CAPTION: Mission communities can apply for grants of up to £20,000 for projects specifically aimed at reaching children, young people and families

Diocese Offering £200,000 to Match-Fund Mission Projects

Posted: 12th March, 2020

In April the Diocese of Exeter is launching a new Mission and Growth Fund. This will be open to Mission Communities for projects specifically aimed at reaching children, young people and families.

A pot of £200,000 has been made available and Mission Communities will be able to apply for grants of up to £20,000 for a project. Each proposal will need to demonstrate how it will meet the Diocesan Vision of ‘Making New Disciples’ in the Children, Young People and Families demographic. Grants will be match-funded by the diocese so the Mission Community will have to fund half the project.

Data from the latest Statistics for Mission revealed that only 8% of the congregations in the Diocese of Exeter were under the age of 16.

Clare Cooke, our Mission Adviser for 0-5yrs, said “Faith is very much alive, but traditional church services are not meeting the needs of the majority of our families with young children. I really believe that it is time to get creative – we need to find ways to meet people where they are on their faith journey in a modern way.

“I would like to see innovative projects which serve people with joy – projects which are doing things a bit differently to how we have before.  It is through this sort of work we can see a real growth in the church.”

The diocese hopes this will act as a springboard for churches, and will give crucial momentum to exciting projects across Devon.

The funding will be made available over a two year period. There will be four application windows when churches can submit their applications. The first window opens on 1 April and closes on 30 May.

The diocese launched a similar fund in 2016 which resulted in a number of successful projects. Rev’d Leon Sim, Vicar of St. Paul’s Church, Stonehouse, said:

“A grant from the Mission and Growth fund enabled St. Paul’s to employ a Ministry Intern (Oli) and a part-time Children’s Worker (Sarah).

“It’s wonderful to have a children’s worker who doesn’t just do the work herself, but has recruited a team to run Little Arrows, a midweek club which attracts children from local schools. Little Arrows has a focus on fun and discipleship and has been using the Lord’s prayer, the 10 Commandments and the Creed to help explain the Christian faith.

“Sarah’s role also includes preparing teaching materials and identifying and encouraging new Sunday school teachers. The result is that children are getting to know Jesus better and learning to take their place in church, worshipping and growing alongside adults in the Church family.”

St Pancras Church, Plymouth, were also successful in achieving a grant to employ a new Families Minister. Four years on and Mariska Minter, the Families Worker at the church, said:

“We have an active Sunday School group, “Energise” of children from 3 up through Primary School who meet weekly. We also have two busy toddler groups, we run a parenting Course “Kids Matter” for local families, and go into local Primary Schools and Secondary Academy for after school clubs, RE lessons and Assemblies.

“In the holidays we run weekly family events and in term time this family event is monthly – attracting around 15 to 20 families with newborns through teens to grandparents. We also arrange a food hamper collection for local families in food poverty.”

If you would like to learn more about how to apply for funding for your mission community click here.

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