Twenty four students on the North and West Yorkshire Fresh Expressions mission shaped ministry course were commissioned at the weekend by James Bell, Bishop of Knaresborough and Brian Hoare, a former President of the Methodist Conference. The group, including lay and clergy, Anglicans, Baptists and Methodists, had completed the ten month course, which is designed to equip them start new forms of church in a variety of contexts.
Reminding them what their commissioning was all about, Bishop James said that it wasn’t about them, but about the person of Jesus. He also encouraged them not to attempt too much, but to ‘do a few things well’. He also reminded them that ‘producing fruit was so important, especially sacrificial love which has a desire to serve other people’.
Before the students were commissioned at Knaresborough Methodist Church, they placed apples in a basket on the communion table, symbolizing their desire to be fruitful for God. On them were written words which illustrated ways in which God was encouraging a harvest in their lives and work as they began to establish and lead fresh expressions of church.
The 2014 course was run by Karin Shaw, Fresh Expressions Adviser and Hannah Smith, Pioneer curate at the Riverside Church in Leeds. The next course in North and West Yorkshire is due to start next autumn.. It will be based in Knaresborough and open to up to thirty five people from the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales or Methodists in the "Yorkshire Plus" region.
In total, more than 3,000 students have completed mission shaped ministry in the UK alone “The learning community helps churches connect with people beyond the usual fringe of church and busy people set up fresh expressions of church where appropriate” says Karin Shaw. “It is a vibrant community of encouragement for anyone seeking to make their church more Mission Shaped for people who would not normally come to church.”
Please contact karinmshaw [at] googlemail.com for more information.