Name– Kim Morgan-Jones (20s-30s Strategy Team Leader)
Bio – We are entering an exciting phase for 20s-30s work across the diocese and it is a privilege for me to lead the Acceler8 team as they help to shape this.
Over the past few years I have been involved in the Diocese’ 20s-30s Leadership Development Scheme whilst I was in post as the Youth Worker at St Paul’s Church Stockingford. As well as receiving valuable leadership training, the scheme gathered 20s-30s from across the diocese to meet together for support and encouragement. I was personally very encouraged by the scheme and saw first-hand the value of investing in this age group.
In October 2014 I was asked to co-ordinate the Leadership Scheme. A highlight of this role has been seeing the potential that 20s-30s have in different areas of church life and being able to encourage their participation in this. The Acceler8 Project will continue this work by encouraging more young adults in more churches to love Jesus, support and disciple each other, use their gifts in church effectively and to help enable their churches to grow. It is an exciting time for the Acceler8 team and we are looking forward to all that God will do.
Name– Rachel Saum (Development Leader)
Churches– Mid Fosse Parishes (Lighthorne with Lighthorne Heath, Moreton Morrell, Chesterton, and Newbold Pacey with Ashorne) and the Barford Benefice
Bio– In 2010, I decided to take a year out to reflect on my previous ten years of youth ministry, most of which was in the Roman Catholic Church (to which I had belonged all my life) and to discern where God was calling me next. To cut a remarkable but long story short I ended up as the Pioneer Lay Minister in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon and after a period of discernment started training for ordination in the Church of England at St Mellitus College in London.
The Mid Fosse Parishes have been identified as a rural area within the diocese with a high percentage of 20s-30s. I am looking forward to meeting some of them and together with them and the faithful Christian communities in these areas, begin reimagining rural ministry and enable the rural church to grow younger and deeper in faith. Part of my role will involve forming a small residential ‘new monastic’ community of 20s-30s in the neighbouring Barford Benefice.
Name – Ian Sweeney (Development Leader)
Church – St. Anne and All Saints, Coventry
Bio – I feel privileged to have started work with the Coventry Diocese at St Anne and All Saints. During a period where I was trying to discern what God was calling me to, I became aware of the Acceler8 project and knew that, if it was possible, it was something I wanted to be a part of. St Anne and All Saints is a great church with a strong sense of community and they are fortunate to be placed in an area highly populated with young adults. The hope is that the church can engage with these young adults and see people discover the life changing love of Christ.
Part of my life was spent seeking purpose and forming arguments against God’s existence. However, the argument didn’t last very long as my points were no match for God’s great love demonstrated through the reality of his son Jesus Christ.
I have a Pentecostal background but I have a deep respect for other church traditions and I weirdly enjoy learning of these. My studies have mainly focused around the missional aspect of church and how the Gospel can enter all walks of life. Hopefully this is something I can bring to St Anne and All Saints and the wider church.
Name – Revd Vikki Bisiker (Development Leader)
Church – St. James, Southam
Bio – Before being ordained, I ran a murder mystery and mediaeval banquet company, and I then subsequently worked for CPAS with the Ventures & Falcon Camps department supporting volunteer leaders of Christian children and youth holidays. It was whilst working at CPAS that I felt God nudge me into ordained ministry. I trained at St Mellitus…there seems to be a recurring theme here within the Acceler8 team! I loved being there and seeing such a diverse range of people with amazing gifts serving God in a variety of communities. Because of my own journey and experience, I’m committed and passionate about people coming to know Jesus and seeing lives changed because of this personal relationship.
Alongside parish ministry at St James’, Southam, I co-lead the Southam Deanery Mission Team. Our context is rural and part of the team’s passion is how the churches can work together and support each other whilst being geographically challenged! The market town of Southam and some of the surrounding villages are growing rapidly with new housing estates and so our churches have amazing opportunities for outreach and to build relationships with all age ranges. There is some brilliant work being done by the church in the local schools and I’m looking forward to working with teams to develop and extend these relationships with the parents and carers of the youngsters and seeing people of all ages worshipping together in our rural churches.
