Creative ministry and outreach across the Diocese to receive boost from a grant

Sports ministry to prevent knife crime, outreach to estates and creative worship to families are among just some of the projects to receive a share of a £1.39million grant to the Diocese of Rochester from the National Church.

The projects are part of a bid made to the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund, part of the Church's Renewal and Reform programme.

The fund supports work to ensure the Church of England once more becomes a growing church for all people and in all places.

Bishop Simon Burton Jones, who will lead the delivery of this successful bid said:

“We are delighted to receive this funding which goes to the heart of the work we are already undertaking to grow disciples, enrich communities and resource our mission and ministry across the area of the Diocese.

"We believe these innovative projects will revitalise mission and ministry not just in these locations, but elsewhere too, as we share their learning in order to help us turn all our churches into places of growth and flourishing.

He continued:

"We are eager to fulfil the commission to go and make disciples in the places God has entrusted to us; to bring people into a living faith with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It calls for ingenuity to do this well and there are real signs of creativity at work across the Diocese.

"Some of our biggest challenges are in the most materially deprived areas where austerity has cut deep, social mobility ceases and life expectancy reversed. We aim to grow the church in these and other places, by making disciples and enriching the common good through Christ-like service in the wider community. This is the essence of our Called Together vision."

Church projects in Anerley, Slade Green and Erith, Gillingham and Strood are to receive particular support, while a Learning Community will be established so that best practice from these projects can be shared across the parishes of the Diocese.

In addition, plans already underway in the Diocese around Called to Grow plans and the recruitment of Growth Enablers to work in each archdeaconry, will ensure the benefits of this funding will reach far and wide.

  • In Anerley, a church-run boxing club will receive support to develop its work preventing young people turning to knife crime. Run by a professional England boxing coach, Kings Boxing works with 13 to 19-year olds, to give them an alternative to being on the streets. At the same time, ex-offender volunteers share with them how their Christian faith has saved them from knife crime.

Additionally, the Freedom Forum is a Christian outreach ministry which holds a weekly evangelistic Bible study for ex-offenders, as well as the Kings Car Wash which aims to help get ex-offenders back into work habits

  • Projects in Erith and Slade Green will also receive grants to build their work with children and families, including a Toddler Church, holiday clubs and music-based activities.

Rev Jim Bennet (Slade Green) and Mother Monica Cameron (Christ Church, Erith) said: "We are both delighted that our parishes have been awarded this funding. Our projects will enable our churches to engage more fully with our wider communities."​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • In Gillingham the funding will help build and pioneer new and exciting expressions of God’s Kingdom, including a new Gospel congregation. There will also be work in and with local schools to offer a family focused new worshipping community.

Rev Saju Muthalaly (St. Mark's, Gillingham) said: "After prayerfully and faithfully submitting our proposals, we cannot wait to use this crucial funding to reach new disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

  • In Strood, initiatives will build on the church’s successful community presence and hospitality work and support them to go out into the three local housing estates to ‘reach people where they are’ and remove barriers to entering church for local people.

The church will work with a local school to begin a Messy Church style worshipping community, which involves crafts, Christian storytelling and food

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