Canon Neville Black MBE and his late wife Val felt a vocation to work in the inner city after spending 9 months in Liverpool 8 in 1961.
After Neville was ordained in 1964, the couple arrived with their two month old daughter Mandy in Everton to work in the newly formed Beacon Group Ministry within the Diocese of Liverpool.
After his first incumbency at St. George’s Everton, Neville went on to set up the new Team Parish of St Luke in the City in 1981, where he remained until his retirement in 2004, having completed 40 years’ ministry in Liverpool’s inner city.
In his autobiographical book 40 Years in Liverpool’s Inner City, Neville reflects on his time in Everton and Toxteth and shares some significant turning points in his own spiritual journey as he grappled and struggled to come to terms with the challenges that incarnational ministry*demanded.
* Neville defines incarnational ministry in the context of his work as developing a church which seeks to be alongside local communities in their search for justice and liberation from the deeply embedded cycle of deprivation that prevailed in so many inner city communities where poor housing, poor schools, high unemployment, and crime denied opportunities for so many who lived there.
Neville felt called to full-time ministry shortly after his Christian conversion in 1953. Following a period of training at Oakhill Theological College in London, he and his wife Val, dedicated their lives to serving the churches and communities of inner city Liverpool for more than 50 years.
Neville understands people’s need for abiding signals and habits of constancy, for needing people and things to rely on: but he never found much of that in the gospels, where he’s perceived a message of a realm of God breaking in. Neville wants to be part of that burglary; it might make a mess, it might tread on toes, but it is what the Holy Spirit is doing, and he’s always wanted to be a part of that.