Based upon the answers provided during the online survey, the Mission and Mortar Encounter Tool identifies potential mission and building opportunities a community may wish to consider. These opportunities are categorised as follows (see the links on the left for more detailed explanations):

Local Mission: A Local Mission Church is one that offers its community several services a month, but would like to improve their missional and community offering. This may involve the need to make a few small, minor changes to their church building that will make a huge difference to how they support worshippers and their community. This may be through making them more comfortable through improved access, a minor reordering, a simple servery, and/or a toilet, improved heating, or clearing some space for activities like Messy Church.

Extended Mission: This is a church that could be considered as the main ‘community’ building in response to an identified local need. This category is good for those parishes that are happy for the church to be used by other groups of people within the community for a variety of purposes, if it is not already used in that way now.

Major Mission: Major Parish Churches represent some of the most significant and well-loved places of worship in England. The Church Buildings Council (CBC) has identified 300 such churches across the country, which includes some of the churches in our Diocese. Major churches tend to be in towns, although not exclusively, and are usually surrounded by larger areas of population. This offers them a fantastic opportunity to widely support their local communities.

Festival Church: We are using the Festival Church title as a way of supporting parishes to ‘reboot’ their mission and worship, and engage positively with the local community. It is NOT a step on the road to closure. Instead, it is a positive, proactive approach to doing less, but doing it much better. A Festival Church is an open parish church, which will still have financial obligations to meet, such as insurance, heating, lighting, parish offer, and maintenance, but it will better placed to rely on wider community support to meet these costs.

Gem Tourism: This is not a distinct category on its own, but rather one that may apply to churches in other categories. We have many opportunities to engage in a ministry to visitors and tourists, but sometimes we just need to find a way to improve that engagement. Do you have a story to tell, whether it’s about your extraordinary building or a part your church has played in local history? People come to our churches for all sorts of reasons, and it’s vital that we offer a warm welcome to tourists and pilgrims. If the toolkit identifies that your church had tourist potential, then it will offer additional resources to help you make the most of this opportunity.