The Diocese of Bristol has been successful in its application to the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund for £950,000 in support of its Mission Areas programme.
The Mission Areas proposal, which was consulted on widely in 2015, brings together parishes committed to a coordinated approach to mission across a wider geographical area; to focusing, sharing and multiplying mission resources and practice; and to providing a context in which new leaders and ministers can explore vocation and develop in a mission focused setting.
Establishing Mission Areas in areas of mission need and opportunity is a key initiative in the Diocese’s strategic plan. The Mission Area approach finds new ways to deepen and extend the diocesan priorities of making disciples, growing leaders and engaging younger generations in a variety of contexts.
The proposal to establish three Mission Areas in different contexts – the suburban and outer estates of north-west Bristol; the growing town of Yate; and the rural area in north Wiltshire – will enable the Diocese and national Church to learn how to spread this approach.
We have identified in each Mission Area a parish that has been fruitful in making disciples, growing leaders and engaging younger generations, that has the right kind of leadership and a wider vision for their area to become a church that resources the wider area.
Monitoring, learning and evaluation will play a significant part in ensuring we work towards the outcomes of significant spiritual, numerical and financial growth; a major addition to our growth in new leaders and capacity to train them; a body of learning about mission practice that can be reproduced in other contexts.
Strategic Development Funding is a new stream of funding that aims to support major change projects which fit with dioceses’ strategic plans and which will lead to a significant difference to their mission and financial strength. Having been awarded the funding which will be drawn down over a number of years, we will be recruiting a range of posts and increasing the number of curates being trained in line with our diocesan plans.