Parish Closure

At the special meeting with Bishop Peter on Wednesday 11th April, which was open to everyone, it was agreed that the Parish of Birmingham Gardens, REGRETFULLY, will close on Sunday 1st July, 2018.

Church goods

It is great pleasure to all who have continued their spiritual journey at St. Paul’s that the harvest of their labours has resulted in new seeds being planted in various places. our sacred vessels have found a new home in the Diocese of Kapsabet, Kenya. Kapsabet was constituted in 2016 and Bishop Paul Korir elected as the first Bishop of the Diocese. 10,000 people attended this service and we pray that St. Paul’s Birmingham Gardens will contribute, by the grace of God, to the growing spirituality in that place. Much of our finances have been donated to children’s and youth ministries and a large amount of furniture and fittings will assist the ‘new’ Parish of Nelson Bay in their growth and outreach. For any information regarding this please contact Father Lyle 0419 460 938.

See Bishop Peter’s letter below for further information regarding closure.

2018 Parish A.G.M.

The Parish A.G.M. was held on 11th March, 2018 commencing at 11.00 am (Following our Worship and morning tea). The meeting commenced with Fr. Lyle as chair and the Venerable Arthur Copeman chaired the latter part of the meeting. It is during this time that the future direction of the Parish was discussed. Scroll down to see Bishop Peter Stuart’s pastoral letter to the Parish. For further information please contact Fr. Lyle 0419 460 938.

Friendship group

The Friendship Group had its final meeting on 19th June, 2018. The meeting was attended by 15 parishioners and friends. Hopefully these long-standing friendship will continue albeit under different circumstances.

Bishop’s letter to The Parish of Birmingham Gardens:

9 March 2018

Dear sisters and brothers in the Parish of Birmingham Gardens,

It was a great joy to be with you a few weeks ago for Sunday worship followed by fellowship over morning tea. One of the greatest joys of my episcopal ministry is to be with congregations as they meet together.

I came on that day with a deep wondering about the future of the parish. My heart was touched by your warmth for one another.

I was aware that almost all of the people who call the parish their spiritual home were present that day. I know that on other Sundays the congregation is still warm-hearted but often smaller.

For many years the Diocese and the parish have been trying to find models of ministry that might make the parish sustainable and viable. It is not necessary for me to rehearse this history. Many of you know it better than me, with all of its ups and downs.

When I met with the Parish Council a few weeks ago, they were clear with me, they wanted me as the Bishop to articulate what I thought about the future of the parish. We spoke of the need of a major cash injection to enable full time stipendiary ministry, and if this was not possible, then they were deeply concerned about a further period of trying yet another approach to ministry. We talked about the pressing financial needs of the parish in relation to the other buildings.

The problem facing the Diocese is that there is no large financial resource available to support specific ministries and, if it becomes available, there are many competing demands. You will be aware that following a two day meeting with the clergy, there was a consensus that we are in the season of needing to radically reorganise our resources for mission and ministry.

After careful prayer and reflection, I have decided to invite you into a period of discernment about whether the parish should close on Sunday 1st July and the people of the parish assisted to find a new home in either the Parish of Wallsend or Parish of Lambton. It is my intention to ask the Diocesan Council on 26th April about its view. Prior to that meeting, the Archdeacon and I would come to meet with you at 5pm on Wednesday 11th April to hear your thinking. Members of the parish will also be invited to write, if they wish, to the Diocesan Council.

I am deeply aware of the grief that will come with this period of reflection. Please be assured of deep prayers for you all.

Yours sincerely in Christ

Dr Peter Stuart

Bishop of Newcastle    [end]