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Norfolk course shows new ways to do mission

MSM group2012: A mission-shaped ministry course running in Norfolk over the last year has helped people to share their faith with those who are not yet part of any church. Here some of the participants share their experiences.

Nearly forty people participated in the course from Church of England, Methodist and URC churches So what sort of people were involved in the course and what did they make of it?  

The course has been running since January 2011 and concluded at the end of the year with a fantastic day with The Right Rev’d Graham Cray, national director of Fresh Expressions. 

People came for many different reasons: Some were church ministers, often taking on new appointments or new challenges for mission. Some like Marie Brown and Simon Fenn (pictured below with wife Gemma) were  youth workers seeking to be equipped to reach out to young people in fresh ways appropriate to fast changing youth culture.  Simon particularly valued the depth of the theology of the course alongside the practical relevance to his work:

“We are meeting together to go through the material again after the sessions. There’s so much to apply to our situations.”
Gemma Simon FennMany others like Lesley Cox are in secular employment but with no less a sense of vocation to share God’s love.

Since beginning the course Lesley has joined with others to start a film club at the primary school where she works. She says that the course has helped to clarify her thinking. She knew she was called to do something but hardly knew what. “Film Fun Friday” came out of listening to parents about the needs of their families. The films do not have any explicit faith content or any agenda it is simply about families and fun. Her cell church and local parish church talks about the gospel in many ways and places but “Film Fun Friday” is simply about being good news offering unconditional service to the local community.
Graham Reardon (pictured below) travelled all the way from Eye every month to take part in the course and has started a cafe – style service in his North Hartismere Benefice during the course of the year. His comment on MSM: “Marvellous course. Comprehensive and detailed. Very motivating and encouraging.”
Someone else who has been working on a particular mission project throughout the course is Wayne Doman. Wayne has a passion for making worship and Christian discipleship accessible to young people with special needs who are not yet part of any church. Wayne’s teenage son Greg has Down’s syndrome and two year’s ago came to a lively faith Graham Reardonthrough the Christian community of a cell group, who actively adapted their approach to Greg’s needs. Now Greg is ministering himself through the “Special Me” group founded by Wayne and a wider team of enthusiasts. 
Wayne says of Mission Shaped Ministry, “Each module has come at just the time we’ve needed it for the “Special Me” Group and made me re-evaluate what we are doing. ” In Spring 2012, they plan to launch “Special Me” more widely as a introductory Christian Course for young people with special needs their family and friends. The Christian message will be made accessible and fun through drama, music and multisensory experiences.
As the course drew to a close and Bishop Graham Cray commissioned us “Go forth to express the mission of God!” there was a deep sense amongst us all that our learning has only just begun in the wonderful journey of discipleship and mission. In the words of one participant: “Thank you so much for the MSM course. Its content has affirmed in me so much of my place as a child of God and encouraged me to keep pressing on.”


For more information contact Sally Gaze on 01508 470762

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