Welcome to Hodge Hill Church!

Welcome to the website for Hodge Hill Church – a partnership between St Philip & St James (Church of England) and Hodge Hill United Reformed Church. We are committed to being an Inclusive Church and try to live out that commitment to God’s inclusivity in all that we do.

We meet at the ‘Blue Cross Church’ (242 Coleshill Road B36 8BG) every Sunday for worship (10.30am), but are also present and active in all kinds of ways in our wider neighbourhood.

Use the navigation menu (on the left) to find out more – or contact us

Come and join Hodge Hill’s Common Ground Community: sharing life, learning together, seeking shalom

[NB. we’re renewing this invitation for new residents, with possible start dates / application deadlines as follows:

  • Jan 2020 start – applications by 31st Oct 2019
  • Apr 2020 start – applications by 31st Jan 2020
  • Sept 2020 start – applications by 31st Jun 2020]

Who we’re looking for

  • Short- to medium-term (minimum 10 months) resident community members – wanting to explore the fun, challenges and life-changing possibilities of sharing a common life together (perhaps alongside studies or paid work), engaging in a rich diversity of pioneering missional activities, sharing your gifts and exploring God’s call alongside wise lay people and experienced Anglican priests, and learning together more about God, the world, and a lived-out Christian faith among our neighbours.

What’s the ‘common ground community’?

  • The Common Ground Community is an intentional, missional community, with ‘resident members’ living in our Old Rectory Community House, and ‘local members’ dispersed across the wider neighbourhood. Part of the ‘extended family’ of Hodge Hill Church (an Anglican-URC ecumenical partnership, and a registered Inclusive Church), Common Ground is involved in nurturing what we call ‘homely’ expressions of church locally (as well as larger, more familiar Sunday services), and in developing a new missional expression of church (‘FABChurch’) on the Firs & Bromford estate.
  • Together we are seeking to learn and live out rhythms of life shaped by ‘shalom’ (peace, justice, wholeness), and expressed in sharing activity, food and friendship with our neighbours, and reflecting, learning and praying together as a community. We’re involved in community cafés and multi-cultural women’s groups, street parties and forest spaces, community gardening and climate change protests. We learn together, from our neighbours, and from a wider network of travelling companions across the UK and the wider world.

Where we are

  • We’re in the diverse, multi-cultural and rapidly-changing area of Hodge Hill, in East Birmingham, near M6 Junction 5. The Old Rectory (B36 8AG) is in a quiet spot on the edge of Hodge Hill Common.

What happens at The Old Rectory?

  • The Old Rectory Community House is:
    •    a shared home for CGC resident members (to be joined, in Autumn 2020, by additional residents in a 2nd house on the Firs & Bromford estate)
    •    a place of welcome, hospitality and relationship-building – hosting a weekly ‘Place of Welcome’, regular meals and quiet days (for individuals and groups)
    •    our main venue for ‘homely church’ (and CGC) gatherings – smaller, more intimate (but often growing!) gatherings for worship, prayer and learning
    •    a place of hospitality to asylum-seekers (offering up to 6-month accommodation through Birmingham Community Hosting)


  • Resident members commit to being worshipping members of Hodge Hill Church, twice-monthly Common Ground Community gatherings, a weekly pattern of meals and prayer in the Old Rectory, and developing a personal rule/rhythm of life.
  • Short- to medium-term resident members will be joining the Old Rectory’s long-term ‘anchor resident’, Genny Tunbridge, and will share with Genny in the hospitality and day-to-day running of the house, add capacity to developing and maintaining the garden, and help sustain and further develop the house’s rhythm of prayer.
  • We currently have 2 vacant bedrooms (a small double and a single). Residents make an affordable financial contribution (higher if working in paid employment) towards the running costs of the Old Rectory (covers rent and bills, but not food).

Who are we looking for?

  • You might be someone exploring what kind of life / vocation God is calling you to (we offer a wide-range of opportunities to experience community, mission and ministry, alongside both lay and ordained people)
  • You will bring your particular passions and gifts to enlarge and enrich what is already happening here (you might be a musician, a gardener, or bring experience in adult discipleship or children’s work – or something else we’ve not even dreamed of!)
  • You will also need to bring:
    •    A love for people
    •    An emotional resilience
    •    A calm consistency in an environment of diverse happenings and unexpected arrivals
    •    An ability to cope with times of people-intensive busyness, and times when the house is quiet
    •    A keenness to develop your own spirituality and that of others
    •    A commitment to an inclusive church community

How do I find out more?

