Bluebells Love to learn

Training Opportunities

These courses and external training providers are relevant to the development needs of Chelmsford ministers.

To tell us about a forthcomining event you'd like to see publicised here, do one of the following:

share to the facebook group "Chelmsford CMD"

post it on mastodon, using the hashtag #chelmsdiocmd 

or email Andy at

Ministerial Wellbeing, especially in working class and estate contexts

All ministers in the Diocese, whatever their context, will profit from this day on Saturday April 27 in Southend. We will have a choice of break-outs where we can walk along the sea front, do aerobic exercise or explore artistic expression. In key-note presentations, Bishop Lynne Cullens will bring us some of the learning from the recent report,

And in the afternoon, Rev Keith Hebden, formerly the Head of the Urban Theology Unit of the Church of England and now Senior Organiser with Citizens UK, will give all of us - especially those in working class and estate contexts - some ideas about what ministerial well being will entail.

More information here

New modules on the Spiritual Companions course:

St Andrew South Shoebury Daytime Thursdays Time 12noon -2.15pm (15 mins lunch break) 6 sessions (£30) Spiritual Companionship and the Scriptures

· 15 th February 2024

· 22 nd February 2024

· 29 th February 2024

· 7 th March 2024

· 14 th March 2024

· 21 st March 2024

Contact Ann Coleman for more details

Inclusive Church: "How to Build the Church of the Future", Feb 13 2024

More information here

Join WTC for an exclusive UK event for Church Leaders: Pivot, A practical guide to help you build a culture in your church or organization that resists abuse and cultivates goodness.

Cost: £10 p.p.

Come and hear Scot McKnight speaking on creating healthy church, through discussing his two books, 'A Church Called Tov' and Pivot'.

Join the Gregory Centre at St Barnabas, North London, on Tuesday 12 March, for Multiply Estates Mission!

Get ready to hear from:

Lynne Cullens, Bishop of Barking, Chair of the National Estate Churches Network

Sam Ward, UK CEO of The Message Trust

Andy Winmill, Director of Mission Support at Church of England Birmingham

This is an opportunity to explore what it takes to build churches for those yet to belong, to create welcoming homes for the weary, for those longing to find a family in Christ.

Get your £10 ticket here

An afternoon about menopause

Sarah writes: “I turned 50 in 2021 and I had really begun to feel like I was losing myself. I’d put on weight, felt permanently bloated, and suffered from brain fog – sometimes struggling to finish sentences and remember things! Add to that the random sweating day and night, the lack of sleep and the mood swings and I was pretty certain that my road to the menopause had begun!

Now I’ve qualified as Menopause Wellness Practitioner. They call me The Menopause Coach. I specialise in coaching ladies approaching or going through peri/post menopause. My website is here:"

On February 29, at Pleshey Retreat House, Sarah will be joining us for an event called “Menopause: Strategies to Live with It and Help Others Thrive”. You can sign up here. I cannot stress strongly enough that this event is open to all Chelmsford Diocese Ministers, without cost, and their spouses and partners, and that I very much hope that among the participants and men, and women not experiencing menopause. It’s part of us all supporting one another.

Here's a video by Sarah Hayward and Sarah Ridge about the workshop.

Register here

'What Does it Mean to be Human in an age of AI?

Talk and Q&A with Rev. Dr. Simon Cross, Senior Subject Matter Expert and AI Policy Lead, CofE.

Dr Cross recently wrote this article for Seen and Unseen.

Sunday 17 March 2023 3.30-5pm at St Mary's Woodford, 207 High Road, London E18 2PA

This will be an opportunity to understand more about artificial intelligence, its ethical implications and engagement from a faith perspective.

Ripon College, Cuddesdon (near Oxford) are offering a retreat for clergy and lay leaders, Renewing Hope in Smaller Churches, 15 - 17 May 2024. Smaller churches can have their specific needs and potential overlooked. This retreat will enable participants to explore what it means for hope to be renewed in such contexts.

An event about personal finance, for stipendiary clergy and/or their partners.

Richard Wood, an Independent Financial Planner from Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services, and colleagues will be talking us through a range of financial planning topics; if there’s something you’d particularly liked covered, feel free to write to Andy at in advance.

