A church leader is praising migrant communities in the Diocese of Manchester for renewing and revitalising struggling places of worship.
Despite concern about falling congregation numbers across the country, in North Manchester churches are growing thanks to communities from West Africa and India settling in the area.
As many work at the North Manchester General Hospital, Fr Paul Hutchins has added a mid-week service to make church attendance easier for people who have to work at the weekend.
He has also encouraged members to shape the worship, bringing hymns and prayers from their churches of origin to make them feel as at home as possible.
Fr. Paul said, “When I first started five years ago we had sparks of promise as a multicultural congregation, but in a relatively short space of time we have seen a huge increase in attendance, welcoming new worshippers from Ghana, Nigeria, and South India.”
“The steps I have taken are basic but meaningful; simply becoming involved in their lives. It is traditional parish ministry - understanding my flock, and meeting them where they are at.
“This is really paying dividends and they are making Anglican churches in Manchester their spiritual home.”
“I visit families as they arrive in the area, providing spiritual as well as practical support, such as helping them to access services and schools.
"It has been quite wonderful to see the congregations growing as a result, going from 50 regular worshippers at Trinity to over 80 congregants, including 25 to 30 children.
“Over the coming weeks, we have baptisms every week - many of them involving whole families. They are coming because they want to be baptised; they feel called to baptism and feel like this is the right thing for them. I have always had baptisms at the church, but never in such numbers!
"We were also delighted to confirm 28 candidates ranging from ages 10 to 18, and six adults. We have also arranged another Confirmation service later this year as more candidates have come forward.”
According to the Diocese of Manchester, three churches have seen huge boosts to their congregations, mostly thanks to the families that have migrated to the area.