Churches of different denominations in Warrington have come together to form a new ministry team, which aims to bring Church out to the local community.
The team is made up of representatives from St James’ Church, St Philip’s Church, Penketh and Hood Manor Methodist Church and King’s Pentecostal Church and it will be led by Pioneer Minister Rev Dr Sarah Baker.
The team was commissioned by the Rt Rev Richard Blackburn, the Bishop of Warrington, at a special service at Starbucks in Gemini Retail Park this week.
“We wanted our commissioning ceremony in Starbucks because we felt it reflected the work that we want to do within the community,” says Sarah. “We are a team of people who feel called to share the Good News with people where they are, rather than waiting for them to come to church. We are also here to provide support to people as they go about their everyday lives.”
The team is made up of Rev Dr Sarah Baker (Team Leader, Diocese of Liverpool), Howard Leatherbarrow (Diocese of Liverpool) , Julie Holland (King’s Pentecostal Church), Jayne Bradley and Patsy Bradbury (St Philips) and Kim Davies (Penketh and Hood Manor Methodist Church). The team is also supported by Sarah’s husband Peter, who runs a sailing business but in his spare time takes a very active role in the ministry team.
The team is currently looking at how best to serve the needs of the local community, and initial plans are to hold small groups that will meet in people\'s homes within the community.
“We want to set up these smaller groups, as opposed to trying to create one massive congregation, so that people new to church can explore their faith in a more intimate way and meet at times and places that suit them. Our role is to work alongside churches and empower people to practice and grow their faith in their own way, in a way that is comfortable for them,” added Sarah.
Sarah is a GP and is the Accountable Officer for Warrington Health Consortium. She is originally from Yorkshire and lives in Chapelford with her husband. They have two grown up children. Sarah was ordained ten years ago, and will balance her job with her new role as team leader.
The Bishop of Warrington said, “We have here an innovative group of people with one aim – to help the people of Warrington encounter the Good News in their everyday lives. They will do this in carefully considered ways, designed especially to suit our specific community. I am sure that the team’s work will also help to further develop the strong community spirit in the area. I wish them every blessing as they work together to provide both spiritual empowerment and support for local people.”