Grants to support emerging mission projects have been awarded to parishes by the Diocese of Leeds.
The Emergence Mission Grants scheme was launched in June to support churches as they return to their buildings following the strictest lockdown measures and to facilitate initiatives that allow church mission to flourish in the current context or to revive work that may have stalled.
Funding for over forty church projects has already been provided by the scheme and the lines remain open for others wishing to submit an application.
Becky Nicholson, Lead Stewardship officer for the diocese, said, “The response from parishes to the launch of the Mission Fund has been outstanding, demonstrating a need and desire to engage congregations in new and revived mission activities.”
Geoff Park, Chief Financial Officer for the diocese, said, “Prior to Covid-19 the Board had designated some funds to launch a Parish Mission Fund, so I am delighted that despite all that has happened in recent months we have still be able to utilise some of this money to support parishes as they seek engage and serve their communities.”
Much of the awarded funds will enable churches to buy equipment such as laptops, microphones and cameras in order to live-stream or record services for congregations to watch at home. This is as a result of many applicants reporting the great success of online services. Compared to usual physical gatherings, our churches are experiencing a growing number of people interacting with them on digital platforms. Online broadcasting has proved an accessible format and parishes wish to continue to serve their communities needs in the best ways possible.
One application stated, “Our live streams have been reaching around 300 people a week - a tenfold increase on ‘in the room’ services.”
The Emergence Mission Grants have also provided some churches, who frequently handle cash, with the means to purchase contactless payment devices to safely take offerings from their parishioners and visitors at new events designed to bring people together in church once more.
Other applications were submitted to provide shelter and equipment for safe outdoor group activities. Gazebos, mats, tables and craft equipment have been paid for to bring families, young people and social groups together in the fresh air and sunshine, when meeting in confined spaces has not been possible.
Applications for the next funding round of grants closes on 31st August. If your church wishes to apply please complete a form that can be found here.
On Thursday, September 10 the next of our 'emergence surgeries' will be taking place, offering a forum for parishes to discuss and share experiences around the challenges of emergence. For more information please send an email to covid-19help [at] leeds.anglican.org.