In 1996, Martin White (one of the Elders at The Crown) had a very vivid dream in which he was leaving Bedford, where he was living at the time with his wife Louise, and moving somewhere to plant a church. He spent the next few years asking God where exactly he was meant to go. During this time he had a growing desire to be part of a very multicultural church. Whilst reading through Acts, Martin saw that often in the Bible people were sent where there was a need, so went to his church leaders and said “send me to any multicultural place you want!” They got the map out and stuck a pin in Handsworth!
Martin and Louise came to visit the area and as a local pastor drove them round the area. Martin saw the exact places he had seen in his dream 2 years before – even down to the smallest details! Needless to say, this was very encouraging!!! In summer 1998 Martin and Louise moved to Birmingham with a handful of people to start the North Birmingham Church plant. Later this became The Crown – based on the passage in Isaiah:
“The nations will see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.”
(Isaiah 62 v 2-4 NIV)
This passage seemed to fit what we wanted to do as a church – to see a desolate area restored, for the Nations to see God’s Glory and to be something that gives glory to God – like a crown in His Hand. Since then, we have had a wonderful time seeing God’s plans unfolding and realising just how faithful He is! It has also been a wonderful privilege to see people from more and more nations become part of the church family.