  • Please note deadlines for application at the top of this post.
  • Come and visit us! We encourage potential residents to do a couple of ‘taster’ visits – come to church on a Sunday and back to the Old Rectory for lunch; and then come back and stay at the Old Rectory for 3 to 7 days.
  • If you then want to explore further, we have a tried-and-tested discernment process (includes references, a couple of ‘interviews’ and a session with a psychotherapist).
  • To start the conversation, contact
    • Revd Al Barrett (hodgehillvicar@hotmail.co.uk / 07738 119210)
    • Revd Jenni Crewes (revjennicrewes@gmail.com / 07377 363915)

Moving forward – together

We’ve recently made some important decisions about our next steps together as a church.

As Hodge Hill Church, we are committed to “Growing Loving Community – in the love of God, with all our neighbours, across Hodge Hill”.

We understand that “growing” in at least 5 dimensions:

  • growing spiritually (‘roots’): growing deeper in our learning, praying and living the way of Jesus
  • growing communally (‘trunk’): growing together as a church community, beyond ‘us and them’, drawing out and sharing all the gifts we have in our midst
  • growing missionally (‘branches’): growing wider in encountering and making friends with more and more of our neighbours
  • growing evangelistically (‘leaves’): with more and more of our neighbours, discovering afresh the story of Jesus (in ways that change us as well as change others)
  • growing the Kingdom (‘fruit’): nurturing and celebrating compassion, generosity, trust, friendship and hope in all that we are, and in our neighbourhoods around us

To help us in that ‘growing’, at our Church Meeting on Sunday 21st October, we agreed 3 key proposals for moving forward together.

Proposal #1: continue to develop plans for ‘messy & missional church’, building on the relationships we’ve made through our community-building work in the Firs & Bromford, to journey with our neighbours in developing new ways to meet together to eat together, discover afresh ‘the Jesus-story’, pray, and share bread and wine.

Proposal #2: develop a single, consistent Sunday 10.30am ‘core service’ – replacing our current monthly pattern of alternating services between URC and CofE traditions. This new service (to be piloted from March to Sept 2019) will be shaped by these key principles:

  • Missional (accessible for newcomers) & inclusive (including children)
  • Consistent in look & feel (including arrangement of chairs)
  • Consistent in structure & style
  • Drawing on both traditions (URC & CofE) & beyond
  • Eucharistic
  • Locally led (lay & ordained, CofE & URC, using gifts of whole congregation)
  • Possibilities for different options in ‘ministry of the word’ (e.g. monthly pattern and/or splitting into different parts of the building)
  • 5th Sundays & Festivals a wider, ‘whole church’ celebration together with people from Homely and Messy & Missional gatherings

Proposal #3: develop new oversight structures – extending the oversight of Worship Planning Group and Pastoral Oversight Group to all of our ‘expressions of church’, and creating a new ‘Strategic Leadership Team’ to oversee:

  • connectivity between different expressions of church
  • mission, discipleship and nurturing a ‘growing culture’
  • learning and training, including growing leaders

Is God calling you? Come and explore with us!

Do you feel like you’re at a crossroads in your life?
Or sensing God calling you and want to explore further?

Why not consider…

‘Mission in Community’ Exploration Year
with the Common Ground Community, Hodge Hill
A partnership between Church of England – Birmingham and Hodge Hill Church

Hodge Hill is a multicultural, rapidly-changing area of east Birmingham, where God is doing exciting things and the local church is seeking to respond in new and creative ways. We can offer you a life-changing year, living together in intentional community, engaging in a rich diversity of pioneering missional activities, exploring your sense of identity and of God’s call alongside experienced Anglican priests and wise lay people, and learning together more about God, the world, and a lived-out Christian faith among our neighbours. Grants may be available to cover accommodation in one of our Community Houses. So what are you waiting for?!
Contact us today to find out more: CGCHodgeHill@gmail.com

(more info below…)

postcard v2 frontWhat we can offer:

