Campaigners from Save the Parish (STP) have reacted to today’s announcement by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York of a new £1.2 billion, three-year fund to deliver grant money for “the revitalisation of parish and local ministry.”

During the press conference, the Archbishops addressed their own shortcomings, admitting that they had been neglectful of the plight of local and rural parishes and ministry.

Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said: “I don’t think we need to be embarrassed by saying we’ve learned, we’ve listened. We’ve changed our mind.”

It comes alongside significant and mounting pressure on parishes, with many reporting threats from their dioceses of mergers with other parishes, and cuts to paid clergy positions. Meanwhile, church numbers have declined in all but 3 of 42 dioceses.

Speaking to the Telegraph after the press conference, Save the Parish campaigner and team member Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent sounded a note of caution, saying “We welcome the recognition of the pleading from Save The Parish and similar organisations that are fighting against cuts in clergy and the formation of mega-parishes.

“It is very pleasing that rural and small parishes will be able to apply for the new funding, having been deliberately excluded from the previous three-year round.

“The proof of the pudding will be whether these new funds are genuinely accessible in a way that eases the huge burden of the parish share which is a struggle for so many parishes.”

Categories: Press Release

5 Comments

Emma Thompson · 20 May 2022 at 11:05 pm

Watching this interview with the Archbishop of York after the announcement, https://ucb.lightcast.com/player/31343/457499, there is very little mention of parishes. For example, he says “I am hopeful and confident that this money will enable every diocese, be it urban or rural diocese, to start thinking about for instance how it will engage more effectively with children and young people, and achieve its ambitions.” (So, this money is about young people and enabling the dioceses to achieve their ambitions? Nothing about parishes here, nor priests…)

Campbell Paget · 22 May 2022 at 8:12 pm

The more I talk to clergy and laity around the country the more I hear of their increasing mistrust of the Anglican hierarchy. It really is a most worrying state of affairs when the sheep cannot trust the shepherds to speak plainly, to act wisely and transparently, and to preserve the flock rather than their own positions and a crumbling political institution. In over 35 years of ministry I have not encountered such attitudes from the grass roots. Thank god for Her Majesty the Queen who sets such a wonderful and inspiring example as Head of the Church of England: it is to her that most people look now rather than to the bishops.

Raymond J Walker · 22 May 2022 at 9:46 pm

There is a misleading article in The English Churchman (20 May) “Church Commissioners Announce Grant of £1.2 billion to support Ministry”, which initially suggests that £1.2b is being made available to serve the parishes. What it does not say is that it is going to reduce the Parish Share of parishes, and a large amount of it could be soaked up in more ridiculous admin appointments.
+Cottrell still seems obsessed with his unworkable plan to have 10,000 church groups working in family homes rather than enhance the number of clerics by getting the surplus of bishops to work within parishes again.
To me this is typical of bureaucratic entities like the NHS where top level management feel they can talk a lot of hot air, discuss and make decisions in a vacuum without input from those at the chalk face. When will our Church learn?

Colin Snow · 23 May 2022 at 3:45 pm

I think in the same way as Emma Thompson and Cambell Paget. One has got to watch that any money forthcoming does not end at the Diocese office with more power building. At our last Synod meeting in April the question was asked when will the number of excess Bishops be reduced. The answer was that that a meeting was taking place that very month to address the subject. No news has yet filtered down to the rural Synod meetings.
We have just had a new Bishop of Bath and Wells appointed. There was a suffragan Bishop of Taunton filling the gap. One might ask do we need a Suffragan Bishop of Taunton to assist the new Bishop of Bath and Wells?

James Burnell Nugent · 24 May 2022 at 4:12 pm

The Bishop of Leicester has already given the game away – by making it clear in his diocese there will be no more money for small and rural parishes. In fact he is not even going to ask them to apply because he has already made his mind up that he (not parishes) will be applying for a grant for Intergenerational Communities, as encouraged by the Vision and Strategy strapline “a younger and more diverse church”. He stated this in answer to a question at his recent Diocesan Synod. So what of his parishes? He went on to say that ” … unless income from parish contributions rises … then we may yet have to make further cuts to our core budget.” As Canon Tiffer Robinson points out in his essay on this website – https://savetheparish.com/2022/04/26/saving-the-parish-is-possible-rev-canon-tiffer-robinson/ – you cannot cut clergy and increase giving at the same time.
So after less than a fortnight, the apparent generosity towards parishes paraded by the Archbishops is fast turning into an illusion.

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