After months of discernment, planning, and hard work, the Niagara School for Missional Leadership is taking shape, and the first of two pilot courses will be offered in February.
One of the foundational elements of the diocesan Mission Action Plan (MAP) is the creation of a school for missional leadership in the diocese, as an expression of the MAP’s objective to create and implement opportunities to ignite and strengthen faith.
“Through our consultations, we heard repeatedly the need for a school that teaches the broad range of missional skills that leaders both lay and ordained need in order to connect with our present culture,” said Bishop Susan Bell.
Dr. John Bowen, professor emeritus of evangelism at Wycliffe College and a parishioner at St. John the Evangelist in Hamilton, will offer an introductory course on mission. Bishop Susan Bell will lead the other course, focussed on missional preaching. Both courses will be offered online, run for six weeks, and involve about 10 students each.
“The school is an investment in the formation of the skills and gifts for leadership in our time,” said Bishop Bell. “A select group of students have been invited to partake in these first courses, as part of a soft launch of the school.”
The aim of these first courses is to test the school’s pedagogical model, receive feedback, and refine the school’s approach based on the feedback of students.
As it is conceptualized, the Niagara School for Missional Leadership seeks to be rooted in missional praxis, with the basic learning tools for students being practical experience, mentoring, theological reflection, and prayer.
Two additional courses are planned for the spring, including one by Canon Ian Mobsby, newly appointed diocesan canon theologian for mission and mission enabler with the Diocese of Southwark in the United Kingdom.
“We will take full advantage of the possibilities of technology and invite people from across the world to join our team,” noted the bishop.
The school’s leadership team hopes to launch the school to the wider diocese in the fall of 2021.