Church Is Expecting Counter Reformation
Byline: Emma Brady Consumer Affairs Reporter
The opening of Birmingham's new Bullring complex may well prove the adage that shopping can be good for the soul.
For while retailers open their doors to the public on Thursday for a new consumer experience, St Martin's Church will be celebrating the completion of a seven-year restoration project and preparing to welcome thousands of people looking for more than just the latest in materialism.
Canon Adrian Newman, the rector of St Martin's in the Bull Ring, as the area is still called, believes people visiting the Bullring will take time to venture into the church, one of the city's oldest.
Its stained glass windows, stonework and spire have all been cleaned and refurbished as part of the pounds 5 million scheme.
St Martin's in the Bull Ring will be officially reopened in a colourful rededication ceremony on November 18, with the Bishop for Birmingham Dr John Sentamu preaching at the service.
A new community centre has been built next to the church, which houses a walk-in training centre, an arts cafe, and a 'health and healing' hub offering a variety of services.
With more than 30 million shoppers expected to flock to Bullring in its first year, the number of people visiting St Martin's is expected to swell from 82,000 a year to 250,000.
'We understand for people to walk through the church door is a big deal, so even if someone just wants a coffee in the cafe rather than attend a service, I regard that as a positive start,' said Mr Newman.
'The church will always offer friendly criticism where consumerism threatens to take over people's lives and sells itself as the only thing of any meaning. …