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New courses to help parishes reach more people 

Parishes in the diocese now have access to more support as they seek to look outwards and grow engagement with their wider community, as part of everyday ministry.

The diocese has partnered with Pioneering Parishes to give each of its 810 churches access to a range of courses and events aimed at equipping attendees with the knowledge and skills to reach out into their local area. A special introduction course, First Steps, is being provided just for parishes in Oxford, but places are limited. You can book your place online

One churchwarden who attended a First Steps course said: “I never envisaged when I did the first course, that I would be helping to set up a Community Larder in our local park during lockdown, and after 21 months be spending most of the week serving and sharing God’s love with 800 families across our twinned parishes.”  

Feedback from the most recent First Steps course demonstrated that it increases confidence of PCC members to hold constructive conversations about how resources are deployed in keeping with agreed values. 

Pioneering Parishes began in the first COVID lockdown through the work of the Revd Greg Bakker, pioneer development officer of the Diocese of Portsmouth and the Revd Tina Hodgett, then of the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

Since then, Pioneering Parishes has grown organically with around 400 people (lay, ordained, in a variety of roles) having participated. It is currently provided in partnership with the Church Mission Society and with funding from Church of England national Innovation Fund.

The Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, who chairs the New Congregations Board in Oxford, said: “We warmly welcome the opportunity to work more closely with CMS and with Pioneering Parishes in developing new mission initiatives and congregations to support the remarkable work in parishes across the Diocese.”

Tina Hodgett, co-leader of Pioneering Parishes, added: “The Diocese of Oxford is a vibrant mix of multiple contexts for mission and ministry. We know that our course will be applicable to all of these – as it has been in many other such areas across the UK. We look forward to working with colleagues across the Diocese of Oxford as we provide a warm and open space where church leaders and leadership teams can acquire and share postures, practices, tools and skills – and find the courage in community – to nurture the conditions for moving congregations outwards into cross-cultural pioneering mission among people who are not like them, and to manage the shift of balance from an inherited mode to a mixed ecology of church.”

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Page last updated: Wednesday 8th May 2024 4:50 PM
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