Sacred Heart and St Teresa’s Church welcomed staff, volunteers, trustees and service users from across Father Hudson’s Care as they gathered in Coleshill for an Advent service of reflection and carols earlier this week (Dec 18).

Led by Archbishop Bernard Longley, people from across the charity and its community partners came together to sing, pray, give thanks and reflect.

Father Hudson’s Chief Executive, Andy Quinn, opened by welcoming those present and thanking Fr Kevin Kavanagh and his Grace for their support.

Several people read bible passages and reflections in-between joyful carols led by musicians Trevor Stockton, Heather Brookes, Helen Barley and Lucy Davis.

Sarah, who lives at St Vincent’s House, brought a statue of the infant Jesus to complete the church’s nativity scene.

Archbishop Bernard spoke of the charity’s work as an expression of God’s love in our diocese.

He said it was wonderful to see so many people together to celebrate Advent and preparing for Christmas.

Thanking those present, he said it was a testament to the importance of celebrating together that the annual service had moved from St Philomena’s Chapel to the larger church to accommodate the increasing numbers of people.

The move also made it possible to invite more people associated with Father Hudson’s.

Mr Quinn said it was good to be back in the church that Fr George Hudson had overseen the building of some 80 years ago.

A Father Hudson’s Old Boy present remembered being there at the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone in 1938.

At the end of the service, Mr Quinn and Archbishop Bernard presented long service certificates to five members of staff who were able to be present, marking milestones of between five and 25 years with the charity.

Afterwards, he asked managers to present another 35 certificates to staff working in their teams.

He thanked them all for their ongoing dedication to serving people in need, saying there was something meaningful about working for Father Hudson’s.

The beautiful service, prepared by Bev Smith, and the generous shared table and company afterwards, certainly captured the spirit of the place.