Gloucester Centre of Mission
Gloucester City and the Forest of Dean
Find out about the Gloucester Centre of Mission here
Gloucester Centre of Mission brings Church Army’s vision of taking hope, hand-in-hand with action, to the places that need it most. This centre of mission is doing just that in Matson; a community on the edge of Gloucester, bordered by countryside with some areas of significant deprivation.
Update: 20 September 2022
In July 2019, Andy and Emma Wilson, along with their daughter, moved to Gloucester to establish a Centre of Mission that would be part of bringing the light of hope to some of the social and economic needs faced by people in the area of Matson.
Launching a Centre of Mission in a new place always starts with getting to know the local people and the local area. They first concentrated on building good relations with neighbours and the wider community – initially through cups of tea, conversations, meals and usual intentional social activity. They often worked from an existing community hub where, with local partners, they set up a pay-as-you-can community freezer. But it wasn’t long before the coronavirus pandemic changed life as we know it and soon the country was in lockdown. The Centre of Mission moved as much activity as possible online in a big way to maintain relationships and to help to build community. This was particularly crucial in Matson; a neighbourhood where many feel isolated and excluded. Andy broadcasted five days a week on Facebook Live, hosting social chats, quizzes, prayer times and, progressively discussions around faith.
Three years on and a community has developed around Andy & Emma:
- Share Matson is a community which consists of around 25 people who are journeying with the Gloucester Centre of Mission by eating together and exploring faith, and in some cases studying the Bible together.
- Long Table Matson, a community café established and run by Emma and a team on a pay-as-you-can basis. This has become a space where clothes swaps and a range of other community activities happen regularly.
- Craft Church has been developing since Easter with some seven or eight key families, none of whom have any real church background.
All of this has helped against the background of a culture of isolation and lack of security around Matson. Some people have become close and then drawn back, and others have joined. But at the heart of it is a community of people who are taking small steps together along the journey of following Jesus, and of building trust and relationship within their neighbourhood.
Sonya Newton Joins the Gloucester Centre of Mission
The Diocese of Gloucester and Church Army are pleased to announce that the Rev Sonya Newton has been appointed as Pioneer Evangelist with the Gloucester Centre of Mission, working in the south central part of the city.
Sonya has most recently been working with St Oswald’s, Coney Hill as a pioneer curate, and leading Celebrate, a fresh expression of church at Priors Park, Tewkesbury.
The Centre of Mission works amongst people who are not currently connected with church, primarily in marginalised areas, helping them to discover the joy of trusting Jesus and of making a difference in their area. Together they will establish new Christian communities that fit local needs. One particular focus will be young parents and adults and their families.
The Centre of Mission is headed by Andy Wilson, Lead Evangelist, who works mainly in Matson in the south of the city. Sonya and Andy will work as a team. Sonya will focus on the inner suburbs of Tredworth, Podsmead, Linden and surrounding areas. She will start her new role on 17 June. They look forward to collaborating with local churches, including St Paul’s & St Stephen’s, and to encouraging pioneering evangelism in the wider diocese.
Andy Wilson Writes…
We aim to have a holistic approach to food and ministry, where we treat people with dignity and feed them well, through locally procured produce and not just with the cast-offs from supermarkets. Our hope is to inspire and enable them to grow in their self-worth and value through providing healthy and budget-friendly living skills through our slow cooker classes; through our pay-as-you-can café; and through employment, offering local jobs.
We really want to do something different here, that will help break the dependency culture, meet important local needs and help people know they are valued by God.
Through our café we supply good quality healthy food, largely from local producers, creating a circular economy whilst looking after people the best we can.
THE CAFÉ, WHICH IS OPEN TO ANYONE, IS A NON-JUDGMENTAL SPACE FOR THOSE WHO ARE LONELY, FEELING ISOLATED, HAVE NOBODY TO TALK TOO, OR THOSE WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO COME and EAT AND DO SOME MEANINGFUL LIFE TOGETHER.
Andy Wilson, Gloucester Centre of Mission
Type of Work
Church Planting /
Evangelists & Leaders
Andy Wilson, Lead Evangelist
Sonya Newton, Pioneer Evangelist
Diocese of Gloucester
The Diocese of Gloucester is a Church of England community in and around Gloucestershire, committed to sharing the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that people may know life in all its fullness.