To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, if he will make a statement on what steps the Church of England is taking to support the diocese of (a) Hereford and (b) Lichfield; and what plans the Church of England has to support dioceses with large rural parishes.
Diocesan resourcing of mission and ministry is supported by congregational giving, historic investments and other income. Additional support is provided from national funds generated by the investments of the Church Commissioners and distributed by the Archbishops' Council.
The Diocese of Hereford has received:
The Diocese of Lichfield has received:
Through the Government's Culture Recovery Fund, parishes and cathedrals of the two dioceses have also received:
Rural parishes make up around 60% of the Church of England's footprint with approximately 10,000 buildings. These parishes serve about 17% of the population, with 91% of rural churches being listed. These rural churches are an important community asset as they are often the only public building left in their community and serve multiple purposes in addition to being a place of worship.
The Association of Festival Churches (The Association of Festival Churches) was recently formed with the express purpose of supporting mostly rural churches to expand community use of their church buildings, working with pre-existing specialist resources such as the Arthur Rank Centre to provide targeted guidance and advice for rural churches.