: safe space to : breath : think : seek : reflect : question : listen : watch : wait : pray : journey : hold : doubt : explore : speak : eat : walk : stop : relax : feel : touch : love : scream : cry : laugh : run : hide : try : hope : reach for god :
This is the blog of : safe space : an emerging Missional community in Telford, Shropshire...
I am 38 years old, married; to Louisa (since 92) with a 3+ year old Son; Nathan. I was born in Oldham, but grew up in Derbyshire and The Lake District before moving to London to study and then to work as a Theatre Lighting Designer. In the early 90’s I took time out of work to study Youth Ministry and for the last ten years I have been a full-time Youth Minister. In recent years I have begun to explore Mission in Contemporary Culture, in particular the challenges and opportunities that the Church faces in connecting with a post-Christendom generation. My Missiology reflects broad references including Brian D. Mclaren, Bishop J.C. Ryle, Vincent Donovan and David Bosch and I believe firmly in the theology of ‘Missio Dei’, i.e. that God is at work in the world and we choose to meet and minister with God in situ and I have a passion for the sharing of spiritual stories.
I have, over the last few years become more involved in training; at a Parish, Deanery, Diocesan and National level, leading seminars for the Oxford Diocesan C.M.E. programme and running workshops at several Diocesan conferences and conventions and as a lecturer for The Centre for Youth Ministry degree course. I have also spoken at several national events including Greenbelt festival and a National Conference on “Organic Church”.
The community in Telford is both extremely exciting and somewhat scary, we feel that God is giving us the chance and the challenge to build community with those who we know are secular but spiritual and for whom traditional models of church, no matter how cutting edge they may seem to us, just do not connect. In many ways it feels Pauline – to be tent-makers living with tent-makers, to nurture and to share stories of God.
What it will grow into is impossible to say, as Kester Brewin wrote in ‘The Complex Christ’, “Who at the dawn of creation would have foreseen elephants and fireflies, zebras and monkey-puzzle trees?” So we will be attempting to step faithfully into the world in expectation... not predicting nor applying a model, but meeting God in people and allowing community to grow in networks and relationships.
I am 40 years old, married; to Tam (for 18 years) with three amazing offspring: James 17, Callum 15 and Abi 14. I was born in Stockport, but moved to Halesowen, in the West Midlands, when I was three. From there I went off to study Maths at Manchester University – picked so I could get to Old Trafford more often! I did my PGCE there too and ended up in Solihull teaching maths at the sixth form college for a year. Then onto King Edward’s College in Stourbridge where I have done various things for the last 17 years! During that period I have been a traditional Baptist, an evangelical Baptist, a free Churcher, planted a church and then on to co-lead a church in Telford.
Life changed for me on a trip to South Africa last summer. Suddenly, I found God provoking me from being a “pastor” to being far more missional and imaginative! Within an hour of putting a new roof on a shack (not as good as your garden shed!) that was the home of a couple in their 70’s, we were in middle-classed church worshipping with some very (probably too!) nice people. It’s difficult to remain unmoved and unchanged by such an experience.
So here I am in Telford, taking a step back from church leadership to pursue something beyond church, rooted in community; an adventure.
Mark's interests... Music (Soul, R&B - 60's, Ska, Jazz, Indie, Trip hop/Break beat/Dub etc., World dance + anything else that takes my fancy), playing Bass, Guitar & the Computer, Theatre and the Arts, Culture, Vespa Scooters along with most things Mod, Mountains, Derby County FC, Single Malt Whisky (esp. Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Talisker) and Theology... oh yes and my wife and son ;-) Jem's interests... Sport (especially football, cricket and golf), Music (Celtic stuff, especially Iona), Great landscapes, Travel, doing all the above with others!