Diocese of Manchester

    Growing small churches

    Bishop David has launched the Antioch Network which aims to bring more people to faith by creating small worshipping communities.

    The Antioch Network is headed by The Revd John Brett, who served as a curate at Trinity Community Church, Rusholme, and The Revd Ben Woodfield, pioneer curate at St Paul’s, Astley Bridge. Each has experience of creating new small church communities and will share their experience by training and mentoring others. 

    John and Ben were licensed as Ministers in the Antioch Network, which will build on proven models of creating new worshipping communities in parts of the diocese over the last few years. In some exciting developments, small churches have been created where people have come to faith and been baptised, lives have been changed, and the local community has been blessed.

    The Antioch Network aims to create 16 small churches (people not buildings) over six years in the poorest areas and those that currently have the lowest church attendance. The churches will typically be on estates and in communities of deprivation, some ethnically diverse and others mainly White British.

    The Antioch Network was set up by establishing a Bishop’s Mission Order across the whole diocese.

    The Bishop of Bolton, Mark Ashcroft, who is overseeing the setup of the Antioch Network, said: “I am delighted that the very first Bishop’s Mission Order in the diocese is focused on reaching the very poorest communities with the Good News of Jesus. It will sit alongside and complement the wonderful work going on in our parishes. I believe we are seeing a move of God’s Spirit that will revitalise our Church and communities.”

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