What and when will be the Diocese of York’s first bid to the Church Commissioners for project funding?
We have committed to reaching those who are under-represented in church life across our diocese, including people in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
Our approach will include new ministry posts deployed by the diocese, funding for new part time posts for which any parish can apply, and resources for all. A team headed by Archdeacon of the East Riding Andy Broom will make a first application for national funding in April. If successful, a second stage submission based on more detailed planning will follow by November.
We plan to place up to 14 full-time Ministers in carefully chosen locations across the diocese and ensure that resources for reaching 20s – 40s and nurturing them as disciples are offered to every parish and deanery. Funding will also be available for 25 part time posts.
We pray that existing congregations will be enriched, and new ones – some in different styles - will form.March 2018
What’s so important about having a diocesan strategy?
The open meetings held in 2016 about our way forward as a Diocese confirmed our deep desire to make and nurture disciples – to grow our churches and God’s kingdom.
Finding the resources to reach others for Christ always feels like a challenge. There is always more that we would love to do than our resources allow. This remains true even though our Synod has agreed that we will invest some of our reserves, and we have access to Church Commissioners’ money, to fund missional activity and growth.
So the purpose of our diocesan strategy is to focus our use of available resources – time, people and money – on the handful of things that we discern as God’s priorities for us at this time. A determined focus will enable us to do a few things well – and ensure that we follow through consistently to fruitful outcomes for individuals, parishes and God’s kingdom.
What impact can we expect our diocesan strategy to have in a typical parish?
We’re trusting that every part of the diocese will take part in achieving our goals of reaching, growing, sustaining — and that everywhere people will pray and ask ‘How can we achieve them here?’
Resources will support each parish and deanery in reaching new people, aiming for growth, and strengthening local finances. In some parishes there will be new posts, for example pioneer ministers focusing on our 20s-40s work — plus a start-up fund for equivalent initiatives elsewhere.
We can’t do everything at once or in every place, but we’re confident that activity will spread out from our first initiatives. We will find ways to support people wherever there is energy for mission.
These are exciting times. Whether or not there will be a new pioneer minister near you, please pray for God’s Spirit to give power to us all so that we can reach our goals and build his kingdom.
What is the 'big thought' that provides the anchor point for our strategy?
In one word – Growth. Of course, that doesn’t do it justice. Our vision captures other key points: ‘Generous Churches making and nurturing Disciples…to build up the Body of Christ to grow in Christ-likeness, Commitment, Partnership, Influence and Numbers’.
This aim of Growth – in numbers of disciples and depth of discipleship – has been at the heart of the Archbishop’s Mission Weekends in every Deanery. It’s why participation in ‘Leading your Church into Growth’ is encouraged. We are determined not to stay still, still less shrink. We will step out ambitiously, in faith, finding ways to reach people and grow God’s Kingdom.
As Bishop Paul has said, this is “a movement of the whole diocese together in joy and hope, investing time, money and work now to build up God’s church for the future”. Ultimately our strategy is part of our response to Christ’s commission to us, to ‘go and make disciples’.
What is the church commissioners ‘Strategic Development Fund’ (SDF) that we hope to access?
SDF money supports major change projects which lead to a significant difference in dioceses’ mission and financial strength.
The Commissioners have already allocated nearly £60m to around 40 projects across half the Church of England – to be released over the multi-year life of projects. There are no firm rules about match-funding, but most dioceses make a significant investment in projects.
Our proposal to Reach 20s-40s involves a bid for SDF funding of nearly £3m. The ideas we submitted in April were positively received so we are invited to proceed to a ‘stage 2 application’, with detailed implementation plans. Assuming these are approved we can begin to receive funds in 2019. Naturally, we are expected to report back on our use of the funding and the results we achieve.
We expect to make a second bid in support of our goal to Reach People in Poverty early in 2019.