The national church has agreed in principle to allocate significant funding to our diocese over the next seven years, investing in our plans to grow as Kingdom People and supporting the priorities agreed by the Diocesan Synod.
The Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Board (SMMIB) will work in partnership with us on our strategy for growth as part of the first awards to be given since the board was set up earlier this year.
The SMMIB has agreed in principle to an estimated investment of £6.8 million – with funds released as detailed plans are developed, which will support the renewal of seven churches in Dudley and Redditch. This will form phase 1 of our plan to ensure that each major area of population has at least one larger healthy and sustainable church by 2030 - one with at least 150 people attending in an average week. The Diocese will also receive £885,000 to help build its capacity to deliver its programme of growth, including investment in the training of clergy and lay leaders. Most of the national funding will create posts in parishes to increase the resources on the ground, with a couple of additional posts in the diocesan office to support implementation of our plans.
In February, Bishop’s Council also approved the funding of our plans to increase the number of children and young people’s workers in our parishes, encouraging parishes to establish new worshipping communities and the investment in training our clergy and lay leaders. Taken together, this means we have a largely fully funded approach to the priorities approved by Diocesan Synod last November, and without any additional cost being borne by Ministry Share.
Bishop John said: “We are delighted that the Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Board has also enthusiastically endorsed our vision to ensure we have as many healthy and sustainable churches as possible by 2030. We know we need to make major changes if we want to reverse the decline in numbers of people attending our churches; this funding along with our investment in our other priorities will, by God’s grace, enable us to do this.”
Diocesan Synod approved our priorities at its November meeting. Between now and 2030, we aim to:
- Double the number of children and young people worshipping in our churches compared to 2019 figures, investing in more paid children’s, families’ and youth workers so that we have at least one church with a flourishing young peoples’ ministry in each major area of population, and two such churches in each deanery.
- Create 100 new worshipping communities offering a range of ways for people to come to faith and worship God. (eg Forest Church/ Café Church/ Walking Church)
- Invest in the renewal of around a dozen churches to ensure that each major area of population has at least one church with 150 people attending weekly, enabling them to support other local churches.
- Invest in our clergy and lay leaders, providing training and development opportunities to enable them to grow and feel supported and equipped for mission. We want to make the Diocese of Worcester one of the most attractive places in which to minister.
The plan to meet these priorities includes the creation of around 40 new posts – over 90% of which will be in parishes in the form of additional ministers (lay and ordained) and children and families’ workers as well operation and administrative support.
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