‘OUR GOD IS ABLE’
1950’s - New housing estate - new church planted
In the early 1950’s, the Christian Brethren Assembly meeting at Duke Street Gospel Hall had the vision to evangelise the new population that was moving into the large municipal housing development under construction at Falcon Lodge. In the summer of 1952, a children’s tent mission was held in a marquee erected in a field that is now the corner of Fairfax Road and St Chads Road. Following this successful mission, many children continued to be ‘bus-ed’ to Duke Street Hall Sunday School every week.
During the following year, Sutton Borough Council (encouraged by the mayor, Sir Alfred Owen) allocated a plot of land for the erection of a Christian church on Reddicap Heath Road. Falcon Lodge Hall opened in February 1954, initially catering for children’s meetings on Sunday afternoons and weeknights, a ladies meeting on Thursday afternoons, and a Sunday evening Gospel service. A vibrant Christian Fellowship soon established which quickly developed a comprehensive programme of activities for all ages, every day of the week.
By the late 1950’s, the membership had grown and Falcon Lodge Sunday School was attracting more than 100 children every week making it the largest Sunday School in North Birmingham. The teens Youth Group numbered over 60 and Sunday services (morning and evening) drew regular congregations of 80-100 and up to 150 on Special Occasions. Sunday School Anniversaries had to be staged over two consecutive weekends to accommodate all the parents and children that wanted to attend. During the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, both the Sunday School (by then renamed ‘Junior Church’) and the teens activities (Covenanters, Youth Hour, Focus) were also meeting with similar groups from other local churches for fellowship, holidays and sporting competitions. Falcon Lodge Chapel was regularly a winner or runner-up in inter-church sports or Bible-knowledge competitions, returning with cups and shields and other awards.
1960’s - new building & expanding opportunities
In 1963, a new permanent building was constructed, almost entirely by the skills and labours of members and friends. The original ex RAF wooden Nissen hut was re-erected behind the new Chapel to provide additional accommodation for youth and children’s activities. It was at this time that the premises were renamed “Falcon Lodge Chapel” and the text “Our God is Able” was adopted as declaration and permanent reminder of God’s faithfulness.
During the 1970’s and ‘80’s, many hundreds of children, young people and families became involved in different Chapel activities both in and outside of the buildings. Holidays were organised in Wales and elsewhere for the Youth Group, and there were two or three camping holidays arranged to Spain and Italy. A new idea of Mother and Toddler groups began in this period and continues to operate to this day in a similar format. Also during this time, we started small Home Groups designed to reach more members who were unable or reluctant to come out to weeknight Prayer & Bible study meetings at the Chapel. At one stage, more than six Home Groups were functioning.