Mark’s team will be helping parishes to continue to play an active role serving their local communities, and he brings a wealth of experience to this new role from his previous work developing new Anglican church communities in the Netherlands.
Speaking about his new role, Mark said:
“It’s incredibly exciting to be setting out on this journey. The Church has such an important role to play in ensuring our local communities flourish, and I’m really looking forward to helping our churches to reach more people than they do at present. Part of my job is to support parishes who want to have a go at something new and different to welcome and help people recognise their God-given gifts and use them to serve others. One of the ways we want to do this is to encourage young people to consider whether God is calling them to work in mission. This is truly inspiring work and the School of Mission team want to support them so they can do even more.”
One parish, the Church of the Ascension, Bitterne Park in Southampton led by Revd Andy Smith has pioneered the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme in Winchester Diocese. Five young people have joined the scheme, giving a year of their lives to experience mission. Participants are housed and fed by their parishes, and meet together on Tuesday to learn together. Revds Jon Oliver and Amy Powis assist Andy in providing courses which help them learn some theology and grow as leaders.
Visiting the programme together with the Archdeacon for Mission Development, Ven Paul Moore, Mark said:
“This scheme is a brilliant way of encouraging young people to consider whether ordained or licensed lay ministry may be something they consider. I’m so impressed that a few committed young clergy can provide an opportunity for more young people to re-imagine church for a 21st century generation.”
Archdeacon, Dr Paul Moore who leads the Diocese of Winchester’s Mission work, said:
“I’m really looking forward to working with Mark to help the churches and communities in the Diocese of Winchester translate our ambitious plans for mission into action.”