Parish Ministry

Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons am ar 16 Tachwedd 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Nicholas Fletcher Nicholas Fletcher Ceidwadwyr, Don Valley

What steps the Church of England is taking to support its parish ministry.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

Parish ministry is at the very heart of the Church’s mission. The Church Commissioners are distributing £1.2 billion between 2023 and 2025 to support our mission and ministry. This is a 30% increase on the previous three-year period, and a significant share of that funding will be distributed through dioceses to strengthen our parishes.

Photo of Nicholas Fletcher Nicholas Fletcher Ceidwadwyr, Don Valley

What can the Church hierarchy do to remove administrative burdens from the clergy, so they can spend more time in their community spreading the best message ever told: the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I think we all recognise that, in any position of public responsibility, there comes a need for some administrative work, but I very much agree with my hon. Friend that we should be freeing up our clergy and parish staff as much as possible to interact with their parishioners and to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. As someone said, the gospel is good news only if it is not too late. I also note the tremendous work being done in his community by St John the Evangelist in Balby and, indeed, by many other churches in his local area.

Photo of Martin Vickers Martin Vickers Ceidwadwyr, Cleethorpes

Last Saturday I was privileged to attend the enthronement of the new Bishop of Lincoln, at which there was a vast array of clergy in all their finery. It was a very grand occasion. Lincoln is a predominantly rural diocese and many of the clergy serve five, six or more parishes. Can my hon. Friend reassure me that the Church will focus on providing more clergy to rural areas?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I am delighted that my hon. Friend was able to attend the consecration of the new Bishop of Lincoln. Consecrations are, indeed, very splendid affairs.

My hon. Friend is completely right that the beating heart of the Church of England is what goes on in the parishes. Rural areas really matter, as does every part of the country. I assure him that we will not forget rural areas, and I recognise the problems of large benefices.

Photo of Selaine Saxby Selaine Saxby Ceidwadwyr, North Devon

We also have rural churches in North Devon, and St Augustine’s church in Heanton Punchardon is without a rector. Will my hon. Friend join me in recognising and congratulating Sharon Newcombe of Pilton on the service she has provided to that church, where she has sung in the choir for over 51 years?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I am sure the whole House will join me in thanking Sharon Newcombe for her fantastic service to her local church and local community. Fifty-one years’ service to her local church is extremely impressive, and we are very grateful to her. I recognise that leading laypeople keep many of our churches going through these difficult times, and I thank her very much for what she does.