Suffolk Centre Of Mission


Suffolk Centre of Mission is a Diocese-wide hub for Evangelism and Pioneering. It works in partnership with and in support of both parish churches and fresh expressions of church. The Centre of Mission offers training; seeks to invite others to join in mission and evangelism in a variety of ways and provides hands-on pioneering.

“The Suffolk Centre of Mission is not a physical building, instead it aims to be at the centre of people – bringing people together and encouraging people to understand and share their faith story. Through this, we will enable all groups to grow – whether a parish church community, PCC, Lightwave group, youth project, a Fresh Expression or even as an individual person.” – Gail Southgate, Suffolk Centre of Mission Lead Evangelist

The Suffolk Centre of Mission is the overarching holding place for various training and support programmes including:

  • Envoy programme: Church Army’s model of Envoy Communities is an innovative peer-led approach to developing personal evangelism and effectiveness in living missionally. Envoy communities are formed of up to 6 people including a facilitator. Distinct practices are learned and applied such that the group speak and release value for each other, deepen faith and step into mission and evangelism appropriate for each person and their context. Communities may form from one church family / Lightwave group or individuals may gather from different churches or groups. Such diversity can often bring enrichment and insight from outside contexts.
  • Church Army’s Faith Suite: Offering a set of resources which enable churches of all traditions to explore sharing faith both as individual members and corporately as a church family.
  • Missional Youth Church Network (MYCN): The mission of MYCN is to enable local schools, churches and community projects to work together to reimagine church with young people. MYCN facilitate a Learning Community in order that youth leaders and volunteers can come together for training, encouragement, prayer and support as they build for the future. Missional Youth Church Network. The Suffolk Centre of Mission provides direct support and advice to assist the development of youth churches across Suffolk based on the MYCN model.
  • Gail Southgate – Lead Evangelist

The Suffolk Centre of Mission is led by Evangelist, Gail Southgate. Gail is co-leader of the Lightwave group ‘Pilgrims Together’, a small group who gather together from within the Leiston and Alde Sandlings area to worship both in person in outdoor locations where people gather and online. As a community they are reaching out to people who are moving into their local area by welcoming them, offering prayer and gifting spider plants. In partnership with the local pub, they meet for monthly Breakfast Rambles and a Good News Faith Café. These groups are developing with different members leading sessions and discussions about faith. Gail will continue to grow and develop ‘Pilgrims Together’ while also sharing her experience and learning with others who wish to set up similar groups. Gail also supports the parish church in Leiston in planning missional activities in the local community.

Gail is also instrumental in facilitating Envoy Communities across the diocese, Envoy is a core part of Evangelism and Pioneering training and is already supporting people in our parishes and Lightwave groups. Gail is excited about how Envoy can really develop people in their setting. Envoy promotes discussion, actioning ideas, prayer, and celebrating success and it has been key to growing a number of groups in the diocese already.

  • James Hawksworth – Pioneer Evangelist South West Ipswich

Gail is supported by James Hawksworth, Pioneer Evangelist in Southwest Ipswich. James is pioneering a youth community which meets on Friday evenings. He is developing partnerships with local churches, schools and colleges. James’ work and passion is rooted in the development of missional youth church using the MYCN model. James is currently working in collaboration with a local primary school and local 6th form college building relationship and offering pastoral care. James is keen to share his experience and support others. He shares in hosting Centre of Mission Envoy Communities.

Gail and James will continue to develop their communities while encouraging others to step out into the community to share God’s love in creative, contextually relevant ways.

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.


It was beautiful.

James Hawksworth, Suffolk Centre of Mission

Evangelists & Leaders

Gail Southgate

James Hawksworth

Connect with Suffolk Centre of Mission


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.

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