Last October it was announced that Coventry church, St Mark’s, Swanswell, will open up its doors to worshippers again in autumn 2017 - 45 years after it closed in 1972. The Revd Dr Phillip Atkinson has been appointed to lead this exciting new initiative and has started to gather people who are interested in forming the new community at St Mark’s.
Phil was brought up in Lincoln, and following university moved to London. There he worked for 14 years in the NHS, ultimately as a consultant in public health before becoming a priest and moving to Oxford. In Oxford he was based at St Aldate’s Church and his ministry focused on reaching out to people in particular need, such as those in prison, ex-offenders and the homeless. He is married to Rachel, who works in theological education, and they have two young girls.
As an expression of the Diocese’s commitment to serve the city of Coventry, with its growing population, the Bishop of Coventry in partnership with Holy Trinity Brompton, the London based church that pioneered the Alpha course, is re-opening St Mark’s as a City Centre Resource Church. City Centre Resource Churches are part of the Church of England’s strategy to attract young people and resource the wider church in its mission. A number of City Centre Resource Churches have opened up all over the country in the last few years, the nearest one to Coventry being St Luke’s Gas Street in Birmingham.
Over the next six months before St Mark’s opens, Phil will be overseeing the redevelopment of the building and will be leading gatherings of people who are interested in being part of the church. The first gathering, a morning of worship and prayer in the church building, took place in February and was attended by over 40 people, the next gathering will be held in the evening on the 9th March and everyone is welcome to attend.
"Rachel and I are so grateful for the warm welcome we have received in Coventry. We are looking forward to reopening St Mark’s in the autumn and working together with other churches and groups to serve the people of this great city."
Please hold Phil and his family in your prayers as they settle into Coventry and start to build the St Mark’s community.