City Missions began in the 1820s and were among the first interdenominational Christian societies. Birmingham City Mission was established in 1966 by Edwin Orton and a group of volunteers forming a fellowship of Christians drawn from a range of churches, united in their desire to express the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in word and action.
During those early years, city centre open-air meetings were held outside St Martin's in the Bullring, where thousands heard the gospel. Almost immediately, homeless people came and were given soup and blankets. So emerged the two emphases of what we do – proclaiming the gospel and offering practical help to those in need.
The homeless work grew significantly from the 1980s onwards, with three residential projects at one point. This work is now centred around the Care Centre, a drop-in for the homeless and marginalised, and the Resource Centre where people in need can access food, clothing, and furniture. The 1980s also saw the start of ElderLink, offering lunch clubs and a home visiting service, and the Youth Team, delivering assemblies, lessons, clubs, and events. The Children's Team was formed to serve the city's primary schools in the 1990s.
Birmingham City Mission is a Christian mission that offers its services without tests or conditions. It organises several projects throughout Birmingham, offering friendship and support to the homeless, elderly, young and those struggling with poverty.
Britain's second city has a population of over 1 million, with more than 3 million in the West Midlands. There is a rich and diverse mix of language, background, and culture. As in every prominent city, there will always be those with significant problems: sickness, pain, poverty, loneliness, addiction, family breakdown and unemployment. Even those who are outwardly successful and comfortably off have deep spiritual needs – so many are looking for meaning and purpose in their lives.
Today our city missionaries still go out onto the streets, door-to-door, sharing the Christian message.