Uplifting and spiritually infused Civic Service paves the way forward

IMG_6295The Civic Service held at St Martin’s Church in the Bull Ring provided a serene setting to officially mark the welcome of the new Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Shafique Shah. The opportunity to renew commitments to public service for Birmingham and its citizens and to ask God for his blessing set the scene for the next term of office.

The Annual Service at St Martin’s Church in the Bull Ring on Sunday evening 20th July 2014, was a moving and inspiring service that all the guests and visitors seemed to enjoy. Led by Revd Elisie Blair-Chappell the service proclaimed the greatness of the City of Birmingham and the power of faith and spirituality to guide and inspire our civic leaders.   The event saw former First Citizens, their partners, distinguished guests from all walks of life at the Church service. Following the service at the Church the hosts and guests made their way on a beautiful summer evening to the Banqueting Suite at the Council House for refreshments.

The duty of Lord Mayor is a challenging one and requires time, commitment and dedication to balance all the diary commitments and still manage one’s own affairs. Despite all this Lord Mayor, Shafique Shah, has previously described being appointed Lord Mayor of Birmingham as one of the most special events of his life. Father-of-five Shafique Shah, who has represented Bordesley Green since 2005, accepted the Chain of Office at the City Council’s Annual Meeting. He said at the time: “This is one of the most special moments of my life and also one of the most nerve-wracking. The nerve wracking I should be used to, after all I am a Blues supporter.”

At the Civic Service and reception, The Lord Mayor was accompanied by his wife Sadia Shafique, the new Lady Mayoress, and two of IMG_6273their young daughters. They were introduced to Bhai Sahib, Dr Mohinder Singh, Chairman of the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha which manages the activities of the Gurudwara on Soho Road and Chairman of the Nishkam Civic Association, who congratulated the Lord Mayor on his appointment and the great church service. The Lord Mayor was impressed to hear from Bhai Sahib Dr Mohinder Singh about the Museum of World’s Religions being created here in Birmingham and the international Charter on Forgiveness and Reconciliation that Bhai Sahib is leading on.

The selection of hymns and the order they were recited was very poignant and befitting. Following the welcome and greeting from Revd Elisie Blair-Chappell the congregation was absorbed in the spirit of the evening. The sermon was delivered by Cannon Stewart Jones, which emphasised how great the city of Birmingham was. He then shared the fact that Church leaders get together regularly, “We pray for the City to get God’s blessings”. He went on, “We do not need more technology, more bureaucracy, more structures – we need

to work more on having God in a hearts when we work. First and foremost we must be people of God”. Cannon Jones iterated the importance of humility, love, unity and justice: ”We must work together to build a city that stands up for justice; a place that cares for all. Respect for one and other must be lived out”. And let me say this, if it works in Birmingham, it will work in the World because the World is in Birmingham – a city without walls.”

IMG_6274Cannon Jones concluded with: “We are the stewards to make Birmingham an even better City than it is, a city to be proud of”. Similar sentiments were mentioned by the new Lord Mayor at another event when he said: “I have, as yet, not found any city as welcoming and warm as my home of Birmingham. I always feel proud to say I am a Brummie. I will work hard as an ambassador for our great city to show the world all the positive aspects Birmingham and its citizens have to offer.”

Bhai Sahib, Dr Mohinder Singh, commented on how pertinent and important the service was. “The fusion of spirituality and secularity is crucial. Our civic leaders empowered with faith virtues will always make the right decision for the common good and in the interests of the whole city. They need to operate from a values foundation; principally if they recognise the significance and importance of spirituality they will do well”. On leaving the Church, Bhai Sahib, Dr Mohinder Singh complimented both Revd Elisie Blair-Chappell and Cannon Jones on their contribution to the service and invited them to visit the Gurudwara and Nishkam Centre on Soho Road.

The four privileged charities the Lord Mayor will be supporting throughout the year are

  • The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • SIFA Fireside, a Digbeth based charity which works to tackle homelessness and alcohol dependency
  • Birmingham Focus a sight loss charity.



Notes to Editors:

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