Thursday, 6 February 2014

An extraordinary invitation...

Hodge Hill Church Community Houses
Experimenting in Christian community ‘on the edges’

The Invitation
  • To come and live – for the medium- to long-term – in one of two ‘community houses’, places of shared life, hospitality, activity and prayer
  • To join a wider ‘dispersed community’, within the local area, of Christian disciples and friends, activists and pray-ers, as part of the ‘extended family’ of Hodge Hill Church (an Anglican-URC Local Ecumenical Partnership)
  • To get involved with a growing and richly diverse local movement of neighbourhood community-building, which has already developed many fruitful and exciting groups, activities and projects
  • To be in on the beginning of this exciting new venture, shaping with us this radical experiment in ‘missional, intentional community’

Where we are

In the diverse, multi-cultural and rapidly-changing parish of Hodge Hill, in East Birmingham, near M6 Junction 5:
  • The Old Rectory – on the edge of Hodge Hill Common – focused on hospitality to those seeking space for retreat, prayer and reflection, or a listening ear
  • A house on the Firs & Bromford estate – a focus for community-building activities on the estate, with an emphasis on growing, cooking, eating and sharing food with our neighbours

Our Vision
  •  LOCALLY ROOTED – committing to being a living presence, discovering God here, in this place, and joining in with what God is doing here
  •  LIVING TOGETHER – exploring the challenges and possibilities of sharing a common life together as ‘lived’, or ‘intentional’, community and part of the wider ‘dispersed’ community
  •  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOURS – growing ‘infectious’ relationships of compassion, generosity, trust, friendship and hope; offering and receiving hospitality; joining your own ‘sparks’ with those of your neighbours in the work of community transformation
  •  LEARNING AND LIVING OUT A RHYTHM – seeking to immerse ourselves in the different, but equally vital, dimensions of a shalom-shaped life...
§  seeking God’s ‘shalom’ (wholeness, peace, justice, and the integrity of the natural world) in our life together, in our neighbourhoods, and in the wider world
§  offering a place of hospitality, and being people who listen, to friends, neighbours and strangers
§  growing into, and sharing with others, a spirituality that sustains, energises and inspires
§  taking up opportunities for voluntary and paid work, with local partner organisations, with children, young people and adults in the neighbourhood, and/or seeking to live out our faith in other workplaces in and around the city
§  taking up opportunities for learning together, training in core community work skills, and reflecting theologically (asking ‘where is God in this?’) – both as a community together, and with some of our partner organisations
§  finding spaces to have fun, recharge our batteries, and be ourselves
§  finding opportunities to generously share our gifts, time and money with others, and to receive with gratitude the gifts of others
‘BOTH... AND...’
o   Prayerful AND activist
o   Places to live AND places to meet
o   Being community together AND joining with change-makers in the wider community

We are inviting prospective residents to consider:
  •  making a medium- to long-term commitment within the community here – and for a minimum of 2 years
  • finding a means of earning an income, either locally or within the wider Birmingham area, at least for part of their time each week
  • sharing their income within each Community House (or across the two houses), and making a contribution to cover running and living costs (we estimate this to be between £100 and £300 per person, per month)

Who we are

We are a creative local partnership between:
  • Hodge Hill Church – a flourishing, outward-looking Anglican-URC Local Ecumenical Partnership passionately committed to ‘Growing Loving Community, in the love of God, with all our neighbours, across Hodge Hill’
  • Worth Unlimited a locally-rooted youth work organisation with national reach, committed to ‘building hope, unlocking potential, realising worth’ among marginalised and excluded young people
  • Together, we intentionally pursue a shalom-shaped, ‘asset-based’ approach to community development (‘ABCD’) in our local neighbourhoods, and are already very active on the Firs & Bromford estate, with many youth and community activities revolving around our shop-front space, ‘The Hub’
  • The Community of St John the Divine – a nearby Anglican religious community in Alum Rock, with a long-standing link with Hodge Hill, bringing deep wisdom from many years of ‘being community’ together
We also have close links with: 
  • The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education – Birmingham’s centre for training Anglican & Methodist ministers, and many others, both lay and ordained 
  • The Midlands Centre for Youth Ministry (at St John’s College, Nottingham) – training and supporting Christians in the skills of children’s, youth, schools and community work  
  • The Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre – a place of learning and encounter between people of Birmingham’s many different faiths

What Happens Next?
  • Contact us (see below) to find out more and/or to register your interest
  • Come and visit us, get a feel for the area, see the houses, and talk and eat with some of us!
  • If you’d like to explore things further, we’ll invite you, with others, together for a couple of days of ‘getting to know each other’, reflection and discernment (hopefully in April/May/June 2014)
  • We aim to have The Old Rectory ready for its first residents in September 2014, and the Firs & Bromford House ready by January 2015

Sounds interesting?
To explore further, contact:
Info booklets and application forms available now! Deadline for applications: 15th April 2014.

To find out more about us:
  • Our church website:
  • Al’s blog:        
  • Al’s twitter:              @hodgehillvicar


  1. Exciting and faithful initiative Al. May you and all involved be deeply blessed. I shall follow with interest.

  2. I truly want to participate!! Looks so inspiring. just have to find the 'how'!!

  3. Just love your shalom-making, hospitable endeavors to build and sustain community. Would love to see such approaches take place here in the US.