A new £1.5 million church initiative aimed at young people and families in Torbay has been given the green light.
The Church of England in Devon has been successful in its funding bid the new five-year project.
The new Bay Church will be based at St Andrew’s Church in Paignton.
The Rev Matt Bray, currently a curate at Harbour Church in Portsmouth, has been appointed as the church's leader. For him and his family it is a dream come true as he has always wanted to live and work by the sea.
He said: “It feels very exciting and a very welcome answer to prayer."
He added: "I feel so grateful to the Diocese of Exeter for inviting me to be a part of this vision.
”This funding gives us a great platform from which to join in with the incredible work already happening in the Bay.
“I can’t wait to see the impact this will have on the lives of people in Torbay as we seek to play our part in seeing Jesus loved, the Church alive, and society transformed, in Jesus' name"
The project is being funded by the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund.
It follows a joint proposal by the Diocese of Exeter and St Matt’s Church in Plymouth, which was Devon’s first SDF project.
St Matt’s Vicar, the Rev Olly Ryder, said: “This is great news."
The Archdeacon of Totnes, the Venerable Douglas Dettmer, said: "£1.5 million in national church funds devoted to supporting church growth will be invested in Torbay Deanery over the next five years. This is a hugely significant blessing for us as a diocese and for Torbay.”
Rev Bray said he was looking forward to moving to the English Riviera and a life beside the sea after a spell in London training was 'long enough away from the coast'.
"“I love the coast. I grew up in Brighton and have always wanted to stay on the coast. My brief two-year stint in London for theological training was enough time away from the sea," he said.
He and his family will move to Torbay this summer, with a view to launching Bay Church at the beginning of 2022.
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