Name – Jonny Dant (Development Leader)
Church – St. James, Styvechale
Bio – I hope to encourage growth in the area of 20’s & 30’s here. I am 28 years old, and I am currently studying a degree in Theology, Mission & Ministry at St Mellitus College in London. At present, I am in my second year of study, and before I decided to do any of this, I worked for a popular video games retailer for around seven years. I worked my way up into management but felt a call from God on my life to work for the church, and I decided to take a year out to do a discipleship course.
Moreover, I spent the last two years interning for one of the largest multi-site churches in the UK called KingsGate Community Church. While there I learned many value skills in several different areas, from organising various events, to working with students and young adults in homegroup settings. It was while interning that I realised I have a real passion, and desire for God to bring young adults into all he is calling them to be. It took me a while to work out what God’s calling was specifically for my life, and my prayer is that while I work for the Acceler8 project, that God would help me to equip and bring many 20’s/30’s into their specific God-given calling.
Name – Fr Dexter Bracey (Development Leader)
Church – St. John the Baptist, Coventry
Bio – I am the Rector of St John’s Church in the centre of Coventry. Before coming to Coventry, I was a parish priest in Swindon, and before that curate of a parish in Torquay. Before ordination, I had a selection of jobs, but didn’t last very long in any of them! Eventually, I had to give in and seek what it was that God was calling me to do.
St John’s is a parish which has both many younger families resident in the parish, and a growing number of students, so I am looking forward to discovering the diverse needs and concerns of different communities. In my experience of ministry thus far, I have become very aware that in many places there is a lack of confidence in sharing the faith with younger generations. I’m therefore grateful that I now have the opportunity to invest some time in seeking to share the Gospel with young adults, and I’m keen to draw on the riches of the Catholic tradition in doing so. It is interesting that there is a rediscovery of tradition among some younger adults, and the traditional Anglo-Catholic part of the Church of England has been good at nurturing young vocations in recent years. It strikes me that in a world where so much is ephemeral and commercial, there is a hunger for faith and truth which draws on the wisdom of many generations. As a traditionalist parish, we seek to inhabit our inherited tradition in a way that is creative and attractive to those who are seeking beauty, goodness and truth, and we must grow in confidence in giving an account of the hope that is in us through our faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Name – Fr Stephen Parker (Development Leader)
Church – St. John the Baptist, Leamington Spa
Bio – I am the interim minister at St John the Baptist, Leamington Spa exploring what a catholic expression of mission to the 20/30’s age group looks like, with a particular focus on the use of the Sacrament of Confession.
The early anglo-catholic movement within the Church of England was primarily a missional movement in the poorest areas of our country. Bishop Frank Weston said at the 1923 Anglo-Catholic Conference that “you cannot claim to worship Jesus in the Tabernacle, if you do not pity Jesus in the slum.” Those words have deeply resonated with me during my journey of faith. From them has grown a deep interested in the way in which we live out our lives as disciples of Christ; not solely in the context of Sunday worship but in our day to day goings on.
Name – Revd Ali Hogger (Development Leader)
Church – St. Margaret’s, Coventry
Bio– I’m a curate and leading St Margaret’s as part of my training on an extended placement. An aspect of my mandate there is to encourage growth in the 20’s and 30’s age group, and so I’m part of the Acceler8 project to help support this work.
Before ordination, I worked as a mental health nurse and behaviour therapist, and as part of my curacy I am licensed to Keeping Health in Mind, a Christian mental health charity which I founded and am the director of. We work to support churches in reaching and supporting those who struggle with mental ill health, seeking to resource them and encourage conversations around mental health and emotional well being.
St Margaret’s is located in an area of deprivation and need which has a high concentration of young adults, and I’m excited to be there with a vision to grow community for those who need the hope and love of Jesus.
