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A life revolving around mission

by Michael Ford last modified 24 Jul, 2021 02:08 AM

In the past year, four Pioneer Curates have been ordained in this Diocese, and they have now been gathered into a ‘Pioneer Curates Hub’ co-ordinated by the Revd Paul Bradbury of Poole Missional Communities.

Alongside the normal curacy training process, the Hub gives them additional supervision and support to acknowledge the particular calling of pioneer ministry. The focus of the hub is to support and enable these curates in their local pioneer ministry but also in the enabling of the pioneer ministry of others more widely in their local parish and deanery.

Sally Taylor was ordained priest in the recent round of ordinations. Here she talks about what’s developed in her first year as a pioneer curate:

"In being an Anglican pioneer, there is always a sense of having one foot in the church and one foot outside the church. The best pioneer curacy scenario is one where the position of your feet in these two different places mean you become a bridge between the community in and outside the church.

"In this call to be both in and out of the church, it is fundamental to have Training incumbents who get this – who have a heart for seeing their Pioneer Curates released and resourced and supported to follow where the Lord is leading them even if this is a different path to straightforward parish ministry.

"I have been so blessed therefore in having Revd Tessa Nisbet as my Training Incumbent. She has been a wonderful enabler in developing my role in parish as well as giving me space to follow where God is leading in the new.

"Alongside this I have had brilliant pioneer supervision with Revd Paul Bradbury and in being part of the wider network of pioneers in Dorset.

"Pioneering can be such a lonely place, so that’s why it is so important that there is a network of likeminded pioneers developing across the Diocese – where there is space for story, for support, for enabling, for prayer and for emboldening.

"Since arriving in Hamworthy last August, I have been able to follow the leading of the Lord into a few new ways to do church. Back at Christmas time we pioneered a Drive Thru Nativity in which our wonderful church community donned nativity costumes (and thermals!) and told the Nativity story in a really approachable way.

"We had over 100 people come despite the cold, and experience the story of Jesus’ birth in a fun and Covid safe way!

"In June (after several postponements due to Covid) we finally launched Little Acorns Toddler Church in the woodland behind St Michael’s Hamworthy. It has been a joyful time of exploring who God is through nature and giving space to allow God to meet with the children and parents in a gentle encounter.

"We have prayers and play and a little area we set up with a rainbow on the tree, a few tree stumps to sit on and a special bowl with Jesus painted into it within which we gather what we are exploring.

"It is a gentle space of fellowship with one another, but most importantly with the Lord. My experiences here in the Hamworthy Benefice encourage me so much that God has such a heart for every community that we find ourselves in and that He is already at work in people’s lives – we are called to listen, discern where He is leading and enable His dreams and plans come to pass."

Alongside Sally, the other Pioneer Curates are the Revds Steve Atkins (Spetisbury with Charlton Marshall and Blandford St Mary and The Point, Wimborne), Mike Badger (Harnham), and Lindy Cameron (Hilfield Friary).

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