St John’s is an evangelical church open to the work of the
Holy Spirit. Lay participation and collaboration in all aspects
of the church’s worship and work is encouraged, seeking
to develop individuals’ gifts and callings. There is little
ornamentation, and robes are generally kept to a minimum. Some
services include times of open prayer and sharing. On a typical
Sunday, there are approximately 250 adults and 80 young people
attending the various services, making St John’s one of
the largest churches in the Diocese of Coventry.
From an organisational viewpoint, three of St John’s strengths
lie in its very strong youth work, its large and active Mothers’
Union and its network of homegroups. Many church members are from
a non-church background or previously from a non-conformist church
experience, and this influences the style.
Whilst there are some long-standing members who have been part
of the church for many years, population mobility means that there
is a fairly high turnover of people.
At St John’s there is a good proportion of under 18 and
35-50 year olds. There are a significant number of men, but 20-30
year olds and “early retireds” are not so well represented.
This reflects, in part, the town, where there is a lack of first
time buyer housing and most young people go to university and
then work away from Kenilworth.
Occupations well represented within the church include the health
and education sectors and professional/ technical/managerial roles.
Overview of Warwick Road:
services are held each Sunday, each with a distinctive flavour.
The 8am service, which has a loyal congregation, is a reflective
but informal 1662 said communion with sermon. At 10am a large
congregation of all ages (from babies to 90year olds) meets for
lively engaging worship, led by a music group and with a teaching
sermon. After combined worship children leave for Junior Church;
once a month there is an all-age worship service and twice monthly
communion. The 6pm service alternates between communion and evening
prayer, led musically by a 15 strong choir.
There is a monthly 8pm service, known as encounter, organised by the
young people of the church.
The church building at Warwick Road has an appealing light feel,
is kept warm and is open several mornings each week with people
ready to offer coffee and a chat to anyone who drops in. There
are often visitors coming into church on a Sunday who remark on
the vibrant warm welcome and sense of expectancy and enjoyment.
After the morning service, there is much informal talk and prayer
as people share their lives over coffee served in the church hall.
Overview of Knights Meadow:
church was planted in 1993 with about 20 adults commissioned by
St John’s, sent out to start meeting in Kenilworth School.
It represented the vision of the PCC to meet the need for a worshipping
community on the east side of the railway. At that stage it was
led by an entirely lay leadership team. In 1997 the parish took
another major step of faith in pledging financial support for
a full-time lay worker for Knights Meadow. A Ministry Leadership
Team was formed in 1999 under Coventry Diocese’s scheme
and fully commissioned in 2002 by the Bishop of Coventry. In July
2004 Jane Mullaney was ordained deacon as an OLM licensed to Knights
Meadow, with a brief for mission and chaplaincy to the area. There
are four Knights Meadow representatives on the PCC.
In style Knights Meadow is a church without walls. As it meets
in the hall of the only secondary school in town, it has a sense
of being truly a doorway into the community of Christ. The venue
allows for creative services that are interactive and accessible
to visitors, using drama, artwork and café style to suit
Knights Meadow aims for informality, approachability and a family
feel, with a special welcome for children. To many people the
school hall is not as intimidating as a church building and people
are not afraid to come to the front and share with the rest of
the church family. This is a church where many people get involved
in all levels of ministry – the Sunday rota includes about
75% of the people in the church.
Five small groups meet weekly, some of them operating on cell
principles. There is a monthly church prayer time in “The
Cavern”, and two weekly prayer cells meet in homes.
The church is growing in confidence in prayer ministry and the
leadership is seeking to harness the gifts of prophecy that have
been identified in a number of people following a recent prophecy
“Missionary Churches Serving The Community”
Churches Serving The Community” was the mission statement
adopted in 1997. Warwick Road and Knights Meadow are working this
out in ways that reflect the different circumstances of each church:
At Warwick Road, the vision is summed up in a banner reading “Here
to Serve”. For the most part this has been implemented over
the years through the variety of ways that church members have
used their gifts and abilities both within the church and by participation
in agencies and activities outside church.
Knights Meadow is operating under a vision statement “to
be salt and light in the heart of the community, so that all may
experience the abundance of God”. Activities are filtered
through the grid of Ploughing-Sowing-Watering-Reaping-Keeping.
For example, current projects include:
engaging in the community through acts which bless
participating fully in Alpha, and piloting Start! and Essence
developing pastoral care, discipleship and growth through small
groups operating on cell principles.
Areas to develop include
integrating the KICKs+ group into the warp and weft of the church,
becoming more confident in the exercise of charismatic gifts,
especially prayer ministry, healing and prophecy
mobilising people for ministry by following up the Hearts to
Serve course and
moving towards full financial responsibility by meeting its
own running costs.