New curate aims to resurrect long-gone Stourbridge church

Rev Tom Fish

Rev Tom Fish

First published in News

REVEREND Tom Fish is a man with a mission - charged with trying to bring back a long-gone church to an area of Stourbridge.

Having been recently ordained, he was appointed as curate to Christ Church in Lye.

But his ultimate objective is to try and resurrect a church in the Rufford and Stambermill region of the town.

The former St Mark's Church closed in Stambermill some 30 years ago and the site has since been replaced by housing.

Now Worcester Diocese is eager for the church to return.

Rev Fish explained: "The congregation combined with Christ Church, but they always prayed that a church would return."

Since his arrival in Stourbridge nine months ago, the busy reverend has been knocking on doors and building a congregation in the area again.

Meetings have already been held at both Rufford School and the Sunshine Club on New Farm Estate, while a newsletter entitled The Rufford Brick has been introduced.

Rev Fish added: "There was always the feeling amongst people that Stambermill isn't Lye and that a void had been left ever since St Mark's closed.

"Now we have approval from the Diocese, we've been actively building a congregation and trying to connect with the community.

"A church isn't just for the people who go to church, it's for the whole community."

Rev Fish and his wife Helen are now living on Bredon Avenue, next to Rufford School and have already held a number of community events including a pancake party, Easter egg hunt and carol service at the school hall.

They have also just hosted a group from South Korea who held games on the school playing fields and they staged a Korean night which attracted more than 100 people.

Rev Fish said: "I worked in industry for over 30 years until God tapped me on the shoulder one day.

"People have made us very welcome in Stourbridge, it is a very straightforward place.

"Although the church is supposed to be declining, my experience has been the opposite and I've been involved with churches that are growing.

"When we've spoken with people in the area, it's been clear that something has been missing. We are here for people and their spiritual needs."

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