Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, launched the St Cedd Centre at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Collier Row, in partnership with the Church Mission Society on November 1, 2015.

During Lent 2016, more than 70 people were welcomed to the five-week taster session course in Collier Row. In October, 14 of those students started the first course leading to authorisation as lay pioneer ministers. The students are from all areas of the Diocese including Westcliff, Purfleet, Billericay, Collier Row, Beckton and Walthamstow.

Over an 18 month period, the pioneers are learning by reflective practice on a mission. Theological input is given by the Church Mission Society through six modules, with the pioneers meeting in learning sets in between the twice-termly teaching sessions. Facilitated by a more experienced pioneer, in the learning sets the pioneers apply together what they are learning to their specific contexts to develop further their pioneer mission initiative.

The six modules are: Pioneering Mission, Mission Spirituality, Reading the Bible, Doing Theology, Church in Mission and Missional Entrepreneurship. The first module ‘Pioneering Mission’ took place from October to December 2016. The aims were:

  • To give an introduction to mission in Scripture, history and the contemporary church.
  • To equip pioneers with some basic skills necessary for participation in the mission of God.
  • To introduce issues relating to cross-cultural mission and communication of the gospel.
  • To enable students to enter into the current debates and practices with regard to the shapes of church and witness appropriate to cultural environment.

The students are now half way through their second module, ‘Mission Spirituality’ running from January to April 2017.

Pioneer mission is one way church members can respond to Bishop Stephen’s call for us all to become ever more missionary disciples.

The St Cedd Centre are planning to have an information session on Saturday, June 10, 2017 from 9.30am to 1.30pm.

Anyone can attend who would like to find out more and be inspired by pioneer mission, as well as how they can be involved.

Further details can be obtained by contacting the St Cedd Centre Co-ordinator, Julie Clay by email: or 01708 745626.

Picture: The first cohort of 14 students started the first course leading to authorisation as lay pioneer ministers