Diocese of Winchester receives £1.59 million in funding to support church growth

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(L-R) Jess Thompson, operations director, John Hudson, Rector, Ed Haycock, curate, outside St Michael’s Basingstoke

The Diocese of Winchester has been awarded £1.59m to grow the church community in Basingstoke. The new funding from the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund (SDF) will go towards the launch of a resource church in Basingstoke, as part of the Diocese’s work to reach the ‘missing generations’ in the town, particularly those who are new or returning to church.

The project will see investment in all four churches in the Parish of Basingstoke. The funding will enable the parish to bring in a team focusing particularly on children, young people and families in both the town centre and on the two urban estates of Brighton Hill and South Ham. There will also be investment in buildings and infrastructure to resource the mission to the town.

The extra funding will enable significant engagement with people locally through social transformation projects in areas of principal need. It will also support Christian witness and service through working with local schools and Further Education colleges. There will be increasing capacity for training and developing young leaders.

The project will be led by Revd John Hudson who has been appointed as Rector of Basingstoke. John said:

“There are thousands of people in Basingstoke who don’t know Jesus as Lord and saviour and my heart is to focus on finding new and innovative ways to share the Good News with people from all age groups and backgrounds.

“I am so excited to be working with the people of the Basingstoke Parish, the new team as they begin to arrive, and with others from across the town and the diocese as the church here steps into this next phase of its ministry in the town.

“It is also such a blessing to have the support of the Bishop of Basingstoke, the Diocese of Winchester, and our partners from the Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) network as we work towards continued revitalisation of the church and play our part in the transformation of society here in Basingstoke.”

Basingstoke will be the latest resource Church that the Diocese of Winchester has established with funding from SDF grants and by working with HTB and its Church Revitalisation Trust. These include St Swithun’s Bournemouth, St Mary’s Southampton, St Winfrid’s Totton and St Mary’s Andover, all of which have seen significant growth and made a huge impact on their communities over recent years.

The Bishop of Basingstoke, the Right Reverend David Williams said:

“It is a blessing to receive this funding and I am filled with hope for the change this promises to bring to the area. I am looking forward to seeing the great work John and his team have planned for local communities, ensuring that they can thrive in God’s love.”

John will begin as Rector of Basingstoke at a service on 5 September 2022, with the aim to launch as a resource church in September 2022.