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Parish Ministry

Volume 712: debated on Thursday 28 April 2022

1. To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to strengthen its parish ministry. (906628)

The Church of England is distributing £160 million between 2020 and 2022 through our lowest income communities fund and our strategic development funding. That funding sustains the Church’s ministry in many low-income communities and that footprint, across the whole country, is incredibly precious to us and we do not want to lose it.

The Church plays a key part in many communities in Aberconwy, never more so than during the pandemic. The Church in Wales is encouraging its lay members to use their skills, time and resources to serve their communities. Will my hon. Friend give an assurance that lay workers will benefit from the levelling-up fund to aid that ministry of service to their communities?

I know that my hon. Friend and many of his constituents hugely appreciate the key role that the Church plays in communities across Aberconwy. My colleagues in the Church of England are always glad for opportunities to exchange ideas for and experiences of strengthening parish ministry with the Church in Wales, with which we have a very warm relationship.

Will the hon. Gentleman give some attention to what the Church of England is doing to stimulate the ministry up and down the country by giving far more incentives to get involved in sustainability issues and green issues? At the church at which I worship, it is a breath of fresh air that gives focus to the community. Can we have more of it encouraged in the Church?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. He will know that many churches are now eco-churches and there is a methodology to ensure that they are doing it properly. I can also tell him that the Church Commissioners have embarked on a major regenerative agriculture programme. He is absolutely right that we need to talk more about the subject to encourage young people in particular into the Church.