The Birmingham-based Methodist Church’s aim is to accommodate and encourage church growth and open up to the wider community, by making necessary improvements to the well-loved building and outside space.
It has been a challenging few years for many communities, and outside space has become increasingly important. Perry Hall Methodist has taken every opportunity to arrange outdoor activities and services when restrictions have been tough, providing invaluable support for the congregation and wider community.
Making the most of the outdoors
In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Perry Hall Methodist installed a ‘Christmas tree’ of praying hands in the church grounds, to which members of the congregation, community, and local school were invited to write prayers. These were laminated and fixed to the ‘tree’ until Lent 2021 as a reminder of hope. This initiative was much appreciated by the community and even won a community award.
During Holy Week 2021 the Methodist church replaced the tree with crosses and people were invited to write their griefs on teardrop shapes, and their hopes and thanks on flower shapes. This was really important to the community, and in particular touched the family of a boy who was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident opposite the church.
The church grounds were also used to keep local children entertained during the toughest times, a labyrinth was spray painted on the car park and Perry Hall installed an Easter garden.
Never discouraged, the Methodist church held outdoor services on Christmas Eve 2020 and Easter Day 2021, so that the congregation could gather to celebrate important occasions, together.
Improving a valued community space
Feeling inspired and with the support of the Trust's Methodist funding, Perry Hall wanted to improve the accessibility and safety of the outside space. This involved re-tarmacking the car park, which had become dangerous and uneven with potholes, and creating a multipurpose space for additional parking and other activities, using Grasscrete made from recycled plastic.
The new and improved space will encourage more people to visit the church, and make the most of the space - inside and out.
The next steps
Improvements are ongoing, and the next stage of the Church Growth Project will see the existing rotten boards in the grounds replaced with a shiny, new welcome board, and also the installation of an electric vehicle charging point.