Healthy Churches at Coventry East Deanery Synod

This month our diocesan communications is focusing on Healthy Churches, and particularly the work of our Healthy Churches Development Enabler, the Revd Clive Hicks.

Recently Clive visited Coventry East Deanery Synod. He delivered a presentation on Healthy Churches.

During the presentation Clive explained what he sees as the ‘big picture’ for the health of churches across the diocese. This included the vitality of having an impactful small group experience emerging from the long shadow of Covid which is a key to intimacy, personal support, and discipleship in churches. 

He also talked about the evidence of deep personal needs within the congregations that he has preached and ministered amongst – the invitation for prayer ministry has shown people with their own and significant others’ health concerns, issues with relationships within a family, questions about vocation or calling, significant life choices, new ventures (including starting businesses), and thankfulness for health restored.

Clive noted the crucial importance of an authentic, radical welcome and hospitality seen through the culture of the whole church family (not just those on ‘welcoming duty’). Churches need to think about what newcomers really need.

Clive’s sense is that there are many things clamouring for attention in churches, but the key thing, really, in all churches, is the heartbeat of the core people gathering to pray and worship and being family or community together. We need to take care not to neglect the “pond” by only focusing on buildings and boundary walls/fences.

During the presentation Clive shared some of the benefits of a new church growth programme called Leading Your Church Into Growth – numerical, spiritual and missional which we are actively considering as a resource for some churches in the Diocese in 2024.  In tandem with all the great work within Mission Hubs, we hope to see some growing churches take further steps to move forward.

During the Deanery Synod, Claire McArthur, Area Dean, shared her delight with the evidence of busy and creative activity across the deanery through the summer months, sharing lots of images of gatherings, posters, and publicity – different programmes and outreach activity, tuned in to local contexts.  There was an update on collaborations looking at ways to improve the Ball Hill area, involving Readers from Stoke St Michael, as well as other churches and community groups.

Jonathan Ashton, from St Philip, Potter’s Green, spoke of the vital importance of pastoral engagement with the bereaved, the lonely and the many who never come near our churches.  Barney Pimentel (St Alban) spoke of higher attendance at church services as well as the growth of membership in a youth group.  There was, happily, a recommencement or start of small groups in several churches in Stoke, Binley and Walsgrave, in line with what Clive had been sharing in his presentation.

Find out more about Healthy Churches on our website.

First published on: 10th November 2023
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