A loving welcome for all
You are welcome here.
The last couple of years have been a tumultuous time in the UK. Our public life seems to be more divisive than ever, there has been a rise in the number of terrorist attacks, and an increase in reported hate crimes. The current climate is alarming to the vast majority of the population – whichever way they voted in recent elections and referenda. All of us have a duty to take a stand against racism and prejudice, wherever we encounter it.
On the day of Pentecost, the day the Church came into being, people from across the known world were gathered in Jerusalem, and each heard the gospel in their own language. From the start, the Church is catholic (meaning universal). In the time between Pentecost and the heavenly Jerusalem – the time in which we live – there is “no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female, for all are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3.28). In the book of Revelation, in the worship of the heavenly Jerusalem, the saints are those “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelations 5.9).
Many members of the congregation at St Mary Magdalen come from outside the UK. This is one of the aspects of the diversity of our community in which we rejoice. We are all, together, children of the same heavenly Father. The Church, since its beginnings, has been an international community, for to be so is to be a sign of the love of God for all. All are welcome here, and we need each other to be the community that God calls us to be.
We are also conscious that the discussion of equal marriage in the Church of England has left some, and particularly those who are part of the LGBT+ community, feeling that there is a question mark over their place and belonging in the Church.
So we say to you now that all are welcome here. This goes beyond welcome, to not only tolerate but to include at such a level as to allow your unique contribution to change and renew our community. We will continue to do everything we can to welcome, include and affirm both you and your relationships within our extended family here at St Mary Magdalen Church.
Whatever the Church of England claims on a national or international level, the worshipping community at St Mary Magdalen Church affirms in the strongest possible way that ALL people we encounter in our building and community are loved and created in the image of God – regardless of relationship status, sexuality, mental health, physical disability, class, race, your previous or current situation. Our ability to be Christ’s body in and for the world is impoverished if we cannot be it together.
The following is a message from the Most Rev’d Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (the Anglican Church in the USA):
We believe in inclusive Church – a church which celebrates and affirms every person and does not discriminate. We will continue to challenge the church where it continues to discriminate against people on grounds of disability, economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, mental health, neurodiversity, or sexuality. We believe in a Church which welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ.
Clergy and staff
Dwayne Engh – Priest
I’m the Rev’d Dwayne Engh, Vicar at St Mary Magdalen Church. I’m very pleased that we have a heart for social justice (that is active, not just spoken about) and that is so openly concerned about inclusivity and welcome for everyone! To find out more about me, check out the website at dwayneengh.com.
Being a christian is not about being perfect, but at St Mary Magdalen church you join a group of people unique and individually made in the image of God who are trying to lead lives that reflect the love of Jesus. Through worship we are equipped to reach out and help those around us. We are a family (and like all families we are diverse and not perfect). Please feel to join us as we work out what God is doing in our community and try to join in!
Richard Hollingdale – Lay Reader (on secondment)
A lifelong Anglican, Richard originally trained as an organist and church musician before broadening the scope of his ministry. He has lived in Earlsdon for 25 years and served in various local churches, including St Mary Magdalen’s. He has been Reader at St John Baptist, Berkswell since 2013 and is currently ‘on loan’ to St Mary Magdalen to assist and support Dwayne. He recently retired from a career teaching music in independent schools, including 14 years as Director of Music at King Henry VIII School, and his musical activity now is focussed on research into late 16thcentury German song.
Tim Campain – Director of Music
I’m Tim Campain, organist and Director of Music. Born and brought up in Coventry, I was a chorister at St Mary Magdalen’s, Chapelfields where I learned to play the organ. For the past sixteen years I have been Director of Music at Warwick Road United Reformed Church where I also arranged a successful annual series of lunchtime concerts. I also deputise in many other churches in the city, including the Cathedral.
I am Secretary of the Coventry & Warwickshire Organists’ Association, Vice Chairman of the local committee of the Royal School of Church Music and Assistant Organist at Robin Hood Crematorium, Solihull. Over the years I has accompanied various choirs on visits to other cathedrals around the country, and also toured on the continent with the choir of Princethorpe College, notably playing for Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, Rome. I have played live on BBC Radio 4 and appeared on a number of recordings.
Mary Courtney – Administrator
I’m Mary Courtney, the church administrator. When I am not working at St Mary Magdalen I work as a freelance artist and poet — you can read more about my work on my webpage.
Born in Coventry to Irish parents, I’ve lived here for all but ten years of my life, working as a nurse, in education, as a telephonist and manager. I’m a lover of the ocean, books, banter and dance. After decades of not drawing a thing, nor writing a poem, I’m making up for a great deal of lost time. It was Illness that brought me to art – it gave me the bug, and I’ve been smitten ever since.
There is a long tradition of excellence in music at St Mary Magdalen Church that we are working to rebuild.
We have had a long tradition of supporting the arts in our church community and have been very blessed to have three pieces by George Wagstaffe in our church. Most notably, the stunning statue of Mary Magdalen (left) is a piece that many find moving and powerful. Additionally, the beautiful candle stand for our Easter Candle (right) sits beside our baptism font, and more recently, a new water stoup (centre) has been commissioned and installed by the entrance to the church.
George Wagstaffe is a painter and sculptor with work in permanent collections throughout the world, including Naiad and Phoenix in Coventry city centre. Much of this work can be seen in his garden studios in Hawkes Mill Lane and on his website.
We are grateful for the impact George’s art has on both our worship and on those visiting the church for the first time.