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. These are a Gospel Church Planter (Mayowa Oyinloye), a Community Pastor (Karen Turnbull) and a soon-to-be announced Community Missioner, who will oversee Mayowa and Karen's work.
Since her appointment in September 2019, Gospel Church Planter, Mayowa Oyinloye has been working on some incredibly exciting initiatives. She is well-known in the community for her annual Let Loose! summer concert in Gillingham High Street, and has used her musical prowess to evangelise in the community. She holds regular Gospel worship nights on the 5th Sunday of each month, has worked with schools to form a new children's choir and is currently recruiting as many people as possible to join her most ambitious project yet - Sing Gillingham Sing! She also holds a weekly "gospel-busking" session in the High Street called Buskitvity, which aims to spread the love of Jesus and positivity in the community. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, Mayowa has not been able to take the streets and perform in her usual manner, so she has been livestreaming her musical sessions from her garden! Check the latest one out HERE.
Our Community Pastor, Karen Turnbull, a former youth and community worker, has hit the ground running in her role. She has established a new worshipping community, Finding Faith, and she runs a number of public activity sessions throughout the week, including Yarn Club, Bullet Journal Club and Forest Church (all of which are running online during the Covid-19 lockdown.) To watch the online sessions or for more information about Karen's work, go to her public page on Facebook and her Youtube channel.
Our 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.
We are incredibly excited to see God work through Mayowa, Karen and Christine, and we warmly anticipate the fruits of their ministry here in Gillingham.