Lighthouse Centre


St. James' Training Institute

The training institute began as a vision to be incarnated in the giving of confidence and the enabling of people to "have life and have life more abundantly". Many lay ministers, including not a few readers, were trained in the department concerned with practical theology and in excess of ten percent of the congregation successfully pursued the diocesan programme, the Bishop's Certificate of Theology. The graduates of this course formed the basis of one of the earliest of the ministry teams within the Diocese of Lichfield, being fully operational by 1982.

In 1981, the parish embarked upon a marketing programme to find out what it meant to proclaim 'good news' at that time in the parish. It was quickly recognised that two groups of people were the objects of thoroughly bad news:

    (1) unemployed teenagers; and
    (2) elderly people, housebound and living alone.

To meet these needs, the parish
    (1) set up a training programme for the unemployed and
    (2) opened up a department for community care.

At the height of its activities, it was able to provide training in catering and community care for around 80 teenagers as well as 100 meals a week for the housebound. In order to meet the needs of other client groups, a department of building was set up as well as a department of office skills. The training institute was the first training provider in Wednesbury to be given Government Approved Training Organisation status and was successfully steered through a Training Standards Agency inspection as well as a City and Guilds inspection, after which it became for many a model of good practice for other training operations in the area. This aspect of the Church and Community work has now closed but the parish has plans to regenerate the building and involve the community as a whole once more.