REACH Ely - Outcomes
The outcomes of the project are divided into three categories.
Global outcomes for the Diocese of Ely and for the wider understanding of the relationship between churches and communities
- The project sought to devise new ways of defining church’s missional success, which are a more genuine measure of the church/community relationship and missional outcomes than historic measures of attendance. The contribution that churches make to the common good was demonstrated over a diverse range of communities and buildings. The position of churches as community assets and locations for community enterprise activities is demonstrated.
Local outcomes for individual churches and their communities
- The individual churches of the diocese will, for the first time, have a real understanding of the people in their communities, their attitudes towards the church, their needs from the church, where opportunities lie for the church. Tools will be developed and provided to churches with support from their deaneries to assess attitudes, needs and opportunities.
- In places where this project reveals high need and many opportunities to be grasped, churches will be encouraged to apply these findings to their buildings through a development project using the methodologies recommended in Crossing the Threshold. In places where this project reveals low need and no opportunities, both church and diocese will have good evidence to support their decisions for the future of the church building in that place. Churches seeking funding support from grant givers will be able to put a strong needs-based case that differentiates churches from their competitors for funding.
Future outcomes for churches and communities
- The methodologies and tools developed for use at deanery/parish level during the project will be presented as an accessible and engaging toolkit. Materials used for training at diocesan and deanery level will be distilled into a digital training manual, suitable for presentation by existing diocesan staff. Both toolkit and training manual will be published and made available to other dioceses. An online community will be set-up for sharing experience and good practice. This will be web-hosted and initially run/moderated by the diocese of Ely for its churches; but designed to admit to other dioceses and other denominations joining in due course. To ensure that the Ely Diocesan Board of Finance (EDBF) continues to equip new generations of leaders, EDBF will fund training sessions using the training manual, annually.
- The replicability of the project in other dioceses will be facilitated via the training manual and the toolkit, which will be made available for free, and designed to be used without expert/professional input. However, any local resource/capacity issues will still require to be met.
Publications and Guidance
Church Buildings and Community Audit Report (Short Version) - February 2023 (updated)
This Church Building and Community Audit Report provides a summary of the findings, supplemented with information from the REACH Ely case studies, on church and community interaction, and community use of church buildings and church halls within the Diocese of Ely. The audit findings thus demonstrate the extent to which participating churches serve their local communities. The data shows that the majority of churches value their church buildings as a space for religious worship, a quiet place for reflection and prayer, a setting for occasional offices, and a space for cultural events.
Being an Open Church Safely
Many churches have not returned to pre-Covid opening arrangements and remain locked. Ecclesiastical, the main insurer of church buildings, has given a video interview to encourage churches to re-open their building, accompanied by two guidance notes including information about automatic timed locks.
- Being an Open Church Safely - Guidance
- Video: to watch the video, please visit our YouTube page here.
Setting Up a Friends Group
A quarter of churches in the Diocese of Ely receive support from a friends group. Another quarter actively want to set up a friends group. This guidance document gives and introduction to the subject and points to existing resources to help churches set up a friends group.
- Setting Up a Friends Group Guidance document
- Video: to watch the video, please visit our YouTube page here.
Forming a PCC Sub-committee
Both friends groups and festival churches aim to involve a wider group of people in supporting church buildings. One simple way of doing that is through a sub-committee of the Parochial Church Council which can take on certain day to day tasks (eg fundraising, building maintenance, etc) on behalf of the PCC. This generic template should be adapted to each local circumstance.
Church Governance Structures
Within the existing rules for church governance, there is now considerable scope for adapting how church buildings are managed, and who can get involved. This guidance aims to help churches, and groups of churches, adapt their management structures to suit local resources.
Becoming a Festival Church
What is a Festival Church? Is it the right model for your church? Interviews with two functioning festival churches, guidance and tools to help you make it happen.
- Becoming a Festival Church - Guidance
- Video: to watch the video for the Festival Church Model at Rampton, please visit our YouTube page here.
- Video: to watch the video for the Festival Church Model at St Peter’s Haveringland, please visit our YouTube page here.
Producing a Village Welcome Handbook
Producing a welcome booklet could be a relatively easy way to attract new members to your congregation, or to simply ensure your church is recognised and valued as a central part of the local community for all residents. It could help to build wider support through volunteering, fundraising and attendance at community events.
- Producing a Village Welcome Handbook: Notes for Churches
- Video: You can view this video on the Diocesan YouTube channel here.
- Example templates for a welcome handbook can also be downloaded here:
Producing a Church Guidebook for Visitors
The purpose of the church guidebook is to welcome and introduce first time visitors to your church by providing useful information about the church building, its people and community, artefacts, as well as to help visitors feel welcome by giving them something tangible.
- Producing a Church Guidebook for Visitors: Notes for Churches (click to download)
- Simple guidebook template (click here).
- A Church Guide for Visitors - A4 TEMPLATE - Long Version
- Video: to watch an accompanying video, please visit our YouTube page here.
REACH Ely - Links to further resources
REACH Ely: Case studies
- Stage two of the REACH Ely methodology was to undertake a number of scoping case studies. Following interviews about church buildings and community characteristics from deaneries and parishes in the Diocese of Ely, supplemented with secondary information about the communities they represent. The findings were used to develop case studies of church building use, clusters of church buildings uses, and the data categories in the survey.
- You can read the case studies on the Diocesan website by clicking here.
Video and Film Resources
- A series of video interviews on church and community engagement (2022) were produced, as well as links to other helpful video resources.
- Please click here to view the video resources.