Christian Aid Week Head appointed Cumbria’s pioneering BigReach Innovator
The current Head of Christian Aid Week has been appointed to a pioneering role in Cumbria, connecting the county’s residents and visitors with the reality of God through new creative and digital platforms.
Eleanor Ledesma - who is originally from the South Lakes - will take up the post of BigReach Innovator from early January.
She will draw on a proven marketing background as she prepares to introduce new and exciting ways in which those people who don’t attend church or know God, can make a connection.
The post, which has been jointly funded by the Methodist Church and the Diocese of Carlisle, further strengthens the ecumenical God for All vision: By 2020 every person in Cumbria of all ages and backgrounds will have had an opportunity to discover more of God and God’s purpose for their lives, so that they will discover more of Jesus and the Good News and become followers of Jesus within a Christian community.
Eleanor said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Christian Aid and being part of one of the country’s biggest fundraising events, with nearly one hundred thousand volunteers taking part. It has been a privilege to work on such a major event.
“I’m delighted to be offered this new role of BigReach Innovator, which is an answer to prayer. It is so exciting to be part of the God for All strategy. Together churches in Cumbria are actively resourcing work to reach people in new and relational ways. There’s a real desire amongst churches to connect with people who not only live here but all the millions who visit each year.
“As I move forward in this role I will want to look at all the different demographics we have across Cumbria. From older people, to those who are younger and maybe enjoy the night life, through to those with young families and all our visitors, we have such a diverse range of people who live in and visit our county. We have got to look at new ways to reach people with the good news of the reality of God in meaningful and fresh ways.
“These are people who don’t necessarily think about God in their day-to-day lives. They might not know any Christians and they certainly would not be interested about going to church. So my task is to help sow the seed, make them think a little more deeply about who they are, who God is, how God fits in to their lives and how they fit in with God.”
As part of the new role Eleanor plans to develop new social and digital media strands to connect new audiences with the reality of God.
She added: “Cumbria is a large county and so it can be challenging to get from place to place. That means that holding a big event somewhere won’t always necessarily work.
“But most people in Cumbria are digitally engaged and we will be looking to meet them through the online space and social media.”
Eleanor will join existing REACH team members including a Fresh Expressions Enabler, Evangelism Enabler and Youth, Children and Families Evangelism Enablers, who have all been appointed over the last 12 months to support church communities in mission across the county.
As well as a focus on digital engagement, the BigReach Innovator’s role will look to create new connections through print media, creative arts and marketing strategies.
The Rt Rev’d Robert Freeman, the Bishop of Penrith, who chairs the God for All Strategy Steering Group and who also heads up the REACH team, said: “We are thrilled that Eleanor has been appointed. In her we have someone with a fantastic track record in outreach and marketing within a faith-based context.
“The scope of the BigReach Innovator’s role is massively challenging; intriguing those tens of thousands of people with the reality of God will not be easy. But it is through pioneering posts such as this that we will bring God to new people in new ways.
“As Eleanor prepares to start in the role, our prayer is that her work will further enhance the God for All strategy and encourage communities across our county to explore more about God.”
Eleanor comes to the role having headed up Christian Aid Week for nearly two years, having worked for the organisation since 2012 in a fundraising capacity. Prior to that she worked for All We Can – the Methodist Relief and Development Fund
Eleanor is originally from Cumbria, having grown up in Beetham, near Milnthorpe, and is relocating back to the south of the county with her husband Mario - who works in the NHS - and young daughter, Hettie.
Eleanor will initially be working three days a week with a start date of January 3, 2017.
Notes to editors
For more on God for All visit www.godforall.org.uk.
For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at email@example.com.