Kirk's Assembly Trustees to announce new funding measures at this year’s General Assembly

Against the challenging financial backdrop facing the whole Church, which was heightened during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Assembly Trustees will be recommending that this month's General Assembly establish a new fund to support Church growth.

General Assembly

The Seeds for Growth Fund will join the Pioneer Mission Fund, which opened this week, and the Small Grants Fund which is now entering its second year.

The guidelines for the funds are outlined in this year's Assembly Trustees Supplementary Report.

The Convener of the Assembly Trustees, the Very Rev Dr John Chalmers said: "We know that the generations missing from our pews are people who, like every other generation, are looking for meaning in life and we are making these funds available so that they can relate to the meaning of life as a follower of Jesus.

"The Trustees do not see themselves as guardians of the family silver, instead we see our role as being responsible for making our treasured wealth available for the extension and growth of Church in Scotland."

Seeds for Growth Fund

A central element of the Kirk's Radical Action Plan is the creation of a £20-25 million Growth Fund "to be spent on projects aimed at church growth, with particular emphasis on church planting".

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Assembly Trustees were forced to delay the planned launch of the newly-titled ‘Seeds for Growth Fund'. However, this year will see the fund brought to commissioners for approval.

The £20-25m fund, which is being delivered over a seven-year period, is proposed to launch in October 2022 with applications welcomed from January 2023.

Funding is expected to come from the general unrestricted reserves of the Church, with the hope that it will be supplemented by other gifts and donations received.

Pioneer Mission Fund

The 2021 General Assembly instructed that a Pioneer Mission Fund be established, aimed at supporting local church growth, with a particular emphasis on church planting and establishing 100 new worshipping communities.

Whilst in time it is expected that the Pioneer Mission Fund will ultimately become part of the offerings within the Seeds for Growth Fund, it is being made available for applications from now until September 2022.

Projects looking for funding must support local church growth, church planting and/or the establishment of new worshipping communities.

An initial £100,000 pot of funding will be available, drawn from central Church funds (with additional monies welcomed from external sources once the fund is established).

Congregations, presbyteries, or individuals through and with the support of their church or presbytery, are invited to apply for individual grants of up to £10,000.

Applications will be considered on a monthly basis between June until December 2022, or until the funding runs out.

If you would like to find out more about how to apply, or how to contribute to the Pioneer Mission Fund, please visit their web pages or email grants@churchofscotland.org.uk.

Small Grants Fund

Alongside the two newly announced funds, the Church of Scotland's existing Small Grants Fund provides grants of up to £1,000 for short-term project funding of between 3 and 12 months.

The Small Grants Fund is designed to be used for projects which will develop mission through new worshipping communities; engage and attract those aged under 40, including children, young people and families; address pressing issues in the Church; and/or increase experimentation with innovation in church practices.

Individual Church of Scotland churches and presbyteries and groups of churches or presbyteries can apply. Churches and presbyteries are also able to work with ecumenical partners, though the application will need to come from the Church of Scotland church or presbytery.

The first call for applications runs until June, with the next call opening in September until November.

Further funding and support

For more information on grant funding and how your congregation can access support, please contact David Williams, the Church of Scotland's grants manager.

Our Stewardship Team can also advise on many practical matters such as how to explore Christian stewardship in its broadest sense using the ‘Narrative of Generosity' resource, as well as enabling giving through a range of accessible ways including digital methods, promoting the impact of legacy giving, and helping congregations get the basics right to maximise income.