Suffolk Centre Of Mission
Suffolk Centre of Mission in partnership with the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has a diocese-wide vision for Evangelism and Pioneering. The purpose of the Centre of Mission is to be a hub for evangelism for the diocese involving training others to join in evangelism in a variety of ways and also hands-on evangelism and pioneering, providing a centre where good practice can be seen and shared. The Centre of Mission will work both face to face and online for training and evangelism.
Specifically, the Centre of Mission will:
- Run Diocesan-wide Evangelism training using Church Army’s Faith Empowered material building on the existing Licensed Lay Evangelist scheme.
- Lead and model evangelism in South West Ipswich, nurturing fresh expressions amongst groups who are not connecting with the prevalent forms of church.
- Develop the Pilgrim Together Community, a Lightwave Pioneering Project in a rural part of the diocese, sharing the story of that community and mentoring and encouraging others in evangelism and pioneering to enable the model to be replicated in an appropriately contextual way.
- Work with the diocesan Mission and Ministry team to develop a Mission Apprentice Programme for young evangelists using Church Army’s Envoy programme.
- Run one-off, in-person and online events to inspire evangelism and pioneering.
- Build an evangelism-focussed community around the Centre of Mission consisting of those involved in volunteering and the existing Licensed Lay Evangelists, Lay Pioneers and Mission Apprentices
Update: 28 September 2022
Suffolk Centre of Mission has a bold vision to equip churches for evangelism across the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. To do this, the three Evangelists; James Hawksworth, Gail Southgate, and Will Abbott are engaging in training people in evangelism and modelling evangelism in particular local settings:
- James Hawksworth – Pioneer Evangelist South West Ipswich
James is working with a group of 18 young people who have no background in Christianity. A space for reflection and presence is much needed and the group are beginning to explore faith in a way that encourages openness and honesty. This has begun to bear fruit as the young people are beginning to pray and form as a small budding community. James is making partnerships with the local church and Further Education college and also working on opening the doors into the local secondary school. The work in Ipswich forms part of Inspiring Ipswich, a diocesan project with Church Commissioners funding to make new disciples across Ipswich.
- Gail Southgate – Lead Evangelist
Gail works within the Lightwave community which is a diocesan wide network of Fresh Expressions where she both leads a Fresh Expression, Pilgrims Together and is developing Envoy as a core part of Evangelism training in the diocese. Pilgrims Together gather to worship both in person and online. As a community they are reaching out to people who are moving into new housing in the village by welcoming them, offering prayer and gifting spider plants. In partnership with the local pub they also meet for Breakfast Rambles and Good News Faith Café where a community is developing with different members leading sessions and discussions about faith.
James Hawksworth writes…
Young people already know about social action, probably a lot more than the church does because we focus a lot on what we believe, rather than necessarily what we do, whereas they would say social action is more important than anything else.
So, I think, how do we build a relationship with the Revolutionary God when they’re already Revolutionary?
I want our young people to experience that shift in perspective that only encountering God can give. We’ve started praying with one another and practicing some spiritual exercises, encouraging them to engage with the Other, with the spiritual, rather than just the knowledge of who He is.
None of the kids are from faith backgrounds except maybe one, and my daughter. At first many were quite anti-Christian, even in our youth group.
One girl, put this song on the karaoke machine that we have, and they were all singing along to these lyrics about ending up on your knees in a leash at church. I had to ask them if that’s how they see us, as Christian youth leaders, and they responded, ‘oh no, you’re different,’ but we could see there was a journey to take.
Last week, we discovered the same girl, who has become so much more supportive of what we’re doing, at the front of the church behind the altar, praying with another girl.
INSTEAD OF SNEAKING OFF TO DO SOMETHING THEY SHOULDN’T, OR BECAUSE THEY WERE BORED, THEY HAD FOUND A QUIET SPACE TO PRAY TOGETHER.
It was beautiful.
James Hawksworth, Suffolk Centre of Mission
Evangelists & Leaders
Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich
The Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich was founded in 1914 and includes the county of Suffolk, with the exceptions of an area of North East Suffolk around Lowestoft, and one parish in the county of Essex. Serving about 631,000 people living in a geographical area of more than 1,400 square miles, the communities of the diocese are served by 443 parishes within 106 benefices and 16 deaneries.