Queen's counsel XVII
Between our first and second year's study at Queen's College, we are sent out on a Parish placement in order to experience ministry in action. The principal aims are to relate our theoretical insights to the real world and to become more aware of community issues and how the clergy are expected to respond. I have been fortunate to be involved within a full team ministry in the town centre parish of Bilston.
As an urban parish with its fair share of challenges, the church is seeking to help rebuild the sense of worth that the town certainly once had. Before the town was merged in 1966 with the Borough of Wolverhampton, Bilston had high levels of industrial work and relative prosperity. Most people lived, worked and had their being almost entirely locally; they certainly felt that they belonged to the town. The industry has mostly gone now and there is a need to regroup and redevelop life there again.
Recently, funding for economic development has been attracted to the area and the church is highly connected with the effort. For example, the project to regenerate the town centre is run from offices within St. Leonard's, a fine church right in the town centre, and the "Heart of Bilston" group, seeking to rebuild a sense of community there, is held in church and chaired by the team rector.
I have experienced several very positive and outward-looking acts of worship at St. Leonard's: the memorial on 11th September was well attended and sensitively done [you may have seen the fireman reading the lesson there in the papers]; the evening Harvest thanksgiving service drew in people from all over the parish, heard their stories and celebrated their achievements in the context of their decisions, as it were at crossroads in their journeys; the patronal festival, inspired by St. Leonard's role in rescuing prisoners, entered deeply into concerns relating to domestic violence and prayer was offered for related initiatives now underway within the parish.
These examples surely link with what the Epiphany also encourages us all to do – to invite Jesus into our lives not just in worship but also prayerfully through our life and work in the community around us. We may pray as Mother Teresa once did:
"Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellow
This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
This page was last updated on 2002-11-18