“Exciting journey with God and his people” – South-West pioneer students graduate

elephant-shaped piece of wood engraved with words of blessing

Elephant graduation gift created by Beth Morgan-Lundie

Students from the CMS Certificate in Pioneer Mission Southwest Hub celebrated receiving their certificates in March. Tina Hodgett shares some of their responses to the course.

There was an elephant in the room at the award ceremony for graduates of the CMS Certificate in Pioneer Mission in the centres of the Southwest Hub. The elephant was a symbol for God inviting pioneers on a journey of discovery to new places in their imaginations, hearts and local communities to find out what God was already doing there and to join in.

The inscription on the elephant consists of words that were spoken over us by one of the students during the final few minutes of the module on Missional Church. It was a really moving moment for everyone. Each student was given a handmade wooden elephant as a memento of the course and a reminder of the call of God on their lives. They had been made by Beth Morgan-Lundie, daughter of the Pioneer Network Enabler in Truro diocese.

One student from Midsomer Norton said of the course: “It’s been an exciting journey with God and his people… into his world… it’s just almost too much to put into a sentence. It’s been very high quality in terms of teaching. The methods of learning have been innovative – challenging in a good way – and have helped me learn.” One of the Salisbury students said: “I’d describe the course as a journey – a faster journey than the whole of my Christian journey – I have moved twice as far in the last year than in the last 19 years.”

Student progress is measured by way of an evaluation wheel. Students assess their abilities at the start of the course and again at the end. You can see in the image below that the categories where most growth has taken place are in the areas of mission, reading culture, using imagination and creativity, making a difference in the local community, and navigating between old and new.evaluation wheel diagram

In total 20 people completed the Certificate across the Hub. Certificates were awarded in the three diocesan centres by the Bishops of Truro, Salisbury and Bath and Wells with CMS reps joining them to hand out the elephants. Jonny Baker linked up with his former colleague, Bishop Philip, in Truro and spoke via Zoom to all three groups about the distinctive elements of the Certificate as imagination and a move towards the edges.

There was a slightly different feel to the ceremony in each venue. Following the Award Ceremony in Salisbury 8 students were commissioned in a community cafe as local lay pioneers. In Truro the Ceremony took place in the Diocesan retreat centre in front of an ancient fireplace and the Bath and Wells students got mildly rumpussy in the Diocesan offices at Flourish House in Wells.

One of the students wrote after the ceremony: “What a lovely day on Saturday and I’m very grateful to the team for making my kids so welcome. My daughter made this pipe cleaner sculpture which I felt was very apt about where we are all called and headed… like a lightbulb, or a city on a hill which cannot be hidden, giving light to everyone in the house/culture…”  Matt 5:14.

pipe cleaner lightbulb where filament is a cross

Recruitment is just starting for the Certificate 2023-24. There are online taster sessions on the evenings of 10 and 17 May and in person on 13 and 21 May. More information is available from Melanie.Pomery@truro.anglican.org

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