Many Churches were represented from across Birmingham at a United Church Service held at St Andrews’s Stadium – home of Birmingham City Football Club – on Sunday 17 October. Around 3000 people joined together to address the issue of racism, to stand together under God’s grace and see Birmingham start to change under a fresh sense of God’s grace.
The service, hosted by Nikki Tapper, was a massive step in seeing the Church in Birmingham come together to ask God for forgiveness, to pray for healing of past hurts, to worship together and to look to God as He draws His body, the Church under one city-wide canopy of unity.
Prayers for forgiveness and healing were led by many local church leaders including Archbishop Bernard Longley, Pastor Yvonne Brooks, Bishop Deverton Douglas, Pastor Pauline Young, Rev Sarah Whittleston and Bishop David Urquhart. Videos had been commissioned to show some of Birmingham’s dark and hidden past in relation to profiteering from trading of slaves and there was opportunity for silent reflection from all gathered.
There were moments during the service, often as everyone worshipped, but also when something very pertinent was taking place that golden rays of sunshine lit up the venue – it was as if God was smiling on those gathered, knowing that much planning and prayerful preparation had taken place in the lead up to the event to help it happen – but not just that, the sense of God’s pleasure and the approval for what was taking place in the heart of the nation was tangible.
Pastor Calvin Young spoke powerfully with great conviction about the need for change and how NOW is the time for change. Birmingham is only going forward from this point onwards. Balloons were released by seven children, containing messages of hope to be received by someone else across the city and as many church leaders present gathered towards the end of the service, there was opportunity to pray blessing on the next generation – a generation who will move Birmingham forward!
The afternoon was indeed filled with amazing grace!
More information: www.time4change.uk