A brand new space for the community opened its doors today, April 11th. Work to transform the centre, which is based at Bethel New Life Apostolic Church in Foleshill, has been underway for a year.
Consisting of a main hall and an adjoining suite, the brand new space is open to everyone in Foleshill. The church organization says its vision is to be sustainable, safe and welcoming to local people.
Bethel New Life Apostolic Church was established in 1961 by the Windrush generation of Coventry. Located in a historic building close to bustling Foleshill Road, it has been a part of community life for decades.
READ MORE: The story of Coventry’s Windrush Church – a historic sanctuary for newcomers
The center has been in the works for some time, but the community told CoventryLive it took a lot of hard work and vision to get it to where it is today. When CoventryLive visited Bethel New Life Apostolic Church last October, the band revealed plans to use the space for weekly youth sessions, crime prevention and as an event space.
At the time, work on the center was only half completed, but the church spoke of its grand plans for its use. Now it has been unveiled to the community in all its glory.
Describing how the space will be used, a church spokesperson said: “The main hall will be called the ‘Vera Kelly Suite’ and the adjoining room will be named the ‘Dudley Nicely Suite’, in honor of two of the previous pastors. The Coventry branch was established in 1962, under the leadership of the late Pastor Dudley Nicely, and we will be celebrating the 60th anniversary on October 7, 8 and 9, 2022.”
Those who arrived as part of the Windrush generation came from countries like St. Kitts, Barbados and Jamaica. When they arrived they found that their usual vibrant way of worship was not present in churches in England, so they created their own.
Communities created around churches, such as Bethel New Life Apostolic Church, helped West Indian arrivals settle and prosper. Speaking to us earlier about the importance of space, church board member Jennifer Nicely said, “Nowadays the church couldn’t contain young people, it was thriving. We are starting to prosper again, now we are growing.
The church said the new community space will also help them keep their building available and accessible, so more local people can use it. They told CoventryLive they hope to hold educational, active living, training, employment, cultural and recreational activities at the centre.
Bethel New Life Apostolic Church is based at 72 Station Street West, Foleshill, Coventry.