Preparing the way

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2020 is going to be an exciting year for pioneer mission training in more parts of the country. Richard Passmore, director of Mission Innovation and Fresh Expressions at Carlisle Diocese, reports on the recent Threads conference and more events building up to the launch of a new certificate course in Cumbria.

After putting Jonny Baker in a canoe with the Bishop of Penrith on a stormy lake in July and celebrating at a sweltering Greenbelt, we launched the Centre for Pioneer Mission in the North, a new collaboration between CMS and God for All (Cumbria).

So it was great to gather 100 pioneers from across the North in November for what has now become an annual gathering at #FXCUMBRIA.

This year’s theme was Threads and through a range of creative means we unpacked the theme of formation.

We were joined by CMS graduate Rev Kim Brown as the keynote, but #FXCUMBRIA rarely looks like a traditional conference.

This year we had several miles of ribbons creating 6ft centrepiece structures that were on each table and weaved in and out the chairs, deliberately making it hard for people to sit. We wanted to remind participants how many people feel unsure what to do when they enter a church and of the need to create different sorts of space.

We celebrated local stories, used a bingo game to gather some stats from those present and had even hidden Jesus on the centrepieces with UV pens.

This event was the first of three building to the launch of the new Certificate in Pioneer Mission which is starting in September.

The next event is going to be a taster day for the course in February, followed by the Northern leg of Healing Of All Things: Arts Mission and Theology on 24 March.

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