Name – Gary Matthews (Development Leader)
Church – St Mary’s, Leamington Spa
Bio– I am really excited to see what God is going to do in and through the 20s and 30s Acceler8 project. God saved me from a life of sin when I was in my mid-twenties and His love came to me after being in Christian rehab. God transformed me around 8 years ago and it’s been a crazy journey since then. I am now trying to live my life out for God with a beautiful godly wife that He has blessed me with.
I am based in St Mary’s, Leamington Spa and have been in the congregation about 5 years. I am looking forward to identifying, encouraging and equipping 20s-30s and enabling them to use the gifts God has given them to reach out to a lost generation.
Name – Luke Thomas (Development Leader)
Church – St. Michael’s, Budbrooke
Bio – I am based in a thriving charismatic Church of England church just outside Warwick in the beautiful village of Budbrooke. With my wife Lou who is the youth and children’s leader at the church we really feel God has been stirring within us a heart for mission and living a missional life both through her work with the young people and my work with the young adults.
Coming from a youth work background I’m so excited to be stretched and challenged as I step into this new part of my life, and am unbelievably excited to see how God is going to use the 20’s-30’s across Warwick to really bless and grow his kingdom here.
I know God has some amazing things planned for the young adults across Warwick and across the diocese, and am so blessed that I can be a part of that work that he is doing.
Name – Mark Seabourne (Development Leader)
Church – St. Nicolas, Nuneaton
Bio – I became a Christian in my late 20s following years of confusion, depression and strange beliefs. Following a breakup and a move to Leamington Spa where I knew no one, I joined many social groups, including a Christian 20s and 30s group. I went for friendship but came out with the best relationship there is – a relationship with Jesus Christ.
This led me into a real transformation and I started to find joy in sharing the Gospel, praying for people and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.
As I came to faith in my 20s, I am passionate about reaching people in this age range. The 20s and 30s group provided me incredible discipleship which I am so grateful for. There are a lot of young people in the parish of St. Nicolas, Nuneaton; many of whom are poor or in unstable lifestyles. I’m privileged to help play a part in showing them God’s love and calling them to salvation.
Name – Beks Rothnie (Development Leader)
Church – Urban Hope, Coventry
Bio – I’m based at Urban Hope, a fresh expressions Church of England fellowship that meets in Coffee Tots in City Arcade in Coventry. I have been a member of Urban Hope since May 2014.
I have been a Christian since the 80s, having grown up in the church and have worked in churches in a variety of paid and voluntary roles and locations across the UK.
I am passionate about people meeting God in a real and relevant way so they don’t remain the same.
Name – Revd Gareth Irvine (Development Leader)
Church – Westwood, Coventry
Bio – I live in Coventry with my wife Jenny and two children Jessica & Caleb. I’ve been involved in church-based ministry in Coventry Diocese for over 10 years after graduating from Warwick University in 2003. After completing a PGCE, I got involved in working with my local church, and over a number of years was involved in youth work, school chaplaincy, student work, leading a young adult congregation and developing and resourcing missional communities across the life of a multigenerational church. I have a passion for helping others discover and express what God is saying to them to and then following the adventurous call of Jesus into every sphere of culture. In 2009, I started training for ordained pioneer ministry at St Mellitus College in London. In 2012, I was ordained in Coventry Diocese to plant a missional community called Saint Aidan’s into the Wood End area of Coventry.
From May 2016, I’m excited to be joining the Acceler8 team; based at Westwood Church in Coventry where the initial focus will be on student work and developing a gap year programme for young adults called ‘Form’. I’m also part of Nudge – the Diocese of Coventry Young Vocations team.
I love having friends and family over for dinner whilst beating the clock on Jamie’s 30 minute meals, going on family adventures, reading blogs about Generation X,Y&Z, watching Newsnight and The Good Wife on Netflix, discovering the latest interesting places to drink good coffee, and visiting the seaside whenever possible. You can get in touch with me via Facebook (fb.com/garethrivine) Twitter (@garethirvine) or email (email@example.com).