The Isle of Wight is to benefit from £1.5 million in Church of England funds.
The church hopes to invest £1.5m over the next five years into the Church of England’s ministry in Newport.
This will increase the number of staff from the current 2.8 posts (full-time equivalent) to five posts, with a mix of clergy and non-clergy.
They also plan to merge the four existing parishes in Newport to become one parish of Newport (with the rural part of the parish of Carisbrooke merged with Arreton and Gatcombe).
They want to implement a range of new initiatives that will serve a greater number of people in the Newport area.
The plans in line with Portsmouth diocese launching a multi-million pound project to help the Church of England have a bigger spiritual impact in this region.
It wants to invest £9.1m into parishes over the next five years to stimulate spiritual and numerical growth and to help worshippers to engage better with their local communities. It’s hoped more than half of this money will come from the national Church.
The plans are part of the diocese’s “live, pray, serve” strategy which aims to make new disciples, to enlarge church communities, to equip worshippers for lifelong learning, and to help to transform our society.
The strategy includes the creation of multiple new congregations and working in brand new ways to serve those who we have traditionally been poor at engaging with – younger people, those in urban areas, and people on brand new housing developments. It involves both planting new churches and a network of pioneer ministers who can think in innovative ways.
The latest strand of that strategy involves reorganising some parishes to free up some resources, and is based on similar transformation models elsewhere in the Church of England.
Parishes in the urban areas of Havant, Gosport and the Isle of Wight have been identified as places where renewed investment could have the maximum impact – for instance, where a one per cent increase in the percentage of people in those areas who go to church equates to 200-300 new worshippers.
The idea is to redeploy people, finances and buildings, so that God can use them in new ways.