Photo Credit: Storkk / Wikimedia
A new congregation in a nightclub area and the Church of England’s first weekday-only church are two of several new worshipping communities to receive a share of £35 million GBP in funding. The money – the biggest investment so far by the C of E’s Renewal and Reform programme – is intended to help it reach tens of thousands of people including in city centres, outer estates and rural areas, the C of E said in a statement. The Church said that the new Christian communities “may be far from the traditional image” of churches and will pioneer new types of churches along with new forms of outreach, including a social media pastor and outreach work with school and community choirs.
“Hearing and responding to the good news of Jesus Christ unlocks new joy, new belonging, new purpose and new life,” the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said. “These projects show the dynamism and drive of the Church of England’s mission to share this good news with people throughout our dioceses and parishes.
“We are committed to this work because we want everyone to know how much they are loved by God through Jesus Christ, and how they can find that love for themselves.”
Amongst the projects to receive funding from the scheme is a new church in Bradford’s nightclub area, with a gym and café on site. The C of E said that this will help its mission to students and young adults in the city.
Elsewhere in Yorkshire, congregations that meet throughout the week rather than Sundays will be set up at Holy Trinity Church in Leeds city centre, targeting professionals working in the area. And new music specialists will be employed at Rotherham Minster to work with school and community choirs in the town.
A social media pastor will be based at Stockton Parish Church, and in Suffolk, a digital media post will be created.
The grants will fund churches across the theological spectrum. St Alban and St Martin churches on the Becontree Estate in Barking and Dagenham will receive funding for a new church in the parish – the largest housing estate in Europe. It is one of 11 new congregations planned for the Diocese of Chelmsford.
“The Church of England is not afraid to try something new to ensure it continues to serve every community in the country”, the Director of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform programme, Debbie Clinton, said. “We believe that everyone should have a chance to experience the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the fellowship of belonging to a Christian community wherever they live, whether in an urban city centre, an outer housing estate or in remote rural areas.”