Diocese of Leicester Awarded Strategic Capacity Funding

The Diocese of Leicester has been awarded £925,000 over the next three years of ‘Diocesan Investment Programme Funding for People Capacity’ by the Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Board, on behalf of the Archbishops’ Council. This funding will go towards the facilitation and development of Minster Communities across the diocese and, crucially, will enable the diocese to bid for further monies from the national church in the future. 

Strategic Capacity Funding was made available from the Archbishops’ Council for dioceses to address constraints in their ability to develop and implement strategies so they can then go on to apply for further grants from the Church Commissioners.  

Claire Bampton, Diocesan Programme Manager, said: “We are delighted that the national church are supporting the Shaped By God Together journey and development of Minster Communities. During the focus groups we held with church leaders earlier this year, we heard that people wanted us to ‘get on with’ forming Minster Communities and invite them into the facilitation process as soon as possible. This generous grant from the national church will allow us to do exactly that.” 

“This funding will enable us to do focused planning for how we will resource and equip parishes and worshipping communities across the diocese over the next five-to-ten years. It is also an essential first step towards accessing future national funding that can be directed more towards frontline ministry.” 

Thanks to this funding from the national church, we have been able to make several new appointments, which we are delighted to announce:

Revd Barry Hill will take up a new short-term role as Strategy Development Enabler from 1st October.  Barry will be further developing the diocese’s strategy to support and better resource the future mission and ministry of parish churches, fresh expressions and schools, with a continued focus on the Three Key Questions and five Diocesan Priorities.  Barry, who will be stepping down from his roles as Team Rector of Harborough and Resourcing Church Enabler, says: “Jesus shows us both that a clear strategy is critical and that people matter more than plans.  Strategy done well should be everything we do, not another thing to do. Having ministered in churches of the Diocese for almost two decades, I’m passionate about the importance of churches, schools, chaplaincies and diocesan staff seeing themselves, their passions and call in all we are and do together, as we seek to better serve with and reach the 1.1 million parishioners of the Diocese with the transformative love of God.”

Luke Fogg has been appointed to the part-time role of Strategy Development Project Manager & Data Analyst, working alongside Barry and Claire Bampton, Diocesan Programme Manager. He will remain in his current role as Project Manager for the Intercultural Worshipping Communities (IWCs) on a part-time basis.

We remain fully committed to our Resourcing Churches and IWCs, and arrangements will be put in place to ensure that they both have appropriate support and leadership as Luke and Barry step into new roles.

The new funding awarded by the national church has also enabled the appointment of Beth Cluer as Senior Parish Transition Officer and Facilitation Lead. Beth, who is currently working with churches already engaged in forming Minster Communities, will take on further responsibility for this, including leading a team of facilitators. Beth will also be taking particular responsibility for Communications related to Shaped By God Together and the formation of Minster Communities. In this new role she will be supported by Anna Bland, as Parish Transition Administrator

Following the resignation of the previous post-holder earlier in the year, we are also pleased to announce that Mariam Qassam will join the team as Shaped By God Together Programme Officer.


Where does the money come from? 

The money for Strategic Capacity Funding comes from the Church Commissioners, which are a separate charity within the Church of England. They manage an investment fund, and the profits from these investments go towards a number of uses including clergy pensions, supporting parishes in low-income areas, cathedrals, bishops’ offices and strategic mission projects. 

Why can’t this money go towards stipendiary ministry or to address our deficit? 

The Archbishops’ Council is responsible for deciding the principles for grant-funding from the Church Commissioners. Typically, these are used to support “major change projects which lead to a significant difference in dioceses’ mission and financial strength” and are only given to dioceses, where the projects fit their strategic plans and align with national priorities. Strategic Capacity Funding was made available to ensure dioceses have “the right combination and depth of skills, knowledge and experience to undertake forward planning, and to develop and implement robust strategies to advance the Church’s mission and growth” and was specifically “to fund short-term support through fixed-term posts, contract work or other forms of consultancy” to provide that expertise and experience. 

As the Diocese of Leicester, we therefore could not have made an application for funding towards stipendiary ministry because that was out of the scope of the fund. However, this funding does unlock the ability to apply for further national church grants which can be directed towards frontline mission and ministry in the future. 

Strategic Capacity Funding is only awarded where the Church Commissioners believe the diocese has a robust strategy for sustainability and is working with the national priorities for spending. So, the funding cannot go directly towards reducing our deficit which is structural in nature – i.e. we are spending more on ministry than we are receiving from parish contributions. However, as the Strategic Capacity Funding grant will enable us to develop Minster Communities across the Diocese (where one of the goals is sustainable, and financially self-sustaining, mission and ministry), it does help move towards closer alignment between our income and expenditure. Moreover, without this national church funding, the diocese would have to cover the costs of facilitating the formation of Minster Communities. 

First published on: 7th July 2023
Powered by Church Edit