The Revd Rob Jones, who will lead the national Pioneer Ministry team, introduced its plans in the following article for the December/January edition of the Church of Ireland Gazette. The team will also include Archdeacon Barry Forde and Ingrid Brennan.
A new initiative of the Church of Ireland to reach those with little or no connection to the good news of Jesus Christ is to be launched in February. The Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin will formally launch and commission the Pioneer Ministry Team in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, on 5th February 2023. The preacher will be the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Andrew John.
What is the vision of Pioneer Ministry?
Pioneer Ministries will emerge from within and serve alongside parishes and dioceses that seek to introduce new and additional ways of doing church.
How has Pioneer Ministry arrived here?
Pioneer Ministry has been discussed and reported at the Church of Ireland General Synod since 2012, with a Pioneer Ministry Working Group being established in 2013. Since then the Working Group and its sub–committees have identified a wide range of diocesan pioneering initiatives, set up an ‘Inter–Diocesan Learning Experience’ engaging with teams from across nine dioceses, and created a collaborative group of Diocesan Pioneer Advocates.
What is happening now with Pioneer Ministry?
The House of Bishops, General Synod, and Representative Body have agreed to build and capitalise on the fruit of the above programs by formalising and resourcing Pioneer Ministry. The hope and heart will be to encourage, support and release a new movement that has the capacity to reach new people in new places in new ways.
These are the five desired outcomes for Pioneer Ministry:
Set up a Pioneer Ministry Council and Pioneer Leadership Team
A ‘Pioneer Ministry Council’ will be established as a body of General Synod to uphold and to advocate for the vision of Pioneer Ministry and to oversee the delivery of its objectives and values. A ‘Pioneer Ministry Leadership Team’ will be the primary driver for all work and activity to deliver the vision, objectives and values of Pioneer Ministry across the Church of Ireland.
Establish Pioneer Ministry Hubs
Pioneer Ministry Hubs will be key focal points, fully embedded within each diocese to support its life and mission. Hubs will deliver training and resourcing for parish and diocesan volunteers, support pioneer initiatives and grow learning communities. They will support and be supported by the Pioneer Leadership Team and will network and collaborate with pioneer ministry across the whole church.
Identify, train , deploy and support pioneer ministers
A large focus over the next fifteen months will be the formation of a recognised and contextualised training course for funded pioneers delivered through CITI and our main training partner, Church Army. These Pioneers will emerge from within dioceses, be approved by the Bishop, and will be deployed into a pioneer ministry, –
Set up new pioneer communities and churches
The creation of new pioneer learning communities in each diocese will encourage and equip leaders within their pioneering contexts, and will work alongside them to explore and establish new ministries and new Christian communities within those contexts for the 21st century.
Recognition and resourcing
To embed pioneer ministry within the culture and structures of the Church of Ireland at every level – Parish, Diocese, General Synod and RCB. Pioneer Ministry will work with diocesan bishops and within diocesan structures, to ensure that pioneer ministry is recognised and integrated within the mission of each diocese.
The Pioneer Ministry website is www.pioneerministry.org and will be updated as the launch approaches.
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