This week we welcome Richard and Mandy Priestley as they take on their joint new role, Encourager of New Christian Communities. The role is a new post funded through the Pioneer Project.
Mandy and Richard are job sharing the role alongside their existing jobs; Mandy will continue in her part-time post as IME Phase 2 Officer (leading the training and support of curates) and Richard will continue half-time as priest-in-charge of Beacon Trinity.
Richard says, ‘it was important to us that we could job share because the two of us complement each other in the work we do. It was also important to continue as priest-in-charge because when we talk to other parishes and other clergy, who are struggling with what they’ve already got and then they have someone saying, ‘you need to start something new’, we are able to say, ‘we understand that because we’ve got that too.’
The diocesan aim of the Encourager of New Christian Communities role is to become more intentional about encouraging and equipping new and existing Fresh Expressions teams, sharing experience and good practice in what they are doing, helping them to discern how to grow community, become resilient through the phases of a young church’s life.
Revd Tina Hodgett, is the Pioneer Project Lead, “I am delighted that Mandy and Richard have joined us. They are experienced church planters and leaders of Fresh Expressions, and will come alongside leaders of Messy, Café and Outdoor churches and anyone hoping to experiment with contextual church to encourage, train, coach and advise as appropriate.”
Mandy and Richard join the Evangelism and Pioneer Team and will be hitting the ground running reaching out to anyone currently leading a Fresh Expression to see how they can serve.
Mandy and Richard who are both Church Army commissioned evangelists, have thirty years’ experience of church planting, Fresh Expressions and pioneering in a variety of contexts. As Mandy says, ‘the job plays into our gifts and experience with regard to coaching and supporting others – we hope to bring to it all our experience and our failures, because they’re as helpful as our experience.’
Mandy says of the role, ‘We don’t want anyone to feel excluded. We feel that this is a very inclusive post because it’s something that everybody can be part of, it’s a real opening up, we will talk to anybody about any of their ideas.’
If you would like to get in touch with Richard or Mandy about your ideas, they’d love to hear from you.