M:Power, a unique and innovative training programme from The Church of England in Lancashire, is expanding!
And parishes across the County are being encouraged to consider who they might send on the next round of training starting in November.
It will equip people from urban communities to transform their local communities through witness and discipleship; supporting the aims of our Diocesan 'Vision 2026'.
From November this year, M:Power will run from four new hubs, so even more people and parishes can benefit.
These hubs will be in Accrington, Blackpool, Over Darwen and Preston. M:Power is for anyone who loves Jesus and lives in an urban community.
This exciting new phase also comes as the new 'M:Power Network' gets going later this month.
M:Power began after special funding from the national church was provided to the Diocese of Blackburn to support the work a number of years ago.
Since then, it has gone from strength to strength with many people, both clergy and laity, completing the M:Power programme.
The distinctive style of M:Power means it is particularly suitable for people who may be nervous about traditional education and learning settings.
Tutors teach and inspire participants from their own experience and lead accessible discussion-based sessions.
The next M:Power cohort starts in November and weekly sessions will run for nine months.
Sessions will be either one evening or one daytime period per week. Participants are also matched with a mentor and given lots of support by our tutors throughout the programme.
Rev Rebecca Roberts, Vicar, St James Church, Lower Darwen and M:Power Project Leader, said today: "If you are in an urban parish who might you send on M:Power?
Often, we find the people who grow and transform the most are those who their Priest took a risk on!
"We had one person, Rosie, who was incredibly shy and found interacting with the group difficult at the beginning of the programme. Now she is leading a creative service in her church once per month and is enthusiastically exploring vocation!
"Another participant had dropped out of other lay ministry courses but thrived on M:Power and is now employed by her church as an evangelist."
Speaking today about the success of the project while encouraging others to take part, Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, said: "I've been involved with M:Power since the very beginning and it's been a joy to see many people who have completed M:Power going on to be wonderful beacons in our parishes.
"Their work has included leading community projects; taking on more responsibility in their parishes; leading small groups; planting new congregations, leading others to faith and discipling others in the life of their local parish. Some have even gone on to further explore vocation.
"We are now excited to see further growth as M:Power expands and more people than ever before get the chance to learn as part this now well-established course."
Meanwhile, alumni of M:Power are being invited to attend the launch of the M:Power Network; building a new opportunity after five years of the project.
The purpose of the new M:Power Network is to build a community that provides a resource and support specifically for those in, often difficult and challenging, urban ministry settings across Lancashire.
The free launch event is on September 24, 10am-3.30pm at The Salmesbury Hotel and throughout the day there will be plenty of opportunity for people to reconnect with others from their own cohort and other cohorts. Lunch and refreshments are provided.
To be part of the new November cohort, or if you have already completed M:Power and want to be part of the Network launch, contact Janine (administrator) in either case on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01254 427020, but please note the cut off for the Network event is September 12.
Ronnie Semley, September 2022