Learning from others: Interfaith at Vitalise

As a church located in one of the most culturally diverse parts of the UK, it would be extremely remiss of us not to try to engage with individuals and local communities of other faiths – we’re called to love all, to serve the whole city of Wolverhampton.


Photo credit: Express and Star website.

To that end, we have been running – and participating in – a handful of events designed to increase our understanding of the different religions we see around us, and reflect on how what we learn can help us grow in our own faiths.

We were fortunate enough to have Interfaith Enabler and advisor to the Bishops of Wolverhampton and Lichfield, Ray Gaston, come to speak to us about Christian discipleship in a multifaith world. We hugely enjoyed his talk and it sparked a lot of interest in learning more about the faiths of others. So the following month, in November 2017, Kate put together an interactive session for Vitalise (and mini-version for our chaplaincy partners), to mark Interfaith Week. It was titled Faith and Feasting, and was designed to help people explore how different religions think about food and the practices of communal feasting and fasting.

Kosher food quiz and some Indian sweets from our Faith and Feasting session.

Both of these sessions were linked by a focus on equipping individuals for better engaging in interreligious and intercultural interaction in our daily lives. Our growth as disciples is, in large part, presaged on us witnessing to our faith in the world around us – a world where the presence of faiths others than our own is frequently a topic of discussion, at home and in the media. Knowledge of the beliefs, practices and worldviews of others is therefore vital for any conversation we might what to have about the place of faith – be it ours or anyone else’s – in our homes, colleges and workplaces today.

Wolverhampton’s religious landscape in the snow. Left: the Buddhist Vihara on Upper Zoar Street; right: the Shree Krishan Mandir on the Penn Road.

January 2018 saw a small group from Vitalise join a day-long workshop run by Ray Gaston which involved visiting several places of worship in the Pennfields area of Wolverhampton, followed by an afternoon of reflection which included group discussion of Biblical passages. We were delighted to be welcomed into the Shree Krishan Mandir and the Tayyaba Masjid (no pictures of its exterior from the trip – it was too cold!) who showed us enormously gracious hospitality. Leaders from both these places of worship spoke to us about their faiths and facilitated very informative question and answer sessions. We then spent the afternoon at St Chad and St Mark’s church in Pennfields reflecting on our experiences of the morning and reading and discussing passages from the Bible in the light of these encounters. You can be sure there were some disagreements within the groups we were a part of, but it was a very fruitful exercise for us all!

It is exciting to see that there is a strong desire among many people at WPM to further explore what reflection on interaction with people of other religions can teach us about our faith – so watch this space!

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‘Clothing ourselves in Christ’ at the start of 2018

New Year has all of us thinking about fresh starts and the excitement of what the next twelve months might have in store for us. For a few of the members of the Vitalise community, the beginning of 2018 has an added element of excitement – they’re beginning their preparation for baptism, confirmation and admission into Methodist membership!


It’s always immensely exciting whenever any of the young people we work with decide to mark their decision to follow Jesus in this way. Like any church, we take great joy in seeing young people we’ve built relationships with wanting to mark their commitment  to our faith and our community in such a public way.

The individuals preparing for this next step in their faith journeys are, like all who go through baptism, confirmation and Methodist membership admission with us, preparing by engaging with a ten-week series on Christian faith. However, because we take our mission to walk alongside these young people really seriously, we are undertaking this course together as a whole community, as part of our regular Sunday evening worship.

With topics ranging from breaking bread to resisting evil, and from fellowship to prayer, it’s a great opportunity for all of us to rethink our understanding of our faith and refresh parts of our relationship with God.

Prayer stations on the theme of Micah 6:8 during our session on getting to grips with the Bible.

A service of ‘baptism, confirmation and admission into Methodist membership’ might sound like a bit of a mouthful! However, as an ecumenical project supported by both the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District and Diocese of Lichfield, we feel it’s really important that our community members get to take ownership of both the traditions which have contributed to the establishment of this particular church.

We have no date as of yet for the service itself but don’t worry, we will keep everyone informed – keep your eye on our social media in the coming month or so!

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A Very Vitalise Christmas

christmas lights

Those of you who are well acquainted with the folk at Vitalise will be unsurprised to learn that Christmas is one of our favourite times in the Christian year. We love the carols and opportunities for drama and storytelling that come with the season, and this year was no different.

