The Diocese of Bath and Wells has been awarded £1.6m by the Church of England Commissioners to deliver an innovative project that will create nine new pioneer posts to generate and germinate pioneering activity across Somerset.
The nine pioneer posts will be phased in over three years, 2018-2020. Each post will be for an initial 5 years. The recruitment process is set to begin in early 2018 and applications from both lay and ordained people will be welcomed.
The purpose of the new posts will be to reach out to areas and communities where the church has little impact. Those appointed will focus on areas of deprivation, new communities and work with young people.
The pioneers will be open to God’s missional imagination as they seek to establish new and sustainable worshipping communities and to act as catalysts of further pioneering activity. Alongside this, the diocese will identify, train, and support emerging ‘grass roots pioneers’. These will be voluntary, unpaid pioneers who have a vocation to mission in their local context.
Revd Tina Hodgett, Evangelism Team Leader in Bath and Wells will oversee delivery of the project. She says, “We dream of a culture of innovation across the diocese, for which the nine pioneer posts will be an important catalyst. The ultimate aim is that this project releases creativity and starts a ripple effect of grass roots pioneering right across Somerset.
“By 2025, it is our hope and prayer that God will establish a new generation of worshipping communities and social enterprises, complementing our current family of parishes and churches, as he extends the kingdom here in Bath and Wells.
“We are delighted that the Church Commissioners have really grasped this vision and are supporting us in this way to make it a reality.”
The project is one of eight across England to receive a share of £24.4 million in funding to support major work on growth and change in the Church of England. It is a key part of the Diocese of Bath and Wells’ strategy and its vision to live and tell the story of Jesus within our communities. The grant is matched by a financial commitment of £1.5m from the Diocesan Board of Finance.