From the Clergy
In marketing terms the word new is often regarded as the most positive, powerful word (closely followed by the word free!). In Church terms the word new often has quite the opposite effect; it raises concerns about change and loss and a disturbance of the comfort we enjoy and the ways with which we are familiar. However, there are two new things beginning this month which I believe are positive, exciting and I pray we’ll all see as something of God’s blessing and provision for us.
The first new thing affects us all across the Team: the launch of a new ‘Mission Partnership’, a partnership including the churches of the Harborough Team and those of the Welham benefice and the Langtons & Shangton.
The Mission Partnership will be a little like the Team but without the legalities. It is, as it says, a ‘partnership’ for the purposes of improving our ‘mission’. To begin with our aim will be to discover more about the ways we can effectively do things and share together and learn from each other. Over the next three years we shall purposefully work out whether there is a better and more efficient way we can formally be joined together.
The point of taking three years is so that we can work this out ‘from the bottom up’, i.e. as Christians working out what best furthers our common life and strengthens our witness and how that is organisationally best arranged.
The Revd Janet Gasper was licensed as Priest in Charge of the Welham benefice and the Langtons & Shangton on 1st October and, as clergy, we shall be leading this process and with laity representing all of our churches, sharing in responsibility for our common life as a new Mission Partnership.
The second new thing is centred on St Dionysius but has a much broader scope. Early in November we welcome The Revd Jonathan Dowman to the Diocese as one of the three new Pioneer Development Workers. Jonathan, his wife Emma and children Amber and Ethan will be living in Marston Trussell and Jonathan will be based, for about 20% of his time, with the Harborough Team, working on a ‘Fresh Expressions’ project with St Dionysius.
‘Fresh Expressions’ are new forms of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church. Fresh expressions serve those outside church, listen to people and enter their culture, make discipleship a priority and form church. Jonathan will bring his rich experience and skills to work with us in this ministry in Market Harborough.
Both of these initiatives are forms of ‘new Church’, new ways of building on the traditions of the past, learning from them, being faithful to the roots of our Faith and growing the Church in our generation.
I ask your prayers for Jonathan, Emma, Amber and Ethan as they join us and begin their new ministry with us. I ask your prayers for our new Mission Partnership and for God’s guidance on a new, richer future together.
Much then that is new; I hope you will see this as positive and powerful and part of God’s graceful, generous provision for us, a wonderful blessing for us, that we may be a blessing to others.
Rev Richard Brand, Team Rector
Jonathan Dowman introduces himself
In times gone by cartographers would map the world informing travellers of unexplored territories through a simple phrase. These uncharted places were lands of opportunity, but also of uncertainty and risk. They were given the name of ‘terra incognita’ or the ‘unknown land.’
In recent years, the church has been beginning to learn what it means to embrace life in the ‘terra incognita’ not in some far flung place but locally, on our door step and with those with little connection to any Christian community. The Fresh Expressions movement and growth in the training and equipping of lay pioneers are enabling God’s people to engage in culture in innovative and relevant ways, whilst still honouring and drawing strength from the wider established church.
This Autumn the Diocese launches a new ministry within the Mission and Ministry Team, through the appointment of three full-time Pioneer Development Workers of which I am one. Our task is to help the Diocese embrace the ‘terra incognita’ and the many opportunities that churches across the Diocese face in mission. The Diocesan vision is of seeing 320 maturing fresh expressions of Church in 2030 led by over 600 licensed Pioneers, most of whom will be lay volunteers working in teams across the Diocese.
I am looking forward to starting in my new role in early November. I will be leading on teaching and learning while my colleagues Mads Morgan and Matt Pitt will be taking on coaching and research roles respectively. Each of us will be working across the diocese, but will be rooted in a local pioneering community exploring the terra incognita with its churches. For my family and me that is going to be based near Market Harborough which we are excited about.
I am currently the leader of a well-established Fresh Expression called B1 in Birmingham city centre. We are an all age community and explore what it means for our Christian faith to be geared around a shared way of life, rather than a style of church. We have found that this is something that resonates with many people today who are looking for a deep sense of community and an authentic way to live well.
I am ordained and formerly was the curate in five rural parishes in Ely Diocese and a primary school teacher before that. I love the church and it is my home, yet I and my family share a call to travel out from the familiar into the terra incognita for the sake of others
I am married to Emma (also a teacher, pioneer and a children’s and families worker) and we have two children; Amber (7) and Ethan (3). We believe that God has called us as a family to Market Harborough. As a family we are entering the terra incognita, but we hope that as we get to know you we may be able to explore what this might mean with you. Together Emma and I hope that we may be able to help create a pioneering Christian community with you and the Harborough Team. This will help people to encounter God, be transformed in the everydayness of life and follow Jesus Christ.
We look forward to meeting you soon!
What does the Bible really say about…
As the culmination of our Team's year focusing on the Bible, we have a series of evenings looking at some of the contentious areas of moral interpretation and application of scripture. These will be of interest to churchgoers and anyone affected by these issues. The meetings are open to all.
Wednesday 12th November – What does the Bible really say about Global Warming?
Rev Andrew Quigley – Diocesan Environment Officer
7.30pm St Dionysius
Saturday 15th November – What does the Bible really say about Money?
The Right Reverend Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester
7pm St Dionysius
Wednesday 19th November – What does the Bible really say about Marriage?
The Rev Canon David Jennings, Canon Theologian, Leicester Cathedral
7.30pm St Nicholas
Wednesday 26th November – What does the Bible really say about War?
Rev Tony Coslett, former Army Chaplain
7.30pm St Dionysius.
An intriguing and challenging conclusion to the Team's year’s focus, with the chance to engage with serious issues, to ask questions, and enjoy refreshments!
MISSION PARTNERSHIP LAUNCH WEEKEND
15 & 16 November
Welland Valley Mission Partnership
Visit of Bishop of Leicester
Invitation to Events
A walk from Great Bowden to Thorpe Langton Church, via Welham Parish with Bishop Tim. Leaving from St Peter & St Paul Church Great Bowden at 1pm on Saturday 15 November. All welcome. Bring suitable footwear.
Building a Healthy Church.
A workshop to explore ideas about the life and mission of the Church with Ministry & Mission expert Revd Nicky McGinty. At St Nicholas Church, Little Bowden on Saturday 15 November at 1.30pm. Light refreshments served. All welcome.
What does Bible say about money? A topical talk by Bishop Tim with a question & answer session. St Dionysius Church, on Saturday 15 November at 7pm. Tea & coffee available. All welcome.
Special Combined Service.
Eucharist, Confirmation & Launch of new Mission Partnership at St Peter’s, Church Langton on Sunday 16 November at 10.30am, with Bishop Tim presiding. All welcome.
Church Langton Community Hall on Sunday 16 November from 12.15pm, after the service. Please sign up on the sheet in your local Church by 1 November at the latest.