Grants awarded to parishes by the Diocese of Leeds in 2020, are already helping emerging mission projects to take place.
The Emergence Mission Grants scheme was launched back in June to facilitate initiatives that allow church mission to flourish in the current context or to revive work that may have stalled.
As a result, nearly £80,000 was awarded, contributing to over a hundred church projects across the diocese.
It included building works to create an important one way system at Christ Church, Sowerby Bridge (pictured). This ensured the church building was Covid-19 secure, allowing visitors to attend worship services without the risk of coming into close contact with other households.
At the start of 2020, St Mary’s Kippax also planned to launch a new initiative called ‘God’s Little Acre’, providing outdoor activities for children that encourage them to interact with creation and the environment (pictured below and taken in a Covid secure way).
The project was delayed because of the pandemic but was eventually launched later in the year, with funding from the diocese helping to provide high visibility vests, gloves, and Safety Specs.
Christine Bottomley, who runs the group alongside her husband, said, “The projects are endless, and the Children love it out in the fresh air. Friendships have been made and they cannot wait for the next session.”
Emergence Mission Grants have also provided to funds for many churches to live streaming and video recording equipment. One of those was St Hilda's Cross Green. Since March 2020 they have live streamed all of their services. It has been a vital link to the parish and collective worship has been live streamed to our school too.
For the first few months it was all done with the use of a phone. However, with the help of an Emergence Grant St Hilda’s could purchase a video camera, tripod, laptop and some cables. This enhanced their live streaming, offering a more reliable method of proclaiming the gospel in one of the most deprived communities of Leeds.
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.”