Thousands of students in Leeds and Huddersfield who have never been to church will encounter the Christian faith, thanks to a £1.5 million Church of England grant it was announced today.
The funding will be shared between projects to engage with young adults at two of our churches and the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds welcomed this fresh investment in mission:
“This is a wonderful opportunity to do new work and we are grateful for the generosity of the church that makes it possible,” he said.
Church@HydeParkCorner, run from St Augustine’s Church in the heart of the Leeds student area will host a new Sunday afternoon service and expand its reach through social media, activities and events aimed at young people at the city’s universities.
The project is supported by St George’s Church, Leeds, and its Rector Lizzy Woolf said: “We are very excited to be working with students in creative and innovative ways, as we plant a new student congregation in Leeds.”
In Huddersfield, ‘Holy Trinity at 6’ will be formed on Sunday evenings at the town’s Holy Trinity Church, and will build on its existing links with Huddersfield University.
Revd Mike Wilkins, vicar at Holy Trinity said: “We’re thrilled at the opportunity this funding gives us to make new connections with the thousands of students and young adults here in Huddersfield and to invite them to explore the Christian faith and church in ways relevant to them.
“We can’t wait to get started.”
The Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, Area Bishop of Huddersfield added: “We are very excited by the opportunities this generous funding will open up to help us to reach a new generation of young people across our region.”
Leeds Diocesan Secretary Jonathan Wood said: “We’re delighted with the faith that the Church Commissioners have shown in these exciting projects and are very grateful for their support.”
Grants worth £9 million in total will be shared amongst other Church of England parishes across the country as part of the Church of England’s programme of Renewal and Reform.
The Church of England’s National Youth Evangelism Officer, Jimmy Dale, welcomed the Strategic Development Fund investment in work with students and young people.
He said: “It is so exciting to see the church engaging with students and young people in a way that historically, we have often fallen short. Young people – the ‘Generation Z’ of 11 to 25 year olds - have faced enormous challenges as a result of the pandemic, not just socially and financially but educationally and with regards to mental health. The message of the good news of Jesus Christ offers this generation a real beacon of hope.”