£1 million cash injection announced to boost Christian mission in the region

12th August 2014

The future of Christian mission in South Yorkshire and East Riding is set to receive a major boost after securing a £1 million grant.

The Diocese of Sheffield has received the grant from the Church Commissioners and Archbishop’s Council’s ‘Strategic Development Fund’ in order to make a significant difference to its long-term mission and financial strength.

The funding will be used to provide between 12 and 15 Mission Partnership Development Workers (MPDWs), each of whom will provide administrative and missional support to around four parishes.  These will primarily be in more deprived areas, the project will directly benefit between 50-60 parishes, up to one third of the diocese.

This support will sit alongside a complementary package of coaching provision for the clergy. The aim is to free up clergy time to enable them to focus more on mission.

The MPDWs will:
contribute to the numerical growth of the parish churches and fresh expressions of church in each mission partnership through releasing the energy of the clergy for mission, through e.g. excellent administration and communication;
develop the gifts of lay volunteers across the Mission Partnership in setting up and establishing sustainable mission projects;
develop the financial strength of the Mission partnerships through a focus on stewardship and communication.

An overall Project Manager will also be appointed as part of the initiative to oversee and deliver the project and provide support for the Development Workers.

The first MPDWs will be appointed by March 2015 with further appointments in September 2015 and March 2016 thereafter.

The overall cost of the project is £1.4 million, with the Diocese contributing to the funding from its strategic reserves.

It is hoped that each MPDW post will be sustainable from parish or other grant income at the end of the six year period.  Other parishes may be encouraged to join the project and fund costs of more MPDW’s from grants or other income.

Malcolm Fair, Diocesan Secretary, said “We are extremely grateful for the support offered by the Church Commissioners for this exciting initiative to support Mission Partnerships across the Diocese.   It will really help the capacity of our parishes to further develop mission.”

Strategic Development funding has also been awarded to four other diocese’ for specific growth and change projects.  These are Birmingham, Chelmsford, Leicester and Liverpool. The funding is being awarded in tranches; applications are sought from dioceses for two further tranches of funding, each of around £7m, to be awarded in 2015 and 2016.

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