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Brickworks Church in Lye

Published: 13th February 2019

Brickworks is a small church plant based at the Stambermillend of the parish of Christ Church in Lye, just outside of Stourbridge. It isled by the Revd Tom Fish and his wife, Helen, and over the past few years hasbeen engaging the community and evolving a worshipping community. Tom came toLye as a curate in 2013 with the specific aim of planting a new church in thearea and has stayed in the parish for an extra few years after the end of hiscuracy to continue the work.

Tom said: Stambermill church closed in the 1980s and theparish merged with Lye. When the churchwarden locked the church door for thelast time, he said that the church would be back and its lovely that he andhis wife are now part of the Brickworks team! The idea of planting a church inStambermill has been prayed about since the early 2000s. After I completedtheological college, I was keen to work in urban ministry and explore churchplanting when we came to Lye, it seemed that the two separate prayers led tothe same place!

After his ordination in 2013, Tom and Helen moved into ahouse which had been found right next to Rufford School. The first thing theydid was to deliver a card around the estate inviting people to come to a carolservice at the school and meet their new vicar. Over 40 people came to thatfirst event, which we thought was amazing, said Tom, but getting them to comeagain was more of a challenge! From those initial contacts, together with a fewfrom Christ Church, we gathered a small group of people who said they wereinterested in helping.We started aseries of planning meetings to decide how to take it forward.

The group started with a series of community events such aspancake parties and Easter egg hunts. A short-term mission team visiting fromSouth Korea helped run two days of childrens games in the summer with acultural night in the evening which attracted around 70 people. Locals justcouldnt believe that something like that was happening in their community,continued Tom. From small beginnings those two days have grown into aweek-long annual summer occasion with games and refreshments in the day and oneevening event. Last year 300 people attended our open air concert.

In the September of 2014 Brickworks started meeting as achurch, with a morning meeting held in the Sunshine Club on the estate,followed by lunch at the vicarage and an afternoon of childrens activities. Ahandful of people from the estate are a regular part of the church and thenumbers of children have steadily increased.

Last autumn we got to the point where we had too manychildren for our morning venue, so we now have two separate services we stoppedchildrens activities in the morning, and started something like Messy Church inthe afternoon, cramming up to 24 people into our little vicarage. Sincestarting the new arrangement, weve had new families come to each service.Were also planning a joint celebration for everyone in the school six times ayear.

Alongside the two Sunday congregations, Brickworks hosts acommunity caf each Tuesday morning, an after school discussion group for youngpeople, occasional mens breakfasts and each Thursday afternoon a group meetsfor prayer and bible discussion in the flat of one of the ladies on the estate.

Last year Tom and Helen were joined by a missionary couplefrom America and together they now have a small leadership team. Having a teamof people has been transformational! Said Tom. Its still very fragile, butBrickworks church is starting to feel like what we prayed for. Weve got about35 people attending worship regularly across the two congregations and oursummer events have been amazing really bringing the community together. Thereare also signs of new people coming to faith, with one lady baptised recentlyand others expressing interest. We are a visible presence in the community andproof that church can exist for people who are outside of it!

Page last updated: Thursday 7th April 2022 11:34 AM
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