, maybe it’s my collar or maybe they feel sorry for me. Whatever the reason, they invite me over and I’m not one for refusing an invite so I’m intrigued and go over.

Shirley and Justin (name changed for obvious reasons) both work at the Law courts and they’ve heard of the foodie event.

Shirley has just finished a bottle of wine and orders another. “It’s been a busy day” she sighs and Justin is sipping what smells like whisky. They both look tired. “Are you a real minister?” Justin asks.

“No, I’m just pretending!” I reply. We all laugh and then the conversation ranges from faith to Black Lives Matter to favourite meals. Phew! Now I really want to go home. Justin goes to the bar, and I’m left alone with Shirley.

She asks “does it make you happy?” I’m puzzled, not sure what she means. “Does God, your faith, make you happy?” she speaks quietly and I realise that we’ve got until Justin returns. I pause. It depends on what you mean by happy. If you mean do-I-get-everything-I-want ‘happy’ then no, God doesn’t make me happy –  in fact God can make me very unhappy. I wonder if that was the right thing to say.

Shirley continues: “I’ve tried everything, Buddhism, Jehovah’s Witnesses. My mom’s very religious but I’m not sure.” I’m digging deep to find something profound to say, but that’s really about me, not about Shirley so I continue to listen. “Do you have a contact number? I would like to continue this conversation”, Shirley asks. I give her my card, Justin returns and that’s it, the conversation moves on to other things.

I still wonder at times what I am doing, but felt that at this particular moment, listening to Shirley grapple with faith was the right place to be chaplaincy, holy ground… sipping cider.

’Nuff, blessings!

Revd Elaine Hutchinson
be.friend Team Leader and Chaplain to the Great Western Arcade

Read our Chaplaincy page


Living in the church during Lockdown

Steph Neville is interviewed by Rev Nick Stanyon in his series of Good News videos for the URC West Mildands Synod. Here, she reflects on life during lockdown, how prayer underpins action, and how the large church space has enabled her creativity, plus her continuing involvement with Stories of Hope and Home.

More videos of Good News Stories with Rev Nick Stanyon are available to watch here here: https://www.urcwestmidlands.org.uk/synod-video-stories.html

More YouTube videos of Steph’s work with Stories of Hope and Home are here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqYJNo8mlmn5qGfTitSQlyQ

Carrs Lane Lived Community Live-Streamed Prayers are on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/carrslanelivedcommunity

Stories of Hope and Home on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hopeandhomestories