This event is free of charge. It is a hybrid event, allowing access via zoom to those who cannot attend in person. Please choose your preference when booking your ticket. 

Register here.

This event is free of charge, and open to all stipendiary and/or their partners and spouses. It takes place on Friday 7 June, from 1.30pm till 4pm at Pleshey Retreat House.

I've been reading Thrive by Pam McNaughton (London: Church House Publishing, 2023), and I thought I'd post a review.

The subtitle of the book is "Helping your multi-parish benefice to grow", and this is an area the author has serious experience of, having been the incumbent of three different multi-parish benefices (MPBs) in three different dioceses, and having developed a course on the subject (also called Thrive) for CPAS.

The book isn't rocket science, and you won't be surprised to hear the list of things listed as keys to a thriving multi-parish ministry, around which the book is built:


*Mapping and relating stories

*Enabling leaders and great teams (for what it's worth, this seems to me to be the strongest section, and if you did nothing else any MPB would profit from taking this wisdom to heart)

*A culture of discipleship - "shaping the life and activity of our churches around the Great Commandments and the Great Commission." I liked this section, though the community organiser in me would have loved there to be a recognition that we don't just worship God, serve our neighbours and share the good news (crucial as these things are), but also listen to our communities to see what they care about, and enable them to take action for justice. I don't for one moment think that Pam MacNaughton is inward-looking-except-with-regard-to evangelism, but that's such a danger for MPBs that I would want to flag it up.

*Faith sharing. This may be the most challenging section for a number of our MPBs, but it's introduced with gentleness and realism.

*Vision for the future

The value of the book lies not so much in the choice of these topics, which will be familiar, as in the clear, approachable way they are explained and made relevant to multi-church contexts. I liked the way the book often gives several options, rather than a single authoritative template: for example, when starting to move towards vision, we are given

*a template for a formal review of church life, but also

*permission not to use it because there may be one or two areas that clearly need to be worked on first, before the review is encouraging, and

*permission to start with one big project that will get people's imagination firing and raise morale, so that when it is time to review the church(es), the momentum of the project will help people look at possibilities with newfound positivity.

I also liked the way the author often chooses to ask questions rather than to give advice.

I could imagine this being a book that a whole PCC, or a standing committee, looked at together; or perhaps, the wardens and ministers drawn from all the churches in a benefice. There are online materials available as well.

In this Diocese, there are two networks for incumbents (and other ministers) with MPBs or the equivalent - "Four or more" and "More than one". If you'd be interested in being part of such a network, do get in touch with Janet Nichols or Andy Griffiths.


“Decisions, decisions …” Reflective Weekend 16 – 18 February 2024 The Kairos Centre, Roehampton, London, SW15 4JA

Guest speakers include: The Rt Reverend and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mulally, DBE, Bishop of London The Revd Annette Fritze-Shanks, Bishop’s Adviser for Self-Supporting Ministry (Diocese of London), and more!

Across the weekend we will explore and reflect upon the importance of ethical decision-making as MSEs, across the contexts in which we minister. What decisions do we face in our work? How does our ministry inform the decisions we take? Is there always a ‘right’ decision? How best to communicate decisions?

Cost, from dinner on Friday evening to lunch on Sunday, inclusive: £210 (members and spouses); £225 (non-members). Day / session rates available on application. A limited number of bursaries are available to enable attendance; ask us for details or a receipt. In the usual format of a relaxing weekend there will be time for both reflective silence and companionship, and the opportunity to explore the area, or have some free time to walk, talk, snooze, reflect, read, pray…

The Kairos Centre is located in a residential area close to Richmond Park. Information on travel and facilities.

More information on the weekend here

Theological Reading Group

Susannah Brasier writes: "I set up an online theological reading group about 18 months ago. We meet monthly, on Zoom, on the second Tuesday of the month at 2pm for 45 mins-1 hr.

So far we have read a wide variety of books, of varying genres and intensity, and had some very good discussions.

The idea came from one of my own MDRs, where I lamented (not for the first time) that I wasn't getting around to theological reading - so Jill Mowbray suggested I started this group and certainly, even though previously I often thought I didn't have time to read, I now have a discipline whereby I am always reading at least one theological book a month!

