Bishop invites bidders into his ‘Den’

16 August 2013

BBC/ANDREW FARRINGTON

TV "dragons": (left to right) Kelly Hoppen, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, and Piers Linney, from the BBC programme

TV "dragons": (left to right) Kelly Hoppen, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, and Piers Linney, from the BBC programme

GROUPS developing new ways of attracting people into the Church in Cornwall are being asked to compete for funding in "Bishop's Den" - a BBC TV Dragons' Den-style competition.

But instead of a grilling by entrepreneurs such as Deborah Meaden or Peter Jones, their inquisitors will be a panel of West-Country church, charity, and business leaders, chaired by the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton. Successful schemes in the Bishop's Den will receive grants of up to £100,000.

The leader of the project is the Archdeacon of Cornwall, the Ven. William Stuart-White, who has earmarked about £250,000, raised from the sale of redundant parsonages: "The idea is an event to solicit funding-bids for innovative and exciting ideas on how we face some of the challenges we have got in the Church in Cornwall.

"In common with many dioceses, we are looking at a slightly uncertain future, and recognise that the structures we have in place don't always meet our challenges. By stimulating ideas in this way, we can get a few projects that will be replicable, and that people can learn from, and get some hints as to what an effective and flourishing Church will look like in the next ten years."

Deaneries, parishes, and clusters have until the end of October to submit their applications to the Truro diocese, which will be vetted by a panel that includes clerics and finance and business experts.

In January, a shortlist of about eight finalists will be drawn up to enter the Bishop's Den at a public event at Truro College Theatre on 23 February.

"The kind of criteria we are looking for is imaginative, collaborative, and maybe a bit risky," the Archdeacon said. "I would like to see an evangelistic project that gets the gospel in word out to the people of Cornwall; projects that really demonstrate the Church serving its community - maybe even pilgrimage trails for tourists.

"People are asking us 'What kind of thing should we ask for?'; and our answer is: 'If we knew that, we wouldn't be asking.'"

www.trurodiocese.org.uk/vision-strategy/doing-church-differently-the-bishops-den

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