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Resurrection of St. Mark’s Church, Swanswell

St. Mark's Relaunch

The Coventry Society is really pleased to see that the Grade II listed St. Mark’s Church at Swanswell Pool has now re-opened as a City Centre Resource Church.

According to ChurchCare “A city centre resource church is a Church which, working closely with the local bishop, intentionally resources mission across a city, by planting and revitalising churches, developing leaders and providing other resources for mission. Its aim is to help evangelise the city and transform society.”

The idea of bringing the Church back to life was the vision of the Bishop of Coventry, The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth, who appointed Reverend Phil Atkinson and his wife Rachel to lead the St. Mark’s Church community.

On Sunday 1st October, 45 years to the day after the Church closed, St. Mark’s was re-launched. Over 350 people attended a high energy event to celebrate the resurrection of the Church.

The Church is aimed at students and young people, using loud music and disco lighting to bring an ancient message to a younger congregation.

Since closing in 1972 the building had a varied existence, including as a local radio station, the Outpatients Department of Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital, a doctors surgery and a warehouse for Carriers of Hope, supporting refugees and new arrivals in the city.

The most notable feature of the building is a large mural on what was originally the east window of the Church. The window was bricked up following Wartime bomb damage and in 1962/63 the Church commissioned German émigré artist Hans Feibusch to paint a large mural, entitled Ascension.

Feibusch was a famous Jewish artist and was the last surviving artist who was included on Geobal's infamous list of "degenerate artists". He emigrated to Britain and painted murals in Churches and Civic buildings around the country. He died in 1998 at the age of 99. Feibusch's work is now recognised as being of national importance.

Although the building is back in use and protected, there is still much to be done to restore the fabric of the building and to conserve the mural. With Coventry’s bid to be City of Culture 2021 the time is right to conserve the mural for the future. It is understood that the Church plan to make an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Society has committed its support to such an application.

 St Marks' Relauchn

See a BBC video about the re-opening of the Church

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