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St Mark's Coventry is launched

At a special launch service on Sunday 1st October, St Mark’s Church in Swanswell officially reopened - 45 years after it closed in 1972. Over 400 people from across Coventry and beyond gathered together in the renovated church to celebrate with the team at St Mark’s.

St Mark’s was built in 1868 and served as a church for over 100 years until it closed its doors to worshippers in 1972. Since 1972, St Mark’s has had many uses including the Outpatients Department of Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital, a doctor’s surgery and a charity warehouse. Now, restored to fulfil its original purpose of a place of worship, St Mark’s will be the new home of a congregation of mostly young people and students.

The vicar of St Mark’s is the Reverend Dr Phil Atkinson. Phil and his wife, Rachel moved to Coventry from Oxford where they were based at St Aldate’s Church. Together they lead a team of people committed to growing a church with values based on 3 F’s: to see people find faith in Jesus, to see people set free and become all they were intended to be, and to see the city flourish.

During the launch service, the Bishop of Coventry, the Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth spoke about the rebirth of St Mark’s and prayed for all involved in bringing the church back to life. Bishop Christopher was joined by the Reverend Tim Hughes from St Luke’s Gas Street in Birmingham who offered advice about opening a new city centre church. The Director of Communications at Holy Trinity Brompton in London (HTB), Mark Elsdon-Dew talked about HTB‘s involvement in planting City Centre Resource Churches and the Revd Charlie Cleverly from St Aldate’s, Oxford, expressed appreciation for his former colleagues and wished them well in this new venture.

The launch service was a joyful celebration. Towards the end of the service 591 balloons fell from the ceiling onto the worshipping congregation -much to the delight of the children in attendance! Once the service was finished, a free hog roast was served and there was an opportunity for people to chat to the St Mark’s team to find out more about the church.

BBC Midlands Today filmed at the service and their report has been shared extensively on social media (currently the video has been viewed over 58,000 times) - you can view it for yourself here.

Please pray for the team at St Mark’s as they start to build their community.