A year of making a difference: 2016-17

Our anuual report provides a snapshot of our work during the 2016-17 financial year.

Changing lives, transforming communities

BRF’s goal in 2016-17 was to consolidate and develop our work to deliver transformation through creative programmes and resources for individuals, churches and schools.

We are thankful to have seen our efforts bear fruit in many significant ways. And we’re grateful to all our supporters for helping us make a real difference to real people, living in the real world.

Thank you to all of you who pray for us, volunteer at church groups, buy or sell our books, distribute or use our Bible reading notes, come to our events, or donate to our work.

I hope you feel as inspired and thankful as we do by this review of 2016–17.

Canon Richard Fisher, Chief Executive Officer

Canon Richard Fisher, Chief Executive Officer

In a nutshell...

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96% recommend us

96% of leaders and participants at Messy Church and Who Let The Dads Out? said they would recommend the respective programme to others. [Source: BRF’s programme surveys]

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3,000 trained

Over 3,000 participants in BRF staff-led training events

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200,000 resources sold

Nearly 200,000 copies of BRF publications sold or downloaded

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800,000 web visits

Over 800,000 website visits across ten websites


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50,000 free downloads

Over 50,000 free website resources downloaded

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51,500 readers

51,500 readers of our five series of Bible reading notes and three journals

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20,000 emailed

Over 20,000 people now receive e-newsletters about BRF and its programmes

Getting more social

32% more followers on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

We're resourcing all ages and stages of the Christian journey to help people understand and apply the Bible, develop a deeper prayer life and grow in faith

Understanding the Bible, growing in faith

We want to see people accessing the spiritual health that comes from a lifelong relationship with Jesus Christ, enabling them to cope better with life's challenges, to repair and build relationships and to be empowered with hope.

We do this by helping people to understand the Bible and how to apply its principles to everyday life and deepen their prayer life and Christian spirituality - through Bible reading notes, books and other online and printed resources, and through events that enable people to create space for God.


In spring 2016, a fortnight of Bible reading notes in New Daylight, inspired by writer Rachel Boulding’s cancer journey, resulted in a deluge of responses from readers. At their suggestion we published Facing Death as a separate booklet. Although Rachel sadly died a year later, we still receive messages of gratitude and appreciation for her writing.

Hundreds of people came to the Women’s Conference and Festival of Prayer events and to our Quiet Days.

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What people are saying

I gained new and meaningful ways of prayer that I hope will transform my prayer life.

Festival of Prayer participant


We discuss our readings on the phone. The readings and notes often speak directly to the day’s concerns and worries. I pray she may continue to find support and comfort. Thank you …

New Daylight reader who orders a second copy for a friend suffering from serious mental health issues

Nurturing faith in children and families

BRF enables churches and families to explore Christianity and the Bible creatively with children, and to find God in the everyday – both at national level and grass roots.

During the year we invested in the Parenting for Faith programme and developed a free eight-session online video course for individuals and groups, and an extensive online library of shared ideas.

Visit Parenting for Faith


  • Helping to organise and deliver the national Let’s Talk Family leaders conference
  • Contributing to Children Matter, Children’s Ministry Network and the Faithfull Generation project
  • Teaching on the Cliff College Family Ministry certificate course
  • Involvement in the children’s and family ministry conference Hand in Hand
Rachel Turner
BRF's programmes grow, inspire and equip groups of Christians who can in turn reach out to their extended communities and make a difference.

Messy Church - making thousands of disciples worldwide

The number of registered Messy Churches increased by 13% to 3680, including the first in Albania and Mauritius.

BRF's Messy Church team continued to visit congregations, train leaders, network, share knowledge and develop resources.

What is Messy Church?    Messy Church website

The biggest single factor in the turnaround and new growth in the numbers of children and families participating in the life of churches in the last few years would appear to be the expansion of Messy Church.

