Greatly stretched, challenged and excited all in equal measure

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In preparation for our final DDO session for this academic year I’ve been talking to a few DDOs and Ordinands, to find out what is important to them.

I spoke to Nicholas Cheeseman, Area Director of Ordinands (Berkshire & Oxford), and Revd Helen J Charlton, Assistant Area DDO, both from the Diocese of Oxford.

I was able to ask Nicholas (right) a few questions about his work:

Nicholas Cheeseman

What is your experience of the work we do here at CMS helping train people for pioneer ministry within the Church of England?

It’s thought provoking and encourages students to share their learning wider.  I’ve seen it build confidence, and both inspire and encourage students to explore new ways of sharing the gospel.

Please can you tell us how long you have been in your current position and what you enjoy about your work?

Six years, I particularly enjoy the opportunity to learn about and travel with a wide range of people considering who they are in God.

As a DDO, what qualities and strengths are you looking for in potential ordinands?

Perhaps ‘an interest in the Saviour’s blood’ is a good place to start (in the full sense of how we find that considered in Hebrews).  In more personal terms, a willingness to discover more of who they are ‘in Christ’; so, both an honesty and self-awareness about what is and has been as well as a curiosity about what may be discovered.

Can you give an example of pioneering work you have witnessed from those who have gone through pioneer ordinand training?

The standout would have to be Minecraft Church during the Covid-19 pandemic!

Great, that’s Kevin, one of our former CMS ordinands! What helps you see someone as being a potential pioneering ordinand?

A deep and familiar love for the Church, the Body of Christ, and experience of taking risks to share the gospel in a new context.

When helping ordinand students find a place for training, what is foremost in your mind?

What will they learn?

Thank you, Nicholas, those answers are very clear; it’s great to see your commitment to the individual ordinands and the church.

It was also good to speak to Helen Charlton, too, she told me: “I have worked with 2 Ordinands over the last couple of years who have had a great experience at CMS. One did the CMS Diploma combined with ministry training at Cuddesdon (residential weekends), and the other had explored their vocation while doing the Diploma and then moved to Wycliffe for completing the training for ministry. Both developed their passion for pioneer work but also benefitted from the depth of expertise, the wide ranging syllabus and the integration of Theological Reflection. Both intend to focus on Pioneer work in their future ministry. I have found the staff very willing to make time for information and discussion with DDO’s, both online and in person.”

DDO make a great contribution to the life of the church and we hope that all DDOs will have a chance to offer suitable pioneer training to those who need it.

Marcus Giddy is one of our MA Ordinands, in his second year with us. I asked him a few questions from an ordinand’s point of view.

Marcus, what support has your DDO given you?

The support my DDO has given me has been very good.

 He has kept me well informed about the ordination process and as an ordinand he has kept us all up to date about the various things we need to sort, e.g. robes, surplice, clergy finance, housing, etc! Plus, as a DDO office they have set up a dedicated email address which allows us to ping any questions we might have or concerns that have arisen during the ordinand process, in particular as we approach ordination later in the year.

Marcus, what had helped you in your training here at CMS?

The training at CMS is second to none and I have been greatly stretched, challenged and excited all in equal measure! What I love about the training at CMS is the space they afford you to explore different approaches to understanding theology, they push you to continually ask questions, whilst providing the safe space for you to voice any fears or doubts you might have too. Furthermore, there are a great range of voices that contribute to the conversation about mission, ministry and theology as well as a rich diverse cultural background that provides valuable insights to other views about the subject you are studying. Studying at CMS is highly recommended!!

Marcus, what most excites you about being an ordinand here at CMS?

There are a broad range of traditions and backgrounds that you are privileged to mix with. Whilst looking at the regular things such as training around communion, baptism, weddings and funerals, you are also afforded the opportunity to explore a great range of topics such as global mission, pastoral ministry, social justice and community engagement, spirituality and discipleship to name just a few. Plus, training at Cuddesdon college allows you to do all this in a beautifully picturesque environment, like attending a mini retreat. The charismatic and conventional combine and sit alongside one another in relative harmony! Again, highly recommended!

And finally, a word from another of our current ordinand students. Second Year Undergraduate Ordinand, Lucy Barbour, who told me… ‘My DDO was supportive of my calling into Pioneer Ministry and encouraged me to go to Pioneer Panel and train at CMS. She is also ensuring that all the curacies they have available for the year I start have a pioneering element.’

All DDOs and those working in mission training are welcome to come along to this one and a half hour zoom session. 

We hope DDOs will join us on 3 May. Booking is essential. If you think we might be your type of place, or you just want to find out more, please email pioneer@churchmissionsociety.org

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