£4.6m to develop church growth programme

Southwell & Nottingham Diocese has been granted £4.6 million from a national strategic development fund to support a range of initiatives related to its focus on ‘Growing Disciples – wider, younger and deeper’.

The grant from the Church Commissioners will help to develop four new resourcing churches – these are churches that are growing numerically and spiritually and work with other churches to plant new worshipping communities; local leadership teams are already working with senior clergy in the diocese to develop plans for spiritual and numerical growth at these existing churches.

Some of the money will also be used to help in the establishment of 75 new worshipping communities; these are new groups of worshippers who gather outside normal services times in existing church buildings or in non-church buildings. The grant money would be used to pay rent or buy equipment until the community was established.

The grant will also support the work of the newly-created School of Discipleship in the diocese, which offers training for various forms of lay leadership, and the Younger Leadership College, which is already working with 200 potential Christian leaders.

The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams, said: “Our ministry in the diocese is sustained through the giving of its congregations and careful management of assets. This extra funding will help us to develop and grow our potential resourcing churches so they are equipped to graft and plant new worshipping communities, as well as support the work of parishes of all sizes across the diocese. We are also pleased to receive funding to further develop our School of Discipleship with the aim of ‘Growing Disciples – wider, younger and deeper’.”

The money for Southwell & Nottingham is part of £27m released by the Church Commissioners to create more than 100 new churches across the country as part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform programme.

The Archbishop of  York, Dr John Sentamu, said:  “I am delighted that Southwell & Nottingham has been awarded £4.7m to strengthen the work of its churches as they take the Good News to more people across the diocese, and I pray that the new School of Discipleship will produce deeply committed leaders and disciples who will rejoice in bringing new people to Jesus.”