Church of England parishes are to form new congregations aimed at reaching young adults and students in Leeds and Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, Blackburn in Lancashire and coastal areas of Paignton in Devon and Brighton and Hove in east Sussex.
A series of grants to help fund the projects has been awarded as part of the Church of England’s programme of Renewal and Reform.
The Church of England’s National Youth Evangelism Officer, Jimmy Dale, welcomed the investment in work with students and young people.
He said: “It is so exciting to see the church engaging with students and young people in a way that historically, we have often fallen short. Young people – the ‘Generation Z’ of 11 to 25 year olds - have faced enormous challenges as a result of the pandemic, not just socially and financially but educationally and with regards to mental health. The message of the good news of Jesus Christ offers this generation a real beacon of hope.”
A grant of £1.5 million has been awarded to the Diocese of Leeds to help expand its outreach to students with a new Sunday afternoon church based in the student area of Hyde Park in Leeds and aimed at those who have never been to church before.
[email protected], centred on St Augustine’s Church, will expand its reach through social media and activities and events for students studying at universities in the city.
In Huddersfield, ‘Holy Trinity at 6’ will be formed on Sunday evenings at Holy Trinity Church in the town, building on links with Huddersfield University to reach students and other young adults, the majority of whom have no previous experience of church attendance.
A grant of £3.5 million has been made to the Diocese of Blackburn to develop St Luke’s Blackburn and St John’s Blackpool as centres of mission and support to other churches in the diocese. St Luke’s will work with young people and promote youth ministry across the diocese while St John’s Church will have a strong focus on social outreach.
The Diocese of Exeter has been awarded £1.5 million for outreach work along the English Riviera area of Devon, including the new Bay Church, which will be based at St Andrew’s in Paignton. There are plans for a new youth congregation and at least three more family and youth based congregations throughout Torbay.
In Chichester Diocese, a £2.5 million grant has been awarded to All Saints Hove to create a centre for mission, and to St Peter’s Brighton, to develop four new church congregations. These churches will help support the work of churches across the city, through leadership development, social action and youth and children's ministry.
Funding has also been awarded for work based at St Paul’s Church, Slough, supporting social outreach, training of lay ministers and intercultural work in the Oxford Diocese.
(Pictures credit: Richard Earnshaw, Diocese of Leeds)
Notes to editors
Here is the list of grants to dioceses:
Blackburn (£3.5 million)
Investment in mission in Blackburn, Blackpool, the East Lancashire valley, and the Fylde coast. St Luke’s Blackburn to become a church that works to support mission to young people with investment in youth ministry across the diocese. St John’s Blackpool will develop into a multi-generational church with a strong focus on social outreach..
Chichester (£2.5 million)
Investment in Brighton and Hove to develop work headed by All Saints Church, Hove and St Peter’s, Brighton. St Peter’s will lead the formation of four new congregations in the area while All Saints will expand its social outreach and provide missional and educational resources for other churches from a Catholic tradition.
Exeter (£1.5 million)
To develop mission in Torbay through planting a new church, ‘Bay Church’, based at St Andrew’s church in Paignton. There are plans for a new youth congregation and to revitalise at least three more family and youth focused churches throughout Torbay.
Leeds (£1.5 million)
Funding to develop two student congregations into St Augustine’s church, Wrangthorn in Leeds, and into Holy Trinity, Huddersfield.
Funding for social outreach, training of lay ministers and intercultural work at St Paul’s Church, Slough. The work in Slough forms part of a larger project which is investing in mission in High Wycombe. Milton Keynes and Reading and for which a total of £2m of Strategic Development Funding was granted to Oxford diocese in June 2020.
The grants have been awarded as part of the Church of England's programme of Strategic Development Funding (SDF). More information about SDF can be found here