Across the Fenland towns, the Changing Market Towns project has appointed workers with a brief to reach out to their communities in new ways.
In each town, the aim is to see a significant number of Fresh Expressions of church appearing as new parts of the community are reached.
There are now Changing Market Towns Workers in the following towns:
- St Neots
In each town, the exact nature of the role has been shaped to respond to the needs and opportunities identified locally.
The special focus of the workers includes:
- Secondary schools work, in partnership with Thrive
- Children and families work, embedded in DEMAT schools
- Work with children and families across the local community
- Music and the creative arts
- Community work, focused on the food bank
- In each town where investment has begun, Operations Managers are in place. Their role is to ensure that the increased activity has the support needed to allow effective work to grow.
- They are working to encourage efficient working, to share good practice with other towns and to enable volunteers to develop their gifts and grow in confidence. In some cases they support more than one town.
Growing New Churches
- Changing Market Towns is working towards a wide range of new opportunities to encounter God’s love across all the towns involved.
- In most cases, these will take the form of Fresh Expressions of church, linked to the existing parish churches. In two cases, further energy and variety is being brought in through the development of new congregations that will add to the current pattern of church life.
- Christ Church, Huntingdon, opened in September 2018, with support in the form of a core team from Cambridge. A new Christian community in Downham Market is also developing.
- In 2019, the Diocese formally agreed to incubate Thrive Youth Work, a project developed out of the work of the Diocese and local churches in Huntingdon. More information on Thrive and where to learn more can be found here.
Finding out more about each town
- Chatteris - http://www.chatteris.org/
- Downham Market - Church | Table | Downham Market (tabledownhammarket.org)
- Huntingdon - https://www.huntingdonparish.org/ and https://www.christchurchhuntingdon.co.uk/
- LittlePort - http://www.littleportparishchurch.org.uk/
- March - https://marchteamministry.co.uk/
- Ramsey - https://www.ramseysandupwood.org/stthomasabecket
- St Neots St Neots Parish Church
Centralised Changing Market Towns (CMT) Functions
The centralised Changing Market Towns Functions include the Bishop’s Officer for Changing Market Towns and Evangelism Coach, supported by the Strategic Programme Manager and other functions supporting the Diocesan Programme Management Office. Further details are included below.
Bishop’s Officer for Market Towns and CMT Project Leader
- The Bishop of Ely is pleased to announce that the Revd Jon Randall, Rector of Huntingdon, is to be also Bishop’s Change Officer for Market Towns following the resignation of Canon Mike Booker from the substantive post at the end of August (2021).
- Jon will be seconded to the Changing Market Project on a half-time basis from his main role, which remains as Incumbent of the Benefice of Huntingdon. This will be for three years until the conclusion of the current SDF-funded project in the summer of 2024. To ensure ministerial provision in Huntingdon during this period, an Associate Vicar has been appointed to cover the proportion of Jon’s time when he is so seconded.
- The Bishop is grateful to Jon for accepting the invitation to lead the next phase of the Changing Market Towns project. Jon can be contacted by email on email@example.com
Strategic Programme Manager
- Adam Evans joined the Diocese in early 2018 as Strategic Programme Manager. Fully funded by the Strategic Development Unit at Church House, the role is part of a cohort of similar roles in dioceses across the country.
- The primary focus of this role is to bring additional programme and project management support to the Diocesan Office, to support the centrally funded Changing Market Towns project and other activities related to the Diocesan Strategy.
- The role sites within a Programme Management Office, which also incorporates the functions of the Head of Communications and Projects & Development Team, as well as providing a link to the central Changing Market Towns functions that include the Bishop’s Officer for Changing Market Towns, and the Evangelism Coach.
- The Programme Management Office also provides secretarial services to the Changing Market Towns Board and Delivery Group and the Ely 2025 Strategy Implementation Group, through the analysis of performance data to enable improved deployment of resources.
Janet Sutton joined the Diocese in January (2019) as the Evangelism Coach for the Changing Market Towns Project, here she reflects on of her work, experiences so far and what her role incorporates.
“Thank you so much for coming”, said the woman with whose Baptism I had assisted, as she climbed out of the pool. It was possibly my proudest moment - being asked to take part in a life event that was both intensely personal and a testimony to what is being achieved through the Diocese of Ely’s Changing Market Towns project.
I have been in the post of Evangelism Coach for the Changing Market Towns project for nine months. It is a strange job title - particularly for me - a United Reformed Church Minister from a Liberal theological background, who had, until the end of last year, been a Pioneer working alongside people who would never normally go to church. It took a while to get used to being called it - and perhaps I'm still not.
When I tell people what I do they tend to look at me strangely. In church terms both words - "evangelism" and "coach" - come with a huge number of connotations. And they are connotations that make many feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they think I will challenge them to tell me everything they know about Jesus, or want them to go and preach on a street corner, or ask them to go and sit at a bus-stop and try to convert everyone who passes by.
But that's not what it is about. It is about coming alongside churches and those who serve them, to help them think about what is precious about being on a journey of faith alongside others. And to equip them to share it, whether that be through community activities, new forms of worship, or informal conversation with families and friends.
It is a genuine privilege to travel around the Diocese, discovering the diverse range of activities undertaken in the name of Jesus: youth mentoring and parenting classes; youth cafes and after-school clubs; food banks and associated community support initiatives; choirs, open-mic nights and band concerts… the list is endless.
My role is to support and provide advice to the wonderful people who deliver these life-transforming activities week-by-week. Without exception they are remarkable, not least because of their commitment, their expertise and their grace in receiving a visit from me.
The truth is, I learn more from them about sharing the good news of God's love, in the grittiness of everyday life, than they will ever learn from me.
If you have any questions or would like to contact Janet you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.