CIGB Annual Review:
Our Annual Review gives an introduction to our varied Workplace Chaplaincies across Birmingham and Solihull, as well as showing how we have spent the money that our generous donors have given to us to enable this ministry.
A Brief History of CIGB
CIGB was established in the mid 70’s as a result of earlier work and discussion. Ralph Stevens, Vicar of St Paul’s Church in the Jewellery Quarter was a prime mover and the parish has had a history of linkage to CIGB, with previous incumbents often taking key roles.
1974 papers refer to issues of unemployment, wages, race relations and migration.
In 1975 there was a draft job description for an ecumenical chaplaincy at the National Exhibition Centre with 3 part time members Roman Catholic, Church of England and a Methodist from St Andrew’s, Chelmsley Wood.
By 1978 there was a CIGB co-ordinator and links with the then Master of the Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson at Temple Balsall, where the chaplains frequently met.
In 1979 there were chaplaincies in various companies including Lucas, HP Sauce, Ansells – Aston figured large, mainly because of the influence of the senior Methodist chaplain Ray Smith who lived nearby in Erdington. Students from Ridley Hall, Cambridge came on placement to study ‘Organisations in Industrial Life’ – part of Industrial Mission’s long involvement in educating ‘the church’. Among the contacts with the business community there were annual lunches at Penn’s Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield with senior executives from both business and the public sector.
The 1980s were dominated by unemployment, particularly so in Birmingham and the West Midlands.
Under the leadership of Revd Dennis Claringbull and Ray Smith, the 1980’s was a very active period.
Denis Claringbull wrote a paper on ‘Work, Employment and the Changing Future’. There were also leaflets and studies concerning work and a training workshop for the unemployed.
In 1981/1982 CIGB considered how churches in Birmingham could help the growing number of unemployed people. On the night of 11th/12th February 1983 an all -night Unemployment Vigil ‘Discover Light and Hope’ was held in St Philip’s Cathedral. Led by Maurice Couve de Murville, Archbishop of Birmingham, Chris Hughes Smith Chairman of the Methodist District and Hugh Montefiore, Bishop of Birmingham there were contributions from a wide range of people from throughout the local community.
‘Inter Church Endeavour’ was established as a practical response to unemployment. Money from the Manpower Services Commission and local churches was available to train people in counselling the unemployed and running programmes to assist people in returning to employment. ICE developed work in Ladywood, Aston, Erdington, Handsworth, Nechells, Acocks Green, Tysley, Small Heath, Sparkhill, Balsall Heath and Yardley Wood. The 100+ people employed had all been unemployed.
In 1986 CIGB through ICE was instrumental in setting up the ‘Birmingham Churches Managing Agency’ to deal with community programmes and innovative small businesses.
CIGB hosted the visit to Birmingham of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Urban Priority Areas; its report published in September 1985 as ‘Faith in the City’ – a call for action by church and nation. CIGB also hosted the public meeting when the Commission’s Chairman Sir Richard O’Brien presented the report to the people of Birmingham.
In the mid 1980’s CIGB’s continued to work with the unemployed but also looking to the future. The speaker at the 1985 AGM talked about employment prospects. 1987 saw changing patterns of employment and chaplaincy in new places e.g. the airport, John Eyles being appointed its first chaplain. 25 large companies were being visited. There were ‘State of the Nation’ addresses and question and answer sessions on Tuesday lunch-times at St Philip’s Cathedral. In 1988 CIGB played a major role work in planning the Heartlands development as part of Birmingham’s inner city regeneration. In1989 CIGB ran a conference for 75 people on ‘Shaping the City’.
There was an annual ‘Industrial Festival Service’ initially at Aston Parish Church and later at St Paul’s Church in the Jewellery Quarter Among the guest speakers were George Mr Speaker Thomas, Len Murray and Sir Edward Heath.
In 1987 a new constitution recognised the role of council, chaplains and members.
At the 1990 AGM Dame Rachel Waterhouse spoke on the topic ‘Is the customer king?’
1991 saw a conference on business ethics and 1993 a green spirituality day organised by Pat Nimmo then Missioner at Carrs Lane and Methodist Central Mission.
In1995 the CIGB presidents met with key people e.g. the Managing Director of Cadbury etc to discuss ‘the prospects for the economy & employment in the Birmingham area’.
In 1996 the Birmingham Centre for Business Ethics was established by CIGB and Rotary. Dennis Claringbull played a key role in this initiative.
During this time a core group of chaplains including Dennis Claringbull, Michael Dunk, Trevor Lockwood and others met weekly to pray, organise events and respond to issues in the economy.
CIGB was responsible to the Anglican diocesan synod through the Board for Social Responsibility and a review by Bishop Tony Dumper and Ermal Kirby in 1996 suggested closer linkage with Birmingham Churches Together (BCT). This link was formalised by the BCT officer becoming a member of the CIGB council, and CIGB becoming an Ecumenical project within the Churches Together, with a management council with representatives from the different churches.
