Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

Reimagining Ministry

Resources for Prayer,
Reflection and Planning

Bishop Stephen introduces the challenge we face ahead of our day of prayer which took place on 23 February 2020.


It costs £22.1 million to support mission and ministry in the diocese. The majority of this amount is funded through the generosity of our parishes and we are immensely grateful for this giving.

Part of the cost of mission and ministry has been met in the past by a subsidy from the national church of £3.1 million which we were able to pass on to parishes.

This meant that even though many parishes faithfully paid 100% of the parish share we asked from them, this was less than the actual costs of providing a priest. All this has changed.

illustration of people

The subsidy we received is disappearing. In parallel, we have a rising deficit. We now have to pay the entire cost of ministry so we need to find ways of mutually supporting each other going forward.

We also remain committed to financially supporting parishes in deprived areas. Indeed we want to be able to increase the funding we give to support parishes in deprived areas.

Chelmsford Diocese is not unique in facing such a challenge but it is a challenge that we have no choice but to tackle head on. There are a number of key features that must be at the heart of our response:

  1. Stipendiary ministry dominates diocesan costs. How and where we fund stipendiary ministry must be the focus of our solution. Reducing other costs will not address the scale of the problem.
  2. Whilst this will be difficult, there are significant opportunities for us to reimagine how we do ministry. We already have a wonderful breadth of self-supporting and lay ministry across the diocese and we want to develop this further. We must continually pray for God’s guidance. This must be a collective response. We have consulted widely and we will continue to meet this challenge together.
  3. Finally and crucially, we must all look at ourselves and examine our own giving. Giving not only to fund ministry, but giving in thanks for God’s gift of life itself and all the beauty that this life holds dear.

This website contains resources to help parishes pray, reflect and plan for the future.


Counting the cost of ministry

The Prayer

This flyer contains the prayer and can be printed and handed out to members of the congregation ahead of services. To purchase printed versions of the flyer please email the Diocesan Print Unit.


Download a video of Bishop Stephen saying the prayer. You may wish to show this in your services so people can read along.

Synod address

Watch Bishop Stephens address to the November synod .

Podcast sermon, Rev Imogen Nay

“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”

Psalm 17:6
illustration of people