Church of England gives £5.6 million boost to ‘evangelise’ South Yorkshire

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South Yorkshire Christians are set to get a £5.56 million boost over the next six years to help ‘evangelise and transform society’.

The money will be invested in churches that fall under the diocese of Sheffield, areas that the Bishop oversees.

Alex Shilkoff, programme manager, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to re-imagine and create styles of church that reach all people in our communities throughout the week.  Church doesn’t just have to just be on Sunday or only in a Church building.”

Specifically, the money will be used to create 12 designated ‘resource’ churches, which focus on using money and people to help for the community, by 2025.

Around £3.5 million is being given to churches in Rotherham, Goole and Dearne Valley in the first phase, with plans to invest in West Sheffield at a later date.

Some of the ways the funding will be used includes: attracting a clergy and youth workers, appointing building managers to best utilise existing churches for spreading Christianity and appointing fundraising advisers to support churches with grants and giving.

With this, the goals are to create 23 new congregations, engage 1,000 more adults and 1,000 young people and have a building management plan for each church.

The money comes from the Strategic Development Fund which is awarded by the Church of England’s commissioners to support change projects.

The Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox said: "We are immensely grateful to the Strategic Investment Board for this grant award, but all the more to the Living God for this opportunity to invest in fresh and imaginative ways in the service of Christ Jesus and in the power of the Spirit.  

“The choice of Rotherham, Goole and Wath demonstrates our commitment to secure our witness to the Gospel across the length and breadth of our diocese.  Given the present political and economic situation, our contribution to the life of local communities throughout South Yorkshire and the East Riding is likely to be all the more necessary and valuable in the next five years.”