“Our vision is for someone who would come into our community to hear the heartbeat, to learn the culture and context of the people in the village and to create a way of taking Jesus into the community in a new fresh way, so that everyone from the very youngest, to the very oldest might encounter Him.”
Revd Caroline Walker, was speaking at the online licensing of Revd Alex Holmes, the Rode Rural Pioneer for the Benefice of Hardington Vale. Alex’s role marks a significant moment in the life of the Diocese as a House for Duty role has been re-purposed for the sake of those beyond the fringes of church. It is an outward-looking model that could be taken up in other parishes and benefices.
Tina Hodgett Evangelism and Pioneer Team Leader says, “The pioneer role is one of being an apostle. As the disciples were thrown out of their upper room when Pentecost happened, pioneers have a call to be outside of the church as much as inside and for the benefit of people who haven’t heard the story in language they really understand. The role of the pioneer is to demonstrate that and to model it, and I am sure Alex will do that really well.”
Alex’s will combine her new role with studying for a PHD. “Pioneering is the style of ministry I have become increasingly called to. This post will allow me to combine those challenges with my passion for rural ministry and discovering how ministry in rural areas might creatively meet the challenges it faces today.”
Alex is currently based in Blagdon where she started as a curate. Before coming to Somerset Alex lived in Stratford on Avon where she project managed the setting up of a foodbank and continued to work in areas of social justice before she was ordained, but Alex says she always felt God was calling her to be out in the community as much as in church.
Welcoming Alex, Revd Caroline said, “As a pioneer we are looking forward to how you are going to help lead us to new areas of being people of God, of taking Jesus into the community, of raising up something amazing and new that’s built on the old foundations.”