Investing in the church in Wigan

As the Church Commissioners formally consult with interested members of the public on our proposals to organise church in a different way in Wigan, we explain what the consultation is about and why it shows we believe in Wigan

We are really excited to be able to talk to people about our ideas which many in the local church have been planning and discussing over a number of years. However we also know that for many change can be challenging and that you might be asked about what is happening. We hope this gives you a good understanding of our plans for the future as we continue to work to be a bigger church making a bigger difference across the communities of Wigan.

These are exciting times for the church in Wigan. Over the last five years the Church of England and the Diocese of Liverpool have invested over £1m in the Wigan church. They have done it because they believe in Wigan. They believe that, with this level of support, we can see more people benefiting form a connection with church.

This investment has seen the church get involved in greater partnerships with Wigan Council and the various services the council provides. We have partnered with ‘Safe Families for Children’ supporting families in times of critical need; we have created a youth network and appointed a School’s Minister to support work with young people; we have established food share projects, homelessness projects and large scale events to bring the community together.

Through this we have realised that we can achieve more together. That the way of church having small units spread around the place is not helping us flourish and serve communities well. We currently have 29 small parishes and by having too many smaller places to maintain we are frustrating our own efforts to grow and to serve. We remain committed to a presence in every community but need to change the way we organise that presence. This is the result.
The new parishes
We are consulting on our plans to create seven new parishes from the existing 29 parishes. These parishes will be united into one structure – called a Benefice – which will have one overall leader (Team Rector) supported by a variety of vicars and church leaders working together.

The new parishes will be

  • Wigan Central
  • Wigan East (Chapelfields)
  • Wigan North East
  • Wigan North West
  • Wigan South
  • Wigan Town Centre
  • Wigan West

 Our aim is that this change will take effect on January 1st 2020.

By doing this we will reduce the number of meetings church leaders are caught up in. We can centrally manage buildings, finances and administration  as we work in a more concentrated fashion. This will enable our vicars and the hundreds of volunteers and worshippers who regularly attend church spend more time on what they want to do which is serving others.

In each of these parishes we will be aiming to have a range of different styles of worship - from traditional to modern – so that people have choices. Local people will have the right to be married in any church building in the new parish. They will also be able to access the grave yards where their loved ones are buried and have the right to a funeral in the new parish should they so wish. We will also be offering Christenings in the same manner.
This a major ground breaking change for the Church of England. Like so many organisations we have been on that internal journey of change for a number of years. Like so many organisations some people are happier about the change than others

Your questions. 

We produced  an FAQ to answer some of the concerns that you or others may have and there is a great amount of technical detail about our proposals in the consultation document and on churchwigan.uk. But if you have further questions then do contact the team on info@churchwigan.uk or by ringing 01942 410 910

We believe in the church in Wigan, we believe in Wigan and we believe that if we change the church in Wigan will grow to support and serve our communities for future generations. We believe our proposals offer the best way for the Church to flourish and grow in Wigan. We thank you for your time