New board to oversee ‘unprecedented’ Church of England investment in mission and ministry


The membership of a new 12-person board that will oversee around £350 million of grant funding to support the mission and outreach of the Church of England’s dioceses and parishes over the coming three years has been announced today.

The Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Board (SMMIB), will distribute and monitor funds made available by the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council to help churches across the country reach more people with the good news of the gospel, prioritising investment in the most deprived communities.

Members of the Board, who are appointed for an initial three year term, will also track the effective delivery and impact of £226 million of existing funded mission projects across the country. 

The Board’s members, all practising Christians, have been drawn from diverse roles including charity and aid agency work, investment banking, finance, and the NHS. 

They bring a wide range of expertise in areas including strategic leadership, planning and change management, grant-making, impact measurement and evaluation, investment appraisal and social investment. 

John Spence, Chair of the Board, said: “I am delighted that we have recruited such a talented and diverse group and deeply grateful for the generous gift of their time and expertise. 

“They will play a crucial role in ensuring the effective distribution and impact of a grant making programme that is unprecedented in the Church in its size and scope.”

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “We are blessed with a wonderful group of people who are joining the Board at a time when the message of the Christian faith is needed more than ever before.

“Their work to support God’s ministry and mission through the local church will be key in helping the Church of England in our dioceses and parishes share the Good News of Christ with many more thousands of people.”

About the Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Board

  • The Board comprises four ex officio members and eight appointed members. The appointed members were offered roles after advertising, shortlisting and interview. All posts are unpaid.
  • Under the terms set out by the Archbishops’ Council, at least five of the Board must be members of the Archbishops’ Council (this includes the Chair and any ex officio members who are Council members) and at least three must be independent members, i.e. not members of the Archbishops’ Council. At least four of the Board’s members (whether ex officio or appointed members) must be senior diocesan leaders, meaning people with significant experience in senior leadership in dioceses, ordained and lay.
  • Decision making of the Board will be guided by the Church of England’s aims through its Vision and Strategy of reaching more people with the message of the Christian faith. Its key goals include doubling the number of children and young people in the Church of England and the increasing the diversity of people in touch with the Church across the country.
  • Read more details on how the funds will be allocated.
  • The Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council are making £390 million available for strategic mission and ministry investment in 2023-25, most of which will be overseen by the SMMIB. They have signalled their intention to increase this investment to reach a total of £1.3 billion by 2031.
  • The SMMIB replaces the Archbishops’ Council’s Strategic Investment Board and Strategic Ministry Board. It will meet formally for the first time on February 22.
  • The Archbishops’ Council appoints members of the Board for a three-year term. Members will be eligible for re-appointment but may not serve for more than three consecutive terms. Appointments followed an external search and application process.

Full list of members

John Spence (Chair), Chair of the Archbishops’ Council Finance Committee

Ex officio:
Alan Smith (First Church Estates Commissioner) 
Bishop Mark Tanner (Chair of the Archbishops’ Council’s Ministry Council) 
Bishop David Walker (Deputy Chair of the Church Commissioners’ Board of Governors)

Appointed Members:
Bishop Arun Arora, Bishop of Kirkstall
Andrew Barnett, Chair of Trustees Church Urban Fund, independent strategy and engagement consultant, and Commissioner at the UK Poverty Strategy Commission.
Alison Coulter, Archbishops’ Council member and Programme Director for Organisation Development for Hampshire and Isle of Wight NHS Integrated Care Board.
Matthew Frost, Archbishops’ Council member, independent consultant and coach, and former Chief Executive of Tearfund
Veda Harrison, Strategy Director at the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, formerly Vulnerability Strategy/ Challenge Group Lead at the Money and Pensions Service and with NatWest Group as Public and Consumer Affairs, Sustainability and Communications Manager.
Christelle Kupa, Sustainable Finance expert and Strategic Adviser to the First Lady, Cabinet and Foundation of the DRC and Strategic Adviser to the African Union. 
Suzannah O’Brien, Managing Director and Trustee, The Bishop Radford Trust and  Chair, Christian Funders Forum, also Trustee and Management Committee Member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Anglican Communion Fund.
Helen Platts, Diocesan Secretary/Chief Operating Officer, Diocese of Manchester.