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New choir hopes to hit right note with local community

A new junior choir at a Wheatley church is just one of the 14 church projects funded by the latest round of grants from the diocese Development Fund.

The fund, established in 2019 to divulge up to £1million a year for the growing needs of communities in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes, has now granted more than £4million. In this latest round, more than £200,000 has been awarded to a variety of projects. This time round there was a focus on reaching out to children, young people and families, like the project at St Mary’s in Wheatley.

Director of music Alexandra Hewitt explained: “For me it is the joy of singing. I really want these young people to have the benefit of singing, that skill for the rest of their lives. They do not need an instrument, they have an instrument in their voice. And our hope is they and their families will become part of the church over time.”

The choir will be launched in September, with members aged between nine and 14 to begin with. Rehearsals and services will take place on the same day to encourage youngsters who don’t have a lot of time to commit to a new activity. The development fund grant will pay for the director of music’s time in running the new choir on a Sunday afternoon as well as providing for an assistant director to support their work.

Other awards include:
•   St James, Bierton – to produce early-stage project documentation for the creation of a multi-purpose space in the church to build on existing mission and outreach.
•   Dorchester team – to develop links with four local primary schools by running a children’s opera project with Opera Brava on their production The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
•   St Mary Magdalene, Great Hampden – to develop mission beyond what happens on a Sunday morning by installing AV equipment as part of a wider reordering of the church.
•   St Mary's, Princes Risborough – to increase growth in outreach and children’s ministry by employing a children’s and families' worker.
•   St Paul's, Wokingham – to complete a feasibility study for work to improve usability and accessibility in the church to expand missional activities.
•   St Mary's, Bloxham – to support a project to reach out and serve the needs of others and welcome all into the body of Christ by installing new facilities in the church.
•   St Nicolas, Newbury – to carry out a feasibility study for improving the warmth, accessibility and flexibility of the church building to align it with the vision for mission and ministry.
•   Bracknell Parish – to employ two lead workplace chaplains in order to expand the town chaplaincy ministry in Bracknell.
•   St Andrew's, High Wycombe – to reduce physical barriers to engagement with the community by improving access to the church building.
•   St Frideswide, Water Eaton – to commission early stage project documentation for redevelopment of the Church Centre to support mission and ministry over the next generation.
•   St Frideswide, Oxford – produce early stage project documentation for servery improvements in order to cater better for the community meal and for witness to all who come into the church.
•   Wycombe Deanery – to deliver an integrated strategy to inspire schools, churches and people in the Deanery by employing a deanery leader for youth and children’s work.
•   Flackwell Heath – to develop and grow the church’s mission and ministry to children and families by employing a children’s minister for three years.

The deadline for the next round of grants is 30 April. Find out how to apply, and what the criteria are. 

Page last updated: Tuesday 4th June 2024 4:21 PM
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