At Diocesan Synod in June 2013, Bishop Harold Miller shared God’s missional call on the diocese to embark on a new era of church planting. New churches were to be planted in forgotten or hard–to–reach communities. The call endures, and in his first Presidential address at the 2021 Diocesan Synod, Bishop David McClay shared his vision that at least one new worshipping congregation would be planted in the diocese each year over the next 10 years.
The story so far
Since the launch of the Church Planting Fund nine new churches have so far been planted: Moneyreagh Community Church, Braniel Community Church, Glen Community Church, a youth and children’s ministry in Killough, Killicomaine Community Church, The Gathering, Belfast, St Donard’s Community Church, West Winds Community Church and Tullycarnet Church.
Our church planting is intentional, and we are planning for the long term as we commit ourselves, not to projects but to people.
Why plant new churches?
Church planting dates to New Testament times when Paul planted churches in the largest cities of the different regions he visited. The Church of Ireland has planted churches throughout its history with the most recent phase occurring in the 1960s due to population shifts from inner–city to suburban Belfast.
Secularisation of society has caused a cultural drift away from the Church and Christian beliefs. There are now many people in our communities who have no engagement with the Church and no understanding of the Christian message. A cultural gap needs to be crossed if the Gospel is to be shared with people who are beyond the fringes of the Church. One way of doing this is to plant churches in this gap where there is limited connection between the Church and the community.
New congregations, by needing to focus on the needs of non–members to get off the ground, are also generally better at reaching for Jesus younger generations, residents new to an area and immigrant populations.
DOWNLOAD THE SPRING ‘22 EDITION OF CHURCH PLANTING NEWS HERE (PDF)
DOWNLOAD THE WINTER ‘22 EDITION OF CHURCH PLANTING NEWS HERE (PDF)
DOWNLOAD THE AUTUMN ‘21 EDITION OF CHURCH PLANTING NEWS HERE (PDF)
CLICK HERE TO DONATE via CAF to the diocese’s General Church Planting Fund
Read more about how you can be involved with Church Planting in the Diocese of Down and Dromore.
DOWNLOAD A LEAFLET ABOUT THE CHURCH PLANTING FUND HERE (PDF)
DOWNLOAD A STANDING ORDER FORM AND GIFT AID DECLARATION HERE