The diocese is preparing to welcome Strathmore Community Church to the family as its newest pioneer mission unit. The church was founded out of a desire to share the love of God with those who would not normally come to church and as a result, it is constantly looking for fresh and innovative ways of being the body of Christ.
Hilary Hague, the church’s pastor, says that the group who founded the church initially felt strongly called to bring a spiritual component to their work with a local youth trust, but that their approach developed and expanded over time. “We needed to find a way of being church that was welcoming and inclusive and felt safe for people who were not used to church,” Hilary says; and Strathmore Community Church was born.
Pioneer mission units are our diocese’s way of supporting those who are on the edge of what might be considered to be traditional ministry, whilst in turn, learning from them as they explore and develop innovative approaches to ministry. That means that together, we might better reach those who don’t know God. Our pioneer mission units form the Spiral Network, and one of the Chaplains to the Spiral Network is Jenny Duckworth. “The Spiral Network gives us a sense of connectedness between the ‘centre’ of the church and ministries happening on the ‘edge’ of the diocese,” Jenny says. “It offers us a way of providing wisdom and resource from the [established] centre, but to learn from the experiences of the edge ministries.”
Being a pioneer mission unit will make “an enormous difference,” says Hilary. “Strathmore Community Church is trying a really different way of being church and trying new things can be hard and quite lonely. It is so nice to be part of something solid, that is bigger than we are. We appreciate the prayer and encouragement and advice we receive and being linked to a group of people who believe in us.”
The covenant between the diocese and the church is not the only component to this developing relationship. At the same time as becoming a pioneer mission unit, the Community Church will enter into a partnership with the Parish of Miramar-Seatoun-Strathmore, which will see them utilising Seatoun’s St George’s Church as their new permanent home. Janet Williams, People’s Warden in the parish, tells us that the relationship came together last year on a platform of prayer. Since the merger of St George’s Seatoun and St Aidan’s Miramar, the parish had been praying about what to do with the lesser used church in Seatoun. Furthermore, one of the parishioners had been praying for the Strathmore community for nearly twenty years, so Janet feels that the coming together of the parish with the Community Church is a perfect union.
“We all have different skills, so this enables us to work together. It’s the centre looking after the edge, but the edge can filter back into the centre,” Janet says.
The Community Church will be welcomed into the diocese, and will begin their formal relationship with the parish, at a powhiri on the 8th of April, at St George’s Church Seatoun. All are welcome, and are asked to arrive before 3:45pm for a 4pm start. There will be a short service, followed by a light dinner, so please register your attendance for catering purposes by emailing Helen on firstname.lastname@example.org.