The Church of England in Suffolk is planning to invest heavily in community engagement after securing a £4.95million funding boost.
The funding, which comes from the national church, is earmarked for strategic development and will span six years.
The Church of England in Suffolk has announced it will be directly invested into two projects: Inspiring Ipswich and Growing in God in the Countryside, which are both designed to increase engagement among all ages.
Inspiring Ipswich aims to generate a greater Christian presence throughout the town by actively reaching out to the Ipswich population through church-led community engagement.
The project will provide all Ipswich parish churches with training and the opportunity to learn to be more effective in supporting their communities.
As part of the scheme, three existing churches will each create two new church gatherings in different areas of the town.
Meanwhile, Growing in God in the Countryside aims to tackle rural isolation through developing new and innovative ways to engage with the community.
The funding will help create a network of fun and informal smaller church gatherings that seek to allow faith to thrive in rural areas.
Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison, Bishop of Dunwich, said the funding offers the church to “provide greater opportunities for people who want to explore the spiritual side of their lives”.
He added: “This investment in Suffolk enables us to accelerate our existing vision and plans to create flourishing church communities that make a difference to the lives of those they are there to serve.”
Rev Trevor Golding, vicar of St Augustine’s Church in Ipswich, said he was excited to hear how his own congregation could get involved.
“Hopefully we will be finding out a lot more fairly soon,” he said.
“It’s very good news – it’s very exciting.
“I think the church has got a very positive message, especially in these uncertain times in our country.
“Church life in Ipswich is flourishing in so many ways and there is always so much more that can be done.”