“However, responding to the £100 million fund, Rev Marcus Walker, founder of the Save The Parish (STP) campaign group, said: “Suddenly, the Church has money. After decades of telling us that there is no money to fund the churches and priests who keep the Church alive on the front line, suddenly they’ve found £100 million behind the back of the sofa.

“Only last year they told us they couldn’t afford to fund the £12 million which would have cleared all the deficits run up by churches which were caused by Covid, or the £24 million which would clear the deficits in dioceses – the main driver of church closures and clergy sackings.

“How can the Church have the brass neck ever to ask for another penny from its parishes again?””

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