We arrived at St Stephen’s for the morning service the Sunday before Christmas 2001. During the week we had returned to England after 11 years in Argentina. We had left behind many wonderful Christian brothers and sisters in Argentina, where we were used to church services being very long, rather chaotic, noisy and very emotional. That first service at St Stephen’s was quiet, orderly, reverent and peaceful, and Gill just remembers sensing God’s presence and feeling completely at home.
On our return to the UK we wanted to be near St. Stephen’s Church, so we bought our present house in Selly Wick Drive, on an estate built in the 1970s for young lecturers at Birmingham University. A remarkable number have remained since that time, so we have found ourselves with people of our own age and younger, with whom we feel we have a lot in common.
Here it has been easy to make friends. For a time we held Christmas parties at our home with mulled wine, mince pies, and Christmas poetry. We discovered that some neighbours welcomed the idea of doing Bible study, and a group continues to meet. For us the Woodside Allotment is another focus of community life. Yet another place of encounter has been the Jalalabad Mosque on Dartmouth Road. Maurice counts the Imam as a special friend.
House and church has also been a base for us for an ongoing involvement overseas, first with Egypt and now with Bolivia. Maurice’s role in this outreach has been to produce training materials for local churches. Through Zoom he has shared in training sessions in Bolivia and Peru. For past blessings and present opportunities in Christian service we are thankful indeed.