Mary’s prayers have been answered. And they’ve been answered in the form of the Revd Gail Rogers, a 42-year-old mum-of-three. Not that Gail is the answer herself, more that she has a way of drawing the best out of people and enabling them to do things that they would never have considered.
It’s a wet Friday morning in Bournville, and we are at St Francis’ Church, next to the chocolate factory. This is a leafy part of Birmingham, with well-maintained houses with neat front gardens, parents who smile at you in the street as they walk along with their children, and parks where – if it were dry – you could sit and play.
Instead, the activity is all going on within St Francis’ Church. Friday morning is the regular parents and toddlers’ group. It’s been running for just nine weeks and already there are 71 children on the books. More than 30 are here today.
Gail is telling the story of the workers in the vineyard and their pay to a group of attentive toddlers. The floor of the church is covered with soft play areas. There are bricks and abundant toys.