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Growing churches through our renewal programme

Published: 8th April 2024

Bishop MartinIn this article for May editions of parish magazines, Bishop Martin explains where we are with the strand of our diocesan strategy to have at least one church in each major population area with a congregation of at least 150 people.

The Church of England has a vision of a church that is Christ centred and Jesus shaped. A church that is simpler, humbler and bolder. 

We share that vision and want to see every parish, every benefice, every chaplaincy, every church school flourishing. Every church, every congregation is precious however small.

But within a healthy and sustainable ecology of churches we do need some that are larger. Some that can have thriving provision for youth and children; that can have excellent Sunday worship, and develop one or more new worshipping communities. We need some churches to be generating the leaders of the future and helping to train the leaders of today.  Not every church will be able to do all that, but within each significant area of population we want to ensure that there is somewhere which can.

So one strand of our diocesan vision and strategy is to focus renewal funding in certain areas, to enable at least one church to grow to at least 150 people average weekly attendance across different services on Sunday and weekdays. We currently have very few churches that come near that number, particularly in the north of the diocese. Only Top Church approaches that in the Dudley Archdeaconry, which has grown as a result of significant investment as well as inspirational leadership at local level.

We now hope to replicate that growth in seven other centres of population and have obtained a significant grant from the national church to help us do that. This first phase of our renewal programme focusses initially on Kingswinford, Sedgley, Old Hill and Netherton, Pensnet/ Brierley Hill, Halesowen, Stourbridge and Redditch town centre. As these churches start to grow, we will also apply for funding to do the same in Bromsgrove and Kidderminster as phase 2 of the programme.  Please pray for all those involved as we seek to grow healthy, happy, diverse churches that can flourish and thrive as centres of Christian love and faith for decades to come.

 Remember we want to see every parish, every benefice, every chaplaincy, every church school flourishing and every church, every congregation is precious however small. If you want to know more about how a Mission Accompanier, or the Healthier Churches Fund might help your church to grow, contact me or Archdeacon Nikki today!

Bishop Martin

Page last updated: Monday 8th April 2024 3:56 PM

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