From the Pen of Stanway Pioneer, Rev’d Wendy Pagden - Blog 1, 14 October 2019
Two weeks ago today I was Licensed as Pioneer Minister in Stanway. What a wonderful, energetic, affirming and empowering service it was! My thanks go to all in St Albright’s, especially Michael for crafting the service along with Rev’d Tony, the Ministry Team and David, together with choir. Bishop Roger, Archdeacon Ruth and each person who was there and who welcomed me, thank you! Thank you, too, to all who provided wonderful hospitality for all the many friends, family and supporters who came to the service. I have been well and truly welcomed and commissioned for this new ministry in Stanway, with St Albright’s. Praise God that it is not in my strength that this work will be done, but by the power and transforming presence of God, through his Spirit, working in each of our lives.
‘What exactly is Pioneer Ministry?’ I hear you ask. Well, it’s many things. At its heart it’s sharing the love of God with people who don’t yet know him. It’s scattering the seeds of the Kingdom of God in new fields and in fresh territory; it’s seeing what is and imagining what could be; it’s prayerfully ‘seeing what God is doing and joining in’. A pioneer doesn’t have a road map, so it’s about exploring and listening and looking out for signs of God at work in people’s lives: spiritual mapping, I call it. It’s working together with others to proclaim the Good News of Kingdom of God and to enable spiritual conversations and growth. It’s praying for God’s peace, love and blessing to come and dwell in us, in the lives of our neighbours and in our community. A new friend reminded me today that God is the God of ‘fresh chances and new beginnings.’ That’s good news indeed.
Why am I doing this pioneering? For two reasons: firstly, the Church of England has a renewed vision for the many people who no longer attend the established church and yet are spiritually alive and hungry to know more of God: the people inside our parishes but outside our walls. The second reason is that God has called me to this role: ‘You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last.’ God’s calling usually emerges over time rather than appearing in a flash of revelation, and it has certainly been that way for me – do ask if you’re curious to know more!
I’d like to invite you to join me in this new venture in any one or all of these ways:
- for a team of people to join me with different gifts, skills and vision;
- for us to find ‘People of Peace’ in the New Housing Developments;
- for a suitable and affordable house (purchased by the Diocese) in the new Housing Development closest to the church
- Would you be happy to invite me and a few of your neighbours around for a cup of tea or coffee? I’d love the opportunity to meet people and to listen to their stories, as well as to explain very simply: Who I am; What I’m doing here and Why.
Enough from me. How exciting this new pioneering venture is…watch this space!