Pilgrimpace's Blog

holiday kitchen at st bede’s


From next Monday our friends at GBNFC Children’s Centre will be holding a Holiday Kitchen at St Bede’s (and at other local venues).

Holiday Kitchen is open to pre-school and primary school children and their parents and carers.

It is about having fun, making friends, and sharing food.

To book in call 0121 464 4189

parish prayer walk
June 20, 2018, 8:37 pm
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sewing bede
November 5, 2017, 8:53 pm
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prayer walk

Lovely prayer walk with St Bede’s this evening.  Canal, urban streets, field.  This is the best time of the year, but we saw Brandwood showing off its beauty.

A small group of us met at St Bede’s.  We agreed our route and how to walk.  The first part in silence, the second with prayerful talking.  We were looking out for the places God is obviously very present, and the places where we wish God was more obvious.  We intercessed for those we knew on the way round.


We savoured the beauty of creation, wild or planted by people.  Girls shouting echoes into the canal tunnel – and laughing when they realised we had seen them.  A woman singing as she cycled.  A fat cat making a car stop as she sauntered across the road.  Breath taken away as we took in the view across Birmingham to the Black Country.

christmas services at st bede’s

Our Christmas Services at St Bede’s start this Sunday 18th December with the CANDLELIGHT CAROL SERVICE at 6pm. This is followed by mince pies and mulled wine.

Our CHILDRENS CAROL SERVICE is on Christmas Eve at 4pm.
We’ll have a Scratch Nativity – please come dressed up!
This is a short service designed for excited little ones.

MIDNIGHT MASS starts at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve


You are welcome at any or all of these.

Prayers for you at Christmastide


advent journey 2
November 29, 2015, 8:28 pm
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At St Bede’s this morning, Ann gave the figures from the Christmas Crib to people to hold.


We committed ourselves to journey – with the Holy Family, with the shepherds and angels and Magi, with the Christchild, and with each other – towards Christmas.

This is not a journey that escapes from the world and all it’s troubles and difficulties.  Christ comes into this world and embraces all of the mess, all of the horror.  This is the way we journey, but it is a journey of hope, a journey in which we discover further what part we might play.

reflecting the tough stuff

Yesterday at St Bede’s, we spent the sermon reflecting together on how we respond to horrors like the terrorist attacks in Paris.

It has been quite a week – as well as the attacks in Nigeria and Mali and Cameroon (and I am sure others which go unreported in western media) we have had significant anniversaries here:  The Coventry Blitz, a big air raid on Birmingham the same week that killed more people, the Birmingham Pub Bombings 40 years ago.

People brought bits of reflection with them.  Margaret brought a wooden fruit bowl that her cousin had made.  It was the only thing to survive when her mother’s house in the Jewellery Quarter was bombed (fortunately, the family were in a shelter).

I brought a postcard of the Ravenna Mosaics which a Jewish family had bought on holiday from Vienna in 1924.  They were refugees here in 1937, are connected with St Bede’s, and gave me the card.


photo from wikipedia commons

We reflect on how things change or don’t change, how we can welcome those in great need, what we can do.  We remembered that St Bede’s was seen as a safe place for Irish people after the IRA bombings.

We reflected on a question Barbara asked a while ago – Why did God harden Pharoah’s heart in the Book of Exodus before the people of Israel were allowed to flee Egypt?  We couldn’t come up with a good answer to this, but it made us think about out own hearts, about trying, with God’s grace, to ensure that they do not become hardened.

We remembered Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies.  This is all tough stuff; easier to say than to do.

Ann told about eating her lunch next to an old dry stone wall while she waited for her friend’s funeral to start.  It spoke to her of permanence, of each of the stones being different, of the short beauty if human life.

As we thought about our city not being torn apart, about not seeking revenge, we reflected on God’s Kingdom, it being the Festival of Christ the King.  That this points to a new reality, a place where things are turned upside down, where love is in charge.

good news from brandwood

After reading an outrageous report in the Daily Mail (19th May, 2013) that Brandwood has 60% of 16 to 64 year olds on out of work benefits, the congregation of St Bede’s, Brandwood spent Sunday morning collecting good news stories about the area.  We love living here and are deeply committed to this place!


