The Bishop of Taunton, the Rt Revd Ruth Worsley has announced that Paul Elliston is to join the Diocese of Bath and Wells as Bathpool Pioneer in July.
Paul is the first person to be appointed as part of the diocese’s innovative Pioneer Project. The project aims to create nine new pioneer posts by 2020, from which the dream of a culture of pioneering and innovation across the diocese will grow.
The diocese has been awarded £1.6m funding from the national church and made its own financial commitment of £1.5m to establish the new posts.
Making the announcement, Bishop Ruth said, “Sending Paul out to build relationships will enable new Christian community to come into being and we’re praying he will find new ways to share the story of Christ’s love for each new neighbour. We pray God’s blessing on him and the whole Bathpool community.”
Paul joins the diocese from World Vision UK, a Christian and community-based organisation and the world’s largest child-focused development agency. At World Vision UK, Paul champions and supports community transformation. He works with communities in Latin America and the Middle East to listen and identify areas and needs that can be met by collaborative working with partners and by the community members themselves.
Paul will be moving to Somerset from Newport Pagnell near Milton Keynes where he lives with his wife Rachel and six-year-old son Micah.
Paul says, “I’m really looking forward to moving to the area and becoming part of Bathpool, building relationships as I listen to local residents and walk alongside them and as I bring to bear some of my community-building work and experience.”
The need for a pioneer in Bathpool was first recognised by church leaders in Taunton Deanery and South Quantock Benefice. Revd Mary Styles is Rector in the Benefice and will work closely with Paul, providing support and supervision. Mary adds, “Paul brings a real heart for God and for seeing this new community develop by encountering Jesus for themselves. Paul will build on the things we have already started. He’ll be listening to God and to this community as he helps us pioneer new projects. We are hugely excited to be welcoming Paul and his family to Bathpool.”