A couple of weeks ago a number of pioneers, pioneer enablers, vocations advisers and training ministers gathered in Salisbury to have a conversation about ordained pioneer ministry. Since starting as CMS Pioneer Hub Coordinator I’ve picked up a number of issues that pioneers are coming up against, particularly as they seek to explore their calling in the Church of England. It seemed to me that one of the ways forward could be to get pioneers and key people from within the structures of traditional church talking together around these issues.
The day was brilliantly facilitated by Jon and Tammy Oliver, pioneers in Southampton. Tammy also drew a fantastic graphic recording of the day as it unfolded, helping the conversation flow and bringing a creative and entrepreneurial angle to the day.
My talk on ‘Being a Pioneer Priest Today’ and input from Dave Male on the issues around the Ordained Pioneer Ministry pathway fed into a facilitated conversation in the afternoon. Do have a read of the report from the day.
Dave Male described the relationship between pioneer ministry and the established church structures as being like trying to fit a European plug into a UK socket – it ought to work, but doesn’t quite fit. Pioneers often say there is a lack of understanding of the ministry they do, and of how it feels to be a pioneer within the established church. A key outcome of the day was therefore the deeper understanding generated from sharing and listening to one another. One practical outcome was that the CMS Pioneer Hub will be exploring the possibility of bringing pioneer curates together from across the region for ongoing learning as part of their IME provision. More details on that in the new year hopefully!