It’s our birthday!

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Ten years ago to this very day, the first cohort of students – just nine of them – began their course with CMS Pioneer Mission Leadership Training.

Since then more than 500 have followed, including in local and regional partnerships with training hubs spreading across the country.

Jonny Baker, director of mission education at CMS, said, “It’s great to be celebrating 10 years of the Pioneer Mission Leadership Training programme. CMS has become a home for pioneers and we feel honoured that so many pioneers have chosen to study with CMS and we’re also encouraged that many more people are now recognising their call to be pioneers and reach out into their communities to make a difference.”

We received video birthday messages from some of those first students (above and below) as well as a poem from Matt Caldicott, also part of that initial group in September 2010. We’d love to hear from more past students about the difference the training made for you. Use the hashtag #pioneer10th (Tweet @CMSPioneer or visit our Facebook group).

You are ten – by Matt Caldicott

You are ten –
I remember when one was a milestone,
when fresh faces embraced your invitation.
Hearts and minds were carefully deconstructed;
mountains were climbed to view new horizons.

You are unique –
I was around at your birth, a time of forming.
We few explored the uncharted pathways,
questioned, laughed and cried;
Touched the thin veil and listened to your whispers.

You are needed –
As you have grown, the world has shifted.
Many have heeded the call, preparing their own response;
your wisdom has become a piercing cry for change.
‘Little by little’ I recall, broken takes time to heal.

You are ready –
It is time to celebrate, to shout from the rooftops!
To thank you for the inspiration and the challenge,
to reflect on the changed lives and those who have found hope;
Yet the next chapter is ready to be written, the journey just begun.

Ten years later, despite the uncertainty and disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a record 92 students enrolled to study in this year’s Pioneer Mission Leadership Training programme, including the highest ever intake on the MA degree course and the largest intake of ordinands yet.

Dr Ann-Marie Wilson, founder of the anti-FGM charity 28 Too Many, also sent a birthday greeting:

Dear Pioneer Leadership Training,

Congratulations 🎊 🎉 to making it to your 10 year birthday 🎂 anniversary!

I am so grateful to the training, the Pioneer Graduation I had in 2017, and Pioneer Lay Minister & Hon  Chaplain I have become, as well as birthing #28TooMany. I have done relevant modules most years. I have loved & laughed, cried & celebrated, grown & grieved…. Thank you!

Ann-Marie Wilson

The pioneer leadership programme has grown to include training hubs in the dioceses of London, Chelmsford, Carlisle and Bath & Wells, as well as Oxford where CMS is based. Further afield an international training hub exists in South Korea and an additional UK training hub is due to open in St Albans in January 2021.

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