Sermons & Homilies




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St Agatha Sparkbrook with St Barnabas Balsall Heath, Priest in Charge (House for Duty)

27th May 2021

Witnessing to Christ in the heart of a predominantly Muslim area, this vibrant parish, affiliated to The Society of St Wilfred and St. Hilda, seeks a priest who will work with the congregations to:

•deepen their prayer and sacramental life and continue to grow as disciples

•develop relationships with the community in a diverse area of Birmingham

•discern and empower a vision for the next stage in the development of the parish

•consider new connections with neighbouring parishes, contributing from the strength of the Catholic Faith in the parish

•build on the existing work with children and  to explore ministry among young people and young adults.


There are two churches in the parish: St Agatha’s is a Grade 1 listed, nationally known beacon of the Catholic tradition in the Church of England and St Barnabas is in the heart of the residential area. The largely gathered, welcoming, faithful, and active congregation reflects the rich ethnic and social diversity of the City.


The Bishop of Ebbsfleet writes:


It's not every Church of England parish profile that can say their vicarage is close to an array of 'mouth-watering Balti-belt restaurants'!  The profile builds up a strong sense of the identify of the worshipping congregations at St Agatha's and St Barnabas's, their commitment to the Gospel, to one another and to the local populations - so changed from the days of their origins but which they continue to serve.  It is so reminiscent of communities around the world I've seen where congregations of Christians with relatively few securities give a joyful witness and self-less engagement in the midst of huge cultural complexity and religious diversity: prayerful, dedicated, fliexible, resilient, hopeful and honest about their needs and gifts.


The sheer size and prominence of St Agatha's as a church building is a constant reminder that this is a bold witness, and one that cannot be put down or set aside without a huge loss to the whole community and the Church of God.


We are seeking to identify a priest who is ready to embrace the challenges of the local context and reach out well beyond it to make new Catholic Christians of all age groups in and for the Church of England.  He will lead the parish in active participation in the Healthy Churches Initiative in the See of Ebbsfleet and be able, with lay leaders, to nourish faith and prayer, to set a clear direction for the future, and to encourage others to help build it.  In other words a genuine apostolic ministry.  I am praying that you will be moved to explore this appointment further with us.


Closing date: 31st August 2021;

Interviews: tba


Further details can be found here

St Agatha and St Barnabas Parish Profile

Team Rector, Heavitree and St Mary Steps

19th May 2021

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an experienced priest of the Anglo-Catholic tradition, with missionary zeal, to serve two diverse and well-established city parishes, in a stunning area of the westcountry. 


We want to see parishes that are:

  • confident in God’s grace working through the Sacraments;
  • intentional in evangelism;
  • serving the common good of the whole community.


The PCC therefore seeks a priest who:

  • is generous and openhearted;
  • is an excellent preacher, teacher, and person of prayer, committed to the centrality of the Eucharist;
  • will develop a vision for the next phase of mission within the parishes;
  • will work collaboratively with ordained and lay colleagues;
  • is a pastor for the whole community;
  • will engage with people of all ages, and especially in ministry to schools;
  • is equipped to handle strategic and administrative challenges.


The Bishop of Ebbsfleet writes:


Both Bishop Robert, and I are looking for a priest of real substance and proven capacity to be the new pastor in this team ministry. Our hopes are well summed up in words from the PCC that you will read in the profile. We want to see a parish that is “confident in God’s grace working through the sacraments, being intentional in its evangelism, and serving the common good” – all three working together.


The clergy and people of Heavitree make a very significant contribution to the mission of our church in the city of Exeter, but the team also has a ministry and an influence far beyond its boundaries, even beyond the diocese. As the church wardens make plain in their letter, these churches are “not shrine churches”, they are parish churches. Their worship and mission are sacramental and evangelistic, and both the diocese and the Ebbsfleet family look to Heavitree for encouragement and confidence for the future.


Whatever personal and unexpected gifts a new parish priest will bring – and we are ready for those! – the priority tasks that have been identified for the new incumbent in this profile are:

• investing in the liturgy as the pulse and heart of the parish’s faith and nurture

• building on the solid foundations of faithful teaching, and creative children’s and youth work

• supporting and guiding clergy colleagues, and able to oversee the pastoral formation of a curate

• bridging the gaps between the Church and the more deprived parts of the neighbourhood

• supporting and promoting the work of the St Paul's district youth-worker in the community

• maximising the good will and access of the Church to all the schools in the parish as ways to reach families

• shaping and developing outreach from the ancient and iconic church of St Mary Steps

• developing closer and trusting relationships with the wider diocese and offering leadership to the Ebbsfleet parishes in the diocese


For an informal conversation, please contact the Bishop of Ebbsfleet's office: 07881 875583 or or the Archdeacon of Exeter, Ven Andrew Beane: 01392 425 577 or


For an application form, please go to the Exeter diocesan website vacancies page:


Closing date: 22 June 2021

Interviews: 13 July 2021


The appointment is subject to an enhanced DBS disclosure


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