by Guest Contributor
The Missionary Society of St. Columban in Britain was pleased to host the latest Ethnic Chaplaincy meeting at their HQ earlier this month. The meeting, which was attended by over 25 chaplains from various ethnic communities from around the Archdiocese of Birmingham, aimed to bring together representatives from different religious groups including Eritrean, Polish, Punjabi, Nigerian and Congolese communities. The meeting, held on Friday 6th March in the Columban house, was an opportunity for the chaplains to come together, discuss best practice, share ideas and talk about successful ways to integrate ethnic minority communities into the local church. Neville Kyrke-Smith from Aid to the Church in Need gave a very interesting talk about supporting the suffering church abroad and Fr. Mark Woodruff, Chairman of the Society of St. John Chrysostom discussed Byzantine Liturgy and led a reflective Byzantine liturgical chant. Fr. Jim Fleming, ordained Columban attended the meeting and explained, “It was a wonderful experience to attend the Ethnic Chaplaincy meeting last weekend, and an honour to host the event here at the Columban headquarters. The meeting was extremely informative and a fantastic opportunity for us chaplains to gather together to discuss and reflect on religious life in Birmingham which over the years has become a culturally diverse and inter-religious city.” Archbishop Bernard Longley established the Ethnic Chaplaincy Group in the Archdiocese of Birmingham in February 2013. The purpose of the group is to provide support to priests who are serving different ethnic and religious groups across the Archdiocese. It was felt that sacramental care which respects their ethnic, linguistic and cultural heritage was essential in making immigrants feel at home here in Britain and in parishes across the Archdiocese. Archbishop Bernard attended the meeting in Solihull and talked about his vison for the future and specifically the four themes that are the pillars on which rests the core work of the Archdiocese and its parishes. These four themes are evangelism, formation, worship and sacramental life as well as charity and social outreach. He commented how much he had enjoyed the meeting and would be including some of the content discussed in his forthcoming Lenten pastoral letter. For more information about the Ethnic Chaplaincy meetings please visit the Birmingham Archdiocese website or call the Columban Mission Office on 01564 772 096.   Photograph taken by Con McHugh.