Church reopening is met with 'local excitement for the building to come back into full use'


70 years after first opening its doors St Mary and St John is once again a hub for the community.

People meeting in church sitting on sofas

St Mary and St John, Camp Hill, is situated in one of the highest areas of deprivation in the Diocese of Coventry. Both the church and vicarage have been targeted in instances of anti-social behaviour and a lack of funds, aging buildings, and no incumbent led to the church being closed in 2021.

Recognising a need for safe community space Bedworth Parish Church has led a planting initiative into Camp Hill to re-open St Mary and St John.

The first stage of re-opening focused on the church Hall which, thanks to the help of Together for Change and members of the local community has been on a journey of refurbishment. New electrics were installed, fire doors and alarm, walls repaired and painted, the hall was fitted with soft furnishings and a children’s play area, and new toilets and kitchen are planned to be re-installed.

soft play area in church

Rev Tris Peattie, Curate at Camp Hill, said “There is local excitement for the building come back to full use and it is being recognised as an investment into the future of the community.”

A food pantry, cosy community and home group are now able to run out of the Church Hall, providing much needed support for the local community. Local organisations have started using the hall for youth work and community events as well. While the Home group held by the church once a week has already seen members of Camp Hill and those who previously attended the church join.

Rev Tris added “While progress has been slower than anticipated it is clear that God is moving.

“We want to grow from the people in the area and become embedded in the community by meeting local needs.

“I can see shoots of growth and life which are just thrilling. We are looking forward to working with the residents of Camp Hill to start new projects, particularly for those who experience isolation and loneliness.”

Plans to refurbish the Church, which is currently lacking heating and electricity, are also underway following a survey and preparation stage. The intention is to start holding services in the Church Hall from October.

Hall with soft furnishings