The Church in Wales has announced a new £10 million GBP scheme to help its six dioceses fund new evangelism projects. The Church in Wales’ first ever Evangelism Fund will be launched this weekend with the aim of engaging “Welsh society with the claims of the Christian faith in vibrant and exciting ways.” The fund will provide grants of between £250,000 and £3 million, for diocesan projects that “will focus on people rather than buildings,” the Church in Wales said.
The fund will be managed by a committee with expertise in church growth and business ventures; and is being launched on Pentecost Sunday (20 May). Pentecost is traditionally regarded as the Church’s birthday, when Christians focus on sharing their faith and growth. This year, as in 2016 and 2017, it will come at the end of Thy Kingdom Come – a 10-day global wave of prayer focused on the church’s evangelism and witness.
“We are putting our money where our mouth is,” the Archbishop of Wales John Davies said. “We have long talked about growing the church and now we want to invest in projects across the country to enable that to happen. It is a radical answer to the decline we are experiencing in many places, and £10 million is a transforming amount.
“I am looking forward to seeing some really creative and inspiring projects that will breathe new life into some of our churches and into our mission in Wales.”
The province’s lead bishop on evangelism, Andy John, the Bishop of Bangor, described the new Evangelism Fund as “an incredibly exciting opportunity for the whole church.”
Bishop Andy said that the fund “will enable us to think big and change our culture. For too long, churches have been hampered in their outreach because the money simply hasn’t been there or it has all gone into propping up buildings.
“This is now our chance to act on imaginative ideas for growth, centred around people, not property.”
The money for the fund is being released from Church’s investments which are overseen by its Representative Body – the legal trustees of the Church in Wales. Its chair, James Turner, said that the creation of the fund was about investing in the future of the Church.
“The Bishops have made evangelism and church growth their very clear priority and we are delighted to be able to respond to that by creating this substantial fund,” he said.
The expert committee set up to oversee the fund will be chaired by Representative Body member Jane Heard, an accountant. “We are keen to give grants to effective, well-constructed projects and to ensure the Church’s money is well spent,” she said. “We will be looking for ideas, for example, that create growth among people in age groups under-represented in our churches, create new forms of ‘church’ to appeal to people not currently going, and projects which lead to changes in culture or provide teaching and learning in faith all over Wales.”