Coventry is a city of 350,000 people, a relatively young city that is getting younger.
50,000 students attend the two universities - and the number is growing.
In 2015 The Bishop of Coventry approached Holy Trinity Brompton to discuss the possibility of creating a "City Centre Resource Church" specifically to reach out to the young people and students in the area. The diocese had identified St Mark's as a possible location for the new initiative, as it is close to the city centre and student halls of residence.
Phil and Rachel Atkinson were working at St Aldates, Oxford - a student church in the heart of a university city, working with the poor and marginalised. They felt called to lead a city centre church focused on shared Jesus, effectively reaching out to young people, with opportunities to serve those in need.
In 2016 the Bishop invited Phil and Rachel to consider coming to renovate and re-open St Mark's - joining with all the other churches in the city and surrounding area to share the good news of Jesus with those who don't know him.
So Phil and Rachel moved to Coventry, working initially with Gas Street Birmingham - another City Centre Resource Church planted from Holy Trinity Brompton - whilst the renovation work begin.
On 1st October 2017, St Mark's officially re-opened and was launched by the Bishop, a realisation of his vision and plan. He wrote..
"The re-opening of St Mark’s Swanswell tells the story written into the life of the city of Coventry: from step back to step forward, from despair to hope, from death to life... I rejoice in the resurrection of St Mark’s."
The adventure continues..