Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

To achieve this a means of equipping and authorising “lay” pioneers has been identified as a way forward with great potential. This inspiration has found a natural coming together of existing experimentation in local mission at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Collier Row, together with the wider contextual mission and pioneer gifting represented by the Church Mission Society (CMS).

St Cedd Centre

Join the St Cedd’s Community 

Introducing St Cedd’s Community 2021

What began in 2016 as a course training lay pioneers has since become a growing community of both lay and ordained pioneers. We recognize that pioneering is about mutual, life-long learning where the very best ideas are just as likely to come from the newest practitioner.

What began by encouraging pioneer projects has since developed into a nurturing environment for pioneer practice. This means we don’t simply want churches to start new stuff, we want to help develop a culture of discernment, imagination and reflective habits. To this end we ask all participants to adopt a set of commitments. We believe that agreeing this basic ‘Rhythms of Life’ will help each person get the most out of being a part of St Cedd’s.

Rhythms of life

The St Cedd’s rule of life consists of 6 disciplines. We commit to...

  • The discipline of Prayerfulness 
  • The discipline of faithful improvisation on scripture, reason and tradition 
  • The discipline of understanding context 
  • The discipline of curation, creation, evaluation
  • The discipline of mutual, life-long learning
  • The discipline of meeting (both physically and virtually)

CMS Partnership

St Cedd’s Centre was birthed from a fruitful partnership with the Church Mission Society (CMS) who have provided us with much of the material and grounding that has seen two cohorts authorized as Pioneers in the Diocese of Chelmsford. St Cedd’s are still partnering CMS for the development of this new community.

In 2021 we anticipate the continued participation of all previous St Cedd’s Centre Pioneers and we also welcome a new cohort. In order that the newest in our community receive similar grounding in pioneering as previous intakes we are offering two levels of input on our community weekends.

Those newest to our community will become, what St Cedd’s are calling Explorer Pioneers. You will remain an Explorer Pioneer for your first year in the St Cedd’s Community (Jan-Dec). This will mean you attend Friday evening sessions, a mid-week session once a month in addition to the Community Saturdays.

On Community Saturdays Explorer Pioneers will join established community members, whom St Cedd’s are calling Pioneers, for a morning of learning before an additional Explorer Pioneer session in the afternoon.

View the course brochure 

View the Prospectus 

Contact details and application forms 

If you are interested in becoming a Pioneer Minister or would like to receive regular information with regards to the St Cedd Centre for Pioneer Mission please contact Samantha Field by email or telephone 01708 745626. 


Watch video: A Pioneer's View.

St Cedd

Lay pioneers learn as “apprentices” through reflective practice on actual pioneering initiatives based on their passions. CMS teaches mission spirituality, church in mission and context and entrepreneurship. This is applied to the various initiatives through learning sets with a pioneer mentor. 

The provision of training will be shared between the CMS and Chelmsford Diocese’s resources, on an approximately 60/40 basis. CMS brings to the St Cedd Centre enormous experience in cross cultural and contextual mission. Chelmsford's existing pioneers, incumbents and advisors bring a rootedness to the local cultures and contexts, and apply this expertise to the formation of lay pioneers. 

The Centre is based at The Church of the Good Shepherd as an overflow of the local mission taking place there. The inspiration is taken from Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2). In turn the Centre looks to St Cedd who, in the 7th Century, was a missionary to the East Saxon people. 

Image: Saint Cedd - c. 620—26th October 664 


The vision of the St Cedd Centre is to provide an environment to identify, equip and support Christians across the Chelmsford Diocese to serve as pioneer missionaries. They will be authorised and sent out to minister beyond Sunday services and church buildings, in order to bring transformation in their communities and call others to follow Jesus. 


The St Cedd Centre will further the four priorities of the Chelmsford Diocesan vision: 

Inhabiting the World Distinctively – Living a distinctive Christian life. 

Evangelising Effectively – Being the best we can be about sharing the good news of Christ. 

Serving with Accountability – Holding each other to account in faith and practice. 

Re-imaging Ministry – Sustainable ministry of all kinds for a growing church.


CMS is an acknowledged Religious Community within the CofE and is a key provider of lay and ordained Pioneer training for the CofE nationally. The St Cedd Centre identifies with the core values of CMS, expressed through four key words: 

Pioneering – trying new things in new places; looking at mission from new angles. 

Evangelistic – encapsulated in the CMS motto “Sharing Jesus, Changing Lives”. 

Relational – CMS is all about people, so quality of relationships is a priority. 

Faithful – CMS over two centuries has been faithful in God’s mission, learning through times of failure and determined not to give up. 

Group of pioneers

Quotes from the Implementation Group 

Revd Vernon Ross, Mission and Ministry Adviser for the Barking Area, and chair of the Implementation Group: 

"I want to see the church better equipped to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Part of this has to be the release of gifts and ministries of the whole people of God both lay and ordained. The training of Lay Pioneers fits into this as it does to the Diocesan Strategy of “Transforming Presence”. The St Cedd Centre will be a place where “ministry is reimagined” and the people of God learn both how to inhabit the world distinctively and evangelise effectively."

Revd Canon Martin Wood, Mission and Ministry Adviser for the Bradwell Area: 

"God is inspiring many different ministries, in Chelmsford Diocese, to enable His Mission in the world. Among these are our Authorised Lay Preachers, who share His Word in our traditional church worship. I believe that others are called to share that Word with people who never encounter our traditional worship. How can we equip them to exercise this ministry? The St Cedd Centre is designed to do just that, and I am delighted to be part of its implementation group." 

Debbie James, Director of Church and Community Mission, CMS: 

"With a long history in pioneering mission, CMS is delighted to partner with Chelmsford diocese to equip and release people for pioneering mission beyond the edges of church." 

Revd Johnny Sertin, ordained pioneer minister and the CMS pioneering mission adviser: 

"I was really excited to join the team in September, having been at the Good Shepherd for three years. I am passionate about worship and mission alongside good administration and organisation and want to be a support to the team and all our new pioneers." 

Revd Canon David Hague, Area Dean of Havering and Vicar of the Church of the Good Shepherd: 

"I was drawn to The Good Shepherd over six years ago because of the pioneering heart among the people. Being passionate about holistic mission, I hope our current experimentation in local mission can be a gift to the wider Body of Christ, from which we can all learn how to be increasingly effective missionary disciples in our local contexts." 

David Harrigan, St Cedd Centre Resident Pioneer (Ordinand):  

"I really want where I live to be a great place. Jesus has transformed my life and I would love to see other people experience the same so we can make a difference together. 

"Think differently!" 

For more information please contact Samantha Field
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