Church of England funds £27 million growth programme

By agency reporter
July 15, 2018

More than a hundred new churches are to be created in a £27 million drive by the Church of England to revive the Christian faith in coastal areas, market towns and outer urban housing estates.

New Christian communities in areas including the Kent coast, housing estates in Plymouth and market towns in Cambridgeshire are to be set up by the Church of England as part of its Renewal and Reform programme.

The plans have been backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as a "wonderful example" of how churches are seeking to be faithful to God and to serve their communities.

He said: “The Church of England exists to share the good news of Jesus through our words and our actions. Across the country, churches are bursting with life – which in part is shown through how they love and serve their communities. I’m especially pleased about these grants because they demonstrate our commitment to following Jesus to the places of greatest need in our society.

“These projects are wonderful examples of how churches are seeking to be faithful to God – and faithful to their communities in love and mission. Through their innovation, they signal a growing determination in the Church to share the good news of Jesus Christ in ways that make sense for those in our most deprived communities.”
 

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “I am overwhelmed with joy that the Church of England is investing significant resources, both financial and people, which will assist churches to reach out to local communities across England with the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ for everyone. 

"I pray for growth and new life for the Church – for the good of the whole country.”

John Spence, chair of the Church of England’s Strategic Investment Board, which approved funding for the work by the dioceses, said: “These grants are funding bold ambitious initiatives. Their scale and breadth show that the Church is feeling confident about its future.”

In Canterbury Diocese, a pioneering café-style church called ‘Ignite’ in Margate, Kent, is to be used as a blueprint for nine new worshipping communities in the coastal towns of Herne Bay, Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey and St Peter Port in Guernsey as well as Sittingbourne, Maidstone and Ashford.

The Ignite project was founded at St Paul’s Church in Margate 10 years ago, aiming to reach marginalised and deprived communities in the town.

The scheme has been announced alongside a £1.69 million grant to create three new churches for people living in outer urban estates in Plymouth.  It is hoped that the new churches will provide support and inspiration for up to nine new churches in and around the city.

In Ely Diocese, the Church of England is to fund a project promoting church growth, focussing on the market towns of Wisbech, March, Chatteris, Littleport, Ramsey, Huntingdon and Downham Market.
 
In Swindon, a former railway works building is to be transformed into a church, aimed primarily at people aged under 40 years old who have no current connection with a church. Bristol Diocese anticipates the new church will act as a catalyst for training clergy and supporting mission in both new and established churches across the area.

A grant has also been made to Worcester Diocese to fund staff and a refit of St Thomas and St Luke’s Church in Dudley, and to boost work already under way at All Saints Church in Worcester. In Southwell and Nottingham Diocese, existing churches will be given further support in Nottingham, Retford and Mansfield in Nottinghamshire which in turn will help to support 75 new worshipping communities.

In Leicester Diocese a £5.3 million grant has been awarded to support six existing larger churches or teams, in developing up to 50 new churches, or worshipping communities, in the area. In Newcastle, a new church will be created in the city centre that will provide support to churches throughout the area.

A grant of £2.14 million has been awarded to Manchester Diocese to create 16 new small churches over six years, and to work with children in Bolton, especially at the points of transition from pre-school to primary school and from primary to secondary school. In Peterborough Diocese a £1.1 million grant will be used to invest in ministry with children and young people.

The grants from the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund have been awarded to the dioceses as part of the Renewal and Reform programme aimed at creating a growing church in all places for all people.

* Church of England https://www.churchofengland.org/

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