Church of Wales to release £100m of historic resources

The Church of Wales will spend £100 million over the next decade to help serve its communities more effectively, strengthen existing work and develop new initiatives, the Archbishop of Wales, Msgr. Andrew John. He does not intend “to take it easy in this good evening”.

He described the investment, which will come from capital reserves, as the most serious and important that the Church has made since its dissolution in 1920, and “a courageous step of faith, founded on the conviction that the Church has the will and heart to grow and do new things.

“Across all dioceses and as a province, this new funding will build capacity and build momentum, which is precisely what we need. I salute this bold step.

He paid tribute to the Representative Body, the Church Trustees, for their “visionary leadership” in agreeing to invest the money, and warned: “It is money that we can only spend only once, and careful planning is needed on how it will be allocated. , and how we will hold each other accountable for its use.

He continued: “If we let this time pass and this opportunity fade away, the consequences will be a Wales that knows less about the love of Christ than at any other time in modern history. But if we engage in the conviction that God is calling us to be bearers of hope in a new way, we will have done something profound, beautiful and lasting.

“The task is not to try to get out of trouble, but to invest in the places where our hearts burn with new energy and hope. Such an investment brings huge payoff and is full of potential.

Giving the news in his presidential address to the two-day Board meeting in Newport, he spoke candidly about how the Church in Wales was perceived in some quarters. “There are those who predict the end of the Church in Wales and perhaps don’t even want us to succeed,” he said.

“We are considered by some to be a bit lost with a conservatism and attachment to our past that makes us look back with nostalgia rather than forward with enthusiasm, anticipation and faith. Hiraeth [deep longing] is our favorite word.

“Not all the negativity comes from those who are not part of our church family. And it’s poor. Not everything comes from Wales. Maybe there’s a weird psychology here: the dark relief of someone sinking faster than you. We must therefore decide that we are going to commit ourselves, together, to proving our critics wrong. We are not going to go easy on this good evening.

The Archbishop also referred to the “real and continuing influence of secularism” and the concomitant decline in Sunday church attendance in Wales. Like many other churches around the world, attendance levels have yet to recover to pre-Covid levels, he said. The post-Covid experience has had ongoing consequences for health and well-being, the national and global economy, and the life of the church.

A further £37million over the next ten years will be used to ensure that core ministry is placed on a solid financial footing, particularly in the new dioceses of Monmouth and Swansea & Brecon, which lack historical funds.

More generally, the Archbishop also warned that unless decisive action is taken in the coming weeks to tackle the cost of living crisis, thousands of people across Wales and beyond would be hungry and cold. “This winter will become unbearable, and the cost to our livelihoods, our well-being, the effect on household debt, the effect on crime and domestic violence will be significant,” he said.

He described the number of children living in relative poverty and families’ reliance on food banks for survival as “a scandal”, and called on supermarkets to do more to help shoppers and churches to be “practitioners generosity”.

Jerry B. Hatch