Last weekend saw the first meeting of a new learning community for leaders of new worshipping communities and their teams in parishes across the Diocese. 32 people attended representing 11 different new worshipping communities, all of which were at different stages with some up and running and others planning to start soon.
The Diocese has partnered with Myriad (part of the Gregory Centre for church multiplication) to deliver this new learning pathway. The parish teams will journey together over the next 2.5 years sharing their vision and calling as well as encouraging and learning from each other. In the first session, those present thought about how their teams and plans to grow a new congregation are developing and discussed the primary elements of a new worshipping community. They were asked to visualise what their new congregation might look like in five years’ time and to put in place an action plan. The group also spent time in bible study and prayer.
One of the participants commented: “Having sat through many similar events, I was a tad cautious, but found the whole day brilliantly put together, excellently delivered, beautifully and generously hosted and thoroughly enlivening, informative, visionary and fun! Our team is fired up!”
As a diocese, one of our priorities is to create 100 New Worshipping Communities by 2030 to ensure we are offering a range of ways for people to come to faith and worship God. The team to support this is now in place with Administrator, Clare Ashworth starting earlier this month and playing a key role in the smooth running of the training. Kim Brown will join the team as New Worshipping Community Enabler at the end of April.
Kim comes to the Diocese from the Diocese of Gloucester where she has been vicar of five rural churches and villages to the east of Cirencester. While there, her churches started two new youth clubs, a community meal and an outdoor eco-friendly family service. Before that Kim helped to open a drop-in centre in Cirencester called The Upper Room in 2008, which grew into a new worshipping community. The team there journeyed with homeless young men, people who had been in care and others who had come out of prison, and young people with additional learning needs. They established a food bank, an intern scheme, a holiday playscheme, and saw many people come to faith and be baptised and confirmed.
Kim will provide help and support to parishes who have started or are thinking about starting a new worshipping community across the Diocese. She said:
“I am very excited to be moving to the Diocese of Worcester to help churches do new things to reach new people for Christ. I attended the first training evening last Friday and was so encouraged and excited at all the new and creative things that people are doing – alongside their work, childcare and family life. It was inspirational for me to see those present seeking God for their community and made me even more excited to be coming to start work as New Worshipping Communities Enabler.”
Kim is also an oblate of Mucknell Abbey, a passionate supporter of Liverpool football club and enjoys long walks in the countryside with her black labrador, Bailey as well as country pubs with a fire.