Ambitious projects to grow new Christians across Wales are the focus of a major new £10m fund being launched this weekend.
The Church in Wales is launching its first ever Evangelism Fund to engage Welsh society with the claims of the Christian faith in vibrant and exciting ways.
Grants of between £250,000 and £3m will be available for diocesan projects which crucially, will focus on people rather than buildings. The fund will be managed by a committee with expertise in church growth and business ventures. All the bids submitted will be professionally put together and will include the cost of employing a project manager.
The Evangelism Fund is being launched on Pentecost Sunday – May 20 – the day traditionally regarded as the Church’s birthday when Christians focus sharing their faith and growth.
The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, says, “We are putting our money where our mouth is. We have long talked about growing the church and now we want to invest in projects across the country to enable that to happen. It is a radical answer to the decline we are experiencing in many places, and £10m is a transforming amount. I am looking forward to seeing some really creative and inspiring projects that will breathe new life into some of our churches and into our mission in Wales.”
The Bishop of Bangor, Andy John, is the lead bishop on evangelism and a member of the Fund’s committee. He says, “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for the whole church and will enable us to think big and change our culture. For too long, churches have been hampered in their outreach because the money simply hasn’t been there or it has all gone into propping up buildings. This is now our chance to act on imaginative ideas for growth, centred around people, not property.”
The money for the fund is being released from Church’s investments which are overseen by its Representative Body. James Turner, chair of the Representative Body said, “This is about investing in the future of the Church. The Bishops have made evangelism and church growth their very clear priority and we are delighted to be able to respond to that by creating this substantial fund.”
The committee overseeing the Fund is chaired by Jane Heard, an accountant and member of the Representative Body. She says, “We are keen to give grants to effective, well-constructed projects and to ensure the Church’s money is well spent. We will be looking for ideas, for example, that create growth among people in age groups under-represented in our churches, create new forms of ‘church’ to appeal to people not currently going, and projects which lead to changes in culture or provide teaching and learning in faith all over Wales.”
Further details of the Evangelism Fund, including how dioceses can bid, will be distributed over the coming months.