heading off to australia this morning to take part in a few things (see previous blog post here). i am officially an artist as part of the womad fringe which is a first!
i spent the last two days with several ordained pioneer ministers in the church of england and several people involved in diocesan structures in the central south area of england to have a dialogue about how things are working (or not) and can be improved. pioneer minister is still such a new official category that there are a lot of unknowns. but it was certainly good to have the conversation, and it was one that wouldn't even have made sense several years ago within the church structures.
two thoughts came up that struck me. the first was that the category of mission was only added as a criteria for selection and being ordained generally in the church of england a few years ago. of course this now seems like a glaring omission - how did that happen? but now the conversations (and for me this demonstrates how much has changed) are based on the assumption that all leaders need to be missional and to help their churches be. so rather than the church having added a few pioneers in the mix the outcome is as much that the whole has been affected - like some yeast or salt has got into the whole mix.
the second thought was something that bishop colin flecther said to pioneers which was an encouragement to take control. the backdop to this was him suggesting that there seemed to be a danger that pioneers had too dependent an expectation that as he put it mummy church and daddy bishop ought to provide salary, house, job, pension etc. but there was much more possibility if pioneers seize hold of things in a good way to take initiative with ideas, mission opportunities, sustainability and so on. of course the retort could be that the same challenge should be issued to all leaders in the church. but i welcomed this encouragement.
with all this support from the institution we still need plenty of pioneers to not fit the structures, not get ordained and find new edges!