At the start of April, the Southwest Hub (which the diocese is a part of) hosted their award ceremony for 20 graduates of The Church Mission Society Pioneer Mission course.
Taking place over six weekends and ten evenings over the course of the year, the certificate aims to encourage participants to follow the footsteps of Jesus and introduce people to God through the ordinary world around us.
The course is open to a wide range of people and aims to remain inclusive while providing challenging content and ideas that put participants on the path to Pioneer Missioning.
Paul Bradbury, Leader of Poole Missional Communities and Associate Pioneer Tutor at Church Mission Society, Ripon College in Cuddesdon and Sarum College in Salisbury, reflects on the ceremony and gives a brief testimony from one of his students:
"There was an elephant in the room at the Award Ceremony for graduates of the CMS Certificate in Pioneer Mission in the three centres of the Southwest Hub last Saturday. 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.
"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. In Salisbury the awards were then followed by the commissioning by Bishop Karen of six as Commissioned Lay Pioneers in the Diocese. Pioneers were licensed across four parishes and also to the Spanish speaking community in Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole and to the Community Hubs across the Diocese.
"One of the students from Salisbury 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." Another said of the impact of the course "[I am] more confident for going out there and doing stuff, doing things differently, God works in different ways and I can share that with others. I have been very aware of God leading me in directions I could never have imagined."
Recruitment is just starting for the Certificate 2023-24. There are free online taster events on the evening of the 17 May and afternoon of the 21 May.
More information on the course can be found here or by emailing Sally Taylor: email@example.com"