SDF Community Work
In Spring 2019, St Mark's Gillingham applied to the Diocese of Rochester for a five-year grant from the Church of England's new Strategic Development Fund (SDF). The purpose of this new fund is to enable parishes to expand their reach in ways they have not previously had the financial means to do so. In June 2019, it was announced that St Mark's had been successful in its bid.
The grant was enough to create three new, salaried job roles, which would be based at, but not limited to, St Mark's Gillingham.
Gospel Plant Leader - Since her appointment in October 2019, Mayowa Oyinloye, also known as MJPRAISE, has been working on some incredibly exciting initiatives. She is well-known in the community for her annual Let Loose! summer concerts in Gillingham High Street which has been running since 2015 and has used her musical prowess to evangelise in the community. Mayowa hosts monthly Gospel worship nights, Good Friday services, African Praise nights and New Year’s Eve services. She runs a number of community initiatives including a community choir for Easter and Christmas events, weekly gospel-busking sessions and STREET2STREET CAROLS in different locations around Medway during advent. She also produces a large amount of online content such as her weekly 10 Minute Bible Songs videos and playlets that promote the essence of goodwill amongst all. Her work also includes a number of activities for children including kid's mentoring sessions, where she engages kids in dance, drama, and music as well as a children’s gospel choir.
Community Missioner - Christine Cordle, is a former district nurse who has also previously worked for The Family Trust - bringing a wealth of children's and youth ministry experience to her new role. She oversees the work of Mayowa and Karen, engages with a wide range of local community groups and forms partnerships with local schools - even leading assemblies and workshops. She is also working on establishing new Messy Churches and other brand new worshipping communities in Gillingham.
Community Pastor - Our previous community pastor, Karen Turnbull, stepped down in January 2022 and so the position is currently vacant but with the funding secured for the appointment of someone new to fill the role and continue the work. The work previously established by Karen included the setting up of a new worshipping community, Finding Faith, running a number of public activity sessions throughout the week, including Craft Club,Coffee & God (all of which were running online during the Covid-19 lockdown) and the Little Eden Project which revitalised the outdoor garden spaces outside St Mark’s church and St Augustine’s Church.