CA in Langley
Langley is one of several urban areas which make up the area of Oldbury, an industrial area bordering the Black Country in the west of Birmingham. The area has social issues such as gang culture and people dealing with drug addiction and mental health issues. The Langley Centre of Mission was launched right in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and is made up of Val Legg and Simeon Jarvis who are developing solid relationships with the local community by creating youth groups and collaborating with the Living Well Fresh Expression Mission Network and working hard to help local people who are experiencing social issues.
Simeon says ‘I live in Langley with my wife and children and although I come from a faith family, I didn’t find Jesus for myself until much later in life. I was brought up in the nearby area of Brandhall, but I made the decision to leave the area after a series of poor choices led me to some drug use and mental health problems. At a real low point, I contemplated suicide but found myself asking where that would leave me. Yes, the pain I was going through at that moment would end, but then what? Perhaps influenced by the Gospel seeds sewn in my childhood or the constant prayers of my faithful mother, I turned to God. I asked Him to do something with my life. For the next two weeks I had a very personal encounter with God. It was a life changing experience which was not guided or prompted by anyone else, but by God himself. By the end of it, I realised I hadn’t touched drink or drugs and when I left the house I felt as if my eyes had been opened to all life had to offer. I felt guided by God to return to the area I grew up in and the life I led before finding Christ means I can relate more easily to people because I have experienced first-hand a lot of the struggles they are facing. Being a local lad with my own fair share of issues, people can open up to me. With the love of Jesus, I have been able to change my life and I am keen to share this and help others do the same.
Langley has two culturally different communities, and the church is in a Muslim community. I have spent time praying to God for a vicar who would be a good fit for the local community, to enable the church to grow and work with us to bridge the divide between the two communities. My prayers have been answered as a wonderful new vicar is now in post. He is from Pakistan, speaks Urdu and is trained in evangelistic ministry. We pray together for the local area and hope to collaborate to bring the Gospel to the people of Langley.
Developing relationships with teenagers and young adults in the area is something I am deeply passionate about. On a recent prayer walk, I came across two truanting youths and started a conversation with them. They told me about a local police liaison officer who is making visits to their school to educate them on county lines gangs and offer support. It seemed the police officer had made a positive impact on the youths and so I reached out to him. It turned out that the police liaison officer is also a Christian and has the same passion to help the local youth as I do. This has formed a foundation for both of us to join together to reach young people.’
Prayers in Focus
Pray for the youth community: that they would be receptive to Simeon.
Pray for Simeon and his family who celebrated the arrival of their new baby in November 2022.
Pray for the pupils of the local secondary schools: that they will engage with the Centre of Mission.
Pray for more opportunities to share hope with the wider diocese.
Pray for insight and discernment to deeply understand the needs of those who Val and Simeon are reaching out to.