As part of the Mission Strategy 2021 the Diocese has appointed two Church Army Evangelists to advocate, resource and build confidence in sharing our faith and discipling new Christians.
Based in Redenhall and King’s Lynn, but hoping to work with churches across the Diocese, it is a new partnership between the Church Army and Diocese of Norwich.
The two Evangelists, Captain James Hawksworth and Captain Trevor Clarke, will be establishing what will become known as two Centres of Mission and will be supported by the Rural Dean of their area.
James moved from Yorkshire to take on his new role in King’s Lynn with his wife Laura, their two children Sam and Becky, and their Golden Retriever named Sandy. In Yorkshire he was an Evangelist with the Bradford Centre of Mission, where he worked with young people from the local estates in a project called www.sortedcommunity.org.uk
Speaking about his role, James said:
“To me an evangelist is someone who provides a community service that enables people to discover the good news of Jesus Christ by offering a place that allows people to thrive in life. My firm belief is that Jesus is ushering in his kingdom values into our broken world and the evangelist is someone who shows a community how Jesus’ values can bring transformative results that leads to a community flourishing and growing together as a united people.
My hope is that we build good solid relationships with all the local churches and different projects in the area and work together for the sake of the community.”
Before coming to Norfolk, Trevor was part of the Greenwich Centre of Mission. He said:
“Previously I served two areas in London, one very affluent and the other with extreme poverty and, while south-east London is urban and so different from rural life, the similarities are not that far apart, both urban and rural have its affluence and poverty.
“Having been brought up in rural Warwickshire in a farming family, I have experienced the joys and difficulties that rural life can bring.
“My hopes and dreams with my new role are to help people who have little or no faith, to enter into that world that lies beyond; we know that world is one spent forever in relationship with Jesus, both now and forever.”
There are currently 10 Centres of Mission in England and each is unique to its location. The aim is to bring evangelists together to give the local community an opportunity to encounter Jesus and to disciple new Christians.
The Rural Dean of Lynn, the Revd Canon James Nash, said:
“King’s Lynn is a port town with a population of 50,000. New housing being built here and more planned means that this figure will grow significantly in the near future. There is also an increasing level of ethnic diversity and a huge range in socio-economic status of the town – one of the poorest wards in the country almost borders one of the wealthiest.
“As with many places, there are low numbers of teenagers and 20-40 year olds in our congregations and the King’s Lynn Centre of Mission is very likely going to emphasise working with young people of high school age and beyond. The reason for this emphasis is twofold.
“Firstly, James’ experience, gifting and passion leads him towards this area of mission and secondly, there is a real need to make connections with young people here. There are many young people who find themselves at a loose end with few places to go outside school or college. We have a real hope that we will be able to develop new ministry amongst teenagers and young adults in King’s Lynn.”
The Rural Dean of Redenhall, the Revd Canon Nigel Tuffnell, said:
“Redenhall is the first rural Church of England Centre of Mission in England, so this really is at the forefront of pioneering mission work. We are fully aware that the previous models may not be fit for purpose. It’s like Columbus setting off into the ocean, he has his boat and he knows how to sail but he doesn’t know what he’s going to find when he gets there.”
We asked what can we as a Diocese do to help?
The Revd Canon Nigel Tuffnell said:
“Pray for us and the work here with excitement and know that Rural Mission is happening – particularly in Norfolk. The Spirit is moving here and exciting things are happening. Commit to being our cheerleaders and to praying for this work – catch the vision. It would be so encouraging to know we have that core group of supporters.”
If you would like to stay in touch, you can sign up to receive supporter’s prayer letters. To receive updates from Captain Trevor please email him at email@example.com. To receive updates from Captain James please email firstname.lastname@example.org