Cumbria celebrates first commissioning of a mission community

Church leaders have officiated at the first commissioning of a mission community in Cumbria.

Team members of the Binsey Mission Community celebrate at the commissioning service.The Binsey Mission Community covers 250 square miles, taking in some of the Northern Fells, going up to the Solway Plain and the newly created mission community includes 12 Anglican churches and a Methodist chapel.

More than 40 mission communities are to be formed across Cumbria over the next four years and represent a commitment to the ecumenical God for All strategy. The aim is that every person in the county has an opportunity to discover more of God and God’s purpose for their lives.

The Rev’d Tricia Rogers, the newly appointed mission community leader for Binsey, said: “It’s exciting and rejuvenating to think that we will be doing something differently.

“I think everybody knows that this is a spring board. We have already done an awful lot; we have come together as one Parochial Church Council. But the creation of the mission community allows us to go even further forwards and be more intentionally missional. It’s exciting and rejuvenating to think that we will be doing something differently.”

Mission communities will see groups of churches come together as mutually supportive and collaborative hubs of mission and outreach. While the exact make-up may differ from area to area, they will offer a variety of churches and styles and provide opportunities to enable people’s gifts and ministries to flourish, establishing new expressions of church alongside the traditional and ensure there is a Christian presence in every place across Cumbria.

Last night church leaders gathered at St Michael and All Angels’, Torpenhow, for a service to commission the Binsey Mission Community. It was led by the Right Rev’d James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Rev’d Robert Freeman, Bishop of Penrith, the Rev’d Richard Teal, Chair of the Cumbria Methodist District and the Rev’d Sarah Moore, Area President, Cumbria Area of the NW Synod of the United Reformed Church.

At the service Tricia Rogers was also presented with a letter authorising her appointment as Mission Community leader and a team of local church leaders – both lay and ordained - were commissioned.

It comes four years after the Binsey Team first began to explore and plan for the creation of a mission community and follows the decision last October for the Binsey Team to amalgamate eleven parishes as a single parish structure.

Tricia’s new role as mission community leader will provide strategic support and guidance to the team. Last night those team members were commissioned - the lay local church leaders, the ecumenical clergy and ministry team, lay worship leaders and members of the lay pastoral visitors group.

Bishop James said: “It is wonderful that such an important marker has been reached with the first commissioning of a mission community in the county. Mission communities represent a real and practical way in which churches can work closely together to bring as many people as possible to know the reality of God. They are a way in which together we can do things differently to ensure a Christian presence across Cumbria.”

The Rev’d Richard Teal, chair of the Cumbria Methodist District, said: “It was a huge privilege to not only attend but be involved in this historic first commissioning service for an ecumenical mission community in Cumbria. It is not only the first such service, but also the beginning of how we are all going to live, minister and mission together in the county. God is beginning to bless the hard work we have done together since the signing of the Declaration of Intent in 2011 and we trust the green light of last night will be a beacon of hope for the county.”

The Rev Sarah Moore said: “It was really exciting to be with the people of Binsey as they celebrated this milestone on their journey together, worshipping God and serving their community. We look forward to more mission communities being commissioned as people take the brave step to work together to share Christ’s good news with all people.”

Meanwhile a service of celebration has also been held to mark a second mission community in the county. While yet to be commissioned, work is ongoing to explore and plan how the Western Dales Mission Community will develop. The launch celebration was held at St Andrew’s Sedbergh in December.

Notes for editors
The Binsey Mission Community incorporates the parish churches of Allhallows, Bassenthwaite, Boltons, Embleton, Ireby, Isel, Plumbland, Setmurthy, Torpenhow, Uldale and Wythop.

For more on the God for All strategy and further details about mission communities please visit www.godforall.org.uk.

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For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.