Pioneering Parishes Article

Pioneering Parishes - Creatively Connecting Church and Community

Maybe you have a great idea for how your parish church could connect more with its local community, but you don’t know how to make this vision a reality? Maybe you’d love to be more focused on mission, but your church seems to be using up all their energy on supporting day-to-day ministry? Or maybe you find the term ‘pioneering’ rather mysterious and question its relevance to parish life?

The Pioneering Parishes programme enables participants with questions just like these to discover how to become more outward looking, moving energy from inside the church to mission within our parish communities. Through involvement in a series of webinars and learning spaces, connection and conversation with parishioners, pioneers and priests will help explore how pioneering is integral to parish life. Clergy and congregation members will be inspired and equipped to shift church culture to enable the cure of souls to be extended into all the parish. 

Pioneering Parishes is a project run through the Church Mission Society (CMS) and led by a team that deeply understands and inhabits both pioneering and parish ministry. Lichfield Diocese is excited to be partnering with Pioneering Parishes from April 2024 to facilitate the delivery of on-line webinars and in-house training, supporting the development of fresh expressions and new worshipping communities across city, urban and rural settings.

The Pioneering Parishes team facilitates a series of 90-minute webinars for individuals from parishes or, even better, groups can sign up and explore ideas and learning together. You can find out more about the programme and read inspiring stories of how parishes have developed mission in their specific contexts on the website.

One story describes how churches in Cosham, Portsmouth, set up a community larder; the Vicar, Revd Amy Webb saying of Pioneering Parishes “the training …helped us to develop a ‘let’s give it a go’ attitude and challenged us to set about changing the culture of our church, which over time had become very inward looking." 

“This then meant that during the pandemic, when a secular charity asked us if we would be willing to set up and run a food pantry in a local park, we felt able to say yes. And we said ‘yes’ without us having any financial or human resources to speak of, or any firm plan as to how this would be possible." 

“Step by step we worked it out. This was our opportunity to be the body of Christ out in our community, to share the love of God, build relationships and see what might develop from that’.” Read more here.

Getting Involved

You can sign up for the First Steps introductory course straight away. 
Dates of webinars are 12 and 26 June, 10 and 24 July 2024. Just follow this link.

More Information

For further information about Pioneering Parishes and the exciting partnership with Lichfield Diocese, contact Catherine Matlock (email) or Simon Foster (email). 

Page last updated: Monday 22nd April 2024 12:19 PM
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