On Sunday 13th October 2019, Six Ways Erdington Baptist Church became the first church in Birmingham to receive the Church of Sanctuary Award. The awarding team from Birmingham City of Sanctuary Committee were impressed by the range of activities in the church, including regular ESOL classes, practical and spiritual support for asylum-seekers and refugees within the congregation, and a commitment across the whole congregation to ensure that the culture of welcome is solidly embedded in all activities. Children and Youth Groups will be working on a special project to honour the 36,000 people who have lost their lives seeking sanctuary in Europe, and the church will also be working with two local schools who are part of the Birmingham Schools of Sanctuary network. The church had nominated three Sanctuary Advocates, one of whom is a refugee, one the daughter of refugees, the third part of the British Jamaican community.
During the service, singing was led by two refugees from Zimbabwe, special prayers were said for a Christian Somali member of the congregation newly released from immigration detention, and the speaker was Richard Reddie, director of the Churches Refugee Network.
Six Ways Erdington Baptist Church is the first Church of Sanctuary in Birmingham and only the second in the country.
If other churches are interested in following in their footsteps, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org