Church Commissioners grant £5.3m to fund Leicestershire’s Resourcing Churches


The Diocese of Leicester has been awarded more than £5m to fund a plan to bless communities through growing churches.

 

The plan will see six Leicestershire churches, or teams of churches, designated as Resourcing Churches with the hope of seeing double the number of worshippers across all forms of church, including traditional, fresh expressions of Church and church plants, by 2030.
The vision behind this is to add to the ways the Anglican church in Leicestershire can serve more of the estimated 93% of people who are not regular churchgoers or part of any Christian community.

 

Thanks to the national Church Commissioners award through their Strategic Development Fund, the six Resourcing Churches/Teams will be:
• The Cornerstone Team (Thurnby, Houghton and Stoughton)
• Holy Trinity, Leicester
• The Harborough Anglican Team
• Emmanuel, Loughborough (working in partnership with The Good Shepherd Church)
• St John’s, Clarendon Park
• St John’s, Hinckley

 

The Resourcing Churches will join a six-year diocesan community of practice to learn from each other and share such learning with the wider Diocese. They will receive a range of additional resources such as an associate vicar, second ‘church planting’ curate and mission apprentices, but the focus is not on what they get but their vision to give.

 

Bishop Martyn said: “We are delighted that the Church Commissioners are supporting us in responding to God’s call to develop more Resourcing Churches specific to the context of Leicestershire.  Through them we hope to bless our communities and see God’s Kingdom grow, especially in better serving and reaching the 93% of people who are not currently part of any Christian community.
“It is expected that, in every sense, Resourcing Churches will ‘give away’ far more than they ‘receive’ for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Resourcing Churches will embody the values of generosity, partnership, audacity and humility,” said Bishop Martyn.

Bishop Martyn said: “We hope and pray that God will grow Resourcing Churches and it is anticipated that such growth will come from the revitalisation of existing congregations alongside the development of new congregations to connect with specific neighbours, networks or needs. The exact response will vary from place to place and must be in God’s timing, but, on average, it is anticipated that a new congregation or larger fresh expression of Church would start every 18 to 24 months and that planting or transplanting to support the development of a nearby existing church every four years (normally led by a Curate/ who has served for the past years in the host Resourcing Church). As other Resourcing Churches can testify, such ‘giving away’ is often very painful and hard and is always sacrificial, as key leaders, their gifts and giving, all leave for another church.”

Leicestershire’s Resourcing Churches will not primarily be about taking services for other churches, nor about changing the tradition of existing churches but often plunging more deeply into the existing church spiritualties and traditions, thus ensuring the flourishing of different church traditions across the Diocese.

Revd Barry Hill is Team Rector for the Harborough Team and Diocesan Resource Church Enabler, who helped lead the bid to the Church Commissioners. Barry said: “More growing churches blessing their communities, sharing stories of God’s grace and growing in confidence witnessing to our faith is good news for the whole Diocese.

“We are already seeing Resourcing Churches cultivating many vocations to every kind of ministry, including ordination.  New clergy will not stay where they are but will lead all kinds of churches in all kinds of places in years to come.  I am excited to see what God will do amongst us as we respond to His call.”

Bishop Martyn said: “Archbishop William Temple once famously said that the Church of England is the only organisation that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.  Every parish church, fresh expression of church, school, chaplaincy and our Cathedral are called to embody that.  In that sense all churches are called to be a church that resources, serves and blesses others and so will continue to receive full support from our diocesan central services. These changes will not in any way affect that support and care.”

 


First published on: 1st August 2019

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