The Church of England has announced grants of £24.4 million through its Renewal and Reform program.
The Diocese of London, which plans to open 100 new churches in Britain’s capital, will receive the largest grant, £4.8 million, to revitalize churches and develop church growth learning communities. It will receive an additional £3.89 million to train curates.
Bishop Richard Chartres obtained the church’s blessing in 2015 to revive the See of Islington as suffragan bishopric with responsibility for church planting in the capital and elsewhere across the church, at the invitation of relevant diocesan bishops.
“I love the intention of the national church to support church growth and new ministry across England,” said the Rt. Rev. Ric Thorpe, Bishop of Islington. “We are excited to receive this strategic development grant that will help us to support churches across the traditions and in every kind of parish to grow and flourish in London and beyond.”
“Planting and learning communities complement the inherited parish and chaplaincy model,” said the Rt. Rev. Pete Broadbent, acting Bishop of London. “I’m delighted that the national church is investing in London in this way.”
The second-largest grant of £4.23 million will help the Diocese of Winchester engage with missing generations of young people across Hampshire and East Dorset. The diocese, which is investing £4 million of its funds in the Winchester Mission Action, will bring the Christian message to people who have not previously interacted with the Church of England.
“Society is changing rapidly, and traditional institutions are adapting,” said the Rt. Rev. Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester. “Winchester Diocese is committed to the sustainable growth of the Church for the common good. We have taken time to identify the challenges which face the people of Hampshire and East Dorset, whether they be in our rural villages or urban centers, seeing those challenges as opportunities for Mission Action. We are a growing Christian community with an increasing emphasis on young people. Shaped by the life and work of Jesus we aim to be an active participant in helping to renew our society and address the concerns of our cities, towns and villages.”
The Diocese of Blackburn will receive £1.54 million for opening new churches in deprived urban estates.
The grant will support the appointments of a lead evangelist and pioneer evangelist at Grange Park Church Army Centre of Mission in Blackpool, to develop work already started by the clergy and congregation on the estate. It will also fund 20 young adults to take part in the Blackpool Ministry Experience in the next six years, living on the Mereside estate in Blackpool, and working with local residents, as well as in nearby deprived urban parishes in Blackpool.
“I believe passionately that if we are serious about the renewal of the Church we must commit ourselves afresh to proclaiming Good News to the poor,” said the Rt. Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Blackburn. “This project will share the Good News with people living on our urban estates by planting a number of new congregations.
“It will also ensure that church life is sustainable over the long term in these areas by forming quality lay and ordained leaders both from and for our estates. Our aim is to call and form local leaders who can be good news for their communities.”
Other grants include:
- £3.09 million for church planting and to strengthen mission across the City of Leeds
- £1.88 million to develop mission in St. Helens, Warrington, and Widnes in the Diocese of Liverpool
- £1.84 million to develop mission and ministry to children, young people, and families in the Diocese of Sheffield
- £1.61 million for nine new pioneer posts to across Somerset in the Diocese of Bath and Wells
- £1.45 million to support evangelism with younger generations, social action, and church planting in the city of Bristol
The Church of England invites more applications from its dioceses for future strategic investment funding.
Adapted from ACNS