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Blackburn diocese pioneers ‘Choir Churches’

22 July 2022

CHOIR CHURCH FOUNDATION

A Choir Church sings with cathedral choristers at Christ Church, Oxford

A Choir Church sings with cathedral choristers at Christ Church, Oxford

UP TO 24 “Choir Churches” are to be established in the diocese of Blackburn, thanks to almost £¼ million of Innovation Funding, it was announced on Tuesday.

The Choir Church project, which began in east London in 2016, seeks to build new congregations by establishing school choirs in partnership with churches.

Children are taught music from the English choral tradition, and the choir then sings at services at the partner church.

The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, welcomed the initiative: “We are delighted to be pioneering Choir Church in our diocese on a scale never before attempted.

“With our Choir Church project, we aim to connect home, church, and school in a fresh approach to outreach, providing opportunities in places where they may not be available otherwise.”

Tom Daggett of the Choir Church Foundation, who is a former chorister at Blackburn Cathedral, has described the project as having “adapted the English choral tradition to open a whole world of learning and spiritual growth for children and families who would otherwise never have encountered it”.

Innovation Funding is designed to support projects that last up to three years and that promote “future mission and growth”. It was established last year using £4.8 million from the Strategic Development Funding budget (News, 12 November 2021).

On Tuesday, a total of £1.7 million for seven projects was announced in this round of funding.

In addition to the £249,530 designated to support Choir Church in Blackburn diocese, £230,000 has been awarded to the Royal School of Church Music to support its “Hymnpact” programme. This is a subscription service for churches and schools, aimed at bringing their repertoires closer together and promoting further cooperation.

The next deadline for diocesan applications for Innovation Funding is 23 September.

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