The Diocese of Leeds is implementing an exciting initiative to see five new resource churches across the city. A plant to St Paul's Ireland Wood in Leeds gets this pivotal project under way.
In October 2017, the Bishop of Richmond, Rt Revd Paul Slater, launched a resource church strategy for Leeds. It has started by enabling the city centre resource church, St George’s Leeds, to send a new vicar and a team to St Paul’s Ireland Wood to start the first of five new resource churches. The diocese is working with four other churches to help them to grow and revitalise other parishes in the city, as well as planting new churches in places of need.
Here’s the full article by Chris Freeman below as reported on the Diocese of Leeds website on 28th November 2017:
An exciting initiative for church growth is part of a major funding bid to be considered by the Church Commissioners. The new Diocesan Strategy aims to create five Resource Churches across the Leeds Episcopal area and the first is already up and running.
Revd Mark Harlow has now moved to St Paul’s Ireland Wood, from his role as curate at St George’s, which was recently designated as a Resource Church. Resource Churches are backed by the Church Commissioners as part of the nationwide Renewal & Reform programme and they “intentionally resource mission across a city, by planting and revitalising churches, developing leaders and providing other resources for mission.”
Committed teamwork is key to success and 45 members of St George’s will go with Mark and his wife Kathryn (who will be Associate Priest) to swell the St Paul’s congregation, where Sunday attendance is currently some 25 worshippers. The plant to Ireland Wood is seen as a pilot for the Leeds Episcopal Area and the rest of the diocese.
Area Bishop for Leeds, Paul Slater chairs a working group to develop diocesan strategy and says this marks a “step change in terms of Anglican thinking”, as he explains: “Resource Churches are about leading into growth and developing a pipeline of leaders. The idea is to create a spiritual cascade, so St Paul’s Ireland Wood will eventually become a Resource Church itself and develop leaders who can help revitalise another church.”
Revd Mark Harlow made his move earlier this month and says, “I’m really excited and looking forward to loving and serving the areas around Ireland Wood and seeing a growing community shaped by Jesus.”
Rector of St George’s, the Revd Lizzy Woolf, who has considerable experience of church planting, says, “I am convinced that City Centre Resource Churches have a pivotal role to play in advancing the Kingdom of God in the UK and can help revitalize churches that are struggling, particularly in deprived areas.”
Archie Coates, who led a church plant from Holy Trinity Brompton to Brighton says, “Resource Churches raise the bar on the commitment of those left behind, encouraging them (and giving them more opportunity) to increase their involvement in church life. And it’s about planting strategically – not just kicking on open doors.” Archie Coates’ video on Resource Churches can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/228187925
Four other churches in the diocese, initially in the Leeds Episcopal Area, are currently being considered as Resource Churches.
The Resource Churches programme is also taking place in other dioceses and is supported by the Church Commissioners’ Strategic Development Funding as part of Renewal & Reform, the Church of England’s initiative to promote growth in the church in every community in England.
Taken from the article ‘New Resource Church for Diocese of Leeds Will Start a “Spiritual Cascade”‘ by Chris Freeman, Diocese of Leeds website on 28/11/2017.