Bi-annually the Self Supporting Ministry Officers (SSM’s) of the six North West Dioceses; Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, Blackburn, Carlisle and West Yorkshire and the Dales organise a 24hour conference. Now into its third event, the conference this year focussed on how, through their work, which for most is not in church or Christian based organisation the SSM’s are called and equipped to proclaim the gospel daily. Nicola Milford explains more
“This year, with the Conference theme of ‘Proclaiming the Gospel’, we were delighted to welcome Bishop Cyril Ashton and The Reverend Richard Coles. Whilst Bishop Cyril fed us with the encouragement of the angels ministry as recalled in scripture, and their ever constant greeting of ‘Do not be afraid’, Richard Coles who many will be familiar with from his Saturday morning Radio 4 programme ‘Saturday Live’ and occasional appearances on such BBC programmes as ‘Have I got news for you’ and ‘QI’, spoke engagingly of both his call to ordained ministry and context of his ministry. Both in his parish of Finedon and, particularly relevant to those gathered, his presence ministry at the BBC. Richard was honest about his instance of being introduced, over the airwaves, as ‘The Reverend Richard Coles’ stressing that it is important for listeners to not only know the name of the broadcaster but also the context from which he is working and living. Equally as important as being seen wearing his clerical collar when out and about in the parish.”
These conferences are an important chance for Self Supporting Ministry Officers to net-work or catch-up with others who they trained with but maybe haven’t seen for a while.
Nicola continues “It is hoped that we will be able to go back to Luther King House at a similar time of year for a conference in 2017. Luther King House hosted us so well and provided us with plenteous food and space.” If you would like to suggest a potential Conference theme and possible speakers please contact Nicola Milford firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime the Liverpool Diocesan Retreat for Non Stipendiary and Ordained Local Ministers will be taking place on 5th-6th November 2016 at Scargill. More details to follow in the spring.
Photograph shows Catherine and Ian, (SSM Advisors in Manchester Diocese), Nicola Milford and Richard Coles.