The cash will go towards both existing work and fresh initiatives, and support long-term commitments to local people. Plans include outreach work in the town centre, a reinvigoration of work with children and families, and a focus on communities on local housing estates.
The parish of Ingrow – focused around St John’s Church – is being revitalised following the new appointment of Interim Priest-in-Charge the Rev Tracey Raistrick.
The money is part of £1.03 million from the Church Commissioners’ Strategic Development Fund that will be shared between Keighley and four other ‘resourcing churches’ in Bradford following a successful bid by the Anglican Diocese of Leeds.
Each church is expected to have an impact beyond their parish boundaries, sharing expertise and resources, and sending people as part of church ‘planting and revitalisation’ teams.
The project involves recruiting three groups of ‘Mission Apprentices’ - two-year part-time roles – to increase work in evangelism, discipleship and leadership development.
They will be involved with social action projects such as lunch clubs and parent and toddler groups, alongside taking part in training and development.
The project will expand such work in Keighley, with plans to ‘plant’ new communities of worshippers on the town’s outer estates. There could also be a coffee shop with a basement prayer space, described as a venue for positive engagement.
Rev Mike Cansdale, Team Rector for Keighley, said: “Keighley faces many challenges but this investment will help us to make more of a difference in those parts of the town that need it most.
“The uniting of the four parishes of Keighley since 2016 has been a mammoth task, but a huge blessing as we’ve discovered the opportunities for working together and sharing our resources for the good of the town.
“This funding will enable us to continue to build on the foundations laid, to seek God’s Kingdom for this place and reach out with the love of Jesus.”
Archdeacon of Bradford, the Ven Andy Jolley, highlighted a focus on estate communities in Keighley that have had no church presence for decades.
He added “We are praying for God to send the right people to us as Mission Apprentices that we might be good news in these parts of Keighley.