CoE Dioceses to receive nearly £5 million to reach more people with the Christian message

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A community choir, a church in a working men’s club and ministry with children and young people are among projects to receive funding as part of a drive by the Church of England to spread the Christian message to younger and more diverse groups.

Coventry Diocese is to receive £1.25 million in Strategic Development Funding (SDF) for outreach work in parishes serving estates and suburban areas in the city and the Warwickshire town of Bedworth. 

The projects are part of a plan to create 150 new worshipping communities in the diocese by 2030, reaching children and young people, families, elderly people and other groups such as homeless people. 

The funding will support activities such as a community choir, holiday and lunch clubs, pastoral support and Christian enquiry courses. In Bedworth, new worshipping communities will meet in venues including a working men’s club and a school.

The Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cocksworth, said: “This is a big moment in the Diocese of Coventry as we venture out on a life-giving work to build up our church communities and reach deeper into some of the most disadvantaged parishes in the diocese.”

Separately, a £3.5 million grant has been awarded to Southwell and Nottingham diocese for work to support 40 churches reach children, families and young people over the next five years. 

The award, also from the Church of England’s Strategic Development Funding, will be used to train and commission leaders and volunteers to build on work already under way to reach children and families with the Christian message. 

The grants have been awarded as the Church of England outlines priorities in its Vision and Strategy for the future. This includes a goal of doubling the number of children and young people in churches and attracting more diverse congregations.

Bishop of Sherwood, Andrew Emerton, said: “This is a vitally important project for us which aligns well with the national Church of England vision and seeks to transform children and families and youth ministry in churches across Southwell & Nottingham. 

“Investment will be focused on 40 churches, but we hope and pray that, empowered by the Spirit, we’ll see development across the diocese as learning and expertise is shared from these centres of strength”

Debbie Clinton, Co-Director for the Church of England’s Vision and Strategy, said: “Becoming a church that is younger and more diverse emerged as a clear priority for the Church of England as part of its Vision and Strategy for the next ten years. 

“Coventry and Southwell and Nottingham dioceses have been working in this direction for some time and this investment builds on successful work to reach children, young people and young adults with the good news of the Gospel in those dioceses.”