The Church of England today announced plans for a significant increase in funding for the next three years to support God’s mission and ministry across the country, supporting local parishes and growing many more new worshipping communities to serve the whole nation.
The Church Commissioners for England intend to distribute £1.2 billion between 2023 and 2025, up 30% from £930 million in the current three-year period, and plan to maintain this level of funding in the subsequent six years.
In total, this would mean the Church Commissioners plan to distribute £3.6 billion to frontline work of the Church of England between 2023 and 2031, making the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council among the largest grant givers in the country.
The Church Commissioners’ distributions will account for approximately 20% of Church funding, whilst the biggest contribution comes from the faithful and generous giving of churchgoers across the country.
The core of the extra funding will be channelled into the revitalisation of parish and local ministry. The distributions will help fund dioceses’ plans to serve the nation by reaching more young and disadvantaged people, addressing issues of racial justice, and radically cutting the Church’s carbon footprint.
In line with the Church’s Vision and Strategy for the 2020s, funds will also be used to support parish churches and dioceses. This will include:
- Continued funding for the Church in the poorest parts of the country, taking into account lessons from the recent independent review into Strategic Development (SDF) and Lowest Income Communities (LInC) funding.
- Increasing the number of clergy in front-line ministry in parishes and chaplaincies, with the intent that the Church’s clergy better reflects the diversity of the nation that we serve.
In addition, the Church will lead by example in areas that are important not only to the Church but to wider society.
- Enable thriving local churches across the country, making significant contributions to their local communities and delivering even more social action work
- Support diocesan, parish and cathedral plans for the Church to become carbon net zero by 2030 – a target set by General Synod.
- Fund measures that will make the Church more diverse.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York made the announcement about funding for the Church of England while visitingSt John The Evangelist Church in Balby, Doncaster. The parish, in the Diocese of Sheffield, runs an impressive social action ministry for the local community.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “The Church of England is called to serve every community in the country, to be a presence that transforms lives and answers the call of God.
“This funding will help local parishes and chaplaincies live out that calling, providing support for mission so every person might hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“I am especially pleased that the funding will support our aims to double the number of children and young disciples by 2030 and aid the parish system in doing what the Church does at its best: making the love of God known to every person.”
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “The vision for the church is that we are Jesus Christ centred and Jesus Christ shaped and this funding is a huge boost as we work together towards our aim of being the church for everyone everywhere.
“It will help us reach more people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, enabling us establish what we hope will be 10,000 new Christian communities.
“Working through our parishes, most of these will be in neighbourhoods, schools and places of work and leisure. Some will be online. At least 2,000 will be in the poorest and most deprived parts of the country.
“This is very good news indeed.
“We strive to be a younger and more diverse Church. We must become a church where everyone is confident in living as disciple of Jesus Christ and in sharing their faith with others.
“This funding will help the Church of England raise its game in its service to the nation.”
Alan Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner, and the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, Deputy Chair of the Church Commissioners, said: “The Church Commissioners are here to support the mission and ministry of the Church.
“Thanks to our strong investment returns, we can now plan to expand our financial support.
“We want to enable churches, supported by their diocese, to be places and communities where people discover faith and grow as followers of Jesus Christ.”
The 2023-25 spending plans have been supported by the Assets Committee, and the Boards of the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council and are subject to formal approval at the Church Commissioners’ Annual General Meeting on 23 June 2022.
Funding plans for 2026-31 remain subject to investment performance, market fluctuations and future approval by the Church Commissioners.
The distributions from the Church Commissioners are dependent upon long-term investment returns.
Separately, the Church Commissioners today announced that in 2021 they generated returns of 13.3% on its investment of the Church’s endowment.