Three churches in Swindon are embarking on an exciting campaign to increase the part the Church plays in the lives of people in the town.
Swindon New Town serves central Swindon. Over 25,000 people live in the parish, which includes St Mark’s church, in the railway village, St Saviour’s on the borders of Old Town and St Luke’s in Broadgreen.
An award of major grant funding has allowed the appointment of a second full-time priest to serve this busy parish. Father Ross Copley was recently licensed by the Bishop of Swindon, the Rt Revd Dr Lee Rayfield, at a special Mass at St Mark’s.
The Mission Project is led by the parish priest, Father Toby Boutle. Toby arrived in Swindon in early 2020 just as the pandemic took hold. Now restrictions have lifted, congregations have returned and together the team is excited to be taking the next steps.
“It’s a great blessing to be joined by this excellent team of workers. They will be helping the whole church community deepen and renew our outreach and service in central Swindon,” says Father Toby. “ Our churches have been growing considerably in recent years. Now we’re looking forward to expanding our work with children and young adults, and with those most in need in our town.”
As well as Father Ross, two new lay workers were commissioned. Tom Dumbell, who has been a youth minister in London, will be working to strengthen links with children and young adults. Meanwhile Rufina Gonsalves will be helping encourage greater participation from the Goan community in Swindon in the life of the Church. For the last year, there has been a monthly service in Konkani, the language of Goa, at St Luke’s.
The funding for the projects comes from the Church of England’s Vision & Strategy Unit, the Diocese of Bristol, the Additional Curates Society and Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament.