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Our Diocesan Vision and Priorities are about how we live our life together for the flourishing of every person in every place and how the local church can flourish and grow. In October 2022, Diocesan Synod approved eight exciting projects designed to support this vision. Since then work has been underway to develop the projects and to secure funds to deliver them. I am really pleased to say that we have recently been successful in securing funding that will enable us to resource the next steps of our journey in some of these project areas.

Firstly, in mission and ministry, the Church Commissioners have granted £528k over three years for a team, led by a new Director of Mission and Ministry, to develop a mission growth plan for our Diocese and engage with parishes to explore and spark more local mission activity. We expect that significant further funding for investment in locally led and delivered parish mission and ministry can be released through this approach over the coming years.

Our Diocese supports the Church of England’s commitment to Net Zero Carbon by 2030 and we have lots of people who are passionate about the fifth Mark of Mission. We were excited to be able to lead a regional collaboration with four dioceses that have secured £655k from the Church Commissioners for the East of England to each employ a new Net Zero Carbon Officer and a shared Regional Learning Coordinator. This Officer will support the work of our churches, schools, parsonages, and offices. They will also work closely with a new Diocesan Environment Officer, funded by the Anne French Memorial Trust, who will be working alongside local parishes to assist with their environmental improvements.

We have heard from local parishes that support with their church buildings is vital, and I am pleased to say that we have received continuation funding for 50% of the cost of the Historic Churches Building Support Officer until 2027 from Historic England and £99k from the Church Commissioners to pay for a new Church Buildings Support Officer to work with parishes offering advice, guidance, funding support and organising training courses. This role will also administer a new Minor Repairs and Improvements Fund, also from the Church Commissioners, for local churches that we will be rolling out over the coming months.

As these new roles, and like-for-like replacement roles, are advertised in the Autumn, please do share them with talented people you know so we can get great people who will make a real difference to those working in local parishes.

These new externally funded roles to be advertised help us as we renew our focus on customer service so that those in parishes will, more and more, feel the benefit of a responsive and accessible Parish Support Team. This will help us better deliver our core purpose, and passion, as a charity, which is to serve local parishes as they enable people to discover a life Transformed by Christ.