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Major funding for fresh engagement with people of every ethnic background

First published on: 20th May 2024

In its 10th anniversary year, the Diocese of Leeds has received forward-looking funding to boost its work with the region’s richly diverse communities during the next decade and beyond. 

A grant of £734k has been awarded by the Church of England’s Racial Justice Triennium Fund to further develop our engagement with people of every ethnic background and in every social context.

This funding will support churches and schools in urban, rural and post-industrial areas in their positive responses to the challenge to achieve racial justice for all, as laid out in From Lament to Action, the ground-breaking report by the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Task Force which identified Participation, Education, Training and Mentoring, Young People, Structures and Governance as priority areas. 

There are three paths to progress this important project locally and to benefit neighbouring dioceses in the Northern Province and the Church of England as a whole:  
Advancing Ministry includes initiatives for nurturing Global Majority Heritage vocations to lay and ordained ministry, widening participation and developing intercultural ministry and mission. It also means expanding the diocesan Mission Apprentice Scheme.  
Advancing Learning involves establishing and delivering courses for churches; producing resources for schools and churches (eg for St George’s Day); and research partnerships (eg exploring connections between Islamophobia, antisemitism and deepening understanding of newcomers to the Diocese, such as people recently arrived from Hong Kong).​​​​​​​
Advancing Engagement means helping our churches and schools engage more effectively with their localities and build on the experience of diocesan partner organisations. It includes creating safe spaces for members of diverse communities to share experiences (particularly young people), diversifying school leadership and governing boards and imaginative community-focussed projects.

These three work streams will benefit from a variety of wider partnerships (eg interfaith, ecumenical and educational). They will be supported by a diocesan racial justice reference group.​​​​​​​

The Rt Revd Smitha Prasadam, Bishop of Huddersfield and diocesan lead bishop for racial justice (pictured above) said: “This timely gift enables us to build on the good work and good will so evident in our churches, schools and communities.  

“As we celebrate the transforming power of God on the anvil of our lives, Pentecost reminds us how barriers of language, class and status are broken down to make way for mutual understanding, healing and peace. We seize the day and hasten God’s kingdom.”

The Rt Revd Arun Arora, Bishop of Kirkstall is pictured with the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York at a recent visit to meet pupils at Bishop Young Academy, Leeds.

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