The Diocese of York has secured funding fully to implement its plan to develop new worshipping communities with a focus on those in their 20s, 30s and 40s, located between the Rivers Humber and Tees and between the A1 and the Yorkshire coast.

The Church Commissioners, who administer the historic endowments of the Church of England, have approved funding of just over £3 million from their Strategic Development Fund for the Diocese of York’s plans, alongside other grants for a variety of growth initiatives across the national church.

The Diocese of York’s plans include the placement of 14 full-time ministers and up to 25 part-time lay ministers within existing parishes across the Diocese, tasked with enabling the formation of new worshipping communities and inspiring fresh approaches in other areas, focused on meeting the needs of those aged from their 20s to their 40s.

The church of St Michael-le-Belfrey in York is to be developed as a Resource Church for 20s-40s work, and will ‘plant out’ a new worshipping community every two years, starting in 2022, with a succession of curates tasked with fuelling the growth amongst 20s-40s.

The initiatives have been developed over two years of consultation and engagement as part of a wider intention to ‘reach those we currently don’t’, and stand alongside emerging plans to develop the church’s ministry amongst those living in poverty.

Archdeacon of the East Riding Andy Broom has led a dedicated Working Group which has steered the project bid to this momentous point on behalf of the Diocese:

“This is good news for our diocese and for the many in their twenties to forties who aren’t currently in our churches.

“We thank God for this financial provision and pray that through the strategic use of the new appointments, and the new resources available for all churches, that we can see a transformation in how we reach and disciple younger adults.

“We trust that we will see many lives being changed as churches work out how to reach younger adults in their communities.”

The Diocese has recently appointed the Revd John Lee as Team Leader for 20s-40s and Dr Ben Walker as Associate Team Leader; both will work with new Director of Making & Nurturing Disciples the Revd Richard White, who said, “I’m grateful to everyone who has prayed and worked so hard to reach this point, and I can’t wait to see the new team of 20s-40s ministers taking shape and bringing plans to life across the Diocese.”

The locations for the 14 full-time 20s-40s ministers have already been carefully selected and recruitment is under way with the intention that all will be in post by September 2019.