Transforming Mission Cornwall (TM)

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WHAT IS TRANSFORMING MISSION ABOUT?

Through Transforming Mission we are developing a model for the renewal of Anglican Church life across our communities. Transforming Mission started in Falmouth and Carnmarth South deanery, and now, thanks to a grant of £1.7 million from the Church Commissioners, is being adapted and replicated across many other towns. We seek to create a thriving church community that attracts and supports all ages including families and the student generation and has at its heart a desire to spill out of its own walls to proclaim good news, serve its community, to resource and bless other churches and to be the catalyst for growth in discipleship, evangelism and community-building.

We wish to see churches at the heart of our Cornish towns renewed and equipped, growing in numbers and in faith and attracting the generations that, by and large, are now missing from our congregations. These churches will work with each other and with ecumenical partners, they will help to grow the next generations of leaders, both lay and ordained and, as they receive resources to enable them, they will be generous in helping to resource the village churches around them.

To help us on this Transforming Mission journey funding has been granted by the Church Commissioners initially for a five-year programme and most recently for a further six years to enable us to expand across the diocese. This new funding will be staggered over the six years, with a view to the projects becoming self-sustaining after this time.

WHY DO WE NEED TO ‘TRANSFORM MISSION’?

We are painfully aware of patterns of declining attendance at church, particularly among the younger generations, of congregations overwhelmed by financial and practical demands, faithful clergy increasingly stretched by the size and scope of the responsibilities laid on them and a resulting decrease in our ability to support and service our local communities.

Yet we are also joyfully and hopefully aware that ours is a Resurrection faith and we worship a God who is “always making all things new”. We have a Gospel of life and a promise that God will grow his Church. We have a calling to respond in faith to this Gospel and this promise.

HOW WILL WE BE TRANSFORMING MISSION?

Phase one of the scheme saw the Transforming Mission project established in Falmouth, which has already led to the opening of the Huddle café and the creation of New Street Church, which has a sizeable weekly congregation and is growing. The number of people worshipping at the existing All Saints Church has also already grown from an average weekly attendance of 35 to 60.

The strategy following this latest funding is to create ‘resourcing churches’ in each of these new urban hubs. Each of them will deliver a mix of new projects aimed at revitalising existing church communities, a large number of both religious and social outreach projects, and new church plants.

WHERE WILL WE BE TRANSFORMING MISSION?

We started in Falmouth, which is one of Cornwall’s larger communities with a significant and growing student population, a vibrant place of energy and vitality and recently identified as one of the very best places to live in the United Kingdom. A combination of factors, including the size and nature of the Deanery and the growing commitment of the churches to work together across parish boundaries, led us in faith to identify Falmouth as the right place to start the Transforming Mission programme, but we have been applying what we have learned in other comparable places, and to growing pioneering and prayerful leaders to minister in these and other contexts. The latest locations to join Transforming Mission are St Austell, Camborne, Liskeard and Truro.

In St Austell, the Holy Trinity Church has already purchased a redundant, town centre pub which will be refurbished and reopened as a café and meeting space, and will also be the location for the first new worshipping community. Christians Against Poverty will have a presence to help people who may be struggling, and there will be links to other community initiatives in partnership with other churches in the areas. The scheme will also build on current work to engage with clubs and all schools in the area, and create new opportunities to engage with 18-30 year-olds in the area through work in colleges, music and social events. It will also develop the depth of discipleship within the area through courses and the training of lay leaders and interns.

Transforming Mission in Camborne will include establishing a high street drop-in centre through which the church will engage with the community, with a special focus on single parents and young people. It will aim to identify and train new leaders to start worshipping communities in the surrounding villages. In the larger villages the project will establish ‘rural hubs’ in existing churches and community buildings such as schools, pubs and family centres. The church will also develop effective connections with all the schools in the area, as well as with the three local family hubs (formerly Children’s Centres). Key to the strategy will be providing teaching and support to enable congregation members to be confident in talking about their Christian faith.

In Liskeard, the project will be centred in the vibrant St Martin’s Church. The plan there is to develop a Christians Against Poverty centre; to reach out to young families by increasing its involvement with schools and parenting courses; set up a new youth-oriented worshipping community, and establish a local network of parish youth groups. The church will also develop partnerships with rural parishes in south east Cornwall to enable them to grow – and facilitating at least one new church plant within existing parishes that want to innovate and grow, but which currently lack the resources to achieve that.

The strategy for Truro is to work closely with All Saints Highertown (ASH) which is already embarking upon the ambitious Lifehouse Project. This will provide support to continue developing the church’s considerable services for the vulnerable. These include the foodbank, Christians Against Poverty, bereavement counselling, mental health services, dementia support groups, addiction support groups and Acts435, which provides financial support to those in immediate need. The project will also see a brand new worshipping community established within the Langarth development, and new worshipping communities established in existing buildings such as Truro Cathedral and the new facilities in ASH. The plan is also to develop its work with schools and young people by resourcing existing and new ministries that will encourage young people and their families in faith, and develop young leaders for the church.

The locations chosen for Phase 2 of Transforming Mission all have large populations, both within the towns themselves, but also in the surrounding parishes. There will be a sustained drive to share the learnings and experiences so that the surrounding areas will also benefit. These towns will all be home to substantial new housing developments in the next five years. Each of the towns has significant levels of deprivation and is home to significant populations of children, young families and, in all but one case, students.

Key to the success of this new work will be:

  • the commitment to prayer and support by all
  • a body of Christian people of all ages, who will come together to form the core group of this new work.

WHO IS WORKING ON TRANSFORMING MISSION?

  • Kayode Odetayo, Transforming Mission Strategic Programme Manager 
  • Julian Briscoe, Transforming Mission Project Director

Transforming Mission Falmouth:

  • Revd Canon Bill Stuart-White, Priest in Charge of All Saints Church and TM Falmouth lead 
  • Chris Hassell, Pioneer Minister
  • Sophia Barnes, Children and Families Leader 
  • Bianca Parry, Hub and Communications Coordinator 
  • Ben Barnes, Students’ and Young People’s Leader
  • Matt Parry, TM Worship Minister
  • Anna Tabori, Huddle Cafe Manager

Vacancies for working with Transforming Mission can be viewed here

WHAT NOW?

If you would like further information contact transformingmission@truro.anglican.org.

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