Bourn Running's Story

See how sport and Jesus are at the heart of this community in Bournville

See how sport and Jesus are at the heart of this community in Bournville

About Evangelical Alliance

The Evangelical Alliance joins together hundreds of organisations, thousands of churches and tens of thousands of individuals to make Jesus known.
Representing our members since 1846, the Evangelical Alliance is the oldest and largest evangelical unity movement in the UK.
United in mission and voice, we exist to serve and strengthen the work of the church in our communities and throughout society.

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We're a church of around about 120 people,
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but over 2,000 people use the facilities each week.
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So we're a church that's seeking to serve this community.
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My name's Mat Wilson, I'm the senior minister
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of Rowheath Pavilion Church that meets here in Bournville.
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The Cadbury's are a Quaker family.
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And they had a view of life for the workers
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that was holistic in nature.
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And so they created a pavilion,
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so that the people who worked in the chocolate factory
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would come out of work and have a place
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of leisure and enjoyment.
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So as the church began here,
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it wanted to reignite that Cadbury vision,
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but with the passion of Jesus' name at the heart.
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The church exists here to serve a community
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that is surrounded by sports people.
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So one of our church members is a keen runner.
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She has developed this group called Bourn Running.
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We have a mixture of people,
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generally aged between early 30s to 79 and soon to be 80.
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We started off aiming very much for the beginners,
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people who've never run before.
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The idea to get people moving
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and just feel part of a group.
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It's not necessarily how good you are at something,
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but it's about whether you feel really passionate about it.
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I started it originally because I think it was
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when you enjoy something so much,
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it's a bit a like sharing good news.
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You just want to pass it on.
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It just sort of snowballed very quickly
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once I felt God was saying, "Faith and running."
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And I'd just arrived at this church
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and they said, "Take your time,"
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"figure out what you feel God's saying to you."
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"We want you to thrive here,"
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"you know, rather than burn out."
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"And what's the worst thing that can happen?"
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I think it's what I hoped it would be.
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But I think it's also much more than I thought it would be.
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I think also I underestimated
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how challenging it would be also
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with some of the desperate situations people are in
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and what are the things that they struggle with.
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And it's been a real privilege to walk alongside them.
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We're keen to build community where people can gather,
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belong, and feel valued and respected,
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whatever their view on life.
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But within in that, is a sense of,
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it's wonderful to build community,
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but we want to be distinctive in that community
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by our Christian witness.
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We actually believe that
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true community is built around Jesus Christ.
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And the way to know and experience life
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in all its fullness is through Him.
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So wonderful to gather people together in the same location.
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People enjoying sport, people going to the cafe, the bar,
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a few people worshipping Jesus on a Sunday,
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many more playing sport.
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But as we gather people into community,
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we want to be salt and light within it and say,
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"Actually the true source of community
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"is found in a relationship with Jesus."