    • Loads of opportunities to experience and engage in diverse, exciting and pioneering missional work, within a large, urban, multicultural parish in East Birmingham, including:
      • Drop-in ‘places of welcome’ for adults, offering both hospitality and practical support
      • A multi-faith women’s group
      • Youth and children’s work, including Messy Church
      • Schools work, assemblies, and school-gate pop-up ‘cuppa’ events
      • Activities in and around our new Community Forest Space
      • Creative ‘retreat days’ in and around the Community Houses
      • ‘Street Connector’ work, helping organise and invite people to ‘micro-local’ events (e.g. street parties, barbeques, etc)
    • Opportunities to get involved within Hodge Hill Church, an Anglican-URC local ecumenical partnership seeking to be creative and radically inclusive in its welcome, worship, and decision-making (as well as its missional engagement!)
    • The Common Ground Community is an intentional community of about 25 adults (and 12 children) living in and around the Hodge Hill area, committed to a shared rhythm of life involving being, doing, learning and praying together.
    • ‘Exploration Year’ participants will live in one of our two Community Houses, alongside our resident members (single adults and a family with 2 children), sharing life together within the Houses, and a rhythm of prayer, hospitality and activity within the wider neighbourhood
    • Each participant will have their own bedroom (single/double), and shared use of the bathroom, kitchen, communal living space and garden
    • A great opportunity to join others locally in reflecting on what you’re doing and experiencing, growing in faith, and exploring further what God might be calling you to
      • Some wonderfully wise, passionate and gifted people within the Houses, church and wider neighbourhoods, including experienced youth and community workers
      • An experienced clergy team of 3 priests (2 female, 1 male) with widely-recognised expertise in training, supervision and theological reflection; children’s, youth and community work; worship and liturgy; and missional leadership.
      • Regular opportunities to meet with others (in small groups and 1-to-1) to reflect, learn and explore together
      • Both lay and ordained people with experience of discerning, encouraging and nurturing vocations, and offering ‘spiritual companionship’ to those exploring their vocations, both within daily life and in more ‘specialist’ ways
      • Links to courses (theological and practical) offered by the Diocese of Birmingham, the Queen’s Foundation and the Midlands Centre for Youth Ministry

What we would ask for:

  • A commitment:
    • to stay with us for 10 months (normally September/October to June/July, but we’re flexible!),
    • to ‘get stuck in’ to the communal life of the Houses, and a wide range of the activities that make up our mission/engagement in our neighbourhoods and the worshipping life of the church
  • A financial contribution
    • towards the Community Houses running costs (normally around £100-200 each month, depending on your income), and towards the costs of shared meals in the Houses
    • grants may be available (for young adults from the Diocese of Birmingham) from the St Martin’s Trust, for up to £1500, to cover the living costs detailed above

To find out more:

Contact us on CGCHodgeHill@gmail.com
or via (Revd) Al Barrett, email: hodgehillvicar@hotmail.co.uk, tel: 07738119210

Why not #TryPraying with us?


#TryPraying ‘taster day’ @ The Old Rectory, Saturday 14th May 2016

Do you find praying hard?
Not sure how to do it in a way that comes naturally to you?

Why not drop in to The Old Rectory for a bit, and get a taste of one or more of these different ways of praying…?!

9.30am Tea & coffee served!

10.00am Bread-making: praying with our hands and hearts

10.45am Walking the labyrinth: an introduction (in the garden)

12.00 In the midst of chaos: praying with busy children

12.00 (in the prayer room) Praying with the Bible:
the ancient practice of lectio divina

12.30pm Lunch-time: praying around the table

1-3pm More ways to pray!
(option to repeat some of the morning sessions, or try other things,
including walking prayerfully on the Common)

Come for any or all of the day!
For more info talk to Genny, Matt or Al (07738 119210)

We Need Your Bricks!

We need your bricks!
Next month we are hoping to start the construction of the labyrinth in the garden of The Old Rectory, the date set is the 6th February.
The picture below shows something similar to what we are hoping to achieve. If you have any unwanted bricks, whether they are broken, whole, new or old then we will happily take them off your hands.
Bricks can be left piled up, outside the house (80 Hodge Hill Common) near the garage. Thank you!