website and resources
Here you’ll find a profile, with something of my story. There’s also a link to some of my family history (genealogy) research and material written for magazines.
I'm Mike Claridge and I live in Cotteridge (Birmingham) with my wife Susan and our daughters, Rose and Anastasia.
I work as Minister of The Cotteridge Church which is a joint congregation of the Methodist Church, United Reformed Church and Church of England. It came into existence in 1981 when three of the then separate churches in Cotteridge formed a Local Ecumenical Project. In 1985 the three churches came together in one building and The Cotteridge Church was formed.
From July 2003 until March 2017 I was based in West Bromwich. There I worked 'on a joint and equal basis' for the Church of England and The Methodist Church with pastoral care of St Andrew's, Carters Green (C of E and Methodist), Ryders Green Road Methodist Church and joint pastoral care of Wesley, West Bromwich.
I am a son of the Black Country, having been born and brought up in Pelsall, but my wife is from Shrewsbury. Our daughters are also Shropshire born, having entered our lives while I was serving and living in Wellington, Telford, Shropshire from 1995 - 2003. We also hosted another 'daughter' during that time - a girl in her mid-teens who lived with us for a year as a member of our family. She and her family remain firm friends.
While at Telford I was very proud of the links I developed between Christians and Muslims. Our Church Hall was used as a mosque school and for Friday prayers. For a short time, when the hall was out of action, the group used a room in the church itself as their prayer room. I maintain my interest in interfaith dialogue.
Prior to Telford I served in Harlescott, Shrewsbury from 1992 - 1995. During this time I was involved in founding Emmanuel Church, a Church of England and Methodist Local Ecumenical Partnership, that initially met in community centres before planning it's own building.
I trained for ordination ecumenically at The Queen's Foundation, Birmingham from 1989-1992. During my final year I attended l'Institut œcuménique de Bossey of the World Council of Churches (near Geneva, Switzerland). There I completed their Certificate in Ecumenical Studies validated by the University of Geneva. The course, 'Towards New Models of Community', was attended by participants from around the world, several of whom I maintained contact with. I've visited several in Sri Lanka, Finland and Lithuania. I've recently reconnected with others via social media. The course included a visit to Rome as guests of The Vatican where we had a private audience with Pope John Paul II.
Prior to becoming an ordained Minister I qualified as a Member of the Institution of Environmental Health Officers and worked with the local authority in Wolverhampton for ten years specialising in Food Hygiene and general Public Health.
I am a supporter of Inclusive Church, Dignity and Worth and OneBodyOneFaith. I support marriage equality (same sex marriage) in church, although I recognise the pain that is felt on all sides of the discussion.
I enjoy cycling and am the proud owner of a custom built Rourke bike. I completed a 300 mile London - Paris Sponsored Bike Ride in both 2008 and 2012. Another great passion is genealogy and some of my research can be accessed below. I am also a member of The Labour Party, CAMRA and The National Trust.
In the 1980s I was a very enthusiastic church bell ringer and this included ringing 132 peals (long length ringing lasting usually two to three hours depending on weight of the bells). For more details, and for my full peal record, click here.
I’ve also enjoyed 'treading the boards' and appeared in Wesley Church West Bromwich's Pantomime productions of 'Babes in the Wood' (2015), 'Aladdin' (2016) and 'Sleeping Beauty' (2017).
Diploma in Environmental Health
Institution of Environmental Health Officers (July 1982)
Certificate in Ecumenical Studies
The Ecumenical Institute, World Council of Churches, Geneva
University of Geneva (February 1992)
Certificate in Theological Studies
University of Birmingham (July 1992)
Welcome Service as Minister of The Cotteridge Church on 23rd March 2017
Taken during my 2012 London - Paris ride for Christian Aid including across the battlefields of The Somme area.
Above: With (l-r)
Anastasia, Rose and Susan.
With long time friends Duleep DeChickera (l) and Kumara Illangesinghe (r) at Duleep's consecration as Bishop of Colombo in 2001
As 'The Emperor' in Wesley's
2016 production of 'Aladdin' with
Widow Twanky (Carl Philpott)
and Abanazer (Revd Phil Thomas)
During the 2011 riots I was interviewed live on TV. As well as Sangat TV I found out later that this interview was also live on Sky News. To see the video click below.
“Be good to orphans and the needy.
Speak nicely to people. And help the poor.”
My Family History research
can be found on the link below:
Date of the latest update is in top right hand corner of opening page. Hosted on the MacFamilyTree.com
Grandfather Harry Claridge ("x") during tank training in southern England 1918
Click for an audio recording from 1984 of my grandmother Florence Claridge (nee Holland) describing growing up in Pelsall in the early 1900s.
Accompanied by photographs.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
(Hebrews 13 .2)
All articles, unless stated otherwise, were written for ‘Roundabout’, the bi-monthly magazine of The Cotteridge Church. The current edition of Roundabout can be read by clicking here.
Archived copies are here, arranged in annual volumes. Letters prior to March 2017 were written for the magazine of St Andrew’s, West Bromwich (also called ‘Roundabout’):
"Whither am I going? To the New World. What to do? To gain honour?
No, if I know my own heart. To get money?
No; I am going to live to God and to bring others to do so."