The workplace chaplaincy ‘Churches And Industry Group Birmingham-Solihull’ (CIGB) will hold its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 14 June at…
Focolare communities in the Midlands
In the past year, in response to an invitation from Archbishop of Birmingham Bernard Longley, two ‘Focolare’ communities have opened in the Midlands. At the heart of the Focolare Movement are small communities of men and women who consecrate their lives to God and live in separate households called ‘focolares’ (the Italian word for ‘hearth’). A men’s Focolare community is located in Willenhall and a women’s community in Darlaston.
The Focolare Movement is a bit like a large and varied family, of a ‘new people born of the Gospel,’ as its founder Chiara Lubich defined it. Members include young people, families, priests and bishops. Some of these live in community, while others do not. It is a movement of spiritual and social renewal, founded in Trent, Italy, in 1943, during the Second World War. The Focolare Movement, officially known as the Work of Mary, was approved by the Catholic Church in 1962 and is now present in many other Churches and in 180+ countries around the world.
The Focolare Movement aims to spread the message of unity, inspired by Jesus’ prayer to the Father, ‘may they all be one’ (John 17:21). Its goal is to promote relationships of mutual love and to foster a world in which people respect and value diversity. Members of the Movement engage in dialogue and are committed to building bridges between cultural groups in every area of society. Members of the Movement include Christians from different Churches, members of the major world religions and people of no particular religious belief. Each one adheres to the Movement’s goal and spirit, while faithfully following the precepts of their own faith and conscience.
In the Midlands, the Focolare has links with a number of different church communities, including the St Newman Cluster of four Roman Catholic Churches in Bilston, Darlaston, Willenhall and Wolverhampton (East Park); and with St Lawrence’s Anglican Church in Darlaston. There are also links with various faith communities, the Sikh community in Soho Road, the Hindu community in Edgbaston and a number of Muslim friends.