–       there is a good deal of care for older people.  We could single out Chris Barr’s work through the Allens Croft Project, or our own Lunch Club (a couple of people have overheard conversations on the bus recommending the good quality and cheap food on offer).


–       people are generous.  We have recently raised several hundred pounds for Christian Aid.  We support many people in need, for example through the Foodbank in Bartley Green or the Ifakara Bakery in Tanzania.  We are aware of many volunteers throughout the community working hard for a better quality of life for all.


–       local schools are good and we love our links with them.  The Childrens Centre on Allens Croft Road makes a very significant difference to the area.  Our parent and toddler group is thriving.


–       most people feel safe living here.  We enjoy a stable community.  There is increasing ethnic diversity and integration has been good.


–       the environment is improving, with good green spaces.  Dawberry Fields Park has been finally re-done and is well used.  There are a number of really good voluntary efforts caring for the various open spaces: Brandwood Cemetery, Jasmine Fields, Lifford Reservoir.


–       there are some really good facilities and third sector groups around, including the Brandwood Centre, Brandood Forum and the Allens Croft Project.  We are proud of our links with these groups.  Our building is able to host many community groups and has several hundred people coming through the doors during the week.


–       there is a good and developing community spirit.  Brandwood Fun Day is a key part of this.


We also spent part of this time reflecting on the murder of Lee Rigby.  One member, who is the mother of a serving soldier, reminded us forcefully that we are to pray for his murderers and all others who are so filled with misguided hate.

st bede’s, brandwood
July 19, 2010, 10:52 am
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here are some photos of St Bede’s.  I’ll post some reflections later this week on these two Churches and the Camino.


The last few weeks have been frantically busy.  This has been for a number of good reasons and I am happy as a priest to work to the limits of my capacity at particular times.  The danger for me lies in getting into a pattern where I work flat out all the time, become exhausted and then a liability.  Walking the Camino, along with a commitment to walking and cycling in life, has been enormously important in ensuring I keep a proper shape in my life.  I am enjoying an emptier diary this week, a chance to stretch, to reflect on and process all the busy-ness.

One of the important things that has been happening is discerning the direction of the next few years at St Bede’s, Brandwood, where I spend half my work as Vicar.  We have been using the Diocese of Birmingham’s excellent Transforming Church initiative to help us in this.  Over the last months, folk at St Bede’s have gathered together a list of all the ideas of things we would like to do.  On Saturday, about twenty of us spent a day in prayerful discernment.  We prayed for our parish and then looked at what we already do.  We then considered future work.  We are already active in our local community through our Community Project, particularly in working in partnership with local agencies and people of goodwill to give a better quality of life to all (click here to read the story of this).  We are committed to this and especially to a youth work initiative that will be getting off the ground in the next few months.  We also need to pay some attention to our finances so that all that we do and are is on a secure footing.

When we came to look at what else we might do, I was very happy that the mind of the meeting was to give attention to our life of prayer, both as individuals and corporately as a Church.  We do pray at the moment, but this will be an opportunity to deepen this part of our life in Christ.  It is also an opportunity for integration, to see that prayer and action are part of a seamless robe, that our mission is holistic, caring for all of a person’s being and needs.  This became clearer than ever to me in that School of Prayer and School of Charity which is the Camino de Santiago.  On it, we learn to pray more deeply; that prayer is tested and proved in our encounters with others, especially when it is difficult.

Here are two poems on prayer which give much to live out of:

PRAYER. (I)    (by George Herbert)      

PRAYER the Churches banquet, Angels age, 
        Gods breath in man returning to his birth, 
        The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage, 
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth 

Engine against th’ Almightie, sinner’s towre, 
        Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear, 
        The six daies world-transposing in an houre, 
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear 

Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse, 
        Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best, 
        Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest, 
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise, 

        Church-bels beyond the stars heard, the souls bloud, 
        The land of spices, something understood. 

A Priest at Prayer

From prayer to prayer involves

a dwindling, a way of being

that accounts for weariness, a regular

drawing in and letting out of breath;

the planting of a word and its forgetting,

a close examination of what is there

until it isn’t, a candle flame beating air,

love meeting Love before the house wakes up;

space body-shaped, time vacated,

the passive tense, a waiting to receive,

out-of-bounds of what is right

or wrong, subject to being surprised

by God on briefest sight.

from David Scott Selected Poems.