We are delighted to announce the appointment of our new pioneers for Chard and Frome. Tom Tame is to become the pioneer for Chard; Elizabeth and Andrew Alden together take up the pioneer post in Frome. All will work with young people to explore where God is at work in their neighbourhood and engage with the church and local community to help, support and encourage young adults to walk in the way of Jesus.
Revd Ann Kember, Rector of St Mary’s Chard and Tom’s local supervisor, said “We know that there are many young people who are lost and seek for meaning and community, but do not know where to turn. We believe that God has placed this on our hearts, and called our pioneers here to carry out this important work of bringing the gospel and its message of freedom, hope and love to our young people.”
Tom, who is 28 joins Bath and Wells from Surrey where he has been working as a Church Youth Minister for the past 7 years; leading youth and children’s projects in churches in Guilford. He has also just completed a degree at St Mellitus College in Theology and Youth Work. Tom says he is excited to be joining in with God’s mission for young people, to help create opportunities for them to flourish.
“The great thing about pioneering is that you throw everything you’ve learnt out of the window and rely on God to be working and drawing people in and leading the way a lot more. This is an opportunity to see young people’s lives change in real and authentic ways. The fact that I don’t know what that looks like yet, is quite exciting.”
Revd Ann Kember said, “In October 2019 the Deanery set an action plan with mission at its heart. It set out a desire to affirm pioneer activity as the way ahead, acknowledging that existing models of church currently have little impact, particularly on discipling young people. Tom, as our Youth Pioneer will be a leader in this crucial work reaching out to young people beyond the established pattern of church.”
Elizabeth and Andrew Alden start in Frome in December. They will move from Weston super Mare, where they have lived for the past 17 years. Elizabeth was the Chaplain at King’s Wessex School, for 5 years. It’s a role she has thoroughly enjoyed. Andrew is the vicar at St Paul’s Church in Weston. Elizabeth says, “we both have a calling for young people. Young people come to us, they want to spend time with us and to learn from us which I find quite extraordinary.”
Her feelings are echoed by Andrew, “I have almost a gut level reaction when I see how few young adults there are walking in the way of Jesus with the church as it is at the moment. Certainly, I have spent a lot of my ministry trying to encourage young adults into leadership in church because ultimately, they are the only people who can reimagine it so that it works for the new generation.”
Though sad to be leaving Weston, their home for almost two decades, Andrew and Elizabeth say not only are they excited to see where God will be leading them in Frome, they are also excited to see what God will be doing at St Pauls. “We love these people they’re our family, we really want to feel that they are sending us out, it’s not that we are leaving and they’re losing us but they are sending us out on mission. We will continue to pray for them and bless them as they go forward with their mission in Weston.”
Revd Graham Owen, Area Dean for Frome, who will be Elizabeth and Andrew’s local supervisor, said “We are excited at the prospect of a new pioneer ministry in Frome and very much looking forward to welcoming and supporting Andrew and Elizabeth Alden as they begin this new adventure of bringing the story of Jesus afresh to the 16 – 25 age group.”