The re-launch of the newly constituted CIGB took place on 9th November, 1998 at the International Convention Centre.
New chaplaincies developed with Jaguar Land Rover, in conjunction with the Coventry team, and at the Touchwood Centre, Solihull. While always working in a multi faith context the NEC and Airport chaplaincies in particular developed multi faith teams. Since 2005 new chaplaincies have developed in Kings Heath High Street, Birmingham City Centre Retail, the Longbridge construction site, and West Midlands Fire Service. A Methodist funded chaplaincy in Harborne High Street operated for 2 years, 2006-8.
In 2001 Bishop John Austin became Chair of CIGB until his retirement in 2005 when Hayward Osborne, Archdeacon of Birmingham, took over as Chair.
The team leader role was occupied by Trevor Lockwood, Ned Townsend [ from 2003], and Barbara Hayes from 2005. Revd Stephen Willey joined the team in 2004 as NEC chaplain and Methodist District Missioner, and Majors Bryan and Alive Snell SA joined the airport.
The collapse of Rover in April 2005 put huge demands on the chaplaincy team but was also an opportunity to show the wider church the value of our involvement. The place of chaplaincy at Longbridge was picked up by the media and gave the role a national profile.
CIGB worked with parishes, churches and communities on ‘Faith and Work’ issues. In 2008 ‘ Our work in God’s workplace’ attempted to bring together Christians working in a particular sector. The Criminal Justice event was successful but the financial sector day had to be cancelled, partly an issue of time but also of sensitivity. In 2009, along with the Saltley Trust a resource booklet for churches ‘About our Father’s business’ was produced for an Anglican Diocesan ‘Transforming Discipleship’ day. Churches continue to be encouraged to use it in worship and in church groups. In 2010/11 the ‘Faiths at work’ project, funded by Faiths in Action enabled us to bring together working people of different faiths to discuss common issues and to develop understanding.
Working within ‘Public Issues’, Business Ethics has been an on going piece of work through BCBE (now linked with Aston University Business School). In 2007/8 a report on migrant workers ‘Here to stay?’ was produced and launched. After the 2008 Banking Crisis work was undertaken with West Midlands Banks in conjunction with ECCR (Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility). This involved ‘Chatham House’ discussions with Senior Banking Leaders which enabled communication and honesty around some key issues. Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, referred to these meetings when he took part in a debate on the Financial services (Banking Reform) Bill in the House of Lords on 24 July 2013.
From 2005 the business of the AGM, in May/ June, has been followed by a talk & debate; issues discussed have included: Faith & Work, Human Trafficking, Business Ethics, Business & Climate Change; Young Adult Unemployment; The Human Trafficking; Precarious Working and Zero hour contracts.
Since 2007 there has been an annual service in November to celebrate workplace chaplaincy and to commission people who have joined the team during the year. The pattern is to meet in the church of one denomination with a preacher from another, with presentations from local chaplains.
Publicity was improved with a professionally designed and printed annual report, a website, leaflets for local teams and a regular newsletter. The Solihull team produced a DVD of its work in 2006.
CIGB began working in partnership with projects to support victims of Human Trafficking, and to help young unemployed people into work.
Continuing our engagement with the Longbridge site, we have worked with the local churches, and an enthusiastic college, to develop chaplaincy provision at the relocated Bournville College. ‘God’s Heart for Longbridge’ is the ongoing church response to the economic and housing regeneration of the area.
After a period of negotiations, Chaplaincy at Birmingham City Council’s offices in the centre of Birmingham was first trialled in 2012, and then established after popular feedback. At a time of severe changes to the nature and size of council operations, the city council were also keen to extend this to offices outside of the city centre. Council staff, working with the chaplains, also developed ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ sessions to enable a short time of relaxation and refocusing during a busy day.
2013 a new chaplaincy team to National Express Buses in Birmingham and Solihull was set up with volunteers from CIGB’s regular chaplaincy training course. This followed a model established by the Black Country chaplaincy team (BCUIM) with National Express.
In the autumn of 2013 a ‘Ministry in Birmingham’ day was introduced to inform and inspire new church leader and organisers in the wider economic and social issues of Birmingham; the day included an open-top bus tour of some of the key future economic sites in Birmingham, as well as visits to church projects that have responded to their local socio-economic situations.
In 2012 Barbara Hayes retired from being Team Leader, and Revd Peter Sellick was appointed as Development Director, with a brief to support and grow the teams that were now well established across Birmingham and Solihull. In 2013 Revd David Butterworth was appointed by the Methodist Church as full-time Chaplain to the NEC group and Mission in the Economy Officer for Birmingham Methodist District.