'Bishop's Den' offering £100,000 grants for church projects

The Church of England is taking a leaf out of the world of business in a scheme in Cornwall designed to encourage innovative church projects.

The "Bishop's Den" will award grants of up to £100,000 to groups with "entrepreneurial" new ideas of how to engage with their local community.

The Bishop of Truro will be joined on the judging panel by people from the business and charity sectors.

Up to 12 applicants will be shortlisted to appear at the event in February.

The event, which is part of the "Doing Church Differently" scheme is being run by the Diocese of Truro.

The grants will range from £5,000 to £100,000.

Archdeacon Bill Stuart-White, who is leading the project, said: "Our hope is that some exciting initiatives will be proposed that focus on people working closely together to cross traditional boundaries and come up with practical projects to show how churches will flourish within the community in the future."

Just like the BBC show the Dragon's Den, where millionaire judges look for the latest ideas to invest money into, the Bishop's Den is searching for "innovative and entrepreneurial ideas".

The diocese said it expected to award "three or four larger awards" as well as a range of awards for smaller projects.

The grants are coming from the diocese's Transformation Fund.

A spokesman said the money was coming from the sale of some former vicarages.

In recent years a number of Church of England pilot projects have been adopted by churches nationwide.

These include Messy Church, which began in Portsmouth and is aimed at young families and Open the Book,in which teams of volunteers perform dramatised versions of bible stories in schools.

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