Bob Jackson, What Makes Churches Grow? Vision and Practice in Effective Mission (Church House Publishing, 2015)


  • The first international Messy Church conference brought together 220 lay and ordained ministers from twelve countries (May 2016).
  • Messy Church Does Science project was conceived, as a way of bringing science into church and celebrating God’s creation (2016).
  • Messy Vintage is now bringing fellowship and encouragement to elderly people living alone or in care homes.
Messy Church

Who Let the Dads Out? - reaching out to dads and father figures

Who Let The Dads Out? inspires and equips churches for missional outreach to father figures and their children.

During the year nearly 8000 father figures and their children came to 240 groups.

What is Who Let The Dads Out?

Who Let The Dads Out? website

We held our first Who Let The Dads Out? on Saturday. We are really excited… the feedback was really encouraging. Some dads were regulars from church, some were on the fringe of the church family and at least seven hadn’t been in the building before.

Who Let The Dads Out? group leader

Who Let The Dads Out?


  • In May 2016, the first Ministry to Fathers teaching weekend inspired the planning of further regional training days, beginning with an event in Manchester in January 2017.
  • In spring and summer 2016, members of the Who Let The Dads Out? community came together to climb the highest peaks in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and to pray for outreach to fathers.

The Gift of Years - spiritual care for older people

A key priority for BRF is The Gift of Years  - in particular the Anna Chaplain model of ecumenical, community-based chaplaincy to older people, which sits at its heart.

Although it takes a long time to recruit and train those in chaplaincy roles, the number almost tripled within the year (to 34) and 111 serious enquiries were processed.

What is The Gift of Years?    The Gift of Years website

The main task of Anna Chaplains and their equivalents is to change perceptions around ministry among older people. There are barriers to cross, but we’ll not give up, because it’s the right thing to do.

The Gift of Years Anna Chaplaincy advocate, Newcastle upon Tyne


  • In November 2016 we hosted a second 24-hour gathering for members of The Gift of Years.
  • The Gift of Years team continued to work with others to develop training courses.
  • The first copy of Bible Reflections for Older People was presented in November 2016 to a 108-year-old reader.
  • Joanna Collicutt's Thinking of You, a resource for the spiritual care of people with dementia, was published in March 2017.
The Gift of Years

Barnabas in Schools - bringing Christianity to life

BRF's Barnabas in Schools team enables primary school teachers and pupils to explore Christianity creatively and confidently within the curriculum through Barnabas RE Days for pupils and inspiring and practical teacher-training sessions.

It also offers online resources and participates in the national debate on RE.

What is Barnabas in Schools?

Barnabas in Schools website

The head teacher of a small, rural primary school shared her concern with the local vicar that the children seemed to be more isolated and less community-minded or friendly. The vicar said, 'I know just the thing you need - a Barnabas RE Day.'

Barnabas in Schools team member

A Barnabas RE Day


  • 141 Barnabas RE Days delivered to 28,500 pupils
  • 14 INSET training sessions delivered to 334 teachers
  • 27,330 online ideas downloaded

Finance matters

Income 2016-17
Expenditure 2016-17

For a detailed breakdown of income and expenditure in 2016-17, visit our funding page.

Download the full version of our report for 2016-17, to find out more about how BRF has transformed individual lives and communities.

You matter

The work of The Bible Reading Fellowship depends entirely on the generosity of our supporters.

We are grateful for all gifts - financial and prayer support, as well as the gift of time and energy from those who are directly involved in our programmes and activities.

Here are three ways you can get involved:

Give a donation to BRF


Regular giving allows us to plan for the future and to find new ways to help people understand and follow Jesus Christ.

The easiest way to give regularly to BRF is by direct debit.

Give a regular or one-off donation


Pray for BRF

Pray for BRF

The entire BRF team appreciates your prayer support, especially our programme team members, who often work on their own, in new places and with people they’ve never met before.

Find out how you can pray

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Keep in touch

Even if you aren't able to play an active role in our programmes and activities, you can still help us spread the word and make connections.

Keep in touch

Knowing that BRF friends are praying for us helps us know we’re never alone, and that we’re part of a much larger community that cares about us. Thank you!
Lucy Moore, Messy Church founder and former Barnabas in Schools team member

Image acknowledgements

Hand © Ian Munroe licensed under CC 2.0 / cropped and darkened