It is however not only open to clergy - ordinands, licensed or authorised lay ministers are also welcome, as well as other lay people who have an interest in reading theological books."

Do contact Susannah Brasier if you'd like to get involved.

The next Motherhood and Ministry seminar is now being advertised - do spread the word.  Rev Lizzy Holland will open up with her own experiences and then there will be time to share with one another and more time for Q&A. Booking and more info here.

These seminars are specifically aimed at women thinking about ministry/ ordination in the CofE or in the early years of ordained life, who may have children or have questions around balancing motherhood with ministry.




The institutions and providers below all offer courses relevant to the development needs of Chelmsford clergy.

The Anglican Centre in Rome

The Anglican Centre offers a range of residential courses.  Go to for more details.

The Arthur Rank Centre

A charity that supports and resources the rural church. It offers twice-yearly Rural Ministry Courses and Multi Church Ministry Workshops

It also has resources for the creative use of church buildings 

The Buck Stops Here: Leading in MIssion and Ministry in Your First Incumbency

This residential course is offered by CPAS for those moving from a curacy to a first post of responsibility, or for those moving from overseas or sector post to an incumbency or team vicar post.

Los Olivos

A varied programme of courses and retreats in southern Spain, some of which will be eligible for CMD grant – check with your Area CMD Adviser before booking. Travel is not eligible for grant. Go to for details.

LYCIG Leading Your Church Into Growth

A training programme which takes the mystique out of growth and makes it ‘normal’ and do-able. It is likely that a LYCIG course will be run in Chelmsford Diocese in 2013.

LYCiG is a four-day residential course for lay and ordained leaders. Now in its thirteenth year, the course was pioneered by Robin Gamble and others, and is led by a team drawn from many different backgrounds, traditions, and ministry contexts. All are practitioners who can speak from personal experience of leading churches into growth. "The most valuable training we’ve ever done", is a typical comment from some of the 70 churches represented on the course.

For the current Conferences programme click here


Was formed in 1990 to support liturgical education in the Church of England. It offers a series of training events, mostly regional, for those who lead worship - go to

Faith in Business Conferences

This may be particularly relevant to Readers who want to be better equipped to address issues of Christian faith in the workplace. For the programme go to

The Centre for Pioneer Learning

A partnership between Ridley Hall and Westcott House. The Centre aims to serve all pioneers who are establishing new forms of church and taking the church to new places  throughout the UK and the world. Their aim is to establish training for pioneers by pioneers while also recognising the need to learn from others with skills, insights and experiences which may help pioneers. The Revd Dave Male organises 'Break Out', a national annual gathering of pioneers.

Sarum College

In Salisbury is an ecumenical centre for Christian study and research. It offers a variety of short courses and study programmes in theology, culture, Christian leadership, liturgy and worship, biblical study and sprituality; also singing, music and the arts. Many of these are eligible for CMD grant. For upcoming events or for their whole programme go to

The Society of Mary and Martha, Sheldon

The Society of Mary and Martha in Devon has a varied programme of residential weeks and workshops, including Myers-Briggs and Enneagram, and specifically for clergy, the 12,000 mile service, some of which (but not all) will qualify for use of CMD grant. Go to

St John’s College, Nottingham

Offers In-service study weeks. Go to

How to obtain your CMD grant…

Many of these courses are eligible for funding from your CMD grant. 

If you have questions about these or other training courses, contact your Area CMD Adviser or the CMD Administrator Sue Denham  (01245 294450) .

For information on Sabbatical Leave and Study contact your Area CMD Adviser.

When requesting money for CMD or Reader grants, applications must be received at least a month prior to the event and before booking or attending. To do this fill in an electronic grant form and send it to your Area CMD Adviser, Andy Griffiths, Jane Richards or Ian Hilton who will authorise and send to Sue Denham who will raise the payment. You do not need to send a copy of the brochure. It is preferred to make payments by BACS. See CMD Funding.

For consultation in advance of applications for any CMD events not included here, please contact your Area CMD Adviser.

For more information or to report anything wrong with this page please contact Andy Griffiths