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 visiting St 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.
Notes to editors
- The Church Commissioners intend to distribute £1.2 billion over 2023-25 (up from £930 million in 2020-22)
- They hope to be able to maintain funding over the following two triennia, enabling a long-term investment in the ministry and mission of the Church of England of £3.6 billion over nine years.
- Much of this funding will be granted through the Archbishops’ Council and dioceses to resource local mission and ministry.
Highlights of the 2023-25 spending plans, including maintaining the Commissioners’ longstanding commitments (such as pensions and supporting the mission and ministry of bishops and cathedrals) include:
- Strategic National Investment - £388 million in 2023-25 (Potentially £1.3 billion over the next nine years) comprising:
- £99m for Lowest Income Communities Funding (and Transition funding)
- £240m –-investing in the local church (funding local plans, via dioceses, to build and grow the Church)
- £49m – ‘People and Partnerships funding’– including funding front-line ministry such as additional ordinands and projects such as developing a pipeline of young leaders
- £20m – additional funding to support racial justice work. One of the key priorities for the £388m strategic investment funding will be to help the Church to better represent the communities it serves but this has been allocated specifically for targeted interventions in the area of racial justice to help us to make a step change.
- £9m – additional funding for the Social Impact Investment Fund (together with £16m already allocated).
- £30m – to initiate a net zero programme (over the next nine years it is anticipated that a total will be £190m)
St John The Evangelist, Balby
- The Archbishops were visiting St John The Evangelist Church in Balby, Doncaster. The parish, in the Diocese of Sheffield, runs an impressive social action ministry for the local community.
- What was once a regular food bank developed during the lockdowns into a “multi-bank” open four days a week providing everything from fresh fruit and veg to clothing, towels, bedding toiletries, pots and pans and much more, all shared from the community.
- It also runs a free coffee shop and drop-in centre as part of its outreach.
- Operating under the banner “Given Freely, Freely Given” the services are provided under an honesty approach aimed at reducing barriers to people most in need.
- The parish has received Lower Income Communities Funding through the Church of England.