Diocese of Manchester

    Manchester awarded £2.1 million for church growth projects

    Manchester Diocese awarded £2 million from Church Commissioners to accelerate the growth of a younger and more diverse church, especially in areas of deprivation.

    The Diocese of Manchester has learnt today that it has been successful in its bid for £2.1 million from the Church Commissioners’ Strategic Development Fund to develop projects that will help grow a younger and more diverse church, particularly in areas of high deprivation.

    The money will enable the Church of England across Greater Manchester and Rossendale to invest in two broad areas of work:

    Small church plants 

    Building on proven models of church planting that have been successful in other parts of the diocese, we aim to plant 16 small churches over six years in the poorest areas and those that currently have the lowest church attendance. The church plants will be on estates and in communities of deprivation, some ethnically diverse and others mainly White British. The church plant project will also create a network of church planters who will share their experience by training and mentoring others. 

    Oldhams Church

    Oldhams Church is a small church plant from St Pauls’ Church, Astley Bridge set up by Pioneer Curate, The Revd Ben Woodfield, in 2016 to serve the people living on the Oldhams Estate in Bolton.

    Oldhams Church

    Trinity Community Church Rusholme

    Trinity Community Church in Rusholme is a church plant that offers informal worship, foreign language bible studies, friendship and support.

    Rich in diversity

    Work with children, families and schools

    A range of projects will engage with children, their families and schools in the Bolton area, particularly when children reach the key points of moving into primary education or from primary to secondary education. It will focus on building strong links between the home, church and school to create discipleship pathways from toddler group to secondary school and beyond.

    Church-based toddler group

    A mid-week meeting of Pre-School Praise at St Mary’s Prestwich has attracted young families and enriched Sunday worship

    Pre-school Praise

    The Bishop Bridgeman CE primary school is a stunning exemplar of how a CE primary school, in a missional manner, can develop the discipleship pathway of its pupils, even if that discipleship pathway includes children of other faiths. The Ethos leaders (pupils) of Bishop Bridgeman School help embed Christian values into everyday school life. Each half-term they meet to plan and deliver whole school worship based on one of the values. The group has written and published two books of prayer and reflection ideas, it hosts and leads an annual conference for staff and pupils from other schools to share their ideas and encourage the development of other ethos groups and, on a monthly basis, it plans and delivers a pop up prayer space which begins in church and then moves into school. Members of the group say its impact has been to help people of other faiths become friends and that ‘faith is the glue that sticks us together’.

    The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “I'm delighted that the Diocese of Manchester has been supported with this award of over £2 million. It will enable them build on their proven success of growing small churches in the most needy areas, as well as engaging more deeply with children and families involved in Church of England Schools and pre-school groups.”

    The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, said: “Jesus came to bring Good News to the poor and this grant will enable us to grow small churches in our most deprived areas that enrich people’s lives through new-found faith and the fellowship of others in their community.It will also enable us to develop our work with children and families in our Church Schools and local pre-school groups in the Bolton area, helping more young people to retain their Christian faith and identity.”

    The vision of the Diocese of Manchester is to be a worshipping, growing and transforming Christian presence at the heart of every community. Key to this is growing new disciples in church communities that are younger, more diverse, active and spiritually engaged.

    The investment of £2 million by the Strategic Development Fund will enable the diocese to target additional resources and build on projects that have already been shown to be successful in bringing more young people to faith. Alongside these projects we will continue to invest in sustaining our parishes, chaplaincies and congregations. 

The Church of England Diocese of Manchester,
Church House,
90 Deansgate,
Manchester M3 2GH

Manchester DBF Company number 149999, Charity number 249424
Telephone: 0161 828 1400