Ellen Loudon

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The Church of St Nicholas,

As part of my ordination training I have to go on a college led mission.
If someone had told me a year ago that I would be going on a mission to a rural village in Gloucester with a bunch of Christians I had only just met I think I have thought they were bonkers. Those of you who have known me for a long time would think it an unlikely prospect. I am not shy about my faith but the concept of mission in this context sends shudders through me. But there you go. This is what has to happen.

By some cruel further twist of the knife I have been assigned the role of mission leader (along with Patrick – one boy one girl leader!). Oh joy. Actually I have enjoyed it so far. I love the parish, the incumbent Andrew James, and after our visit to the parish today the people are great to. Very warm and welcoming. So, a week of school visits, sheltered accommodation, door-to-door inviting to a special service, the service itself, coffee mornings, suppers with testimonies and Easter Sunday events don’t seem so intimidating.

I went, with my fellow missioners, to Hardwicke Church this morning. Eva came too and we had a nice lunch in a local pub by the canal after the service. When I got back I still had work to do on the creation and salvation essay and then finish off essay number two ready for the handing in ritual tomorrow at mid-day. I have just finished so trying to get to Foundation tonight is out of the question. Shame – but then someting had to give this weekend. A glass of something white and a few nibbles and I will be off to the land of nod.


Written by ellenloudon

March 4, 2007 at 8:08 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Get you, you missionary. They all over my church too!

    St. Claire of Toxteth

    March 4, 2007 at 10:44 pm

  2. Ah, that’s why you weren’t around tonight. Hope you find your mission helpful. I really struggle with mission: on the one hand the need for it seems great, but on the other I just can’t imagine ways of doing mission in a positive, effective, culturally-sensitive way.

    John H

    March 5, 2007 at 12:39 am

  3. Hmmm. I don’t think that this should be in your training. Are you being trained to lead churches or are you being indoctrinated? I only ask this question because it appears to me that this conceptualization of ‘church leadership’ and ‘mission’ seems ideologically slanted, and are surely not inherent in ordination. A particularly pertinent point if you see the role of the Church of England as the state church, and therefore the church for the unchurched (as I do)! Maybe the course would be better designed if it created space for its students to explore their own conceptualization of church leadership, and its role, if any, in mission; the different expressions and types of mission; and the extent to which ‘mission’ is intended to convert or merely serve society in a non-ideological way. Needless to say, I struggle with the conceptualization of mission articulated in this format.By the way, I was a missionary with OMF in the Philippines for 2 years!

    The Ranter

    March 5, 2007 at 12:23 pm

  4. You both are absolutely right and make some useful points. I have grappled with the concept of mission and decided that despite my concerns I would have to do this because to NOT do it would be worse than me compromising. I had a plan together that would have meant that I engaged in a creative mission project in Liverpool but it seems that I have to do a college mission. I suspect it has as much to do with college formation of ministry. It is as much about working in a college designated team as it is about mission. The course does allow for a self-conceptualising of mission but just not in this group context. I am not defending this exercise at all because I am genuinely uncomfortable with it. I am not enjoying the organising of it and am finding group work in this context a real challenge. However, it is what it is and I am enjoying being in the mission parish and working with the incumbent.I would love to carry on this debate – particularly in the context of foundation. How we move outside our immdeiate community is an issue that would be good for us to speak about sometime. I have been doing some work on emerging missional forms – but it is true to say that this mission is far more conventional. Which it could be argued is more in tune with what this church community as requested.

    Ellen Loudon

    March 5, 2007 at 2:19 pm

  5. I’d really love to talk more about this. I want to hear your ideas.

    John H

    March 5, 2007 at 7:14 pm

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