A new church is born…‘united in Jesus, serving the city’
On Advent Sunday, 27th November 2011, a service of celebration and commitment
was held to mark the signing of a covenant between the Methodist Central Mission
and Carrs Lane United Reformed Church, and a new church was born:
The Church at Carrs Lane
The day began with a pilgrimage around the city centre, led by Revd Neil Johnson, tracing the history of Methodism in Birmingham. Singing and praying at each of the many significant sites marked an historical journey from Steelhouse Lane, where John Wesley was first welcomed to the city in 1745, to Carrs Lane Church where, since the 1970s, ecumenical cooperation in mission and ministry between URC and Methodist Christians had led to this moment of joining in covenant together.
Fellowship over a roast lunch was followed by worship, a service led jointly by Revd Bill Anderson, Chair of the Birmingham District of the Methodist Church, and Revd Roy Lowes, Moderator of the West Midlands Synod of the URC. Revd John Marsh, Former Moderator of the General Assembly of the URC, was the preacher.
160 people joined the celebration, most of them recording their support by adding their names to the huge covenant document, the formal signing of which marked our joining in partnership together. The story of that partnership and of the naming of the church was told. An act of commissioning of our two ministers, Revd's Neil Riches and Neil Johnson, was held and a prayer of dedication invited us all to commit to being ‘your church in this place’.
‘For this day of new beginnings, thanks be to God...’ words written by Fred Kaan, much loved former member of Carrs Lane, began our service and the joy of that hymn resonated throughout the afternoon as we marked the culmination of a long and continuing journey together and the beginning of a most exciting future.