The Bishop of Penrith is set to paddle a canoe across Derwentwater to celebrate the launch of a Northern Centre of pioneering mission in Cumbria.
The Rt Rev Dr Emma Ineson will join other canoeists, including Jonny Baker, director of mission education at Church Mission Society (CMS), to cross to St Herbert’s Island to mark the formal collaboration between the Diocese of Carlisle – the Church of England in Cumbria – and CMS.
From 2020 the Northern Centre will offer the CMS Certificate in Pioneer Mission and is for people looking to develop both their understanding and practice of pioneering mission. Study will be based around six modules: pioneering mission, reflective practice in context, church in mission, reading the Bible, missional leadership and mission entrepreneurship.
Bishop Emma said: “We are delighted to be able to announce this exciting new collaboration with Church Mission Society.
“This will provide so many new ways in which a wide range of people can explore what pioneering mission could look like for them here in Cumbria and, indeed, across the whole of the north of England and southern Scotland.
“It is a relationship that both parties are very keen to build on over the coming years as we seek to encourage new disciples through innovative and pioneering mission. Revealing God and God’s purpose in people’s lives is central to our God for All vision. This new alliance further strengthens that aim.”
Pioneers connect with people outside the Church, creating new ways of being Church together in their community. They are innovative leaders with a gift for seeing what God is doing and responding creatively to it.
This new collaboration will also see the joint roll-out of a third conference on Fresh Expressions (new forms of church) to be held in the county in November as well as the potential development of a redundant church as a new pioneering arts hub.
Such developments echo new research which shows an estimated 50,000 people now worship in Fresh Expressions of church, accounting for 15% of congregations in the Church of England. To capitalise on the success of this movement the Church of England plans to identify and train up to 6,000 new pioneer ministers in the next decade.
Jonny Baker said: “The Northern Centre for Pioneer Mission is part of a growing network of training hubs for lay pioneers that CMS is developing in partnership with dioceses around the UK.
“They are the result of nine years of sustained success and continued growth of CMS’s Pioneer Mission Leadership Training programme that will serve the Church for the next generation.”
The launch event will take place at 6pm on Thursday 25 July, 2019, with canoeists leaving Derwentwater Marina to paddle across to St Herbert’s Island. The island was the home of the hermit St Herbert, who brought Christianity to the area in the seventh century.
Meanwhile a national launch will take place at this year’s Greenbelt Festival (a festival of arts, faith and justice) which is held in Northamptonshire over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
People can register their interest in training at the new centre on the CMS Pioneer website.