Our Christmas service was a much more chilled-out affair this year, following last year’s large-scale nativity production, comprised of a series of monologues from key characters in the Christmas story. There were, however, plenty of mince pies and yule log, and some high quality carolling.

Our chaplains enjoyed a busy Christmas season this year. They ran a Christmas craft extravangza evening for the residents of YMCA Badger Court making hot chocolate, decorating gingerbread and making Christmas cards, all while putting the world to rights on topics ranging from grief at Christmas to the intricacy of the Hollyoak’s Christmas storyline.

We were also enormously grateful to receive a generous donation of Lush cosmetics from a partner at a local Wolverhampton church, which we had great fun distributing to the folk who use our chaplaincy services, as well as the young people who attend the Vitalise Sunday services. Christmas truly came early to those of us who enjoy bath bombs!

All of us at WPM wish you a very happy new year, and we can’t wait to see how 2018 shapes up for us!

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Meet the new team!

As those who you who came to support us at our licensing event in September 2017 will know, Wolverhampton Pioneer Ministries celebrated its tenth birthday by welcoming in a new leadership team!

kate and nic1

(Kate’s on the left, Nicola’s on the right)

Nicola Turner has taken over the role of Team Leader. She is excited to build on the work of the amazing leaders who have gone before and to put her own twist on our vision to worship fully, love all and serve the wonderful city of Wolverhampton!

The role of Young Adult Outreach Coordinator has been taken up by Kate Tingle. Some of you might recognise Kate as she attended Vitalise as a church member back in 2015 while she was training to be an archivist.

So does this mean change for Vitalise?

Yes and no! The overall vision of Vitalise – to worship fully, love all and to serve the city of Wolverhampton through our work with young adults – is staying the same and both Nicola and Kate are really passionate about working particularly with folk who might not otherwise feel like they fit in ‘regular’ church. But Nicola brings new gifts and different passions to her role as team leader and WPM will naturally grow and develop, as it always has done.

What are you guys up to at the moment then?

WPM has some great new projects unfolding at the moment. Our chaplaincy offshoot, Bluefish Chaplaincy, has got a new partner in the city. In addition to our work with YMCA Badger Court and The Way Youth Zone, we now offer chaplaincy services to the parents and staff at YMCA City Tots!

We see Christmas as a really important opportunity for missional work with our chaplaincy partners, so we’re hard at work putting the finishing touches to our Christmas extravaganza, the Vitalise Christmas service, which will be held on Sunday 17th December at 6pm – all are very welcome!


We’re also starting to think about projects for the new year – we’ve got some interesting ideas in the pipeline so watch this space!


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Exciting announcement!

We are really excited to announce that we have appointed Katharine Tingle as our new young adults outreach coordinator!

Kate is currently working in Hatfield as a pastoral & chaplaincy assistant so she brings a lot of experience with her to the new role with us in WPM.

She will be starting work with us at the beginning of August so please pray for her as she prepares to move to Wolverhampton and to start work in her new role.



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WPM weekend away!

On the 19th – 21st of May we had our second annual weekend away to Cefn lea in mid Wales.  

It was a great chance for us to spend time together praying, worshiping and just having fun. Cefn lea is sat within a beautiful valley surround my field, forests and NO Phone signal so it allowed a lot of our group to switch off from busy and hectic lives back home.  

During the weekend Deborah led us in small groups to explore and discuss God’s calling for each one us. 

We also had plenty of free time during the weekend! Walks, golf, basketball, bananagrams, the Helen quiz and all star Mr and Mrs made an appearance.

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We’re recruiting! Young Adult Outreach Co-ordinator

We are recruiting!  We need to replace Nicola, our Young Adult Outreach Co-ordinator, now that she will be taking on the role of Team Leader from June 2017.

The Young Adult Outreach Co-ordinator role is full time for 18 months starting in June 2017.

You will find the job advertisement here:  ya-o-co-ordinator-advertisement-march-2017

The job description is here: ya-o-co-ordinator-job-description-march-2017

The person specification is here: ya-o-co-ordinator-person-spec-march-2017

If there’s anything else you’d like to know about the role or if you’d like an application form, please contact Nicola.

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