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Vicar Bids Farewell To Community

A Coventry vicar is to leave his church having seen his dream of creating a community centre fulfilled.

Rev Peter Smith is to leave St Stephen’s Church in Charter Avenue, Canley, for a new position in Birmingham later this month.

He will be saying farewell to friends and the congregation after nearly nine years just as a community café starts to make its impact on the area.

The Oasis in Glebe Close, Canley, was opened in 1998 following a transformation of an unused family centre.

Volunteers opened the café to give residents of all ages somewhere to visit for a cup of tea.

But Rev Smith always hoped that other rooms in the building could be used as an information centre for the community.

And next month a pregnancy counselling service will open in the café to offer would-be mothers help and advice about dealing with their pregnancy.

The café will also be used as a collection point for the new credit union, which is opening in south and west of the city.

A mothers and toddlers group, which has been running for some time, should also continue despite the departure of Rev Smith’s wife, Lizzie, who organised it.

Rev Smith said:

“We have always tried to give informal advice at the café, even it is just to point people in the right direction, but there are regular groups starting now.

“The pregnancy service is called Skylight and operates in Wood End at the moment.

“They had received a lot of calls from people on this side of the city and were looking for somewhere over here.”

Rev Smith said there would be a gap of several months until his replacement was found, but the community activities would all continue in the meantime.

He added:

“We’ve had a farewell party already but we will keep in touch with the friends in the area.”
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CWN / Religion / Places of Worship / Church of England / Coventry / St Stephen's / 12 Apr 00

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